Licence Suffixes


Paul Jarvis of Ofcom, speaking at the National Hamfest and at the RSGB Convention, mentioned that Ofcom are interested in improving the definitions, understand the current practice and what is adopted internationally.   He specifically referred to improving the clarity of when /MM is used.  The presentation slides are available for download.

Note (d) pages 14 and 15 of Section 2 refers to the use of /A, /P, /M and /MM as “recommended”.  These are clarified by Interpretations in Clause 17(1), so for

  • /A clause 17(b) applies so that the “Alternative address means a fixed postal address in the UK other than the Main Station Address”
  • /P clause 17(jj) applies so that the “Temporary Location means a fixed location in the UK which is not the Main Station Address or an Alternative Address”
  • /M clause 17(x) applies to define Mobile as applying when the Radio Equipment is “located in the UK in or on any vehicle or conveyance, on person of the Licensee where the Licensee is a pedestrian or on any Vessel on Inland Waters”.  The latter is defined in  in clauses 17(rr) and(tt).
  • /MM clause 17(v) applies to define Maritime Mobile where the “Radio Equipment is on any ‘Vessel at Sea’” –  the latter being further defined  in clauses 17(rr) and 17(ss).
    Note that  17(kk) which refers to Tidal Water is no longer formally referenced, but its inclusion in 17(1) has been known to cause misinterpretation.

This Litmus Test has completed its discussion phase and is currently considering the following summary/draft response to Ofcom (The wording of the proposed /M clause was brought into line with that for the proposed /P clause following a end-of-consultation review by the RSGB Leadership Team):

Suffixes are of considerable importance to the amateur community and some have international significance.

The consensus is that with the exception of /A the suffixes would benefit from being clarified. This is to remove confusion between the use of /P and /M, and to state more clearly when /MM is to be used. With the possible exception on /MM in International Waters, the use of the other suffixes should remain optional. 

From a contesting perspective it is important that we can continue to use /P as a suffix as necessary.

a) /A is not an internationally recognised suffix.  The general feeling was mixed – some supported its retention whilst others felt it could be dropped.  If retained the current wording is satisfactory.

b) /P is recognised internationally and the definition in our Licence Schedule would benefit by being clearer and closer to its general application, both in the UK and overseas.  The general usage of /P is normally restricted to use of the Station without access to mains electricity and at a Temporary Location.  For most contests the Station would not be housed in a permanent structure or shelter.  Keeping as close to the present wording, and allowing for Contest organisers to more tightly define their rules, the proposed wording is

“If the Licensee operates the Radio Equipment at a Temporary Location such that moving the station would require some dismantling or re-configuration of the Station the Licensee may use the suffix “/P” with the Callsign”

Note: Clause 17(1)(jj) defines “Temporary Location” as a fixed location in the United Kingdom which is not the Main Station Address or an Alternative Address”

c) /M is then re-worded to cover use of Radio Equipment from a moving or stationary vehicle, with an integral aerial and power supply, and also the use of a handheld radio by a pedestrian:

“If the Licensee operates the Radio Equipment such that it can move location without any dismantling or re-configuration of the station the Licensee may use the suffix “/M” with the Callsign.”

d) /MM is more complex as the current wording of the licence is unclear.  Whilst it was generally accepted that /MM “must” be used by vessels in International Waters and /M on Inland Waterways, the usage of suffixes on Tidal and Territorial Waters needs to be clarified.”

Two people briefly shared their opposing views on the use of an additional suffix to denote when a remote station is being used by a third party.