The Foundation Licence
The Foundation licence serves as your entry point into the world of amateur radio. To obtain this licence, you will need to complete a course and pass an exam, which introduces you to the hobby and ensures you possess basic knowledge and skills.
The UK communications regulator, Ofcom, officially recognises your Foundation licence, and it grants you a unique identifier known as a call sign, which is used to identify you when transmitting on the radio.
The course options vary, with online courses like those offered by Essex Ham and GM6DX and options provided by Grantham Amateur Radio Club an RSGB-approved training centre. These courses typically include instructional materials, quizzes, and mock tests to prepare you for the entry-level exam.
The course curriculum typically covers a limited amount of radio and electronics theory, just enough to help you safely set up your equipment, adjust antennas, make initial contacts, and maximise your radio station’s capabilities. The course usually takes around 10 to 12 hours to complete and can be spread out over a few weeks or weekends.
The exam for the Foundation licence is relatively straightforward, consisting of 26 multiple-choice questions, which you have 60 minutes to complete. You can take the exam online or on paper at Grantham Amateur Radio Club or at home online with a remote invigilator. The fee for the exam is £32.50, and you will receive immediate feedback on your performance.
After passing the exam, you will receive an official result notification from the RSGB Examinations Department, along with a certificate and your candidate number. Your pass will be uploaded to Ofcom, and you can apply for your licence free of charge through their website.
Once you have your Foundation licence and select a call sign, you can choose a callsign starting with M7xxx. you can start transmitting on amateur radio bands with up to 10 Watts of power. While this may seem limited, it is sufficient for communication worldwide with experience.
Although not part of the exam, practical skills are valuable for training and review. You can access instructional videos on various radio-related skills.
Your Journey Begins with GARC
As you embark on your exciting journey towards becoming a licenced radio amateur, the Grantham Amateur Radio Club (GARC) extends its warmest wishes for your success. Embrace the adventure, forge new connections, and savour the learning experiences that await you in the world of amateur radio. Welcome aboard!