Getting Started in Amateur Radio: The Foundation Licence

The Foundation licence is your gateway to amateur radio. The course and exam that leads to the licence provides you with an exciting introduction to the hobby while requiring an acceptable minimum level of skill and experience.

Your Foundation licence is recognised by the UK communications regulator Ofcom, and entitles you to take a unique identifier called a callsign which will be used to identify you when you are transmitting.

The Foundation Exam

Don’t be put off by the thought of having to do an exam. The Foundation exam is very straightforward and consists of multiple choice questions which you have to answer. Your exam paper can be marked on the spot by the invigilator straight after the exam but this only provides an indicative result. Formal confirmation of the result is provided by the RSGB who employ optical marking.

What happens After the Foundation Exam?

If you have passed the Foundation exam you will receive an official result sheet confirming the pass from the RSGB.

The next step is to register your Foundation exam pass with the UK communications regulator Ofcom, who are responsible for issuing amateur radio licences. If you apply for your Foundation licence on the Ofcom website, your licence is free of charge. Visit the Ofcom website to find out more.

Once you have your Foundation licence and have chosen a callsign, you are ready to make your first transmission on the amateur radio bands; an exciting moment. You are now free to operate on the majority of the amateur bands, without supervision, up to a power of 10 watts. This does not sound like very much power, but once you have acquired experience operating your radio you will find it is enough to communicate anywhere in the world under the right conditions.

The table below contains links to printable versions of our course notes, for an embedded scrollable version of these documents use the menu at the top of the page "Training" – "Foundation" – "Topic"

Topic Number Subject
  Official Syllabus
1 Licensing Conditions and Station Identification
2 Technical Aspects
3 Transmitters and Receivers
4 Feeders and Antennas
5 Propagation
6 Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
7 Operating Practices and Procedures
8 Safety
9 Measurements and Construction are not covered at the Foundation Level
10 Practical Assessments