Link to pages on the Nature of Amateur RadioLink to pages on Licence conditionsLink to pages on technical basicsLink to pages on feeders and antennas

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Bredhurst Receiving and Transmitting Society

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2. Licence Conditions

Syllabus --- in this colour

Licensing Conditions

2a Types of Amateur Licence

2a.1 Recall the types of UK Amateur Licence.

Recall that more advanced classes of amateur licence exist and that they allow greater facilities and the ability to design / modify transmitting equipment.

Recall that many other countries do not currently accept the UK Foundation licence.

There are three levels or tiers of amateur radio licence:-

  • Foundation Licence, the entry level

  • Intermediate Licence, next step

  • Full Licence, the fullest licence available in UK and for this you need to pass the Advanced Examination.

No grade of licence is prevented from building receivers as it is the transmitters that would cause interference to other pieces of electronic equipment, rather than a receiver.

Not a link but a graphic which shows the entry level to amateur radio is the Foundation licence then the next level is the Intermediate licence and the final level is the Advanced licence.

The Foundation licence only gives you the permission to operate whilst in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom includes:-

England, Scotland, Wales, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of man and Northern Island

This is because, whilst there is recognition for what are is called a "Full" UK Amateur Radio Licence for reciprocal operation in other countries, but there is no such blanket recognition of all the UK amateur radio licences. Further it is the choice of the administration of other countries to decide what reciprocal arrangements are made and not for the radio amateur to assume. Thus, as UK is the first country to have a "Foundation Licence" at the moment no mutual reciprocal agreements have yet been made.

2b Format of amateur call signs

2b.1 Recall the format of current Foundation, Intermediate and Full call signs.

Recall that secondary identifiers are used but be able to state only those for the Foundation Licence.

Format of Foundation, Intermediate and Full callsigns

Let's consider just England for a moment with regard to callsign structure:-

Foundation Licence M6AAA

M6+3 letters is current Foundation Licence call signs in England eg M6AAA ,

Intermediate Licence 2E0AAA

A 2E0+3 letter call signify an Intermediate Licence holder grade and in England

Full  Licence M0AAA

An M0+3 letter call both signify an Full Licence holder grade in England also called a FULL Licence Holder.

Why is England so important ?

The Amateur Licence areas in the United Kingdom is split up into regions :-

England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey.

The callsign around which all other callsigns are based at Foundation level is the England callsign of M6+3 letters.

To indicate a region other than England there are secondary identifiers used with the "England" callsign this is explained below.

Secondary identifiers also known as Regional identifiers

For the Foundation and Full licence levels Secondary Identifiers, sometimes called REGIONAL IDENTIFIERS are used, (note the absence of the mention of the Intermediate level we mention this just below the pictorial map).

Scotland M, Wales W, Northern Ireland I, Isle of Man D, Jersey J, Guernsey U.

Not a link. This is a graphic showing a coloured map of UK broken down into Scotland with an M on it to show the secondaray identifier, Northern Ireland with an I , the Isle of Man with a D , Wales with a W , England with and E on it  but only for the Intermediate level, Guernsey with a U and lastly Jersey with a J

With the Intermediate Callsigns the E for England as used 2E0+3 letter call would be substituted for the other secondary identifiers Scotland M, Wales W, Northern Ireland I, Isle of Man D, Jersey J, Guernsey U. eg  2M1+3 letter for Scotland.

For the course exam you will be pleased to hear that you only have to learn how the Secondary Identifiers would be used for a Foundation Licence Holder.

As already stated :-

An M6+3letter call (eg M6AVI) signifies a Foundation Licence holder in ENGLAND

For the other regions the secondary identifier is added immediately after the initial "M" as shown below.

MM6+3 call would indicate the licence holder has his main station address in SCOTLAND

MW6+3 call would indicate the licence holder has his main station address in WALES

MI6+3 call would indicate the licence holder has his main station address in NORTHERN IRELAND

MD6+3 call would indicate the licence holder has his main station address in Isle of Man

MU6+3 call would indicate the licence holder has his main station address in GUERNSEY

MJ6+3 call would indicate the licence holder has his main station address in JERSEY

2c Licence terms and conditions. Assess items as shown in the assessment objectives which are listed below.

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:

  • (a) The station is clearly identifiable at all times;

  • (b) The callsign is transmitted as frequently as is practicable during transmissions;

  • (c) The callsign is given in voice or other appropriate format consistent with the mode of operation;

  • (d) When calling CQ it is necessary to give your callsign for two reasons. Firstly because the Licence requires your station to be ‘identifiable’ at all times’; and secondly because the person answering, will want to know who you are and you will want to know they are replying to you by including your callsign in their reply.

