Common Questions and Answers

Obtaining a licence

Initial Operating





Licence Regulations

Further Advice

Is a licence necessary ?

A licence for amateur frequencies is only required if you intend to transmit on those frequencies. A listener's licence does not exist. The requirement to hold a licence is in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. You do not need a licence to purchase or own an amateur transceiver, only to transmit with it. No licence is required to receive any amateur transmission.

Back to index above  or  Home

How do I get a licence ?

Unless you already hold a licence issued by another country (see below) then you must satisfy the licensing authority (the Radio communications Agency (RA) currently) that you are technically competent to use an amateur transmitter. The RA lays out the minimum standards and the City & Guilds Institute holds examinations to test licence applicants. You must obtain a pass in the examination(s) before submitting the licence application form to the RA. A useful publication from the RA is 'How to Become A Radio Amateur' obtainable free from the Radio communications Agency .

Back to index above  or  Home

What are the types of licence ?

The primary licence type is the Amateur Radio Licence. This licence has class 'A' and 'B' variants. Holders of the 'A' licence are permitted to transmit on all the amateur frequency bands allocated in the UK. The 'B' licence holder is restricted to transmitting on those frequency bands above 30MHz. Obtaining either variant of licence requires a Pass in the Radio Amateur's Examination. The second licence type is the Amateur Radio Novice Licence. Holders of Novice licence are restricted to transmitting on a small number of the frequency bands available to holders of an Amateur Radio Licence, and to which portions of those bands they may use. There are also 'A' and 'B' variants with holders of the 'B' licence restricted to transmitting on bands over 30MHz. Obtaining a Novice licence requires a Pass on an organised Novice Course and a Pass in the Novice Examination. In the case of either a Novice or a Radio Amateur Licence, the licence issued is a Class 'B' licence unless the applicant has passed a Morse code test in which case a Class 'A' licence is issued.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is the Radio Amateur's Examination (RAE) ?

The RAE is a two paper multiple-choice examination held twice yearly at City & Guilds Examination Centres. It tests electronic theory, licence conditions, interference & operating procedures. The C&G reference is 765. The C&G charge GBP18.45 (1996 level) for each paper, a Pass on both is required. The Examination Centre may also make a charge. Several books exist for self-teaching of the necessary subjects to pass the RAE and these are available from the RSGB , amongst others.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is the Novice Course and Exam (NRAE) ?

The Novice Course is a 30 hour training course organised by the Radio Society of Great Britain and run at local radio clubs and schools. The course typically lasts 12 to 16 weeks. The courses will normally be timed to finish a few weeks before one of the four Novice RAE's held each year. The C&G reference is 773. The Novice Course Instructors will prepare a candidate for the NRAE. The Exam is one paper testing a wide range of subjects learnt on the Novice Course. A Pass on both the Course and the NRAE is required.

Back to index above  or  Home

Where can I take these exams ?

Both the RAE and NRAE can be held at any City & Guilds exam centres, but it is up to each centre to decide whether to hold the examinations and local centres should be contacted direct. Some radio clubs and schools have registered themselves as C&G centres. There is a list of the participating C&G centres in the 'Callbook and Information Directory' published annually by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). The Novice Course is run locally but the RSGB has a register of courses and can advise you of the nearest one. Their telephone number is 01707 659015 (+44 1707 659015).

Back to index above  or  Home

What if I fail ?

If you fail one of the papers of the RAE then you can re-take only that paper at the next examination. If you fail both papers then you can re-take the RAE. There is no limit on the number of times you may take the RAE, but the fee will be charged each time. Similarly for the Novice Course and NRAE, either element can be re-taken.

Back to index above  or  Home

I passed the exams, now what ?

Complete the application form (Novice Instructors have forms for Novice applicants) and send it with the RAE/NRAE Pass slip (and Novice Course Pass slip if for a Novice licence) to Subscription Services Ltd (SSL) together with the fee. The fee is currently GBP15 for all classes of licence, but Novice licence holders under 21 years old are not required to pay the fee. The licence can take 4 to six weeks to be delivered. The licence will show your callsign. You also receive a booklet giving information about what your licence permits you to do.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is a callsign ?

