This is the latest edition of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) book that contains all that is required to obtain a Foundation licence.
Click cover picture to buy this online.
Corrections, updates and additional information
The current edition of this book is the 5th edition which was first published in 2007. This was updated to meet the syllabus changes made in 2011 and there have been a number of revised versions since then. We are currently shipping an updated 2015 version.
Important Note – Licence Conditions Changes
Following changes to the UK Licence Conditions for examinations after 1st October 2015 the following clauses will be tested on the basis of the amendments made by Ofcom. Examinations taken before this date will be on the basis of that printed in the book. These changes replace those printed in all previous editions.
Page 18: Column 1, 2c.1
Replace all the text under section 2c.1 in column 1 down to, but not including, the italic text 2(2) with the following
2c.1 Recall the requirements for station identification.
13(1) The Licensee, or, if this Licence is a Full Licence, then any other authorised person who uses the Radio Equipment, shall ensure that:
(a) the station is clearly identifiable at all times;
(b) the Callsign is transmitted as frequently as is practicable during transmissions, unless the specific requirements of Note (g) to the Notes to Schedule 1 of this Licence apply; and
(c) the Callsign is given in voice or other appropriate format consistent with the mode of operation.
The licence requires you to make sure your transmissions can be identified to you or your station if you are supervising someone else using your callsign. It is left to your common sense to decide how often this is. For many years this was stated to be at least every 15 minutes but amateur practice has always been to give the callsign rather more frequently but not on every short ‘over’.
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.
If you are replying to a CQ call from another station, they will want to know who is calling them, and the way to do that is to include your callsign in the reply.
After a couple of ‘overs’ you need to give your callsign again; others hearing you may be interested and you should, just to be sure you indeed are clearly identifiable. Some stations include their callsign at the beginning and end of every ‘over’, but the UK Licence does not specifically require that.
If you change frequency, perhaps off a calling channel, you, and the person you are in contact with, will be new arrivals on that frequency so it makes sense to identify again. Similarly when you change the mode of transmission, FM to SSB for example, you will be ‘new’ to those using that mode, so giving your callsign in the new mode seems like a good thing to do. Of course if you are operating in accordance with the Band Plan it is quite likely a mode change will also involve a small frequency change. However there are ‘all mode’ and digital mode sections where different modes may share the same frequency or part of a frequency band.
The reference to Note (g) to Schedule (1) is included in every Licence but is not relevant at Foundation Level as Note (g) only affects amateurs holding a Full licence.
Page 18: 2c.2 and 2c.3
replace the entire section as far as 2c.4 with the text below.
2c.2 and 2c.3 Recall the requirement to only send messages to other amateurs.
Recall that secret codes are not permitted.
11(2) Unless the Radio Equipment is being used for the purposes of clauses 1(2) or 1(3) in the UK:
(a) Messages sent from the station shall only be addressed to other Amateurs or to the stations of those Amateurs;
(b) Messages sent from the station shall not be encrypted for the purposes of rendering the Message unintelligible to other radio spectrum users.
It is worth noting that clauses 1(2) and 1(3) relate to the use of your station to help out in times of emergency, but all we need to know for the Foundation exam is that messages can only be sent to other amateurs, not their family and friends. You will probably realise on the course that you can operate under supervision and that other amateurs can talk to you.
To comply with their licence, what they are really doing is sending their messages to the station you happen to be using. Similarly, you may talk to another trainee or a non-amateur sending what is called a ‘greetings message’. These, however, are fine details that you can read up on after you have got your licence.
Many people think a code is something secret. Here it is not. The Morse code is not secret, it is simply a way of replacing words with something that can be transmitted on a very simple transmitter, so as to get the message through.
You will probably hear about ‘Q codes’ as an amateur. They are 3 letter codes, all beginning with ‘Q’. Each have a special meaning. ‘QSY’, for example, means ‘change frequency’. These codes are intended for use on Morse to save the time and effort of spelling out the meaning. They also have the advantage that they are international. Foreign amateurs will have a table of the same Q codes, but with their meanings written in their own language.
All the codes have, in common, the aim of making communication easier, not more difficult. Amateurs are not allowed to use secret codes or ‘ciphers’ as they are called except in the special circumstances in helping a User Service. An example of this might be helping the British Red Cross pass messages concerning a patient where the patient’s name and circumstances cannot be disclosed on the radio because anyone could be listening.
