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Foundation Licence.

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Syllabus Section 2
Licensing Conditions.

The part of the Foundation Licence the syllabus covered on this page:

2. Licensing Conditions

Syllabus as supplied by the
Radio Communications Foundation (issue 7)
Syllabus Copyright RCF.

2a Types of Amateur Licence (UK)

There are 3 levels of Amateur Radio Licence in the UK:

Back to section 2 Syllabus or Foundation Licence Index

2b Format of Amateur call signs

Currently there are 2 formats for UK callsigns, one format is used for Foundation and Full Licences, the other is used for Intermediate.

The format for Full and Foundation is:

Single letter. The main country designator.
Single letter. The regional identifier (if used/required, see below).
Number. Denotes the class of the licence.
2 or 3 letters. Final identifier for the station.

Let's take my Full Licence call (MW0GKX) as an example:
M is the main country designator for the UK (there are others shown below).
W is the regional identifier, it shows that I am located in Wales (there are others shown below).
0 the number tells you that I am a Full Licence holder. (0 or 1 = Full. 3 or 6 = Foundation)
GXK this 3 letter suffix finally identifies me, as a station.

The format for Intermediate is:

"2". The main country designator. This also denotes the class of the licence (Intermediate).
Single letter. The regional identifier (see below).
a number (currently 0 or 1) and 3 letters.

Let's take my Intermediate Licence call (2W0BDW) as an example:
2 is the main country designator for the UK Intermediate Licensees
W is the regional identifier, it shows that I am located in Wales (there are others shown below).
0BDW this 1 number and 3 letter suffix finally identifies me, as a station.

When in a region of the UK that requires a regional locator you must use that letter in your callsign. eg:

Say I live in Cardiff (Wales) and drive to Glasgow (Scotland) for a holiday, chatting to local Amateurs as I go.
When in Wales I'm MW0GKX. I cross the Severn Bridge and take the M5/M6 north, I'm now in England so my call is M0GKX. I get to Sark Bridge (nr Gretna Green) and my call becomes MM0GKX as I am now in Scotland.

When operating away from your home region it is good practice to mention your "home call" in your conversation, especially when DXing, so that other operators can correctly address QSL cards to you (if cards go to the bureau for MM0GKX it is likely that I'll never see them!).

Full rundown of UK call classes and regions
For "M" calls:
0 & 1 are Full
3 & 6 are Foundation.
Call PrefixRegion / NotesMap
Foundation / Full
(no regional designator required for Foundation or Full)
UK Regional calls map
Foundation / Full
Isle of Man
Foundation / Full
Northern Ireland
Foundation / Full
Foundation / Full
Foundation / Full
Foundation / Full

You can read more about UK Callsings on the About Callsigns page if you wish to further your knowledge on this subject. Only the above information is part of the exam.

Back to section 2 Syllabus or Foundation Licence Index

2c Licence terms and conditions

2c.1 Recall the requirements for station identification.

The Licensee, shall transmit the Callsign specified in the Licence and any Modifier applicable under the provisions of this Licence:

  1. During initial calls (CQ calls) or calls to establish contact with another Amateur;

  2. At least once every 15 minutes when the period of communication is longer than 15 minutes;

  3. Whenever the frequency of transmission is changed, at the beginning of transmission on the new frequency;

  4. By the same type of transmission that is being used for the communication;

  5. On the same frequency that is being used for the communication.

Modifiers are the Regional Secondary Locators as outlined above and also the additional suffix /A, /P or /M as noted below.

When operating at locations other than the Main Station Address, it is recommended that the following suffixes be used:

Main Station Address means the main station address stated in the Licence.

Alternative Address /A means a fixed postal address in the United Kingdom other than the Main Station Address.

Temporary Location /P means a fixed location in the United Kingdom which is not the Main Station Address or an Alternative Address. Fixed location is defined by the fact that you will need to do something to the station before you can move away: take down an antenna, unplug the power supply etc.
(Note: /P used to be "Pedestrian" or "Portable" and some still, mistakenly, use /P when using a handheld, this also seems to be passed on to newer licencees for some reason! As you will see the next suffix, /M, is the proper one to use).

Mobile /M means the Radio Equipment is located in the United Kingdom:
in or on any vehicle or conveyance;
on the person of the Licensee where the Licensee is a pedestrian; or
on any Vessel on Inland Waters.
Basically, if you are able to move the station away from its' current location without having to do anything to the station, antenna, power supply etc. then it is deemed to be /M.

2c.2 Recall the requirement to only send messages to other Amateurs.

The Licensee shall only address Messages to other Amateurs or to the stations of those Amateurs.

A "Message" means a signal which conveys information to or from Radio Equipment operated by an Amateur in accordance with a United Kingdom Amateur Radio Licence;

Any non amateur radio licence holder who gains access to the amateur bands is considered a pirate. Do not speak to them but, should you inadvertently come across one, don't be the policeman of the bands - just ignore and stop the conversation.

