How to get a licence

In the UK there are three types of licence, giving different levels of privilege.

Foundation Licence

This is the entry level, designed to get you involved in amateur radio as quickly as possible. Before you are allowed to transmit ‘live’ it is important that you know a little bit about how your radio works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users and the licence regulations.

The BDARS Foundation licence training course is an integral part of obtaining a Foundation licence. Most of the training is practical but with a bit of theory so you can get the most out of your radio station.

Don’t be afraid of the thought of having to undertake a training course. The BDARS courses are run in a friendly informal atmosphere by experienced radio amateurs. The course will take two days to complete and at the end there is a twenty five multiple-choice question exam. It’s marked on the spot so you should have an indicative pass that day, although the formal pass certificate will follow from the RSGB.

You can then log on to the Ofcom web based licensing system and apply for your licence which enables you to operate on all bands up to 440MHz with up to 10 watts transmit power. While this is a fairly low level of power compared to a Full Licence, the experience you will quickly gain will enable you to communicate around the world.

You can choose your own unique M6 series callsign from those available, so if your initials are still free you can have those!

Courses are normally conducted on two Saturdays or Sundays and for further information see our Foundation page.

Intermediate Licence

Once you have gained experience at the Foundation level you will quickly want to take the next step up. This is the Intermediate licence.  It gives access to all the amateur bands with a power level of 50 watts on most of them.

To obtain the Intermediate licence it is advisable to take a training course. With BDARS it takes three days and aims to teach many of the fundamentals of radio in a stimulating way.  You undertake practical tasks such as soldering, building a small project and a variety of other exercises, all building on the experience you have gained as a Foundation licence holder.

The Intermediate Licence examination  is a multiple-choice test of 45 questions based on what was learnt on the course.  You must have passed the Foundation exam in order to take the Intermediate exam, and you apply for your new licence on-line in exactly the same way as for your Foundation.

For further information on the Intermediate course please see our Intermediate page.

Full Licence

To obtain the Full Licence you need to have passed the Intermediate exam and learned more about the theory and practice of amateur radio. We run training for this in a slightly different way, please see our Full licence course page.