Amateur Radio/Getting started

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So, you just passed your Foundation exam. What to do? This is intended as brief guide, to provide just enough relevant info to get started with and some links where to find out more.

Get a callsign

Around six days from your examination pass, you'll get a note in the mail with details that will allow you to register on the Ofcom website. Choose a callsign that is meaningful to you, such as your initials, something that sounds cool in NATO alphabet terminology, or perhaps something that is easy to enter in Morse Code.

It might be worthwhile to run a 'callsign scrape' of the Ofcom website using Mark Steward's code hosted on github.

First steps

  • Register with
  • Start a log book. Use a spreadsheet with the collumns shown on page 20 of the Foundation Licence Now! book.

Make that first QSO

See Sample QSOs

Q Codes & Abbreviations


The recognised calling protocol is "This is (your callsign) listening through (repeater callsign)"

Bands and equipment

2 m and 70 cm

  • VHF 144 to 148 MHz 2 m
  • UHF 440 MHz 70 cm

Get a Baofeng UV-5R, change the antenna to a Nagoya NA-771 and use CHIRP with a Kenwood USB cable to program it.


Use a RTL2832U as a software-defined receiver covering 24&nrsp;MHz to 1.8uGHz


Purchase the best quality shortwave radio with SSB you can afford.

Other useful applications

  • Echolink can be used to contact other amateurs around the world via the Internet. Can also be used with smartphone or PC/laptop.
  • WebSDR

See also

External links

There are several online resources available to you. Our favourite is naturally our own conversations (IRC chat and Google Groups mailing list) but places like the reddit /r/amateurradio web groups can also be good.