Why a Licence – Q&A?

Why do I need a licence?

It is a legal requirement under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. You must first obtain a licence from OFCOM before you may legally send and receive messages by radio, unless you are operating under the direct supervision of a Full licensee.

Why must I pass an exam before I have a licence?

The amateur typically transmits from a domestic environment using comparatively high radio power. A major reason for an examination is to ensure that a potential licensee is fully aware of the interference potential of radio equipment and knows how to remedy any problems that arise. In some circumstances the amateur may need to modify the way he or she transmits, to minimise any problem to neighbours.

Preparation for the examinations has benefits – it helps people acquire technical knowledge and skills that, for some, assist the development of their future careers and livelihood.

The Licence is accepted in many parts of the world as evidence of achieving a recognised standard in technical skills in radio and electronics.

Licence fees

Amateur radio licences obtained online are currently free, there is a charge for postal licences. The licence must be renewed every 5 years on-line.

What if I just want to listen to amateur radio?

Many people gain a lot of enjoyment simply from listening to amateur radio transmissions. No licence is required for this, provided that the radio equipment you use is designed for reception only. A period of listening to amateur transmissions can be a useful introduction to the hobby.

Will good knowledge of the Morse code be necessary?

No, The International Radio Regulations no longer require a formal qualification in Morse Code.

There is a simple exercise at Foundation level using crib sheets to encode messages into Morse, for example for the letter “A” you would look at the crib sheet, write the letter “A” as a dot and a dash and then send it. The same would work in reverse when decoding a series of dots and dashes – you write them down and using a crib sheet, translate them into letters

Does my Foundation licence allow anyone else to operate my radio station?

Yes other UK Licensed amateurs may operate your radio station either under your supervision or under their own call sign as if they were using their own equipment.

All Copyrights acknowledged, especially those of OFCOM and the RSGB.