A callsign is a unique identifier for you whilst transmitting. Callsigns are issued to an individual radio amateur with their first licence document. A callsign consists of a mixture of letters and numbers from 3 characters long. In the UK, the shortest callsigns are 4 characters long. Holders of the Radio Amateur Licence in the UK have, previously been issued with callsigns with the prefix 'G', however this series has run out and now the 'M' prefix is being used. Holders of Novice Licences have the callsign prefix '2'. Sample prefixes for other countries are F;France, D;Germany, I;Italy, K,N,W;USA, VK;Australia. Prefixes are allocated by the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations. There are secondary prefixes in the UK to determine which part of the UK the licence holder is operating from: -

  Radio Amateur Licence Novice Licence
England  G or M  2E
Scotland GM or MM   2M
Wales GW or MW 2W
Northern Ireland  GI or MI 2I
Isle of Man  GD or MD 2D
Jersey GJ or MJ 2J
Guernsey &   dependencies GU or MU  2U


In the case of club licences, a different secondary prefix may be used: -

  Radio Amateur Licence Novice Licence
England  GX or MX Novice licences may not be used as club licences.
Scotland GS or MS 
Wales GC or MC 
Northern Ireland  GN or MN
Isle of Man  GT or MT
Jersey GH or MH
Guernsey &   dependencies GP or MP


Following the prefix, a UK callsign has a number that determines the class of licence, i.e. whether it's a class 'A' or class 'B' licence: -

  Radio Amateur Licence Novice Licence
Class A 0,2,3,4, all plus three letters
2,3,4,5,6,8 plus two letters
0 plus three letters
Class B 1,6,7,8 all plus three letters 1 plus three letters


The latest callsigns being issued are in the M0, M1, 2E0, 2E1 series. A valid callsign would be G1PJJ or GX3YMD or M0AAA. The first one is Class B, the second one is a Class A club callsign, the third is a Class A callsign. A valid Novice Class A callsign would be 2E0ABC.

The callsign allocated must be transmitted in accordance with the current licence conditions.

Back to index above  or  Home

What frequencies am I allowed to use ?

The frequency bands allocated to Amateurs are published in the licence conditions booklet that accompanies each licence. The current bands allocated to Radio Amateurs are:

1.810-2.000, 3.500-3.800, 7.000-7.100, 10.100-10.150, 14.000-14.350 18.068-18.168, 21.000-21.450, 24.890-24.990, 28.000-29.700, 50.000-52.000, 70.00-70.50, 144.0-146.0, 430.0-440.0, 1240-1325, 2310-2450, 3400-3475, 5670-5680, 5755-5765, 5820-5850, 10000-10150, 10300-10500, 24000-24250, 47000-47200, 75500-76000, 142000-144000, 248000-250000. All frequencies in MHz. Class B Licence holders are restricted to transmitting on bands above 30MHz. Geographical restrictions apply to the 430-432MHz sub-band.

The current bands allocated to Novices are:

1.950-2.000, 3.560-3.585, 10.13-10.14, 21.100-21.149, 28.060-28.190, 28.225-28.500, 50.0-52.0, 432.0-440.0, 1240-1325, 10000-10500. All frequencies in MHz. Class B Novice Licence holders are restricted to transmitting on bands above 30MHz.

Bands from 1.8MHz to 30MHz are known as HF (High Frequency) Bands from 50MHz to 146MHz are known as VHF (Very High Frequency) Bands from 430MHz to 1.3GHz are known as UHF (Ultra High Frequency) Bands above and including 1.3GHz are in the Microwave region and those bands from 3GHz upwards are also known as SHF (Super High Frequencies).

Back to index above  or  Home

What can I transmit ?

The transmission types available depend only on whether there's sufficient bandwidth on the band you intend to use for that transmission. You would not try to transmit a 6MHz television signal on a 2MHz wide band. Otherwise, all phone, Morse, television, fax and data modes are permitted on all bands. There is, however, general agreement in the UK on use of particular modes on each band and these are known as Band Plans .

So far as the content of the transmission is concerned, this does depend on the mode in use. You may not transmit any copyrighted material without the copyright owner's permission. You cannot (except under emergency conditions) transmit a message that is not from another amateur, however you cannot store-and-forward any message that is not from yourself. This area of licensing is not easy to explain in few words and the licence booklet should be read. See the notes below concerning those who may transmit at your station .

For Novice Licence Holders, the restrictions are slightly more severe and several bands are only available for Morse transmissions. Novices are not permitted to use some bands at all, notably 144MHz.

Back to index above  or  Home

How do I know what to do ?

Hopefully in preparing for the exam, you've read and learnt the licence conditions and operating procedures. The best way of learning though is to listen to other amateurs operating. Hopefully you can listen whilst you're learning so when the licence arrives you'll be ready to transmit straight away. In any case, if you get it wrong 'on the air' then some- one will correct you.

Back to index above  or  Home

Where can I buy a radio ?

Many larger towns have shops that stock Radio Amateur equipment. Many advertise in the Amateur Radio press. Local amateurs will advise on the better local emporiums but a lot of business is mail-order, with the usual caveats. You do not usually need to take your licence along when purchasing a radio, but some suppliers are asking for proof of being licenced before selling you a radio, particularly higher-powered models. An alternative means of comparing and buying radios is at a rally. These are held all over the country between March and October usually, with a few just before Christmas. A rally is a place that Radio Amateurs can meet and talk, and there are usually many trade stands from local and national dealers. There's often a bring-and-buy where you can find a second-hand bargain.

