Each exam has to be taken in order, Foundation, Intermediate, Full. You do not have to apply for a licence at each level, but you will gain confidence and experience if you are on the air talking to like minded people.
This Licence class is designed to get you involved in amateur radio as quickly as possible. But before you are allowed to transmit you need to know a little bit about how your radio works, the dangers of interference and the rules and regulations of holding a radio transmitting licence.
You learn these new skills by taking the Foundation Licence Training Course. 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.
Don't be afraid of the thought of having to undertake a training course. The courses are run in a friendly informal atmosphere. I took a course that was spread over 2 whole days with the exam on the afternoon of the second day, most clubs run the courses on club a night so it's spread over a couple of hours a night for a few weeks.
At the end of the course you will have completed various practical tasks and the instructor will have marked your Practical Assessment sheet accordingly. You will then sit an examination comprising of 25 multiple choice questions, answer 18 correctly and you have passed. Your exam paper will be marked immediately after the exam so you will know within the hour how you have done.
Once you have passed the exam you get your 'Pass' certificate and you then need to apply for your Licence. Once you have received your Licence (or printed it out if applied for on-line) you are ready to go 'On The Air'
Having passed the exam and obtained a licence you are permitted to use up to 10 Watts of power on 15 bands ranging from shortwave up to microwave with commercially available equipment.
'Ten Watts isn't much!' I hear you cry. If you think that then don't join the GQRP Club where five Watts output (CW) or 10 Watts PEP (SSB) is the maximum permitted power! When calling CQ with 10 Watts or less always add 'QRP' to your call, some amateurs are more willing to talk to people that are trying harder by using less power.
Need help with your training? see: Training Links page for On-Line assistance.
Want to progress further? Then you need the next page The Next Step.