Embedding the Progressive Licence concept

One of the key purposes of the Amateur Radio Licence structure, stated by Paul Jarvis’ presentation at the National Hamfest and at the RSGB Convention, is to embed the concept of progression from Foundation, through Intermediate to Full licence level.  The presentation slides are available for download.

Ofcom is keen to see how changes to the Licence conditions might best achieve this objective, and is therefore considering incentivising progression from one level to the next.  In this pre-consultation period Ofcom have asked the following questions:

–        Should this concept apply to change the system for existing licensees?

–        Are there some groups that don’t need to progress?

–        Should the mentoring concept be used more to encourage progression?

This Litmus Test consultation has now finished, with the following outcome:

The RSGB consulted with the UK amateur radio community through its Litmus test process. There was a vigorous debate amongst approximately 500 contributors, which produced many alternative suggestions from which a few points of consensus emerged:

a)  Although some expressed concern at the lack of progression by Foundation and Intermediate Licensees, there was a strong view by a number of respondents that they did not wish to progress, would be unable to do so, or recognized that others would be unable to do so.

b)  Any reduction of license terms to existing license holder would receive significant push back from those impacted. There was support from some Full licensees for those who may find themselves in that situation

c) Any restructure of the license structure to encourage progression would need to be accompanied by a thorough explanation of the motivations for progression and the rational for the changes made to encourage progression.

d) The use of power level does not appear to work well as an incentive. The use of frequency restriction may be a more effective approach. However the bands or sub-bands available at each level would need careful consideration to ensure that useful facilities were provided at each license level.

e) Alternative incentive approaches that might be considered are changes to the call-sign structure, for example issuing call-signs on the cab-rank principle at FL and perhaps IL, or possibly issuing longer call-signs (for example M6aaaa) to new FL holders.

f)  More of a matter for the amateur in general and the RSGB in particular, there needs to be more help to progress. Ofcom may be able to assist by noting in the license that its purpose is “self and mutual training” indicating that license holders are encouraged to help others in their training aims.