Back to index above  or  Home

Can I build a radio ?

Yes, and you could save yourself lots of cash. Whether you want to try a design of your own, use a published design and etch your own boards or build a kit from one of the UK kit suppliers, there is no restriction on 'home-brew' - not yet. If you're not used to building, don't try and build a transmitter first, try out your skills on a receiver and see how you cope. You'll find many of the kit suppliers at rallies. Many of the magazines feature construction projects, often tied to a specific kit supplier.

Back to index above  or  Home

Can I modify a radio ?

Yes. There is a lot of ex-commercial and ex-emergency services radio equipment around and plenty of information on modifying it to make it work on amateur frequencies. But, not all of it is suitable, so ask before you buy. Also, there is a restriction on converting former CB (27MHz) equipment for use on 28MHz and a permit is required from the Radio communications Agency .

Back to index above  or  Home

I have a UK licence, can I use it abroad?

Holder of a full UK licence (not novice licences) can use it abroad, subject to restrictions, holders of novice licences can't. If you intend to operate within Europe, then the country you're operating from may have signed the CEPT agreement, in which case no additional permission is needed to operate there. Simply sign as (eg. for France) F/own-call . Check on your own licence validation document which countries have signed the CEPT agreement. This now includes several non-European countries. Operating in any country that is not a CEPT signatory means obtaining advance permission from that country's authorities to operate there - normally well in advance of your trip. The RSGB can offer advice and application forms for most countries that have a reciprocal licensing agreement with the UK. The relevant embassy/high commission or consulate may also be able to offer advice. Be aware that amateur radio is illegal in some countries. It is also illegal in some countries to even transit the country carrying radio transmitters without the appropriate licence. In all cases, check.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is a CEPT licence ?

A CEPT licence is a licence issued by a country that is a signatory to the CEPT agreement no. T/R 61-01. CEPT is the European Posts and Telecommunications Committee and sets standards between European countries. Those countries that have signed the agreement include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel (non-CEPT member), Italy, Irish Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Peru (non-CEPT member), Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand (non-CEPT member), Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom. Under the terms of the agreement, holders of a CEPT class 1 licence, are allowed to use, without further formality, all amateur bands in the country being visited that are also permitted under the terms of the licence-holders own licence. Holder of a CEPT class 2 licence are restricted to bands above 144MHz that are available in the licencee's own country and the country being visited. If you have a UK licence, look at your licence validation document. At the top you will see a "CEPT equivalent class", this will be 1 for a class A licence, 2 for class B.

Back to index above  or  Home

I have a CEPT licence, how do I sign in the UK ?

Holders of a licence issued in accordance with the CEPT (European Post and Telecommunications Committee) Recommendation T/R 61-01 may operate in those countries that have verified the Recommendation. The UK is a signatory and amateurs with CEPT licences can operate as M/own-call in England, MW/own-call in Wales etc. without formality. The bands available are restricted to those which are permitted in this country, if the licence holder is permitted to use them in their OWN country. A class 2 CEPT licence holder is restricted to 144MHz and above.

Back to index above  or  Home

I want to operate in the UK, I don't have a CEPT licence.

If your licence is not marked as a CEPT licence, then you need to apply to the Radio communications Agency for a temporary reciprocal licence. There are reciprocal agreements with many countries, if in doubt ask your own licensing authority or national society. Obtain a reciprocal licence application form from your own national society or direct from the Radio communications Agency and return it with proof of your licence and the fee of (currently) GBP15. Allow 8 to 12 weeks if you need the licence returned to your home address, 4 to 6 weeks if it is to go to the address you'll be staying at in the UK. You sign as M/own-call in England, MW/own-call in Wales etc. You are bound by the UK licensing conditions and will receive a copy of the licensing booklet with the reciprocal licence. The temporary reciprocal licence is valid for 12 months. You should contact the Radio communications Agency for full details.

Back to index above  or  Home

Bringing a transceiver to the UK

If you are bringing a transceiver to the UK from an EEA (European Economic Area) country, then there are no Customs restrictions. If you want to bring radio transceivers to the UK from outside the EEA then there is no special import permit required under normal circumstances. You should however, carry the original invoice/receipt as proof of purchase outside the UK, especially if the equipment looks new. Bear in mind that not all Customs officers are techno-aware and if you are in any doubt, ask for the UK Customs representative at the nearest UK Consulate or Embassy/High Commission. Airline security staff are improving in their awareness of amateur radio, but they may ask you to switch on any rig, so keep the battery pack charged. UK mains is 220-240v 50Hz.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is morse ?

