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Amateur Radio (Intermediate) Licence



The Amateur Radio (Intermediate) formerly known as (Novice) Licence was introduced with the aim of encouraging people of all ages, but particularly young people, to take up amateur radio.

This information sheet explains what is involved in being an Intermediate licensee, how the Intermediate licensing system works and how it fits in with the full amateur radio licensing system.

Do I need a licence?

By law you must obtain a licence from the Radiocommunications Agency before you may legally send messages by radio. The licence sets out the conditions that apply, for example that you may need certain qualifications.

What types of Intermediate Licence are available?

There are two types of Intermediate Licence, the Amateur Radio (Intermediate) Licence Class (A) and the Amateur Radio (Intermediate) Licence Class (B).

Class A Intermediates can use all the amateur frequency bands allocated to intermediates, including some bands below 30 MHz. Class B Intermediates have access to all the frequencies allocated to intermediates above 30 MHz. From 1 Oct 2001 both types of licence allow a maximum DC transmitter input power of 17 dBW or 50 dBW RF output from the transmitter.

What will the Intermediate Licence enable me to do?

Amateur Radio has been allocated a large number of frequency bands enabling amateurs to communicate with each other, both locally and worldwide using a variety of techniques. Intermediate licensees have been given small segments of the major bands, allowing them to experience almost all aspects of amateur radio at first hand - though as beginners they will work with fairly low output powers. Intermediates are likely to use mostly voice or Morse code, but the licence also allows them to send computer-to-computer messages, an increasingly popular aspect of amateur radio. Intermediates will gain an all round experience of amateur radio in practice.

Both Intermediate Licences allow the intermediate to use a wide variety of frequency bands. Those permitted under the Intermediate Licence (B), where most intermediates will probably begin, will enable regular contacts in your local area and occasionally at longer range, possibly several hundred miles.

The Intermediate Licence (A) gives access to additional frequency bands used particularly for long range communications. Intermediates using these bands will be able to make contacts with other countries, and perhaps other continents, very often using Morse code.

What if I just want to listen to amateur radio?

Many people gain a lot of enjoyment simply from listening to amateur radio transmissions. No licence is required for this, provided that the radio equipment you use is designed for reception only. If you do not wish to take the training course and exam, or are not yet sure how to proceed, a period of listening in to amateur transmissions can be a very useful introduction to the hobby.

What qualifications are required?

To obtain the Intermediate Licence (B), you must first successfully complete a practical training course (run by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB)) and then pass the Intermediate Radio Amateur Examination (IRAE - subject number 773) conducted by the City and Guilds of London Institute.

To obtain the Intermediate Licence (A), you require the above qualifi-cations plus a pass in the 5 wpm Morse Test, conducted by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). A pass in the 12 wpm RSGB Morse Code Test is also acceptable.

Existing full amateur radio licensees can apply for an Intermediate licence if they wish. Full Class B licensees of at least one year's standing are eligible to become Class A Intermediate licensee, if they pass the 5 wpm Morse Test. Such a licensee will hold both a Intermediate and a full Class B Licence, have both Intermediate and full Class B call signs and pay fees for both licences.

What does the training course consist of?

The training course is run by the RSGB and is available at many locations throughout the UK. The aim of the course is to train intermediate licensees in the basic skills of amateur radio and make sure they are well prepared to "go on the air". The course covers the correct operation of an amateur radio station, basic radio theory, and practice in constructing your own equipment. It also covers the conditions of the intermediate licence, an introduction to Morse code and many practical aspects of amateur radio. Each course is likely to last for about 30 hours spread over 12 weeks, although some trainees are likely to need longer than this. Throughout the course, trainees will be continuously assessed and will have to complete specific construction projects. Assessment will be of a general nature and a weakness in one or two areas will not adversely affect the overall assessment. There will be no final assessment at the end of the course.

How do I find out about the training course?

Information about the training course can be obtained from the RSGB. Mark your envelope "Intermediate Training".

What does the Intermediate Radio Amateur Examination consist of?

The Intermediate Radio Amateur Examination (IRAE) is conducted by the City and Guilds of London Institute. The examination will be held four times a year at centres located throughout the UK. The 75 minute examination comprises 45 multiple choice questions based on subjects covered in the training course. The Amateur Radio Intermediate Licence Schedule is provided for reference during the examination.

Information on the IRAE can be obtained from the City and Guilds of London Institute.

What does the Morse Test consist of?

The Morse Test will require a candidate to demonstrate his or her skill in receiving and sending Morse code at 5 words per minute.

Information on the Morse Test can be obtained from the Radio Society of Great Britain.

Why do I need to know about Morse code?

