Call sign prefix for US operator in Wales and England

Under the CEPT agreement some US FCC licensed operators can operate from within certain European etc countries including Wales and England.

Scanning the linked document at it appears I would prefix my call with MW when in Wales and presumably M for England as in


For some reason I had assumed it would be GW/W6PNG and G/W6PNG.

Anyone know which is correct…I’d hate to have the RSGB Police hunting me down after activating a peak!


M/xxxx and MW/xxxx.

It was G/xxxx and GW/xxxx upto the start of the M series of calls which first appeared in 1996.





One other question…can I use M/W6PNG all over the UK or do I have to use MW/ in Wales MM/ in Scotland etc?


Only if you want 2 things to happen. One: Every QSO you have with someone in whichever country you are located in that isn’t England to tell you (forcibly) “Hey, you’re not in England now!” Two: Your SOTA contacts to be invalid for not being using a valid licence.

The extra letter (M, W, I, D, J, U) is used to say which country you are in that isn’t England. You get England for free!

For the difference between England, United Kingdom and Great Britain this will help (and yes it is confusing and locals get it wrong often):

Yes unfortunately it’s the M / MW etc. prefixes that were included in the CEPT agreement. I say unfortunately as the rest of the world still expects G / GW etc. as that’s what is shown on all of the call prefix maps that you can buy.

If I go to Wales however my call would be GW8GLM as my UK call is G8GLM.

The UK is different to most other countries where one would suffix the call when you travel to another part of the nation - so for example someone who lives in NSW Australia (VK2) - say VK2JI who drives to Melbourne in Victoria would then use the call VK2JI/VK3. I believe the US is similar?

In the UK, the front of the call changes, so G8GLM (England) is GW8GLM when I travel to Wales. This of course means that someone living in Wales can’t have the call GW8GLM as I might (one time in my life) travel to Wales. If there is someone like Andy living in Scotland with the call MM0FMF, that means the callsign M0FMF cannot be issued to someone living in England.
The same issue occurs across G/GM/GI/GJ/GU/GD/GW and M/MM/MI/MJ/MU/MD/MW and 2E/2M/2I/2J/2U/2D/2W - the end result is that far, far more call signs are blocked from the available ranges than are allocated !!

Not sure why this illogical solution was chosen rather than doing what other countries had done before but that’s the way it is today and it’s unliklely it will ever be “fixed”.

73 Ed DD5LP / G8GLM / VK2JI.


Thanks and got it.



a GB call, special event call, can be used in any of the seven UK/GB entities.

Hi Andy,

I read the OFCOM pages about visiting operators and decided the simplest thing for me was to just use the M/ prefix. but the website does mention that in some circumstances, mainly long visits, they “may” issue a UK callsign. I was unsure how long that process would take.

Is there a generally well understood set of criteria for that? I might take up that option if it is available for my next visit, which will be in an indeterminate time. But our visit this year has sparked some interest in a return trip and it might be within the next few years.

Apologies for hooking onto this thread to ask this question, but others in similar situations would be interested in what the general understanding is for such licence issues. I understand the FCC encourages frequent visitors to get a US licence - perhaps it allows more knowledge of the operator in case of need. Same would apply to UK I presume.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

It should be quick if you have all the right paper work. I hold a club callsign that previously belonged to a friend now SK. I checked by phone what was needed to transfer the call (a club callsign application form, letter of authority from the relatives approving the transfer, £20 fee.). I sent it off by post and had the licence in no time really allowing for post there and back a day or two to do the admin.

ACMA don’t issue a HAREC (harmonised amateur radio examination certificate) so you can’t use that to just apply for a UK full reciprocal licence. You’d need to contact Ofcom and ask. But I don’t see it as an issue as there has always been a large amount of body traffic between the UK and VK. They should be used to handling these applications. So some paperwork and twenty of our lovely British pounds will get you a reciprocal call and you should be able to do it in advance of coming over.

You can email or ring Ofcom and ask. I don’t think anyone anywhere checks how long people have used CEPT calls. I know of someone who used a UK call as EA5/Gxxxx for 15 years and nobody said anything!

No, but your Certificate of Proficiency issued by the WIA is recognised as a HAREC. You need that before you can go to ACMA for a licence.

See: Visiting & Reciprocal Licensing

Now I’m delving into the realms of my memory, but I think if you stay longer than 90 days in a country, CEPT-style operating no longer applies and you have to get a local license, which the HAREC that allows CEPT operating in the first place can be used to obtain.