Morse is the simplest means of transmitting a recognisable signal between stations. Morse is, at its simplest, turning on and off the transmitter in a manner that represents letters or numbers, according to the Morse Code. Morse, by its nature, is likely to work between two stations when all other modes fail due to interference or sheer lack of signal strength, given the narrow bandwidth required and the low signalling rate, although no mode is perfect.

Back to index above  or  Home

Where do I learn morse ?

There are transmissions on the HF, VHF and UHF amateur bands that are designed to bring you from a low level to a good level of morse, but these assume that you at least know the 'code' first. These transmissions in the UK are co-ordinated by the RSGB (01707-659015) and are operated under the callsign GB2CW. There are other HF broadcasts world-wide and the most prominent of these are by the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) under the call W1AW. Another way of learning morse is from an instructional tape. These tapes are available from the RSGB and the G-QRP club amongst other sources.

Back to index above  or  Home

Do I need to learn morse ?

If you have no intention of transmitting on the HF bands (below 30MHz) then no, you don't need morse. The main purpose of morse presently is to provide access to the HF bands, morse is a requirement of the ITU and is mandatory in most countries' licensing for HF licences. Above 30MHz morse may still be useful if you want to use meteor-scatter (MS), or wish to work with very weak signal techniques such as EME (Earth - Moon - Earth) or use some satellites. If you want to use the HF bands, then a Class 'A' licence is required. If you already have a Class 'B' licence then you need to take either a 12 words-per-minute morse test (for an Amateur Licence 'A') or a 5 wpm morse test (for a Novice Licence 'A'). Additionally a holder of an Amateur Licence 'B' can take the 5 wpm morse test and be issued with a Class 'A' Novice Licence as well as their Class 'B' Licence. The morse tests are organised by the RSGB on behalf of the Radio communications Agency. Tests are held in most areas 3 or 4 times a year, depending on demand, as well as at some major rallies.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is a repeater ?

Repeaters are to be found across the country, mainly on 145MHz and 433MHz. A repeater is an un-manned station that will retransmit on its output frequency any signal heard on its input frequency that satisfies certain conditions. On the 2m band (144-146MHz) repeaters are found on the following frequencies: -

Output   (MHz) Input (MHz)  Channel no.

The input frequency is always 600kHz below the output frequency.

145.600 145.000   R0
145.625  145.025 R1
145.650 145.050  R2 
145.675 145.075 R3
145.700 145.100 R4
145.725 145.125 R5
145.750  145.150 R6
145.775 145.175 R7


On the 70cm band (430-440MHz) repeaters are found on the following frequencies: -

Output   (MHz) Input (MHz)  Channel no.

The input frequency is always 1.6MHz above the output frequency.

433.000 434.600  RB0
433.025 434.625  RB1
433.050 434.650  RB2
433.075  434.675 RB3
433.100 434.700 RB4
433.125 434.725 RB5
433.150 434.750 RB6
433.175 434.775 RB7
433.200 434.800 RB8
433.225  434.825 RB9
433.250 434.850   RB10
433.275  434.875 RB11
433.300  434.900 RB12
433.325   434.925 RB13
433.350 434.950  RB14
433.375  434.975   RB15


It's worth pointing out that repeaters cost money to run and the RSGB does not contribute to their costs, in fact it no longer pays for the licences. Repeaters are paid for by local groups and clubs. If you use a repeater, ask on the repeater how you can join the group.

Back to index above  or  Home

How do I use a repeater ?

With your VHF or UHF transceiver, change the displayed frequency to the output frequency of the repeater you wish to use; there is insufficient space here to list all the repeaters available. Locate the button/function on the transceiver to enable repeater or duplex mode, where there is an option for either positive or negative transmit shift then make sure that it is set to negative for the 2m band and positive for the 70cm band. Refer above for the exact frequencies.

To use a repeater, key the PTT (push-to-talk), send a short burst of 1750Hz tone (tone-burst), keep the PTT keyed and speak for a few seconds (but not whilst the tone-burst is being sent), release the PTT and you should receive a pip or some other indication that your signal was retransmitted by the repeater. The 1750Hz tone-burst is required only when the repeater is not in use and on some transceivers is automatic when repeater/duplex mode is enabled.

Some repeaters have the facility to accept CTCSS instead of a tone-burst. If a transceiver is capable of sending CTCSS tones then this should be used instead of a tone-burst where possible.

Back to index above  or  Home

What is CTCSS (Tone Squelch) ?

