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Perspectives on UK Foundation license approach versus US equivalent


Thanks for the heads up. I hadn’t actually planned on applying for a call sign until I pass the Intermediate assessment and exam. Maybe I should reconsider this and not apply until I pass my Full exam and make an effort to bring that date forward. While its doesn’t solve my callsign mix up issue it at least allows my US Extra class ticket to give me the max flexibility in UK around power and bands.



I knew that was true for operation in the UK that if you have a UK callsign, you can only use your UK callsign. However I thought this may not be the case if you are in a country outside the UK where someone has both UK callsign and callsign for the country that radio amateur is in. I thought this depended on what the licence regulations were for that country.

For example when we are in Tenerife last year, there was one radio amateur that was Gerry who held both callsigns of EA8CTB and GM4RKM. When me and my dad Tom M1EYP were activating SOTA summits in Tenerife last year Gerry worked us using both callsigns of EA8CTB and EA8/GM4RKM, he said that under Spanish licence regulations he was allowed to do this. Is this not actually the case, was he not allowed to work us using EA8/GM4RKM? I know if Gerry was in Scotland, he would only be allowed to use GM4RKM and not MM/EA8CTB.

Jimmy M0HGY


You could look it up Jim. The EA licensing conditions are available online in English.

However, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it - it ain’t your problem. As activators we worked the stations that called in. In that position, we can only assume that they are operating withing the parameters of their licence.


Hi Jimmy,
OK so it looks like the rule is true for both the UK and the US (from what has been said further up). As Paul is concerned about living and operating in both the US and the UK, that answers his question I think.

As I said to Andy, I thought I had read it under the CEPT agreement - if that is the case, it would apply to all CEPT signatories but I cannot find that text in either TR 61-01 or -02. So whether it’s in a different CEPT advisory document or I’ve seen it in an Ofcaom only document I’m no longer sure.

It’s probably best to simply say that Paul should check with Ofcom about operating as a visitor using his US call prefixed with M/ when he is a temporay resident and had a valid UK call. However I beleive Paul intends if possible to sit all the exams and tests so that he gets a UK full call as well, so this discussion becomes irrelevant.

Hmm, it’s interesting for me though - could I use DL/VK2JI/P or DL/G8GLM/P from a German summit I wonder… Reference in the TR documents refer to the amateurs National call sign - OK but which Nation??



Hi Ed,

I agree that it is best probably for Paul W6PNG to operate with his foundation callsign when he is on the UK, I he is after higher priviIeges while in the UK than the foundation licence, he could contact Ofcom to see if he could use his American callsign in the UK. It looks like he will be studying his intermediate and full licence anyway.

I always thought from when I was studying for my full licence that when operating in a foreign country, you can operate under the licensing regulations of that country as well as the CEPT regulations. I suggest you have a look at the German regulations to see if you can operate your UK and Austrailian callsigns in Germany as well as your German callsign.

Jimmy M0HGY


It doesn’t matter what people think or believe but if nobody is able to point to where this “you must use your UK licence” rule exists then it’s merely hearsay or wishful thinking.


…or they can’t find it.


It is worth remembering that TR61-01 is a CEPT recommendation addressed to national administrations. It is a useful reference document in so far as we can generally assume that signatories have indeed incorporated its recommendations into their national regulations and licences, but TR61-01 is not in itself a regulatory document that applies directly to us as licencees.

It seems to be undisputed that in the USA, the FCC regulations forbid the holder of a US licence from operating in the USA under the terms of a licence issued by another administration. The question on the table is whether the Ofcom regulations in the UK carry the analogous prohibition. Non-existence is hard to prove, but I do not recall ever having seen such a regulation, in my licence or elsewhere. I think therefore it is up to those who assert that such operation is forbidden to cite the regulation that forbids it. I don’t believe anybody has yet done so.

There is of course the general provision in the CEPT agreement that it permits short term use by temporary visitors to a foreign country. If you have recently taken out a UK licence, which presumably involves registering an address, I think it may be hard to argue that you are simultaneously a temporary visitor.

But that is not the same as saying that the use of M/us-call by a UK licence holder is invariably forbidden. For example, a UK licence holder might move abroad. I don’t believe that would of itself revoke their UK licence, but they would no longer be a UK resident. Under such circumstances, they could legitimately claim to be temporary visitors if they came back briefly.

All that being said, exploiting the CEPT licence to gain privilege is not really “in the spirit”, in my personal opinion.

Martyn M1MAJ


Interesting subject.

Did mine in 2002 after many years of CB and 11m

And what a world it opened up even with its restrictions in what we can do as i take to the fullest of my limitations and under fair to good conditions you be surprised what you can do on 10w. In early days yes there were some whom shunned you cause you were a M3 (Now M6) but learnt to ignore them and get on with it. But shyed away about 2005 and came back when moved to Cornwall in 2014 and found all these M6’s floating about.

But 16 years on am surprised amount of M3s still on air as many moved one to bigger things.

