Amateur Radio/Full Study Group 2015

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This information is intended for amateur radio enthusiasts already operating with an intermediate licence in the United Kingdom. If you're new to the hobby and want to know more, go here first.

For anyone inexperienced in amateur radio or without a technical background the final full amateur radio licence will be a challenge and self-study requires a lot of self discipline. The exam is 62 questions which you need to correctly answer a minimum of 37 questions (60% correct). Unlike other countries (such as the United States), the amateur radio exam questions in the United Kingdom are not published ahead of time. If you study the material and understand the fundamentals, you will pass handily.

A typical exam breakdown would be as follows:

Questions Syllabus Topics Number of Questions
1-10 Licensing 10
11-22 Basic electronics 12
23-35 Transmitters and Receivers 13
36-40 Feeders and Antennas 5
41-43 Propagation 3
44-51 Electromagnetic Compatibility 8
52-55 Operating 4
56-58 Safety 3
59-62 Measurements 4

As this is a living document (wiki), we'll continue to combine self-study with helpful documentation, discuss aspects of the syllabus, and arrange exams based upon the RSGB-mandated dates. We're not planning on doing full classes as it is quite a bit more content than the previous two licences.

Getting the full amateur radio licence means that you will have many operating privileges. Some highlights are as follows:

  • All existing (foundation, intermediate) licence privileges
  • Access to all amateur radio bands
  • 400 watt transmission power
  • Operation in foreign (CEPT) countries
  • Operation at sea (maritime mobile)
  • Operation and supervision of club stations

October 2015 Update Some small differences have been updated for the exams and guidance may be out of date in your handbooks. See 2 October 2015 Update on RSGB.ORG for more details.

The exams are invigilated just like the others, but the results are graded centrally at RSGB HQ and you are informed in the mail. If you get a big envelope, you've passed! Congrats and go pick your M0 callsign! If you're impatient or like to know your callsign options ahead of time, you can contact OFCOM directly and ask about the availability of callsigns and they will typically reply within a few days.

Protip for examinees who received a failing grade: Don't panic! If you get a small envelope from the RSGB, you have likely not succeeded this time, but you can request a summary of results broken down by categories to assist in your further study and subsequent exam. You can succeed: lather, rinse, repeat!


Studying for the exam:

Leading up to the exam, you will need to be naturally brilliant with a perfect memory or 'normally technical' and have the following:

  • Motivation for self-study with external encouragement via buddy-system, informal 'elmering' and perseverance
  • Ability to learn and understand mathematical formulas and rules on electromagnetism, best practices, and regulations.

Exam requirements:

  • An existing UK 2E0 or 2E1 callsign (or alternately a pass at the previous exam level.)
  • A current passport, photo ID driving licence, or other legal document showing name, photo, printed name and signature
    • If you're under 16, you must let us know in advance as we'll require signed documentation from a parent/guardian and they are to be on the premises and responsible for you at all times.
  • £45 exam fee (payable in advance, you'll have information on how to pay the fee in your 'exam acceptance' email.)
  • A basic, silent, non-programmable (ideally scientific) calculator
  • Pens/Pencils, including a black pen for the exam

Practicals & Essential Reading

  • Note: there are no practicals for the full licence!
  • RCF Advanced Level Syllabus is essential reading - there are many easy regulation / terminology questions in this
  • Advance: The Full Licence Manual is important to have. Please buy a copy.
  • CARS slides are very good for explaining various things
  • QADV software is good for mock test feedback. Works fine under wine emulation for OS X / Linux workstation users
  • HamTests - online tests to practice with.
  • BRATS On-Line Amateur Radio Training Course for Advanced Licence Examinations, clear explanations elucidating the RCF Advanced Level Syllabus. Good for last minute cramming.
  • kraptv also maintains a Dropbox/Google Drive share of mock-tests and other supplemental information. Contact him for the share.

Learning via Bath-based Advanced Distance Learning course

In addition to the local group support and the resources above, a bit of structure can be helpful in getting a successful pass at exam time. Steve Hartley (G0FUW) the co-author of the Advance: The Full Licence Manual along with some other experienced tutors conduct an excellent distance learning programme twice a year (Jan to Jun-Jul / Jun to Dec).

The topics are worked through in weekly modules over six months. This includes going over the basics, weekly reading, lecture notes, revision tests with worked answers, a few assignments, videos and mock exams. These are easily managed, as long as you keep up and there are catch-up weeks. The students that follow the course to its completion typically have much better chances - they have an average pass rate of 90% with nearly 200 passes in the last three years.

Besides the cost of the book Advance: The Full License Manual, the course is free with a £30 deposit to secure a place. This is refunded in time to pay for the exam. With the agreement that if you do not actively take part in the course your deposit goes to charity.

Blog post: One person's advanced course experience via Bath correspondence course.

If interested, contact Steve here.

BBADL videos

These videos are supplements to the remote correspondence course but should be helpful for anyone wanting something different than text study.

Oscilloscopes and Rectifiers Part 1 {{#ev:youtube|z0cwcK1xh9M}} Oscilloscopes and Rectifiers Part 2 {{#ev:youtube|q2kZ5TQdeGg}} Coaxial Cables Losses and Velocity Factor {{#ev:youtube|npIy41TyOuE}} Harmonics and Low Pass Filters {{#ev:youtube|ka7KHyPQCPM}} AC Volts in an RC Circuit {{#ev:youtube|boAJIrGaEbU}} Capacitors, Inductors, and Tuned Circuits {{#ev:youtube|fUo6IhSouEI}} AM Waveform Demonstrations {{#ev:youtube|98HG7jL7xXg}}


Since this is not a structured course, we have a lot of people that are often available for explanations on the #lhs-radio Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel.

Sign up & more information

Please post on the mailing list or get in the #lhs-radio chat channel and express your interest!