CTCSS stands for Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System. The principle is that a sub-audible tone is continuously transmitted in addition to the speech (or other) signal. The tones used are below the normal hearing frequency range and do not interfere with the other signal. In the UK these tones may be used instead of a 1750Hz tone to access repeaters. the UK has been divided into 23 areas and a particular tone has been allocated to each area. Those repeaters that support CTCSS will normally send the appropriate letter (designating the tone frequency) in morse after the repeater callsign. The tones used are a subset of those available and are :

Tone letter     Frequency (Hz)
    A               67.1
    B               71.9
    C               77.0
    D               82.5
    E               88.5
    F               94.8
    G               103.5
    H               110.9
    J               118.8

Back to index above  or  Home

What is packet radio ?

Packet radio is a data communications mode that uses a modified form of the LAPB signalling protocol on HDLC. Simply put, two packet radio stations that are within direct range of each-other can establish an error free data connection, normally at 1200 baud. Packet radio stations may also act as automatic repeaters ('digipeaters') and can relay other stations' signals. Using packet radio, many bulletin boards or mailboxes exist to handle messages for those active on packet radio in their locality, these messages can include 'bulletins' that are open to all and are often distributed across every packet radio bulletin board in the UK, or further afield. Most packet radio is operated in the 2m and 70cm bands.

Back to index above  or  Home

What equipment do I need for packet ?

Life used to be simple, all you needed for packet was a VHF or UHF transceiver (depending on where you lived), a terminal or computer running a terminal-emulation program and a Terminal Node Controller unit (TNC). The TNC contains a microcomputer and controls all communication between the terminal and the remote TNC being connected to. Now cards containing a TNC (or two) are available for the PC & compatibles and other computers. Additionally, there is a system that uses a simple modem, or a TNC acting as a simple modem, with the host computer controlling the communications. Finally there are the TNC's that do not require a local terminal ..... ask an expert.

Back to index above  or  Home

What are the limitations of packet-radio in the UK ?

At first packet was illegal in the UK, or maybe it wasn't. The licence did not make this clear. Now it is an established communication mode and recognised by the RA. This means that they have made a few special arrangements if you want to run packet. Firstly you must send a morse ident to give your full station callsign at least every 30 minutes. And you should send a packet ident every 15 minutes. Next, you may only pass on mail addressed to a specific amateur station, unless you hold a Notice of Variation to your callsign (designated by a GB7... callsign) - in which case you don't need to read this section :-) .

Back to index above  or  Home

I want to leave my packet-radio station unattended.

As of 6 July 94, unattended digital operation is only allowed if the local office of the RIS are made aware of a shutdown procedure that they find satisfactory. The nature of this shutdown procedure will vary according to local conditions, but telephone contact numbers for persons able to shut down the station may be sufficient. (From Adrian Godwin)

Providing the commencement of unattended packet-radio operation is notified to the RIS as above then unattended operation may be in the following bands or sub-bands: 50-51MHz, 70.3125MHz, 70.3250MHz, 70.4875MHz, 144-146MHz, 432.6-432.7MHz, 433.6-433.7MHz,1299-1300MHz (excluding Northern Ireland), 2310-2450MHz, 3400-3475MHz, 5650-5680MHz, 5755-5765MHz, 5820-5850MHz, 10000-10250MHz, 10270-10300MHz, 10400-10500MHz 24000-24050MHz and all bands including and above 47000MHz. The position regarding the 70cm band is changing and the latest position should be sought in all cases where the licence is not certain.

Back to index above  or  Home

Can I use packet to exchange messages with Internet users?

The only messages that may be carried by the packet network are those sent by licenced amateurs. There are no official gateways from packet to Internet in the UK due to the problem of controlling which messages are from licenced amateurs on the Internet side. This is under review by the RA. There are, however, gateways in the US and elsewhere that will forward internet email from licensed amateurs onto the packet bbs system. It is necessary to register your callsign and email address before using these gateways.

Back to index above  or  Home

What facilities are available in the UK by packet ?

Most user-level packet is at 1200baud with some linking still at 1200baud but moving to 9600baud, or beyond. At this data rate, little more than BBS access is possible although the DX Cluster network for notification of DX is very strong in some areas. TCP/IP (and its related servers) are established in some areas but there is by no means a national TCP/IP network.

Back to index above  or  Home

How do I obtain a IP address ?

There are local co-ordinators assigned to each RSGB region, and in some cases they delegate address allocation further to local co-ordinators. Your nearest BBS sysop will probably know who runs TCP/IP locally - if he doesn't there's a fair chance that activity is so low that you won't find any other operators anyway !

