Homecoming Scotland NoV FAQs

These Homecoming Scotland 2014 NoV FAQs were provided courtesy of Ofcom.

What is Homecoming Scotland?
2014 sees Scotland welcome the world to join in the Year of Homecoming. In addition to the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, there’s a programme of events and activities to showcase all that’s great about Scotland, including food and drink events, the great outdoors as well as arts and cultural and ancestral heritage.

What is Ofcom’s role?
Ofcom is helping licensed radio amateurs based in Scotland to take part in the Homecoming Scotland. From Burns Night to St Andrews Day, a special Regional Secondary Locator (‘A’ for Alba) may be used to identify Scottish stations.

Amateur radio licensees whose main station address is in Scotland may apply for a variation to their licence, at www.rsgb.org/homescotland The variation is granted by Ofcom and will authorise the use of the Regional Secondary Locator, creating a call sign that can be identified with the Homecoming Scotland.

What is a Regional Secondary Locator (RSL)?
In an amateur radio call sign, the initial character (“G”, “M” or “2”) identifies the station as being licensed by the UK. An additional second character (the Regional Secondary Locator or RSL) may also be used after the initial character, to show where in the UK or Crown Dependencies the station is located. This is explained in Clause 2(2) of Section 2 of the UK Amateur Radio licence.

What has Ofcom done for Scotland, here?
As well as the normal RSL, ‘M’, to identify Scottish stations, we have agreed that a special RSL ‘A’ may be used (instead of – not in addition to – ‘M’) to identify stations whose main station address is in Scotland. This is available from Burns Night (25 January) until St Andrew’s Day (30 November).

How should I use this RSL?
The RSL ‘A’ is available as an alternative to ‘M’ when using the normal station callsign. The two must not be used together. As with any RSL, licensees authorised to use ‘A’ should insert it as the second character of the call sign. So, for example, the call sign GM7ZZZ would become GA7ZZZ .  Of course, when giving out the Homecoming call sign, the letter ‘A’ must be identified as ‘Alpha’ and not ‘Alba’!

Can I use the RSL on 5MHz and 472 KHz?
Providing that you hold a valid NoV for those frequencies, the RSL may be used with your normal station callsign.

Why isn’t the RSL ’A’ available all year round?
If this RSL were available all year round, it would be indistinguishable from the usual Scotland RSL, ‘M’ and would, in any case, cease to be special. So, to keep the RSL special, we are making the RSL available between two dates of significance to Scotland, Burn’s Night and St Andrew’s Day.

For which types of licences is the variation available?
The variation is available to any UK Amateur Radio licensee whose main station address is in Scotland. It is available for all levels of licences, Foundation, Intermediate and Full, including Full (Club) and Full (Reciprocal) licences.

If Scotland already has an RSL, why give them another?
The Homecoming Scotland celebrations are a special programme of events just for Scotland. So, the RSL ‘A’ is special and relates only to the Homecoming Scotland celebrations. It will cease to be available after 30 November (St Andrew’s day). The RSL ‘M’ will remain available.

Why can’t I have an ‘English’ RSL to celebrate St George’s Day?
St George’s Day occurs every year. Special event call signs are available in accordance with an established procedure, for individual events. So, if you mount a special event to celebrate St George’s Day, you may apply for a special even call sign for that event.

My station is in England but I was still able to get the Variation. What now?
The NoV states that it is only valid for licences whose main station address is in Scotland. While it may be possible to enter the details of an ‘English’ station and get the system to produce a Variation document for that licence, the wording of the Variation means that it will only be valid for stations with a main station address in Scotland. Using the RSL other than as provided for by the Variation would not be covered by the licence.

I consider myself ‘Scottish’ but I live in Wales/Canada/Bolivia. I shall be visiting Scotland in 2014. Why can’t I use the RSL?
This facility is to allow Scottish stations to participate in the Scotland Homecoming celebrations. We are making this facility available on the same basis as we did for the 2009 Homecoming. We are thus applying the same qualifying criterion, namely that the RSL may be used only to identify stations whose main station address is in Scotland. To allow all UK amateurs to use the RSL when they happen to find themselves in Scotland would mean that it was no longer special.

We must also ensure that stations are clearly identified. Foreign stations temporarily located in the UK may not use UK call signs. To have, say, a Canadian or US amateur using any UK RSL would be confusing or even misleading.

The purpose of the facility is to create a special call sign for Scots who wish to celebrate the Homecoming. However, there is no definition of ‘Scot’ or ‘Scottish’. Our solution provides certainty by limiting the RSL to stations whose main station address is in Scotland.