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What is the Foundation Licence?

The Foundation Licence is aimed at the ordinary person who wants to get on the air after gaining an understanding of the basics of Amateur Radio. Once you've completed basic Morse appreciation, a practical test and a multiple choice paper, the Foundation Licence gives you the opportunity to operate 10W radios on a variety of amateur radio frequencies. It was introduced in January 2002 and is the entry level into Amateur Radio with the aim of allowing you to get involved in the hobby as quickly as possible. Before you are allowed to go 'on the air', it is important to understand a little about how your radio works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users, how not to upset your neighbours or family and the rules and regulations governing the use of an amateur radio transmitter.

In order to get a Foundation Licence, you have to take part in a training course where most of the training is of a practical nature. There is a small amount of radio and electronics theory - just enough to appreciate basic concepts such as safety, using the correct fuses in your equipment, simple operating procedures and how to build an antenna to get the most out of your radio station.

The courses are run in an informal atmosphere by experienced radio amateurs and usually take about 10-12 hours of study / practical work, usually over a weekend or a number evenings spread over a few weeks. The exam paper will be marked there and then. NOTE: Although the 5 words per minute Morse test is no longer required for Intermediate and Full Licences, a Morse assessment is still required for the Foundation Course.

Once you have passed the exam, you will be awarded a 'Pass', which will allow you to apply for an M3 callsign You will then be able to operate on all bands from 135.7kHz up to 70cm (430 - 440 MHz), except 28MHz, with a power limit of 10 Watts, except for the 135.7 - 137.8kHz band, which is limited to 1 Watt. This is low power but it is sufficient to allow communication around the world. This level of power is known as QRP and many amateurs with full licences, which allow them to use up to 400 Watts, prefer to operate at low power. There is even a low power club devoted to this form of operation.

To go straight to the RSGB site click on the link: wwww.rsgb.org.uk
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