Advice

Returning to Amateur Radio?

If you have not been involved with Amateur Radio for a period of time then you might be surprised how things have moved on. 

Firstly you may need to reinstate/validate your licence if you have not been on the air for a while… the following link to the Ofcom site should point you in the right direction.

If your licence has expired or no longer valid you must complete an application form and apply to Ofcom to retrieve your licence. Please note there is no longer a fee for an amateur radio licence in the UK but to reapply for a lapsed licence (Application Form) there is an admin fee of £20 and you will have to send Ofcom evidence you previously held a callsign. e.g. City & Guilds Institute certificate or an old licence or validation document.

What’s changed?

  • There are now 3 types of UK licence
    • “Foundation” (‘M3’, ‘M6’ and ‘M7’ prefixes) – 10 watts power limit
    • “Intermediate” (‘2E0’ and ‘2E1’ prefixes) – 50 watts power limit (where not already lower)
    • “Full” (‘G’ callsigns, plus ‘M0’, ‘M1’ and ‘M5’)
  • Bands
    • New – 470kHz and 5MHz (available to Full licence-holders only)
    • Band plan changes – e.g. 40m now covers 7.0-7.2Mhz
  • A logbook is no longer mandatory
  • Morse code is no longer required for access to HF, if you previously had a class B licence you are now entitled to use the HF bands
  • CTCSS tones for repeater access – 1750Hz tone-burst is a thing of the past
  • More Data modes
    • FT4/8
    • JT65
    • PSK63
    • WSPR – Weak Signal Propagation Reporter
  • Internet technologies
    • Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) – repeaters linked via the Internet
    • Yaesu WIRES
    • Echolink
    • Online logging\award  tools such as Logbook of the World (LOTW)
    • Electronic QSL cards – eQSL
  • Digital voice modes (primarily on VHF/UHF)
    • Yaesu Fusion/C4FM
    • Icom D-Star
    • Motorola DMR
  • Cheaper equipment particularly for VHF/UHF from companies such as Baofeng, TYT and other companies previously unheard of