Back to index above  or  Home

UK Band Plans

Use of the allocated bands in the UK is voluntary to a large extent. Providing your signal remains within the band edges you may transmit using any mode you like, but see the booklet BR68 from the Radio communications Agency. The voluntary band plans are as follows: -

1.810-2.000MHz (160m)

1.810-1.838     CW only
1.838-1.842     Digital modes (excluding packet radio) and CW
1.842-2.000     Phone and CW

3.500-3.800MHz (80m)

3.500-3.580     CW only
3.580-3.620     Digital modes and CW
3.620-3.800     Phone, CW, SSTV, Fax

7.000-7.100MHz (40m)

7.000-7.035     CW only
7.035-7.045     Digital modes, SSTV, Fax and CW
7.045-7.100     Phone and CW

10.100-10.150MHz (30m)

10.100-10.140   CW only
10.140-10.150   Digital modes

14.000-14.350MHz (20m)

14.000-14.070   CW only
14.070-14.099   Digital modes and CW
14.099-14.101   Beacons
14.101-14.112   Digital modes, phone and CW
14.112-14.250   Phone, SSTV, Fax and CW
14.250-14.350   Phone and CW

18.068-18.168MHz (17m)

18.068-18.101   CW only
18.101-18.109   Digital modes and CW
18.109-18.111   Beacons
18.111-18.168   Phone and CW

21.000-21.450MHz (15m)

21.000-21.080   CW only
21.080-21.120   Digital modes and CW
21.120-21.149   CW only
21.149-21.151   Beacons
21.151-21.450   Phone, SSTV, Fax and CW

24.890-24.990MHz (12m)

24.890-24.920   CW only
24.920-24.929   Digital modes and CW
24.929-24.931   Beacons
24.931-24.990   Phone and CW

28.000-29.700MHz (10m)

28.000-28.050   CW only
28.050-28.150   Digital modes and CW
28.150-28.199   CW only
28.199-28.201   Beacons
28.201-29.200   Phone, SSTV, Fax and CW
29.200-29.300   Digital modes, phone and CW
29.300-29.550   Satellite downlinks
29.550-29.700   Phone and CW

50.000-52.000MHz (6m)

50.000-50.100   CW only
50.100-50.500   SSB and CW only
50.500-51.000   All modes
51.000-51.125   SSB and CW only
51.125-51.410   All modes
51.410-51.830   FM
51.830-52.000   All modes

70.000-70.500MHz (4m)

70.000-70.030   Beacons
70.030-70.250   SSB and CW only
70.250-70.300   All modes
70.300-70.500   FM phone and packet radio

144.000-146.000MHz (2m)

144.000-144.150 CW only
144.150-144.500 SSB and CW only
144.500-144.845 All modes
144.845-144.990 Beacons
144.990-145.200 FM Repeater inputs
145.200-145.600 FM simplex
145.600-145.800 FM Repeater outputs
145.800-146.000 Satellite uplinks/downlinks

430.000-440.000MHz (70cm)

430.000-431.000 All modes
431.000-432.000 All modes - see note
432.000-432.150 CW only
432.150-432.500 SSB and CW
432.500-432.800 All modes
432.800-432.990 Beacons
432.990-433.000 All modes
433.000-433.400 FM Repeater outputs
433.400-434.600 FM simplex and packet radio
434.600-435.000 FM Repeater inputs
435.000-438.000 Fast-scan TV and satellite uplinks/downlinks
438.000-439.800 Fast-scan TV
439.800-440.000 Packet Radio

note to 431-432MHz sub-band: This sub-band is not permitted to be used within a 100km radius of Charing Cross, London.

1240.000-1325.000MHz (23cm)

1240.000-1243.250   All modes
1243.250-1260.000   ATV, FM TV repeater inputs
1260.000-1270.000   Satellite uplinks
1270.000-1272.000   All modes
1272.000-1291.000   ATV, FM TV repeater input
1291.000-1291.475   FM Repeater inputs
1291.475-1296.000   All modes
1296.000-1296.150   CW
1296.150-1296.800   SSB
1296.800-1296.990   Beacons
1296.990-1297.000   All modes
1297.000-1297.550   FM Repeater outputs
1297.500-1298.000   FM simplex
1298.000-1298.500   All modes
1298.500-1300.000   Packet radio
1300.000-1325.000   ATV, FM TV repeater outputs

Back to index above  or  Home

Can anyone use my radio ?

Anyone who holds a current UK-issued licence, or a valid CEPT licence, or a valid reciprocal licence, may use your station for frequencies for which they are licensed under their own callsign. In addition to those listed, a UK Novice licencee, holder of a pass slip from the Radio Amateur's Examination or an Amateur Radio Certificate (who does not hold a licence), or a licensed amateur from any other country, may operate under the station's callsign on frequencies that you are licensed to use providing you are in attendance.