Stuck in a rut may be. but I enjoy what i have and make the most of it and one day must increase to a 2E level and perhaps we ought to ask question why you still an M3 as could say same of 2E, not reaching higher levels

I have no A’s levels but some experience in electrics and propagation from SW and CB etc and work yet almost did 100% in me exam thanks to past experiences. Thinks might be stuck in semi QRP mode and use the licence to restrict me self. Oh been accused of more than 10w many a time . BUT location helps building good antennas help and riding the propagation when it arrives in its many forms across the HF and not U and VHF.

But when am in right frame of mind must take it to another level.

So there’s one point of view from a longish time Foundation licence holder

M3FEH karl


I don’t want to operate incorrectly and in turn invalidate a bunch of QSOs.

I’ve reached out to the RSGB to see if they can shed light of whether language exists that definitely addresses the scenario of using a UK and US (Mx/US-call) by the same person while in the UK.

Past experience suggests this might be an easier path for me at present versus direct to OfCom.

As stated earlier I don’t intend to apply for a Foundation callsign but rather an Intermediate if and once I pass that assessment/exam. Depending on what the RSGB offers up (or OfCom) I might not apply for any UK callsign until and if I pass the Full!



Having looked through all the documents I can find and several (long) threads on the Internet from people in a similar situation to you Paul, it appears that Ofcom do not recognise any longer the reciprocal agreement between the UK and the US that existed before CEPT (as per the references in my private mail to you) and that the only option remaining outside of the CEPT TR 61/01 3 month, no application needed CEPT arrangement is a Temporary Reciprocal Licence of 6 months that has to be renewed each six months at a cost of UKL20 (possibly plus administration fees of a further UKL20).

I will be interested to hear what the RSGB can find out. The CEPT TR61/02 agreement, I thought, was supposed to handle your situation.

73 Ed.


So there is no clearly written, published rule that anyone can point to that says you have to use a UK licence if you have one. As I expected. If there was anything it would be trivial to find as all UK laws are available online.

Use the US call under CEPT when you need to Paul. Especially as you are not domiciled permanently in the UK.


To keep Andy happy, do you have reference for this. It is also my “understanding” however without a legal document - it’s arguable.
The worst situation would be to operate a CEPT style foreign call with prefix and then be pulled up by Ofcom for not using your UK call. I aways use G8GLM while in the UK.

73 Ed.


Hi Ed,

Unfortunately I don’t have any actual to proof and for my activation logs in the Database where I have both EA8CTB and EA8/GM4RKM showing in my activation logs.

Not sure if my dad Tom M1EYP has any written communication from Gerry EA8CTB/GM4RKM regarding this.

Also I do remember working Marc G0AZS from Wendover Woods G/CE-005 back in October 2011 and then Marc then came to meet us there, as I was struggling for contacts I asked Marc if he was able to work me under his American and Swedish callings to provide me 2 more contacts, however he said that he wasn’t allowed to do this as he had a UK callsign. Unfortunately I have no written evidence of this.

Jimmy M0HGY


Is there any money in it for Ofcom? No. So they wont be doing anything then.


Agreed, as I said in an earlier post, as the AR licence in the UK does not have an annual fee, there is no incentive for Ofcom to do anything as it’s all cost to them. After the licence changed to no charge, from what I read in the Ofcom explanatory notes, was to be reviewed in 2016/17 - it seems they decided to leave things as they were.

Having said that both in Australia (ACMA) and Germany (BNetzA), where there is still an annual licence fee, things don’t appear a lot different.



At least we aren’t paying for no service :slight_smile:


There is also no clearly written, published rule that says you cannot hold more than one class of amateur licence in the UK. Some people have contrived to hold concurrently two, or even three UK callsigns of different classes (Foundation, Intermediate and Full) and they can be heard using any of them as the fancy takes them. I have always thought that this is a ridiculous state of affairs, and that the lower class of licence should be revoked as soon as the holder is issued with a licence of a higher class. However, it doesn’t seem to work that way … at least for some people!

By the same token, therefore, I can see no reason why a holder of a higher class of licence from another CEPT country should not be allowed to use it under CEPT rules when visiting the UK, even if he holds a UK licence of a lower class.

I am willing to be proved wrong … if the relevant documentation can be produced.

Walt (G3NYY)


My intermediate and advanced licences are current and used within the agreement terms. Why is this an issue, I worked hard to gain both and will use them as i see fit. Matt , 2E1IHZ / M0IAW


You may do as you please. You are not breaking the current regulations, but Ofcom are not keen on it.

“Although it is not currently a condition of the Licence and is not currently required in order to obtain a licence, it helps us to ensure that our records are up-to-date if licensees surrender the lower class of Licence, when progressing from one class to the next. This makes it easier for us to manage licence records.”

Source: Ofcom Amateur Radio Guidance for Licensees, paragraph 1.2
[On www.ofcom.org.uk website]

Walt (G3NYY)