The Foundation Licence - Wirral & District ARC


The entry level to Amateur Radio is the Foundation licence. This is a new licence that was introduced in January 2002.  The Foundation licence is designed to get you involved in amateur radio as quickly as possible.  However, before you are allowed to transmit 'live', it is important that you know a little bit about how your radio works, the dangers of interference with other radio users, how not to upset your neighbours (or your parents if you are a young person), and the rules, legal regulations and responsibilities of holding a radio transmitting licence.

You can learn all these new skills by taking the Foundation licence training course, which is an integral part of obtaining a Foundation licence.  Most of the training is practical, with a small amount of radio and electronics theory .. but only enough for you to appreciate things like using the correct fuses in your equipment and how to build an antenna to get the most out of your radio station.

Don't be afraid of the thought of having to undertake a training course.  The courses are run in a friendly informal atmosphere by experienced radio amateurs, and are held locally on Wirral.  If you are interested, we can make all the arrangements for you.   The course will take about 10 - 12 hours to complete, at the end of which you will sit an examination comprising twenty five multiple choice questions.  Your exam paper will be marked on the spot, and once you have passed the exam you get your 'Pass' certificate and you are on your way.

When you have been issued with your own individual M3 series callsign by Ofcom (the government regulator), you will be able to operate on most of the bands shown on your licence without supervision but with a power restriction of 10 Watts.  The following bands of 135.7 - 137.8 kHz and 10000 - 10500 MHz are restricted to 1W.  These are fairly low levels of power but with the experience you will quickly gain, you will find it to be more than enough to communicate around the world.

Click to download a copy of the current  Foundation Syllabus

For more information including a sample paper and recommended reading

(Acrobat Reader is FREE if you need it)

If you would like to know more regarding costs and course availabilities, please contact:-

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Frequently Asked Questions

 [1] What amateur bands am I allowed to use ?
 [2] Do I have to conform to the “Band Plans” ?
 [3] What power level can I use ?
 [4] What equipment can I use ?
 [5] What sort of commercial equipment will meet the equipment
       requirement ?
 [6] What sort of kit will be acceptable ?
 [7] How should I ensure I am transmitting within legal bands ?
 [8] My transceiver is capable of operating with more than 10 watts,
       and outside my allowable bands. Can I legally use it ?
 [9] Does my licence allow anyone else to operate my radio station ?
[10] How much further can I progress in the Amateur Hobby ?
[11] Can anyone use my radio ?
[12] I have a UK Licence, can I use it abroad ?
[13] Can I modify a radio ?
[14] What is a Callsign ?

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Frequently Asked Questions

[1] What amateur bands am I allowed to use?

Most UK amateur bands between 135.700 kHz and 10500 MHz, except for 1280 - 5850 MHz). (Return to FAQ)

[2] Do I have to conform to the “Band Plans”?

These plans do not have the force of regulation.  But if you operate outside the Band Plans, or without regard to normally accepted practices, you are very likely to cause “undue interference to any wireless telegraphy,” which is an infringement of your licence conditions. (Return to FAQ)

[3] What power level can I use?

The power limit is 10 watts delivered to the antenna, except for bands where there is a lower limit for UK radio amateurs. At present, a lower limit of 1W applies to 135.700 - 137.8 kHz and 10000 - 10500 MHz. (Return to FAQ)

[4] What equipment can I use?

The licence terms state that the transmitting equipment must conform to EC standards, or be a commercially available kit transmitting inside amateur bands only. (Return to FAQ)

[5] What sort of commercial equipment will meet the equipment requirement?

Any commercially made amateur radio transceiver made in the last twenty years is likely to conform to the requisite standard. (Return to FAQ)

[6] What sort of kit will be acceptable?

You may only use an already built, commercially available kit, which if constructed and used properly, will not transmit outside the amateur bands. Kits must also have a means of measuring power output, or be designed so that they cannot produce illegal power.  Amateurs must check this with the supplier of the kit, since they cannot avoid responsibility for illegal transmissions by claiming that a kit was not working correctly. 

Note:  Only Advanced and Intermediate Licensees can actually build equipment and use it "On Air". (Return to FAQ)

[7] How should I ensure I am transmitting within legal bands?

You must have measuring apparatus which shows your frequency while you are transmitting. Most transceivers have a digital readout, which is acceptable for this requirement. (Return to FAQ)

[8] My transceiver is capable of operating with more than 10 watts, and outside my allowable bands. Can I legally use it?

Yes.  All radio amateurs are trusted to use their equipment according to the terms of their licence, and this applies to Foundation Licensees as well.  However, because of your inexperience and the more restrictive rules that apply, you must pay close attention to the power measuring meters in your equipment, so that you do not exceed the power limit. (Return to FAQ)

[9] Does my licence allow anyone else to operate my radio station?

No-one may transmit under your supervision.  Licensed amateurs may operate your radio station under their own callsign, using the suffix /P and then entering the details in their own logbook. (Return to FAQ)

[10] How much further can I progress in the Amateur Hobby?

There are two further stages that you can progress to:- An Intermediate Licence and a Full Licence.  Each licence will require you to have a more detailed knowledge of different aspects of radio, and take additional examinations. (Return to FAQ)

[11] Can anyone use my radio ?

Only a person who holds a current UK licence, or a valid CEPT licence, or a valid reciprocal licence, may use your station for frequencies for which they are licensed under their own callsign.  In addition, a licensed amateur from any other country may operate under your station's callsign, providing you have a full UK licence and are in attendance. Further conditions apply, so read your licence carefully. (Return to FAQ)

[12] I have a UK Licence, can I use it abroad ?

Only a holder of an Advanced (Full) UK licence (not Foundation or Intermediate [Novice] licences) can use it abroad, subject to restrictions. (Return to FAQ)

[13] Can I modify a radio ?

No, Foundation Licence holders are limited to built commercial equipment designed for the Amateur Radio market only.  This excludes any  PMR (Private Mobile Radio) equipment of any kind, whether already modified / reprogrammed or not. (Return to FAQ)

[14] What is a Callsign ?

Callsigns are a unique way of identifying your station.  They are issued to individual radio amateurs with their licences.  A callsign is a mixture of letters and numbers from 3 characters long.  In the UK, the shortest callsigns are 4 characters long.  Holders of the Radio Amateur Licence in the UK have, previously been issued with callsigns with the prefix 'G', however this series has run out and now the 'M' prefix is being used.  Some prefixes for other countries are F; France, D; Germany, I; Italy, K,N,W; USA, VK; Australia.  National prefixes are allocated by the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations.  There are secondary prefixes in the UK to determine which part of the UK the station is operating from, and the type of licence.  These are shown in the table below. (Return to FAQ)


Advanced (Full)
Main Club Regional Prefix Identifier
G or M 
GX or MX

5, 6,7,8
+ 3 or 4 letters

MØ 1,5
+ 3 or 4 letters

+ 2 letters
(Old callsigns)
+ 3 or 4 letters
Ø, 1
+ 3 or 4 letters
GU or MU
GP or MP
 Isle of Man
GD or MD
GT or MT
GJ or MJ
GH or MH
 N. Ireland
GI or MI
GN or MN
GM or MM
GS or MS
GW or MW
GC or MC


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