When operating a club station, a message may be transmitted from any person providing it is a greetings message of less that two minutes duration and is sent and received only within: UK, USA, Canada, Falkland Islands or Pitcairn Island.

When using a digital mode, anyone may type the message for transmission.

Back to index above  or  Home

I have a dual-band rig, can I use it as a repeater ?

Some VHF/UHF rigs are capable of acting as a cross-band repeater, operated by carrier-sense. Unless these are licenced as a repeater (with a GB3.. callsign) or being operating by an emergency communications group under a current 'talk-though' permit then they may not be used as a repeater.

Back to index above  or  Home

My neighbour complains he can hear my voice on his television.

This is a case of Radio Frequency Interference and the correct term is 'Electromagnetic Compatibility' or EMC. Where the reasons behind the problem is not clear (and they seldom are), consult one of the many guides to EMC problem-solving. One good source is the ARRL Handbook (published annually by the American Radio Relay League). Another is the Radio Amateurs' Guide to EMC by R. Page-Jones G3JWI (published by the RSGB). Abbreviated advice from the latter volume is to be found in the RSGB Callbook & Information Directory. There is a network of EMC Co-ordinators to give local advice in extreme cases. Details from the RSGB. For those suffering interference, a useful guide is a booklet called How to Improve Television and Radio Reception, published by the Radio communications Agency a few years ago. It is now out of print, but many copies are in circulation.

Back to index above  or  Home

I want to take my radio to sea / use it in an aircraft.

Maritime Mobile (/MM) operation has been a part of the UK licence for several years now, previously it was a separate licence. On a vessel that is not yours you must obtain the written permission of the vessel's master before installing or using a transceiver (this includes cross-channel ferries). The master may insist that you observe radio silence at times and this must be done. In international waters, only those bands that are permitted for the ITU region being visited may be used. In non-UK territorial waters, be aware that amateur activity in harbours may not be permitted. If in doubt, seek advice from that country's authorities before travelling.

Aviation mobile in the UK is not permitted and the licence is quite specific about this. If you are carrying a transceiver by air make certain you can switch it on to satisfy the airport security then switch it off and leave it off.

Back to index above  or  Home

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

The RSGB is the national society representing amateurs in the UK to our licensing body (The Radiocommunications Agency). Many people have many views on the RSGB and it has often been criticised, but it's the only body of it's kind that we have :-)

The RSGB's address is: -

Lambda House
Potters Bar
Telephone 01707 659015 (+44 1707 659015)
Fax 01707 645105 (+44 1707 645105)

The RSGB is the main publisher of amateur radio books in the UK, they also publish a monthly magazine for members called 'Radio Communication', more commonly known as 'RadCom'. The editorial team for RadCom can be contacted on 01707 659015, fax 01707 649503.

The RSGB broadcasts a weekly amateur radio news summary every Sunday under the callsign GB2RS. This is broadcast nationally on 3.640, 3.650, 3.660, 7.0475MHz. Local broadcasts are on 51.530, 144.250, 145.525MHz and several 2m and 70cm repeaters. Times vary, see the Callbook and Information Directory for full details.

Back to index above  or  Home

The Radio communications Agency (RA).

The RA is the licensing body in the UK. Any queries about licensing that cannot be otherwise dealt with should be directed to the RA. Their address is:

Radio communications Agency
New Kings Beam House
22 Upper Ground
Enquiries: 0171 211 0160 (+44 171 211 0160)
Answerphone: 0171 211 0591(+44 171 211 0591)
Fax: 0171 211 0162/0163 (+44 171 211 0162/0163)

The RA publishes a number of advice leaflets and information sheets and these are generally free. These can be obtained by contacting the RA's Information and Library Service on their answer phone 0171 211 0591 (+44 171 211 0591), fax 0171 211 0162/0163 (+44 171 211 0162/0163), or e-mail

The following are some of the information sheets which are available from the RA's library: -

BR  68         Amateur Radio licencing booklet
RA  67         The Radio Users Guide to the Law
RA 165         Application for Novice Licence
RA 166         The Novice Licence
RA 169         Receive only - Scanners etc.
RA 178         Transverters and Transverter Drivers
RA 179         Advice on Television and Radio Reception
RA 180         Licensing
RA 181         Morse
RA 182         Amateur Radio Call Signs
RA 183         Clubs and Societies
RA 184         Examinations (RAE/NRAE)
RA 186         CEPT (UK Licensees)
RA 187         CEPT (Visitors to UK)
RA 188         Application for an Amateur Radio Licence
RA 189         Applications for a Temporary Licence
RA 190         How to Become a Radio Amateur
RA 198         Abuse of Amateur Radio
RA 206         Addresses of RA Local District Offices
RA 234         EMC and the Radio Amateur

Back to index above  or  Home

Subscription Services Ltd (SSL)

All aspects of licence issue, renewal (and associated fees) are currently handled by Subscription Services Ltd (SSL) on behalf of the RA. SSL is owned by the Post Office (and also collects TV licences). Their address is:

Radio Licencing Centre
Subscription Services Ltd
PO Box 885
BS99 5LG

Their telephone enquiry line is open Monday to Friday 0900 to 1800hrs on 0117 9258333. There have been many reported problems with licence renewals in the past and this should be borne in mind. however the system does seem to have settled down. Any problems should be reported to the RA .

