No RSL whilst abroad

Regional secondary locator.

It’s the M,D,I,W,U,J insert into UK calls i.e. M0FMF is MM0FMF in Scotland.

Now if only we could get the RSGB QSL bureau to accept this simple fact and sort cards by base callsign disregarding RSL. Then I would only have to send envelopes to one sub-manager rather than five.



Always used GM4COX when abroad over the last forty odd years. Reduces confusion especially when station you are working comes back and says - “sorry old man you don’t appear to be licenced” - having checked the likes of ? But you can get around it THUS F, DL, HB9, I, EA, W’s VE’s, KL, VK, ZL, etc/GM4COX/M or P

VP8JAK (not listed on strange as I have a lifetime licence purchased at Port Stanely Post Office. Oh forgot they were giving them away with lucky bags :grin:)

Doesn’t mean you are correct just because you have always done it.

Yes, that would be nice. However it isn’t practical because the sorting of incoming cards is done by non-hams. Richard employs local part-time people to do the bulk of the sorting. He has enough trouble getting them to sort cards as it is. I’m only sub-manager for a small series but even so I get a number of miss-sorted cards in each load which have to be reprocessed.

Yep! But you’ve got to be a rebel sometimes. Nothing like living on the edge :relaxed:

While that might have been legal in the past it isn’t now.

Hi Colin - maybe life was simpler back then. Having said that I’m off to VE land later this year and I’ll check before hand what I am suppose to use. Though in VE land a GM call is welcome (lots of Canadians with Scots connections about) - hi!


I thought Portuguese prefixes were messing with common sense.
Now I realized that ANACOM and OFCOM went to the same school!

73 de Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF


Having no RSL in Ofcom terms states I am in England! The prefix of course indicates the actual territory from which one is operating. It would be unambiguous were you or I to operate as HB0/G4TJC or HB0/MM0FMF respectively and seems entirely logical. Is someone signing HB0/EA2xxx in the “2” region of Spain - of course not.

I think we do have a “home call sign” insofar as we have the call sign we would use at our main (registered) station address. Anywhere else I would be signing /A or whatever. Adding the # to the licence document for consistency of definition for UK operation is unfortunately a recipe for confusion where international operation is concerned.

The problem stems from the asymmetric nature of the UK (and Crown Dependencies) RSL system. If it’s not somewhere else it defaults to England. This reflects the asymmetric nature of our constitutional arrangements and harks back to a time when “English” was more-or-less a synonym for “British”. Anywhere with a proper federal setup would never invent something like our RSLs.

And what stands out as a discrepancy is the Intermediate call sign format. With these we use ‘E’ for England. So what’s going to happen if ever UK joins ECC/REC/(05)06, allowing CEPT operation for intermediate stations? (HB0, for example, is already a signatory)

I suppose this might even be happening now, as some administrations may already allow 2E / 2W / &c to operate? So would a holder of a “2#” licence with main address in Wales be forced to identify as HB0/2Exxx? That would be ridiculous, but surely that’s what’s implied in the full licence case. It’s just that for ‘E’ read ‘NULL’.

It would be far more logical if the use of the Intermediate E RSL extended to the other licence classes too. Then we could sign HB0/G4TJC and HB0/M0FMF safe in the knowledge that no unwarranted regional affiliation is implied! :wink:

Again what’s legal is whatever the local administration says is legal. If Ofcom can’t make the issued call sign unambiguous then it’s not surprising if other administrations have a different interpretation than intended.

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When Ofcom played with RSLs (2015?) they seemed to think in some discussions that MM0FMF and M0FMF were different stations not the same station in different places.

The whole RSL is nonsense. But even admitting that, it’s such a part and parcel of UK radio culture that I don’t want to see it go. We’re known as GMs up here even though no GM calls have been issued for 21years!

The intermediate call is the bogey. Had it been 20HGY 2M0HGY etc. it would follow the same pattern as G and M calls. ISTR the entire 2 block is a UK allocation but there maybe some other ITU issue regarding 2 follow by another number.

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Many standard QSL cards have a “QSL via” box these days - I’d suggest that if you update your entry on to say always QSL via M1MAJ. So whether the call was made with you while you were in Germany as DL/M1MAJ, France as F/M1MAJ, Scotland as MM1MAJ, Isle of Man as MD1MAJ etc. etc. all QSL cards should then get routed to your QSL manager for M1MAJ.

73 Ed.

Agree andy the RSL is a pain, but it isn’t going to change. If it were done away with it would vastly simplify the system. Especially the point about when driving across a border. As well as freeing up extra call signs.

In Australia if I drove from New South Wales to Victoria State and set up there my call would change from VK2JI to VK2JI/3 or “Portable VK3”. (this avoid clashing with the other amateur VK3JI).

The equivalent in the UK would be that G8GLM in Scotland would be G8GLM/P GM or possibly G8GLM/P MM (spaces after /P only for clarity not used).

Interestingly a German operator who loves working from the Scottish Islands approached Ofcom and got the reply in writing that his call could be prefixed either by MM or GM while he operated in Scotland as both were identifyable by them as being Scotland. He didn’t like MM/ as get kept getting asked if he was Maritime Mobile (even those it was a prefix not a suffix), so now he operates as GM/DLnxxx while in “Bonnie Scotland”.

73 Ed.

Why? Why do I need to say I’m in Scotland. The licence is a UK licence not an English licence. There is no need to complicate things.

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We have had many funny situations resulting from people alerting as for example, vk1da/p2. Many software products will deduce that I am portable in New Guinea, P2 land. Quite a good contact on 2m.

For this reason the practice is to say “portable 2” but record the combination as /2.

The licencing authority in Australia does not require visitors to use the international callsign format, but it would be much better if they did. Eg vk1/m0fmf rather than m0fmf/vk1.

To expect or hope for consistency appears to be just wishful thinking.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

(PS. VK has RSLs but they are Returned Servicemen’s League clubs. )

OK, I accept that - so all stations will be M something, G something or 2 something. Yes that works for me as well.


Hi Andrew,
I don’t know if it ever got fixed but 5 years ago they were documents on the WIA website and the ACMA site - one said the VKn should be the prefix (as per CEPT) and the other that it should be the suffix!!



You are lucky to get even mis-sorted cards. My RSGB sub-manager has not received any incoming cards from the bureau for the G3L** to G3N** series since September 2017.

Walt (G3NYY)

The callsign 2SZ was issued by Ofcom for an amateur radio club activity about 3 years ago (Mill Hill School).
It is still listed on

There was also an incident in 1958 when a special event station in Kilmarnock, Scotland was erroneously allocated the callsign GBM2KR.

It is a good thing that British Intermediate licensees are not normally allowed to operate outside the UK, otherwise it would be necessary for them to use callsigns like DL/20HGY etc.

Walt (G#3NYY)

The licensing authority in The Bahamas has always insisted that the country designator must be placed after the home callsign, not before it. My callsign was printed on my reciprocal licence as G3NYY/C6A.

Walt (G3NYY)