Laying the Foundations

Following on from my post last year about playing with the DX and more recently revisiting a hobby, I have decided it’s about time I went back into education. My interest in Amateur Radio has, so far, been more than a fleeting trial. Some of my previous interests and hobbies waned quickly (snow boarding, RC helicopters and painting to name a few!). I’ve learned to give things time before devoting more effort (and money) towards them. So I plan on learning the Foundation License syllabus to gain a basic license as set out by OFCOM.

The Foundation License is the basic of three levels. It’s the “easy way” in to Amateur Radio and tests the basic understanding of transmitting and receiving, antennas, the technicalities of radio and, most importantly, safety.

In order to see if this interest will stick, I’ve set myself the challenge of learning and passing the exam within the next six months. My understanding is it shouldn’t take more than 12 hours worth of ‘classroom based’ theory with a trained operator, or alternatively learning the whole syllabus by myself, but I’m keeping in mind the fact I’m freelance and have no idea what my schedule will be like from one week to the next! When I’ve passed the exam I’ll be given a call sign, be allowed on certain frequencies and interact with other hams around the world.

I’m interested to hear from others on their experience of Amateur Radio, so please do leave a comment below.

Are you a ham operator?

Was it easy for you to get your licence?

Did you run into any particular problems?

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UPDATE 1: Out of interest to see if my (rather old) high school education in Physics and Higher Physics would help, I took a mock Intermediate License multiple choice exam. I scored 37%. Clearly I need some work!

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UPDATE 2: I contacted my closest Ham Radio Club to discuss training, but they were fully booked on their upcoming courses. I guess that proves the hobby is still as popular ever. The gent I spoke to suggested I could probably go it alone, and he’d send me notes, homework and mock exams. So that’s the plan!

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About Mercian Media

My name is Alex, and I work in the Film and TV industry. I work freelance for various employers on several shows including Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, Sky News, Sky Sports, London Live, Bloomberg and QVC. All views are my own.

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