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The Foundation Course

This is a four day course, undertaken over two complete weekends.  Course days start at 10:00 and end at 16:00.

The next Foundation course will be on Sat 7, Sun 8 (Practical exercises), Sat 14 and Sun 15 (exam) March.

Please dress warmly in cold weather (the shack is a wooden hut), and bring a packed lunch.

Foundation Topics are

  • Technical Basics
  • Licence Regulations
  • Operating
  • Transmitters & Receivers
  • Antennas & Feeders
  • EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility ie interference issues)
  • Propagation
  • Repeaters
  • Safety

One day of the course is for practical exercises.  These are mandatory – please note that if these are not completed, a student may not sit an exam.

Practical exercises include

  • Connecting up four pieces of equipment to make an amateur radio station
  • Making an HF contact
  • Making a VHF contact
  • Adjusting a VHF antenna
  • Match an antenna system for lowest SWR
  • Sending & Receiving a short message in Morse Code or Data mode

Please do not be put off by the Morse Code exercise.  Students are not expected to have any previous knowledge or experience of Morse code.  Letter to Code translation sheets are provided and messages (short ones of about 30 characters) are sent VERY slowly.  The only skills required are normal hearing and the ability to count to five.  No one ever fails the Morse assessment!

The exam consists of 26 multiple choice questions, with a pass mark of 19 (73%).  The time allowed is 60 minutes but most students complete the exam in half that time.

Exams are taken online – you need to bring a laptop computer.  Students get the result there and then on completion of the exam.

Successful students can apply to Ofcom for a licence and callsign.  This can be done by post, but a £20 fee is chargeable.  Most  people apply on-line, which is free.

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