Foundation Amateur Radio Training Courses
The ARES is offering training courses for the Foundation Amateur Radio Exam. This is an official qualification, which is Ofcom-recognised, granting the applicant a license to transmit and experiment with radio equipment, with little unreasonable restriction, allowing worldwide communication with fellow licensed amateurs. There are millions of amateurs around the world, and over a thousand in Northern Ireland alone.
Most amateur radio clubs charge around £80.00 per candidate to take the course, which covers the RSGB fee and premises expenditude, amongst other things. However, because Queen's is an educational institution and the Society has ample space to hold courses and examinations, we are aiming to greatly reduce this cost.
If you are under 21, you will also be eligible for free membership of the Radio Society of Great Britain when you attain your license, or at a greatly reduced rate if over 21 and a student of QUB.
Half-Price Exams for EEECS Students
We have recently received funding from the School of EEECS which ensures that over 50% of each exam fee is paid by the school, more than halving the cost for EEECS students!
See the list of prices below for more information.
What does the Foundation License give me?
In exchange for a little of your time, the Foundation License can open many doors to hobbyist radio and electronics not possible without an amateur station license. Possibilities of worldwide communication using the most basic of transmitting equipment, talking via satellites, transmitting television images and high-speed data links, as well as making new friends and aquaintances through the radio, are only the beginning of available opportunities.
The license also provides you with a recognised qualification that is sponsored and regulated by the UK Office of Communications, Ofcom.
Basically, within your license conditions, you can do whatever you please to further your interest and enjoyment in the hobby. Worldwide radio contests, distance records (DX-ing) and other specialities, such as using the moon as a reflector for signals (Moon Bounce) and digital over-the-internet local repeaters (EchoLink and Icom D-STAR) are among other areas you will be able to delve into.
The foundation course covers some very, very basic electronics and practical techniques, which involves making contacts over local VHF radio, and over worldwide shortwave radio. You will have the opportunity to make contacts with any amateur on any part of the globe, and when you complete the several basic practical exercises, you can move on to the exam.
The exam consists of 25 basic multiple-choice questions, and is not challenging to most people. The exam will be marked straight afterwards by an RSGB-registered invigilator and you will be told if you pass as soon as possible! On passing, you will be given your pass slips, and you can register with Ofcom to gain your callsign.
Your callsign is your worldwide unique identifier for your station on the radio, and will consist, if you are in Northern Ireland, of MI6 followed by three letters of your choice.
The RSGB website outlays some more information on the course, the exam and the doors it opens.
Applying for the Foundation Course
To apply for the Foundation Course, you will need to bring the following on the information meeting for the course (details at a later date):
- Photographic ID (Driver's License, Passport etc)
- Your exam fee (see below)
- Your student card
Ofcom regulations state that you cannot successfully apply for an Amateur Radio Station License if you have committed an offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, or various other linked statutes. Although this is very unlikely, it is something to bear in mind.
All those eligible to join the society are welcome to join our courses.
Price for QUB Students: £28.00
Price for QUB Staff: £30.00
Price for EEECS Students: £13.00
These prices include loan of course materials, access to electronic resources, the examination fees, light refreshments and all other associated costs. This is the only fee payable to get your radio license.