Thus you do not have to start and finish an over with your callsign but it is polite to do so BUT not a requirement of your licence and NOT part of the exam

Modifiers are the Regional Secondary Locators as outlined above and modifiers.

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

A typical exam question might be

What are the requirements for Station Identification ?

Now the answers may not necessarily be exactly what is given in the licence as in (a) (b) and (c) above but may well be the question writer's interpretation of the licence conditions but meaning the same.


The station is clearly identifiable at all times might be written as the station is identified regularly

The callsign is transmitted as frequently as is practicable during transmissions might be written as the station is to be identified frequently during overs

The callsign is given in voice or other appropriate format consistent with the mode of operation might be written as The callsign is given in voice or in another the mode of operation

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;

Not a link but a graphic showing a pirate to remind you not to talk to unlicence amateurs who are sometimes called pirates of the air waves

All non amateur radio licence holder who gain access to the amateur bands are considered as pirates. 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 rigs and antennas.

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

Messages sent from the station shall only be addressed to other amateurs or to the stations of those amateurs.

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.

Thus the "Q" Codes which are in general use by amateurs are not considered as secret code as far as this section is concerned.

2c.4 Recall that broadcasting is not permitted.

Broadcasting means talking to anybody who happens to be listening. It also usually linked to that fact you would not be expecting a response.

Thus calling CQ is not Broadcasting as you are very much wanting a reply.

Talking on amateur radio frequencies as if you were a radio station for general reception of those listening is not permitted.

2c.5 Recall that only the licensee, or another UK licensed 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.

However the Licensee, that is you when you have a licence, may permit the operation of the Radio Equipment by a person who holds a current United Kingdom 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, that is you and using your callsign,  and that such persons are made aware of the requirement to comply with the terms, conditions and limitations of your Licence.

Recall that in certain circumstances the licensee may 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).

NOTE: that the nature of the circumstances and the identity of the users services are not examinable.

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 (or mailing address if different) from that recorded in this 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 when in the reasonable opinion of the person authorised by Ofcom an urgent situation exists :-

(a) a breach of this Licence has occurred; and/or

(b) 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:

(a) to inspect the Licence; and

(b) 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.

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

There should be one question in the exam on the VHF section. There is thus the need to understand the schedule and be ably to apply the information to operating practice. In the exam you are provided with a sheet headed up Foundation licence Parameters. The details all the frequencies upon which you when a Foundation Licence holder you are permitted to operate. Any frequency which may be quoted on the exam paper outside those printed you are not permitted to use.


Please note:

If a frequency or frequency band is quoted in an exam question but it is not indicated on the Foundation Licence Parameter Sheet that you will have available to you in the examination, then you cannot operate in the suggested frequency.

2c.9 VHF Identify allowable frequencies and power limits.

There should be one question in the exam on the HF section. There is thus the need for you to understand the schedule and be ably to apply the information given again on the document headed Foundation Licence Parameters.

Below you will find the schedule to the Amateur Life time licence as it applies to the Foundation Licence.

You must understand the schedule and know how to apply it when operating. Answering these two questions you need to look at the sheet provided, which should give you two certain marks.

Column 1

There are several columns the most important of which is the first one Frequency Bands in MHz. This sets out which frequencies you may operate and also indicate what are the band edges of the frequencies./FONT>

For instance 51.00-52.00 indicates you may operate between those frequencies. All the frequencies as shown at the top of the sheet are in MHz. 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

This shows the status of the amateur Satellite Service which is of interest to Foundation licence holders as they now appear to be allocated the status to operate on certain bands.

Column 4

The second most important column as it states the amount of power that can be radiated. Not ERP applies in some cases. You will learn more about that in a later section (Feeder and Antenna) about half way down the page.

This is the schedule which is available in the examination.

Please note that the graphic is to emphasise that fact that no transmitting on the 431.0 - 432.0 MHz is permitted within 100kms radius of the centre of London, indicated at Charing Cross in the paper work you will receive in the examination.

One item that is not covered in the paper work would be the answer to this question.

The recommended power needed to establish communications on the 144-146MHz is ?

a. The lowest possible

b. 10dBW

c. 5W

d. 1W

Whilst the paperwork indicates the maximum power you may use it does not tell you that you should try to use the lowest possible power level to establish and to continue communication.

So the correct answer would be (a.) The lowest possible

The same applies to operating all modes and all bands.

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