Interference to hobby radio

Published: 31 March 2022
Last updated: 16 March 2023

Hobby radio services include:

Interference to hobby radio is normally caused by:

  • electromagnetic disturbance from apparatus or installations;
  • poor immunity or receiver selectivity;
  • multiple users using the same channel at the same time in close range (congestion); or
  • unlicensed use of wireless telegraphy apparatus.

Read more about the causes of interference.

What you can do

In many cases, due to the low power and short range involved, the solution could be as simple as relocating the affected apparatus.

You might be able to identify the problem yourself. Where possible and safe, switch off devices around you one by one, and check to see if this improves the situation. While there might be an element of trial and error, this process could help to identify the source of the problem.

How we can help

In exceptional circumstances, we may investigate interference to hobby radio where we’re satisfied that:

  • the interference is ‘harmful’;
  • it is outside of your control;
  • all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise the effect.

We may send out an engineer to investigate. However, you could be liable for the cost of the investigation if we find that the criteria above have not been met.

What is harmful interference?

An electromagnetic disturbance or noise is not in itself ‘harmful’ interference.

Interference to radio communications is considered harmful if:

  • it creates danger, or risks of danger, in relation to the functioning of any service provided by means of wireless telegraphy for the purposes of navigation or otherwise for safety purposes
  • it degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts anything which is being broadcast or otherwise transmitted by means of wireless telegraphy and in accordance with a wireless telegraphy licence, or a grant of recognised spectrum access or otherwise lawfully.

It is unlikely that Ofcom would investigate a report of interference that is not regarded as ‘harmful’. It's not our policy, and we don’t have powers to do this effectively.

Report interference

Before reporting interference to us, you should:

  • log all incidents for at least a week, with the time, date and station or apparatus affected;
  • establish that the source of harmful interference is not within your control (e.g. within your own property); and
  • ensure the affected station or apparatus is functioning correctly.

Contact us for advice and assistance:

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