Back to index above  or  Home

Local Clubs.

Probably the best way to meet local radio amateurs is at the local club meetings. These are too numerous to list here but once again a full list is found in the Callbook and Information Directory, from the RSGB . Many clubs also feature in the "What's On/Meetings" section of local newspapers and the various amateur radio magazines.

Back to index above  or  Home

Specialist Clubs.

For those with an interest in a specialist branch of amateur radio, then these clubs and societies tend to be very useful:

Satellites : AMSAT-UK
94 Herongate Road
Wanstead Park
E12 5EQ
0181 989 6741 (+44 181 989 6741)
fax 0181 989 3430 (+44 181 989 3430)
CompuServe: 100024,614 Ron Broadbent
Mail server:
AMSAT-UK publishes an excellent magazine "Oscar News" for those with an interest in amateur satellites.
Data : The British Amateur Radio Teledata Group - BARTG
Bill McGill G0DXB
Membership Secretary
14 Farquahar Road
South Yorkshire
S66 7PD
Tel. 01709 814010 (+44 1709 814010)
BARTG publish a magazine "Datacom" aimed at all aspects of data communication, RTTY, Amtor, packet and the newer modes.
Television : The British Amateur Television Club - BATC

Dave Lawton G0ANO
Membership Secretary
Pinewood Road
High Wycombe
HP12 4DD

The BATC publishes a useful magazine "CQ TV" covering all aspects of amateur television with many projects.
Low Power : The G-QRP Club
The G-QRP Club
St. Aidan's Vicarage
498 Manchester Road
OL11 3HE
Tel/fax: 01706 31812 (+44 1706 31812)
The G-QRP Club is organised by the Rev. George Dobbs, G3RJV, a well-respected author of amateur radio articles. The Club publishes a magazine "Sprat" aimed at the home constructor and QRP operating in particular. It is a very readable magazine. The Club is also a prolific book producer, most of which are available from the RSGB.
Listening : International Short Wave League - ISWL
Mrs M. Connington G0WDM
Hon. Secretary ISWL
3 Bromyard Drive
DE73 1PF
WWW: unknown
The ISWL caters for those with an interest in receiving on both the amateur and broadcast bands. It publishes a magazine "Monitor". Of course, there are many more clubs than those listed above but these are the clubs primarily dealing with branches of amateur radio.

Back to index above  or  Home

Internet mailing lists

There are several mailing lists (some are UK-specific) of interest to radio amateurs. I will add lists as I'm notified of their existence!
(Discussion of tcp/ip in amateur radio and related subjects): send mail to including 'sub tcp-group' in the body of your message.
(Discussion of QRP in the UK): send mail to including 'subscribe gqrp-l' in the body of your message.
(Discussion on European VHF dx and contests): send mail to including 'subscribe vhf-dx-discuss' in the body of your message.
(Experimental European VHF dx warning list. NB This is a closed list, posting to the list is restricted, although anyone may receive the postings): send mail to including 'subscribe vhf-dx-warning' in the body of your message.

Back to index above  or  Home

Internet news groups

For UK-specific news, try - this FAQ is intended for that newsgroup. The main Usenet groups for radio-related topics are listed below. The policy group in particular has a heavy US bias. 
          Antenna theory/techniques 
          Packet radio etc 
          Production amateur radio hardware 
          Amateur radio construction 
          General news 
          Radio use & regulation policy 
          Amateur radio transmissions through space 
          Local area broadcast radio 
          Informational postings 
          Non-commercial radio 
          Shortwave radio enthusiasts 
          Offers to trade and swap radio equipment

Back to index above  or  Home

Amateur Radio on the World Wide Web

RSGB WWW server 

Amsat server 

The Radiocommunications Agency 

British Amateur Radio Teledata Group (BARTG)

RSGB VHF Committee 

RSGB Contest Committee 

RSGB Repeater Management Committee

Elmers Resource Directory

QRZ Callsign Server 

Back to index above  or  Home

Collin's Home Page    Colin's Amateur Radio Page    Colin's Snooker Page    Colin's Guest Book    Contact Me    About Me  

This Web page was last updated on Friday September 21, 2001

2001 Designed by Colin McCord