Morse code is a very efficient means of communications which enables low power transmitters to achieve good long distance contacts. Morse is also the universal language for amateurs and enables them to communicate even when they have no language in common. Even those who don't take the 5 wpm Morse test to qualify for the Amateur Radio (Intermediate) Licence (A), will find an introduction to Morse useful.

How much does the training course cost?

Trainees may have to meet the cost of materials used, such as components for construction projects and worksheets and the travelling and "modest" incidental expenses incurred by the instructor.

What does it cost to take the IRAE?

The City and Guilds' fee for the IRAE is £14. Individual examination centres may also make an administrative charge to candidates.

What is the fee for an Intermediate Licence?

The Radiocommunications Agency's fee for both classes of Intermediate Licence is £15.00 per annum. However, for those under 21 years of age the licence is free and from 1 April 2001, to those aged 75 years or over.

All licensees will be sent a renewal reminder each year, six weeks before the licence expires. If you are still under 21 at the date of renewal, you will need only to indicate that you wish to continue to be registered as an intermediate licensee.

How much will it cost to operate as an Intermediate?

There is a very wide range of equipment available from moderately priced kits to very expensive radio transceivers. Intermediates are free to use any type of equipment provided they operate within their licence conditions. There are many sources of low cost equipment suitable for intermediates - for example, construction kits designed specifically for them and secondhand equipment available through clubs, press advertisements and amateur rallies. Training course instructors will be able to advise trainees on the best way to get equipment at reasonable cost. Local amateur clubs may also be able to help.

What call signs do Intermediates use?

Intermediate licensees have a separate series of call signs whose format is similar to that for full amateur radio licensees. Some examples are:

2E 0 ACG - Class A Intermediate in England

2W 0 CLA - Class A Intermediate in Wales

2M 1 RGO - Class B Intermediate in Scotland

Intermediate licensees' call signs are made up of the following elements:


Taking these in turn:

They are:

E England
M Scotland
I Ireland
W Wales
D Isle of Man
U Guernsey
J Jersey

These are the same as for full licensees with the exception of England for which no regional secondary locator is required.

Is anyone else covered by my licence?

No, an Intermediate licensee may not supervise other radio operators. However, Intermediate licensees may operate the station of a full licensee under his or her direct supervision, utilising the conditions of the full licence, and of course, using the full licensee's call sign.

Where do I apply for my licence?

The Radio Licensing Centre issue all amateur radio licences. All applications for licences should be made by post to the Radio Licensing Centre.

Application forms may be obtained from the same address.

Contact points

For all enquiries i.e. licence renewals/general enquiries concerning individual licences or their issue:

Radio Licensing Centre
PO Box 885
Bristol BS99 5LG
Tel: 0117 925 8333
Minicom: 0117 921 9550

In order to comply with the requirements of the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act (CPI) 1996, all telephone calls to the Radio Licensing Centre are recorded.

For all enquiries on the practical training course and Intermediate Morse Test:

"Intermediate Training"
Radio Society of Great Britain
Lambda House
Cranborne Road
Potters Bar
Herts EN6 3JE
Tel: 01707 659015

For enquiries on the IRAE (subject 773):

City & Guilds of London Institute
1 Giltspur Street
London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468

For other enquiries on amateur radio:

Amateur Radio Services
Radiocommunications Agency
Wyndham House
189 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SX
Tel: 020 7211 0159/0160
Fax: 020 7211 0228
E-mail: amateurcb@ra.gsi.gov.uk

The Library and Information Service
Radiocommunications Agency
Wyndham House
189 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SX

Tel: 020 7211 0502/0505
Fax: 020 7211 0507
E-mail: library@ra.gsi.gov.uk

We will be pleased to help you.

For further information about other radio matters please contact the Agency's 24 Hour Telephone Enquiry Service 020 7211 0211.

Further reading

Subject listing of RA Information Sheets and Application Forms

Ref. No.
About the Agency
RA 0
Current List of Agency Publications
RA 2
Information on Licence Details, Enquiry Points and Organisational Structure
RA 206
Addresses of the RA Local District Offices
RA 354
The Radiocommunications Agency and its Role in Managing the Radio Spectrum
BR 68
Amateur Radio Licence (A) or (B). Terms, Provisions and Limitations Booklet BR 68
BR 68/I
Amateur Radio Intermediate Licence (A) or (B). Terms, Provisions and Limitations Booklet BR 68/I
Amateur Radio
RA 165
Intermediate Licence Application Form
RA 169
Receive only Radio Scanners etc.
RA 188
Amateur Radio Licence Application Form
RA 189
Application for a Temporary Licence for non-UK Residents
RA 190
How to become a Radio Amateur
RA 234
Electromagnetic Compatibility and the Radio Amateur
RA 247
Operation under CEPT
RA 345
Abuse of Amateur Radio
RA 356
Application for Establishment of an Amateur Repeater Station (not available at time of going to press)

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