Correct Andrew (3ARR), the CEPT arrangement is for stay of up to 3 months. For longer stays the visitor need to apply for a reciprocal call sign under the arrangements that were in place prior to CEPT.

Looking at the reverse situation, when I decided I wanted to get back into amateur radio when I lived in Australia, my City and Guilds Radio Amateur Examination pass certificate from the UK was accepted as proof of proficiency to be issued an Australian Licence. I would hope the reverse would apply that Ofcom would accept the ACMA approved certificate of proficiency. I could only see a possible issue if Andrew (2UH) was not planning to stay longer than 3 months in the UK, Ofcom could correctly say, the CEPT process is what applies. Both options only apply if the person has a current “full” licence, which is the case.

73 Ed.


On a another CEPT operation topic, does anyone know which CEPT countries still require a Morse test to operate HF?

Some of you may think that as they are CEPT countries none of them have the Morse requirement, however this is wrong. According to the RSGB website it states this “At the moment not all countries have followed the UK by abandoning the Morse test requirement for an HF licence. If you held a Class-B Full licence, you would be well advised to check that you will be able to operate on HF in any country you are travelling to.” Operating Abroad - Radio Society of Great Britain - Main Site : Radio Society of Great Britain – Main Site

I cannot find anywhere which lists CEPT countries that still require the Morse requirement other than contacting licensing bodies to check. If anyone does know of CEPT countries that require a Morse test, it would be helpful to maybe state them on a new thread as it will be helpful to people who are going abroad to operate as there are quite a lot of people that have licences equivalent to the CEPT licence who have not passed a Morse test.

Jimmy M0HGY

Russia is one.

Would it not be more helpful for this information to be included on the summits database for each region, make life a lot easier for visiting activators to different countries/regions.


No, because then we (the MT) have to track 80 different licensing bodies worldwide and keep our info updated as the rules change. And the rules are not clear even for my home licensing body so finding out what gives for other countries would be a nightmare!


That’s a country by country question unfortunately.
From CEPT TR16/01 (alst amendments May 2016)

“The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations,

e) that in accordance with Article 25 of the ITU Radio Regulations (rev WRC-03), administrations shall determine whether or not a person seeking a licence to operate an amateur station shall demonstrate the ability to send and receive texts in Morse code signals;
f) that the ability to send and receive texts in Morse code signals is not required for the purpose of this Recommendation;

Although since 15 September 2003 Morse roficiency is NOT a requirement under TR 16/01 reference to table 1 shows some exceptions.
In the Table of CEPT countries (table 1) check the ones marked with a superscripted of 3,7 or 12 under the equivalent national licence conditions, where the Morse test is a requirement for operation in their country. I would say it is reasonable to expect that those countries would require the amateur using the CEPT arrangement in those countries would be required to have passed the morse test in their home country (difficult for those visiting from countries that no longer have the morse test and hard to check of course!).

The only country listed in Table 1 with the superscript 3 is : Belarus (aka White Russia).
Specifically for Estonia, superscript 7 - requires a morse code proficiency of 5 words per minute.
Superscript 12 requires the Morse code proficency for operation on the HF bands - this applies to Latvia, Moldova, Monaco, Turkey, Ukraine
Peru (superscript 19) is in between - it is not clear whether Morse is required still or not.

This is my reading of the document - PLEASE check yourself. The intention appears to be the removal of the requirement of any Morse code proficiency when operating under the CEPT agreement when you come from a country that no longer has this requirement since September 2003 however as you may need to communicate with local authorities, it may be good to have evidence of Morse proficiency (if you have it) with you when travelling to countries that still require this for their local licences.

73 Ed.

Thanks, I will consider my options when I next plan a trip over there.

My AOCP was gained in 1965 with a 14 wpm morse test which I think is equivalent to the test in force in the uk at that time. The theory test was the old essay type 7 question format. I think I had one question which called for the circuit diagram for a plate and screen modulated amplifier and an explanation of how it achieved 100% modulation.

And kids today complain.

Per Andrew’s (VK1DA) post, I looked at the Ofcom site and it does state that operating in the UK visitors preface calls with M/. There’s no mention of MW for Wales or MM for Scotland etc.

So what am I using in Wales; M/ or MW/?


If you don’t want to accept the advice, knowledge and experience of the people who live here and have been actively using amateur radio in the UK and all over the CEPT world for the last 26 years then please just do as you want.