A duplicate license is a copy of an original license that is mailed to you; whereas a reference copy is a copy of a license that you can print yourself in ULS License Search. The reference copy includes a watermark that says “Reference Copy” and is not considered an official version of your license.
The FCC went paperless in February 2015. In order to streamline procedures and save money, the FCC stopped routinely printing and mailing licenses. There are a number of ways a license holder can obtain an official FCC copy of their license. The official license will display the FCC logo and.
License Grants & Exams. Operation of an amateur station requires an amateur operator license grant from the FCC. Before receiving a license grant, you must pass an examination administered by a team of volunteer examiners (VEs). The VEs determine the license operator class for which you are qualified through the testing of your skills and abilities in operating an amateur station.