Foundation FAQs

When is the next B&DARS Foundation Licence course?

We are committed to running Foundation Licence courses when we can. We have pencilled in 3/4 March 2018 for a foundation course. If you are interested, contact us at info@bdars.com or on 07989501666.

How much does the course cost?

The current fee to cover RSGB and premises costs is £55.

In return you get:

  • Two days at the course including refreshments
  • An RSGB book produced especially for this course
  • All test fees

Do I need to book my place on the course?

Yes, you will need to complete the course application form and send it to us with full payment. In return you will be posted your copy of the excellent RSGB foundation licence course book, so you can read it before you attend the course. Also, you will get a receipt, a map (to find the sailing club) and more information about the foundation licence.

When do I need to apply for my position on the course?

As soon as possible. Two reasons : You need to get your place before they are all used up & the RSGB require us to give at least 2 weeks notice of the details of the candidates on the course.

Do I have to pay for a licence (once I get through the course)?

No, since 2006 amateur licences have been free.

Do I need to bring anything?

Yes. Bring photo ID and pen/pencil. Calculators are not needed. We’ll provide tea and coffee but you will need to make your own lunch arrangements.

Is there an age limit?

No. Though anyone under 18 attending will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian

What hours does the course run from/to?

9am to 5pm. There will be a radio station set-up at the course, so time after 5pm will also be available to use the station (for fun).

Is there an exam?

There is a Morse code assessment (which is easy, even if you have never had any experience of Morse). Also, there is a multiple choice test at the end of the course. The test consists of 26 questions, 19 of which must be answered correctly. We will organise retests if necessary – though these have to be held on a different day (and incur a £5 retest fee).

Do I need to join the Bangor club or the RSGB?

No. But if you live near Bangor, you should think about joining our club as we have got a lot to offer you.

The Radio Society of Great Britain is our national society and provides some excellent services for members. The RSGB offers an introductory low rate for new Foundation Licence holders.

Do I get a certificate?

You get a pass slip after completing the course. This slip can be used to apply for your Foundation licence.

Those successful candidates WHO SO WISH may also obtain an attractive A4 size certificate from RSGB at a cost of £10 which will be collected by the invigilator and sent in the return envelope along with a request for certificates which will then be sent to the candidate.

What sort of radio do I need and how much do they cost?

Foundation licence holders are not allowed to “invent” their own transmitters. So you have to buy commercially made equipment or build a transceiver from a kit. HF radios let you talk to the world, new radios range from £500 to £5000 and secondhand start at around £75. VHF radios are for more local contacts, new radios range from £50 to £1000, with secondhand sets starting as low as £20.

You can build a HF transceiver from a kit for as little as £20! (This would be a very basic Morse code only transceiver.)

Who can I speak to?

There are around 60,000 radio hams in the UK. Worldwide there are almost 3 million hams on all continents and in nearly all countries. You could speak to all sorts of people, from a farmer in Belize, to the King of a country. There have been radio hams on the International Space Station and at Antarctic exploration stations. Famous radio hams include Marlon Brando (actor), Sergei Rebrov (footballer), Bhumiphol Adulayadej (King of Thailand). Famous radio hams in the past have included Yuri Gagarin (first cosmonaut), Rajiv Ghandi (Prime Minister of India) and King Hussein of Jordan. Amateur radio appeals to people from all backgrounds.

What is the Intermediate licence?

It’s halfway between a Foundation licence and a Full licence. We expect to run a course in the future.

Can I use my foundation licence when travelling outside the UK?

No – currently it is a UK only licence. So NO radio operation from countries like France, USA and Republic of Ireland. You are allowed to communicate with radio hams from all over the world, but you can’t go to their country and set up a transmitter.

What is the Morse assessment like?

It is a Morse test, which runs at such a slow speed that you have got time to look up the sounds on a chart. For example you hear “dot dash” and you are given enough time to look at a chart and see that “dot dash” is Morse code for the letter A. The same sort of thing happens in reverse and you transmit some code back to the assessor. There is absolutely NO requirement to learn any Morse code. The assessment is good fun, don’t lose any sleep worrying about it!

Does anyone use Morse code these days?

Most certainly. It is one of the most efficient modes of communication available to a radio ham. Simple equipment can be used and often contacts are made in Morse, when no other signal would get through. Even though you don’t HAVE to learn Morse, you may well find that it will be something that appeals to you once you get on the air.

Further information

For further information contact us at info@bdars.com or on 07989501666.