Amateur Radio Licenses and Training

Although you do not need a licence to listen to amateur radio transmissions, you do need one to be able to join in the conversation. There is plenty of information available on the Internet on how to obtain an amateur licence and good starting points are:

There are three levels of licence: Foundation; Intermediate and Full. Each requires the applicant to pass an examination demonstrating that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to operate a transmitting station safely and without causing interference to other users.

The Foundation examination is a simple multiple-choice test to show that you understand the basic technology involved in operating an amateur radio station and that you know the Terms and Conditions of the UK Amateur Radio Licence. Once you have obtained your Foundation Licence you are allowed to transmit on most of the frequency bands allocated to amateur radio using a low power transmitter, typically 10 Watts Peak Envelope Power, though there are lower power limits for some of these bands.

The Intermediate examination tests your wider understanding of wireless technology and some of the practical skills involved, such as the soldering of electronic components. An Intermediate Licence permits the use of higher power transmitters and allows access to an extended range of amateur radio bands.

Finally, the Full examination consists of a demanding test of your knowledge of radio and electronics theory. A Full licence shows your mastery of the technology and theory behind amateur radio and allows you to use higher transmitter powers, apply for temporary overseas licences when on holiday, and supervise non-licensed users at special events and the like.

In normal times Basingstoke Amateur Radio Club runs regular courses to help applicants pass these examinations. These courses are usually held at the home station of one of our accredited examination trainers, with the examination held at the Club’s meeting room at Mays Bounty in Basingstoke. The current fee for each of the Foundation and Intermediate courses is £25 which includes membership of BARC for the current year. This helps applicants get a better idea of general practice and the examination system by talking to those who have already been through it.

We keep an open book for training courses and run them when we get sufficient demand. If you are interested in receiving training or general help with the examination process, please contact the Club using the contact form elsewhere on this website.

Club-based training is not feasible under the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.  A number of UK radio clubs offer on-line training courses to help you attain Foundation-level status.  See for further details  The RSGB has also  responded to the challenge by introducing remote invigilation for Foundation level exams so there is nothing to stop you using your spare time to get your license.  Again, see for more information.