Hello and welcome to what I hope is your first steps in becoming an amateur radio operator.
How do I get into Amateur Radio: Well this is the question that we have all asked ourselves. Take me, I joined Macclesfield and District Amateur Radio Club in 2007, it only took me 25 years to take the leap of faith to join a club with the intention to obtain my Foundation licence and operate on the amateur bands.
At this point, I want to let you into a little secret "There's nothing to worry about" amateur radio operators are ordinary people, just like you and I. Who are only to happy to help new comers into the hobby and to help you to achieve your goal in becoming an amateur radio operator. The really good news is that Morse code is no longer a requirement of the amateur exams, however a very basic appreciation of Morse code is required. But believe me, I am no expert in Morse code, but amazingly I passed the appreciation test. So if I can pass it, then you can certainly pass it.
Let me tell you about the three types of Licences available in the UK, these are:
1. The Foundation licence with a power limit of 10 Watts. "This is where the majority of today's new amateurs start"
2. The Intermediate Licence will provide you with further privileges such as access to more frequencies and an increase in power to 50 Watts.
3. The Advance Licence (Full Licence) provides the licencee access to entire amateur frequency allocation and allows the user a power limit of 400 Watts. In reality most full licence operators in the UK operate using 100 Watts.
Please note: that there is a cost element to undertake all RSGB radio exams. Further details can be obtained from the Club
What do I have to do next to get started ?
Well the first thing you should do is to obtain a copy of a book called Foundation Now which is published by the RSGB or just Google it and you shall find it. After reading this book, it may be a good idea to contact us at GX4MWS and arrange to come down to our club for a chat and to see what we can do for you and this will give you an opportunity to hear amateur radio being used by our members.
If you decide that you still want to obtain your Foundation licence, then we will work with you to develop a very simple training plan to get you through your practical and written tests. Believe me I know it sounds scary, but the practical exam includes simple things such as setting up a radio, exciting things like making your first radio contact with people on HF (Worldwide) and VHF (More local) as I said earlier there's a simple Morse code assessment, and a exercise to show that you can tune an antenna and use a SWR meter as for the written exam this is a 25 question multiple choice paper.
I can hear you say "How long will it take me to get my licence" well to be honest, that will depend on how much time you spend studying. In my case, I joined the club in September 2007 and took my Foundation Exam at the end of November and I was issued with my Foundation licence just before Christmas 2007. It was a great Christmas as I was making contacts and making new friends all through that festive period and I am still enjoying the hobby, today.
Once you gain your Foundation licence we can help you gain the other licences described earlier namely the Intermediate Licence and then the Advanced (Full Licence).
So if you would like to get involved with a great global hobby and make new friends. Why don't you get in contact with us, to arrange a visit and who knows, you could be re-writing this introduction in the near future. Once you become licenced amateur .
When you do come down to the club ask for me. Greg (M0TXX) and I will be only to happy to show you around and introduce you to the other members