What is amateur radio?Our Training TeamExam FeesFoundation licenceIntermediate LicenceFull Licence (Advanced Exam)Foundation syllabusIntermediate syllabusFull Licence syllabus(Advanced Exam)

Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service that uses designated radio frequencies for non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications.

Amateur Radio is the only hobby governed by international treaty.

As a radio amateur you are able to transmit radio signals on a number of frequency bands allocated specifically to the radio amateurs.

Radio amateurs make use of their frequencies in a number of ways:

  • Contacting people all over the world by radio which often leads to developing international friendships
  • Competing in international competitions to test how effective your equipment is, and how good you are as an operator
  • Technical experimentation — many of the leaps forward in radio technology have been initiated by radio amateurs
  • Communication through amateur space satellites or with the International Space Station (which carries an amateur radio station)
  • Providing communications at times of emergencies and undertaking exercises to ensure you keep the capability to do so.

There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur.

A 1910 announcement by the then HM Postmaster General licensed “experimental wireless”, which still uniquely gives radio amateurs the ability to innovate without commercial or statutory controls even in the closely regulated environment of the 21st century.

 

For the Foundation licence course exam there is a fee of £27.50 for members and £77.50 for non-members. All the paper work and exam fees must be completed four weeks before the exam date. All the training practical paper work will be retained by KARS until the exam fees have been paid.


For the Intermediate licence course exam there is a fee of £32.50 for members and £82.50 for non-members. Don’t forget that you need to have passed the Foundation exam first! All the paper work and exam fees must be completed four weeks before the exam date. All the training practical paper work will be retained by KARS until the exam fees have been paid.


For the Advanced Radio Communications exam there is a fee of £37.50 for members and £87.50 for non-members. You must have passed the Intermediate exam before taking the Advanced. All the paper work and exam fees must be completed four weeks before the exam date.


The Foundation licence is your gateway to amateur radio.

The course and exam that leads to the licence provides you with an exciting introduction to the hobby while requiring an acceptable minimum level of skill and experience.

Your Foundation licence is recognised by the UK communications regulator Ofcom, and entitles you to take a unique identifier called a callsign which will be used to identify you when you are transmitting.

The course

The Foundation courses take place locally in a friendly and informal environment and are conducted by experienced radio amateurs, usually at a local radio club.

Most of the training is practical, there is a small amount of radio and electronics theory but only enough for you to appreciate things like using the correct fuses in your equipment and how to build an antenna to get the most out of your radio station.

Your course will take 10 to 12 hours to complete, and can be spread out over a few weeks

The exam

Don’t be put off by the thought of having to do an exam.

The Foundation exam is very straightforward and consists of 26 multiple choice questions which you have 55 minutes to answer.

Your exam paper is checked by the invigilator straight after the exam so you will have a good idea if you have passed before you leave.

The formal marking is carried out electronically at the RSGB Examinations Department.

For the Foundation licence course exam there is a fee of £27.50 for members and £77.50 for non-members. All the paper work and exam fees must be completed four weeks before the exam date. All the training practical paper work will be retained by KARS until the exam fees have been paid.

What happens after the exam?

You will receive an official result sheet in the post from the RSGB Examinations Department. This takes at least six days working days from the of receipt of your exam paper at HQ.

If you have passed, you will at the same time receive a certificate and your candidate number. The examination office will upload your pass to the UK communications regulator Ofcom, who are responsible for issuing amateur radio licences.

You may then log on to the Ofcom licensing system to apply for your licence. Please make sure that you have your candidate number to hand, because you will need this to complete the process.

If you apply for your Foundation licence on the Ofcom website, your licence is free of charge.

Visit the Ofcom website to find out more about applying for an amateur radio licence.

Once you have your Foundation licence and have chosen a callsign from those available, you are ready to make your first transmission on the amateur radio bands; an exciting moment.

You are then free to operate on the most frequently used amateur bands, without supervision, up to a power of 10 watts.

This does not sound like very much power, but once you have acquired experience operating your radio you will find it is enough to communicate almost anywhere in the world.

