So I am now a qualified ratio operator. I took my theory exam last week, and the practical exam a couple of weeks ago. I am just waiting for my callsign to be confirmed, and then I can do… nothing.
I don’t have any equipment, so while it is cool to be qualified, at the moment there isn’t a lot I can do about it.
UK Radio Amateur Licenses
Different countries have different license arrangements. The current UK law says that there are three levels of license:
- Foundation license – allows operation up to 10W (10 Watts of power to the transmitter).
- Intermediate license – allows operation up to 50W, and modification of your kit, which you can’t do under Intermediate license.
- Full license – allows operation up to 400W, modification of kit, and some other legal things which are secret.
I decided to take up the test as part of learning physics, as it is extra information about some things. To be honest, I am glad I did the physics first, because the way that the course is taught, I don’t know how I would have passed just reading the books / erratic instruction from the group.
Also, I really wanted to get into electronics, but it is such a big subject, where to start?
As above, next up is the Intermediate exam which I want to do so that I can get close to the metal with building transmitters etc, and modifying kits.
Given a full rig costs somewhere in the region of £1000, I think that I will wait until I am Intermediately qualified before buying anything so I can have a play with it.
Radio and aerials / antennae
The difference between a good signal and a bad signal is the quality of the aerial. A top notch system with a bad antenna with have a bad signal. A top notch antenna with an ok system, will have a reasonable signal.
Aside from cost, a big problem with me operating is that I don’t really have anywhere to put up an aerial, so I would be severely limited to what I can do. Also, I live in a valley, which doesn’t help either.
So, yeah. Woo for being qualified. Boo for not actually being able to do anything about it.
This is, however, a sufficiently important thing that I have added a new category tag, so I will probably have more to say on the subject.