Page 30 – Table A
The 7.1-7.2 MHz band is now allocated on a Primary basis to the amateur service.
Delete all the existing text in column 2 of row 7.100 – 7.200 (MHz) – “Secondary. Available on …”. Insert “Primary”
Page 30 – Col 2 and 3, Example 1
Delete existing text and replace with:
“The 7MHz band extends from 7.00 to 7.20MHz. The band has Primary status for terrestrial use, shown in column 2. For satellite use the portion from 7.00 to 7.10MHz has Primary status but the portion from 7.10 to 7.20MHz is not allocated, as shown in column 3. 7.10 to 7.20MHz can only be used for terrestrial contacts. 10W of RF power is permitted.”
Amendments to Foundation Licence Now!
for versions from 2012 up until the 2015 printing.
Page 3 column 1.
Mark for deletion the first and third paragraphs and the first sentence of paragraph 4 which reads ‘This will allow…’
Replace the first paragraph with the 3 paragraphs shown below.
Attending a training course is highly recommended although it is recognised that those already experienced in radio outside of Amateur Radio may be happy to self-study for the theoretical examination.
There are practical exercises and assessments that must be completed before the examination is taken. These exercises are included in formal courses both to help with understanding the coursework and to show that you are able to operate on-air correctly before getting your licence. Some Examination Centres may offer them as stand alone assessments as well as at relevant times during the training course. If you decide not to attend a course you are advised to ask your chosen club/Examination Centre how they conduct the practical exercises.
The course should last about 10-12 hours. Some courses will be run as two full days a week or fortnight apart and others over a few weeks, perhaps one evening a week and maybe a final day to finish. However it is run you will be able to sit a short written, multi-choice assessment at the end of the course. Your formal result will be posted to you about ten days later.
Page 3 column 3.
The web site address in para 1 line3 should now read https://thersgb.org/services/clubfinder
Page 21 Band Plan
2m band, 144.805 – 146.000 should read 145.806 – 146.000
Page 28 column 1
The symbol of a fuse should be added adjacent to the drawing of the mains plug.
Page 32 column 1
The Exam, paragraph 1 line 5; delete ‘Following syllabus changes in July 2011’.
Line 6; replace ‘45 minutes’ with ’55 minutes’.
In both examples remove the 8 tick boxes ‘[ ]’ and the two ticks.
In example 1 in the sentence below the 4 option answers delete ‘placed a tick in the brackets next to the letter A’ and replace with ‘marked that in pencil in box A for that question on the answer sheet’.
The changes to paragraph 5 of How to tackle the exam will depend on exactly which reprint you are editing as it was edited in 2014. That section should read:
THIS MAY BE the first exam you have ever taken. You can be forgiven if you feel a bit nervous. Different people like to do exams in different ways but some tips may help.
There is plenty of time so don’t rush. Read each question carefully and all four answers. It may be simple to pick the right answer to that question, but read all the other wrong ones anyway. If you are sure, then tick the correct answer to that question in pencil on the Optical Mark Sheet which is where you show your answers. If you are not sure, mark the end of the sentence you think is correct to remind you.
When you reach the end, you will have ticked many of the questions. Now go back and read the ones you have not ticked. You may be able to see that some of the answers are wrong, so put a cross by the end of those answers. Now you have fewer answers to pick the correct one. Make your best choice, even if it is a bit of a guess. Always do that, you might be right and you stand a better chance of being right than if you do not tick anything.
Finally, read the paper again to check you have not made any silly mistakes. If you do want to change an answer, check carefully and just use your eraser and put a pencil tick in the box of your new choice. Finally when you are sure carefully shade in the whole box in black ink but don’t go outside the box. Leave time to do this. You must ink them in but you cannot then change your answer. Any marks you have made on the exam paper do not count.
All I can say now is Good Luck and remember to use all the charts and tables provided to help you answer the questions.
Column 3 Applying for your licence.
Delete the first paragraph.
In paragraph 2 (which is now one), line 2 insert ‘formal’ between ‘your’ and ‘result’ then delete the remainder of that sentence and replace with ‘posted to you with your candidate number. Allow 10 days from the examination.‘
Finally replace the next sentence (You may…) with ‘If you have passed you may them log on to the Ofcom licensing system using the details in your result letter and apply for your licence on-line.‘
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