Foundation Course

Your first steps into Amateur Radio

At the start of any new hobby or career everything is new, terminology, ideas, systems etc. The Foundation course is designed to get you on the first rung of the ladder.

The Foundation Course is designed to gently introduce you to the world of Amateur Radio. You will learn how to use Amateur Radio to make contacts all over the world safely, legally, and efficiently.

There is no actual requirement for you to complete a Foundation Course with us (or any other Amateur Radio Club), however you MUST complete some practical assessments and a multiple choice test in order to obtain an Amateur Radio call-sign, and this MUST be done BEFORE you use any Amateur Radio frequencies. Attendance on a Foundation Course is highly recommended as there is a lot to take in, and you can’t ask a book questions!

The practical assessments are as follows:

  • Demonstrate, using a VHF/UHF transmitter/receiver; correct tuning in to an amateur FM voice signal and a data signal such as packet. Read the signal strength meter (where fitted).
  • Demonstrate correct operation of a VHF transmitter/receiver in simplex mode.
    Note: Controls used shall include frequency, squelch and, audio gain (volume).
  • Make a simplex radio contact and exchange signal reports.
  • Demonstrate, using an HF transmitter/receiver, correct tuning in to an amateur SSB voice signal and a Morse signal. Read the signal strength meter.
  • Demonstrate correct operation of an HF transmitter/receiver in an SSB contact.
    Note: Controls used shall include frequency, the RIT (clarifier), audio gain (volume), RF gain,  microphone gain and antenna tuner (ATU).
  • Make an HF SSB voice contact and exchange signal reports.
  • Demonstrate a CQ call on VHF/UHF, making a contact and initiating a change of frequency  (QSY) off the calling channel.
  • Connecting a transmitter/receiver.
  • Demonstrate connecting a transmitter/receiver to a power supply, antenna and feeder.
  • Demonstrate, using a λ/2 dipole antenna with adjustable elements, that the SWR varies as the length of the elements are varied. Set up the dipole for minimum SWR.
    Note: The elements are not to be adjusted whilst transmitting. Correct procedure for a radiating test shall be demonstrated.
  • Morse Appreciation OR Digital Modes- Demonstrate the ability to make a contact using a mode other than telephony.With the exception of hand sent Morse code, this contact must be made on air and include as a minimum:
    •  Tuning the radio and/or the computer system to the correct frequency, ⦁ Selecting the correct mode,
    •  Setting the radio microphone gain and/or computer audio interface to correct levels and,
    • Two-way exchange of call sign, signal report, location.Where data modes are used, the candidate must type and send all information in real time.
    • Where hand sent Morse code is used:Demonstrate ability to send correctly by hand, and to receive correctly by ear, text in Morse Code.The receiving and sending test shall be conducted using text from the RSGB provided booklet.The candidate may choose the character speed and spacing.The candidate will be provided with a copy of the Morse Code both in code and alphabetical sequence during the assessment. Sufficient correct code must be exchanged for the content of the message to be understood.Receiving test:The candidate may, if desired, write down the dots and dashes for subsequent transcription and proceed one letter at a time. The tutor may re-send characters if required.Sending test: The candidate is permitted to make any necessary preparations prior to sending, including writing the Morse code for each character to be sent.