Now that you have your amateur radio licence and have gained experience operating, it may be time for you to move on to an Intermediate Licence.

The Intermediate Licence carries with it more privileges and also more responsibilities on you as a radio amateur.

The main advantage of stepping up to the Intermediate Licence is the increase in permitted operating power.

You will be able to go from the 10 watts of the Foundation Licence, up to 50 watts as an Intermediate Licence holder.

The course

It’s actually not necessary to take a course to sit the Intermediate exam, but we would strongly recommend doing so.

All our RSGB affiliated trainers have a wealth of knowledge and years of experience to impart to their students.

Understandably the Intermediate course is longer and more challenging than the Foundation.

It aims to teach many of the fundamentals of radio in a stimulating way by actually undertaking practical tasks such as soldering, building a small project and a variety of other exercises, building on the experience you have gained as a Foundation Licence holder.

The exam

Two methods of assessment are used.

First, a practical skills assessment is taken which demonstrates your competence in basic electronics.

This involves soldering a rudimentary circuit together using some of the components you learned about on the course.

This is followed by an examination of 45 multiple-choice questions each with four possible responses, which covers the remainder of the syllabus.

The examination lasts one hour and 25 minutes.

Your exam paper is marked by the invigilator straight after the exam so, as with the Foundation, you have a good idea whether you passed or not.

For the Intermediate licence course exam there is a fee of £32.50 for members and £82.50 for non-members. Don’t forget that you need to have passed the Foundation exam first! All the paper work and exam fees must be completed four weeks before the exam date. All the training practical paper work will be retained by KARS until the exam fees have been paid.

What happens after the exam?

If your pass is confirmed you will receive an official result sheet from the RSGB Examinations Department within six days of receipt of your exam paper.

You will also receive a certificate a few days later.

The Examinations Department will upload your pass to the UK communications regulator Ofcom, who are responsible for issuing amateur radio licences.

You may then log on to the Ofcom licensing system to apply for your licence.

If you apply for your Intermediate licence on the Ofcom website, your licence is free of charge.

Visit the Ofcom website to find out more.

Ofcom will then issue you with your new, upgraded radio licence and you can get started immediately on the Intermediate frequency allocations at up to 50 watts power.

Now you are not only a licensed radio amateur, but you are one step closer to having the Full Licence (Advanced Exam); an internationally recognized qualification that will enable you to transmit legally almost anywhere in the world.

You have worked hard to get your amateur radio licence, and have progressed through to being an Intermediate Licence holder.

Maybe you are ready now to take on the UK’s ultimate amateur radio qualification: the Advanced Radio Communications exam leading to the issuing of a Full Licence.

A lot of privileges and responsibilities come with a Full Licence, not least from the fact that you will be able to transmit at up to 400 watts of power.

You will also receive with your Full Licence the ability to legally transmit from almost every country in the world.

THE COURSE

We are not going to pretend that getting a Full Licence will be easy.

A complex technical exam has to be passed that requires considerable study for success.

So you must be prepared to invest a good amount of time and effort in your studies.

When studying for the Advanced Radio Communications exam there is no requirement to take a formal training course, this is because the examination is entirely theory based, with no practical training element.

It is possible to study at home on your own or at a local amateur radio club or at a college; many run courses specifically for the Advanced Radio Communications examination.

THE EXAM

Assessment is by a written examination paper of 62 multiple choice questions each with four possible responses.

The examination lasts two hours and it becomes available every two months.

For the Advanced Radio Communications exam there is a fee of £37.50 for members and £87.50 for non-members. You must have passed the Intermediate exam before taking the Advanced. All the paper work and exam fees must be completed four weeks before the exam date.

You have worked hard to get your amateur radio licence, and have progressed through to being an Intermediate Licence holder.

Maybe you are ready now to take on the UK’s ultimate amateur radio qualification: the Advanced Radio Communications exam leading to the issuing of a Full Licence.

A lot of privileges and responsibilities come with a Full Licence, not least from the fact that you will be able to transmit at up to 400 watts of power.

You will also receive with your Full Licence the ability to legally transmit from almost every country in the world.