Amateur Radio Foundation Courses

The Foundation Licence is the entry level to transmitting on the Amateur Radio bands. To obtain the licence you must successfully complete the Foundation Licence Morse Code assessment, practical assessment and a short examination. Before undertaking the assessments and exam we recommend that you enrol on a suitable Amateur Radio Foundation Course.

The Amateur Radio Foundation Course

The Amateur Radio Foundation Course is gives you the essential information and skills you need to to be able to start transmitting on the Amateur Radio bands. This includes topics such as how radio communication works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users, how to prevent such interference, how to set up an Amateur Radio station and the rule, regulations and responsibilities of holding an Amateur Radio transmitting licence.

Most of the training is practical, though there is a small amount of radio and electronics theory – but nothing to worry about.

Don’t be afraid of having to undertake a training course. Amateur Radio Foundation Courses are specifically designed to be run in a friendly and informal atmosphere by experienced Amateur Radio operators and can take as little as a single weekend to complete.

Morse Assessment on an Amateur Radio Foundation Course

The Morse Assessment is a test of appreciation, not  of competency. As a result you will not be required to remember any Morse Code in order to send/receive messages. Rather, you will be given a message to transmit and you will be able to transcribe it from text to Morse Code on paper using a crib sheet. Once you have done this you will be asked to ‘transmit’ the message using a real Morse key and a practise oscillator. If you make any errors, you will be asked to correct your error and resend it.

You will also be asked to receive a message sent in Morse Code. You can write this down in Morse Code as your hear it and then use the crib sheet to translate this into an English message. If required, the message will be resent until you get it correct.

There are no limits to the number of times you can retry the transmitting/receiving of a message.

Practical Assessments on an Amateur Radio Foundation Course

The practical assessments you will undergo include:

  • A test of your operating procedures using both HF and VHF/UHF Amateur Radio transceivers.
  • A test of your ability to operate the controls of an Amateur Radio transceiver.
  • A test of your ability to assemble an Amateur Radio station safely.
  • A test of your ability to adjust an antenna’s length to reduce it’s SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) to a safe level.

In all cases you will be guided through the processes before attempting the assessments.

Amateur Radio Foundation Course Examination

At the end of the course you will be required to sit a short examination comprising twenty-five multiple choice questions. Your answers to the exam will be marked on-site and you will be informed of your result before you head home. The exam papers will be sent off to the RSGB, who will verify the results and then pass the details of those successful candidates on to Ofcom. After a few days have elapsed you should submit your licence application to Ofcom who will award you with your new Amateur Radio callsign.

Once you have your licence you will be able to start transmitting. You will be restricted to 10 Watts power, a fairly low level, but with the experience you will be able to communicate around the world.

Join your local Amateur Radio club

Your local Amateur Radio club is a hive of knowledge and experience and there are plenty of members waiting to help newly licensed Amateur Radio operators just like you. They can guide you through purchasing equipment, assembling and operating it.

Find an Amateur Radio Course in your area

There are lots of Amateur Radio Foundation Courses run every year by Amateur Radio clubs around the UK. To find a course in your area, please visit the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) web site.

Further information

For further information on Amateur Radio courses in the UK, please visit the RSGB web site.