Should you be called by a station in response to your CQ call and that other station fails to give a callsign when asked then break off the contact and assume that they were a pirate.

The Licensee shall be permitted to use the Radio Equipment to discuss any topics of mutual interest with other Amateurs, and to seek to receive and impart any information and any ideas. The items that you talk about must be personal to you or be of a technical nature.

You will often hear stations telling each other about their equipment especially their radios and antennas, the weather, health issues, holidays etc.

2c.3 Recall that secret codes are not permitted.

Messages sent to other Amateurs shall not be encrypted for the purpose of rendering the message unintelligible to other radio spectrum users.

The Licensee may use codes and abbreviations for communications as long as they do not obscure or confuse the meaning of the message.

The "Q" Codes which are in general use by Amateurs are not considered as secret code because the content and meaning is well known / published and are in common usage.

2c.4 Recall that General Broadcasting is not permitted.

Broadcasting means to send a message without expecting a response.

Calling CQ is not General Broadcasting because, although you are not actually talking to another Amateur at the time, you are requesting responses.

If you were talking as if you were a radio station heard for general listening, or the playing of music etc., is not permitted.

2c.5 Recall that only the licensee, or another UK licenced amateur operating under his or her supervision, may use the Radio Equipment.

With certain exceptions the Licensee shall ensure that the Radio Equipment shall only be operated by the Licensee personally and by no other persons.

The Licensee may permit the operation of the Radio Equipment by a person who holds a current UK Amateur Radio Licence provided that any such operation of the Radio Equipment is carried out in the presence of and under the direct supervision of the Licensee and that such persons are made aware of, and of the requirement to comply with, the terms, conditions and limitations of the Licence.

The Licensee may, in certain circumstances, allow the equipment to be used by a member of the User Services.
"User Service" means the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, the St Andrew's Ambulance Association, the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, the Salvation Army, any Government Department, any "Category 1" responder, and any "Category 2" responder as defined in the Civil Contingencies Act (2004).

2c.6 Recall of the requirement to notify Ofcom of change of address.

The Licensee must give immediate notice to Ofcom, either in writing or by means of Ofcom's on-line licensing system, of any change to the Licensee's name, Main Station Address and/or mailing address from that recorded in their Licence.

2c.7 Recall that a person authorised by Ofcom has the right to inspect, require the modification, close down or restrict the operation of the Radio Equipment.

A person authorised by Ofcom may require the Radio Equipment, or any part thereof, to be modified or restricted in use, or temporarily or permanently closed down with immediate effect if, in the opinion of the person authorised by Ofcom:

  1. A breach of this Licence has occurred; and/or

  2. The use of the Radio Equipment is causing or contributing to Undue Interference to the authorised use of other radio equipment.

Ofcom may require the Radio Equipment to be modified or restricted in use, or temporarily closed down either immediately or on the expiry of such period as may be specified in the event of a national or local state of emergency being declared.

Ofcom may only exercise this power after a written notice is served on the Licensee or a general notice is published. Any general notices will be posted on the Ofcom website.

The Licensee shall permit any person authorised by Ofcom:

  1. To inspect the Licence; and

  2. To have access to the Radio Equipment for the purposes of inspection, examination and testing, at any and all reasonable times or, when in the opinion of that person an urgent situation exists, at any time to ensure that the Radio Equipment is being used in accordance with the terms of this Licence.

Note: Although not tested in the exam at this time, since the introduction of Life-time Licensing the Licence will be revoked automatically should it not be updated 5 years from issue / last update. Remember it is your responsibility to "refresh" your Licence at least every 5 years.

2c.8 Understand and apply the Schedule to the licence. and

2c.9 Identify allowable frequencies and power limits.

These two are related and refer to the Foundation Licence Schedule. There will be one question in the exam on the VHF section and one on the HF section.

You must understand the schedule and know how to apply it to your operating. Click here for a PDF copy of the Foundation Schedule (if you don't have to a copy) and refer to it while reading the explanations below.

Column 1

There are several columns, the most important of which is the first one "Frequency Bands in MHz". This sets out where in the radio spectrum you may operate.

Column 2

The status in the UK of the Amateur Service. This means whether Amateur Radio is the primary user or preferred user of that segment or if Amateur Radio is a secondary user meaning that if another legitimate transmitter is operating on that frequency then it must continue unimpeded.

Column 3

The status in the UK of the Amateur Satelite Service. Similar to Column 2 but relating only to the Amateur Satellite service.

Column 4

Probably the second most important column as it states the amount of power that can be radiated.
Note: ERP applies in some cases. You will learn more about that in Section 5c.3 Feeders and Antennas, Antenna basics.

That's it for Section 2, Licensing Conditions. Any questions about this section, please see your Course Tutor. failing that, email the editor of this page: webmaster@highfields-arc.co.uk.

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