Frequently asked Quetions

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Re: Frequently asked Quetions

Postby ian2509 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:06 am

Hi, noob question, looked on the forum for an answer but couldn't find what I was looking for. Firstly im looking for a starter radio and the Baofeng UV-5RE and GT3 have caught my eye, which is the better one.

Secondly, I see alot on here ref a licence for use of ham radio in the UK, who regulates this, why is it necessary? is it another government tax on hobbies? And how is such a licence enforced? Obviously I intend to comply fully with the rule of law so long as it exsists, but I just wanted to understand why its necessary?
"Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing"

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Re: Frequently asked Quetions

Postby Hamradioop » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:15 am

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” ― Edward R. Murrow
"Remember Politicians are like babies diapers they both need changing often for the very same reason" - Mark Twain
If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.

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Re: Frequently asked Quetions

Postby Wulfshead » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:38 pm

Ian, first off welcome.
The licence is free to apply for once you have a pass certificate or candidate number that the exam center confirms is a pass.
The exam costs as does any course or practical assessments should a candidate wish to study for the exam outside of a regulated course. The foundation licence course and exam does not cost much, mine was £50 which included 6 evenings tuition and the exam fee.
Why do you need a licence ? Basically the hobby uses frequencies that are shared by the MOD and other services on a secondary user basis. If you have a licence it is assumed you know enough to be where you are allowed and also know when to stand aside for users that have a priority user standing. Also, our hobby is different from CB as most Hams that progress to the Intermediate level should understand radio and antenna components and fix the thing when it goes POP. You are working with currents that can be lethal and thus the licence shows competence. Radio is a prep in my opinion and to fix a prep is also a prepping skill !
The hobby may be a daily or periodical thing but when on air it is great fun be it chatting with known or regular stations or just seeing how conditions make the days radio play go (different atmospheric conditions open some bands and close others with contact areas being different on different times and days).
There are rules that in the mundane radio world we must comply with. Politics is frowned on as is swearing or racism. There is also rules that would stop you using the amateur bands for advertising your business and some real stupid rules that would stop you giving directions to a venue, even if it's a radio club or field day (Personally I think OFCOM should have a think about that one if the hobby needs to attract new blood).
The hobby becomes a passion and having a body which can remove your right to use radio for transmission is a fair way to keep standards up and stop the hobby gravitating into sewer.
After the course and exam costs of each of the 3 levels of licence the licence is free if registered on-line. There is a licence condition that licenses must be renewed by notification within a period not greater than 5 years, this too is free if again done on-line.
Who regulates amateur radio ? well in the UK it is OFCOM but the Radio Society of Great Britain work in hand with OFCOM to make our hobby as fluid as it can be (looks at all the Hams rolling on the floor at that last one)
Also why we need a licence, as part of our radio conditions we give the service users the right to call upon us to use our equipment or to pass on messages on their behalf. CB or PMR do not have the registration we have and thus in an emergency our licence gives the service users an idea of where amateur stations are that may be called upon to help.
I've saved this for last regarding the who regulates the hobby. In short, we the amateurs regulate it on the most direct and personal level. The standards asked for from the amateur is a way to keep our hobby that we enjoy. Idiots are ignored and regular idiots tend to have a run in with Ofcom. I believe the fine for illegal use of amateur bands and equipment is up to a £5000 fine and/or 6 months in prison, I stand to be corrected on that though ?

Now if you have a radio which can transmit on any amateur bands but just use it to listen you're committing no crime. If the SHTF then would OFCOM have the time and man-power to worry that much about a licence, I'll leave that for you to ponder ;)

Anyhow, hope that made some sense, but if it didn't then ask away, there's plenty on here that will be more than able to fill in the bits I've forgotten.

Wulfshead
Area 4 Coordinator

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack

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Re: Frequently asked Quetions

Postby ian2509 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:45 pm

Hi Wulfshead,
Thanks for that very detailed explanation, your clearly a man in the know. I guess I can see the merit in licencing the airwaves to keep it all clean so to speak. I have recently purchased at baofeng GT3-MK2, I dont think its capable of using the regulated freqs, so for now im going to stick to the amateur bands until im ready to take my test and dip my toes into larger more expensive kit. :D
"Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing"

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Re: Frequently asked Quetions

Postby Wulfshead » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:51 pm

Ian, just a word of warning and some clarification.
What we class as the 'amateur bands' are those bands one needs a licence to work on. CB and PMR are not licensed bands and the GT3 only tunes to the licence free PMR section of the 70 cm band which is licence free. However, if you were a stickler for rules then the lowest power setting on the GT3 is 1 watt, twice as much as the permitted max limit of power one can use on PMR. That said, I know of a few amateurs that do use their baofeng handies on PMR lol (very handy for keeping track of the grandson when out and about).
What you have in that radio is a 2 meter and 70 cm radio. In those spectrums of the amateur bands it is pretty much all licence holders only that can use them. Even the marine section requires an exam, or did when me and my mate took up sailing his boat.
So basically take the jump and do the foundation licence and then you're not standing on the wrong side of the authorities by running a risk.
If you need any help finding a radio club near you I'll be happy to offer what help I can.

Oh, I only hold an intermediate licence, a radio friend that may pop in soon will no doubt push me on to do the full licence soon, that Essex Ham chappie is a bully :lol: ;) :lol:

Wulfshead
Area 4 Coordinator

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack

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Re: Frequently asked Quetions

Postby metatron » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:00 pm

I'd say the best radio for the money nowadays in the Radioddity gd-77. As they are dual band and support both analogue and digital. They come with a programming cable and the software and can scan for activity.

Setting them up is fairly simple and even without a license they are useful, as most companies/organisations have gone fully digital. This means you can listen in to shop watch, the busses and other public services radio's and see what's going on.

Analogue outside of HF is dying. When car boot season rolls around, I've found quite a few bargains, but unless you've got friends locally, activity is low and getting lower year on year, as ham radio has an aging population in the UK and younger people are not taking it up, in any meaningful numbers.

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