How To Become A Licensed Radio Ham

Here is a little story about how to become a radio ham. Well, that’s what I did to get issued with a license to transmit. I became interested in amateur radio back in the early 90s, Iโ€™d recently moved house and the chap opposite had a large aerial in his garden. It turned out that he was a CB radio operator and that the aerial was a half wave vertical.

I popped over to see him sometimes and started chatting to people on the radio. It wasn’t long before I’d bought my own CB radio.

One of the chaps that I started speaking with lived close by and invited me round for coffee one day.

How To Become A Licensed Radio Ham - G7MJV
Anytone 878 2 meters and 70 Cms handheld radio

He happened to mention that his brother was a licensed radio amateur ( I think he held a G8 callsign) and that some radio hams could use the HF bands (Shortwave) if they’d passed the morse code* test.

Very soon afterwards, I bought myself a Sony world band radio (ICF-SW7600) and started tuning around the HF amateur radio bands.

Within a short space of time I was listening to 2 American hams on 20 meters ๐Ÿ™‚

If you don’t have a suitable receiver to listen to the HF amateur radio bands then you can do it online by using the Hack Green WebSDR.

Some time later I bought a radio scanner from Nevada Communications and discovered the local amateurs on 2M and 70cms. I often used to listen to a semi-local repeater in Portsmouth on 145.775 MHz called GB3PC.

*UK radio amateurs have not had to learn Morse code to obtain their licence since July 2003.

How To Become A Licensed Radio Ham

Now that I’d become so interested in ham radio radio, the 2 of us went to evening classes at Southampton Technical College to learn about radio and study for the RAE (Radio Amateursโ€™ Examination)..

We sat a 2 part exam. Part 1 (Licence conditions and transmitter interference), and Part 2 (Operating procedures, practice and theory).

When we sat our exams, in the early 90s, the RAE was run by the City & Guilds.

Towards the end of the 90s, it was taken over by the RSBG ( Radio Society of Great Britain). They introduced the Foundation, Intermediate and Full radio license.

We both passed the RAE

I’m pleased to say that we both passed the RAE first time ๐Ÿ™‚

I seem to remember that I had to send off my certificate to Ofcom and wait for a letter.

Within a short space of time, I heard back from them and was allocated a ‘B-class’ call sign. I became G7MJV while my friend was allocated G7MLS. I was now licensed radio amateur ๐Ÿ™‚

Not long after this, I bought a second hand Alinco DR-112 for the 2 meter band and a Diamond X-300 aerial. I was finally on air and enjoying amateur radio.

I’ve recently started early retirement so this is a great hobby to keep me busy.

If you’re interested and want to know how to be a radio ham then contact the RSGB

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