Ofcom consultation (Part 1)

UK radio amateurs might like to read this consultation from Ofcom.


I have been using the newly proposed conditions for decades.

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Many of my friends operate at 1kW (and beyond) and have done for years too Richard. Some of them even hold full licences :wink:


What’s this “licence” business?


I think they are recognising reality. For example, restricting Intermediate licencees to 50W was a losing strategy when most of the popular HF radios are 100W. On the other hand raising the Foundation level from 10W to 20W seems pointless. How many 20W receivers are there?

On a personal note the proposal to allow up to 500mW airborne is interesting. My tests yesterday with a 10mW WSPR transmitter at ground level which was heard 2,500 km away were successful. The plan is to fly it under a balloon at above 10,000m altitude. The mind boggles what 500mW could do at a high altitude! :slight_smile:

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I can see this proposed change causing confusion:

  1. Any suffix, following the ‘slash’ symbol (‘/’) may be added to the transmitted call sign.

There are a few from China, and it might encourage construction of a 20w linear to boost a QRP rig such as an FT817/8.

The one thing that I don’t like is making a callsign of an SK available after only two years. More time should be allowed for memories to fade, after two years the callsign will still be associated with the previous holder who may have been a popular ham. To me its like jumping into a dead mans shoes.


Yeah, that’s way too soon. I occasionally get QSLs two or three times older than that, even electronic ones…


So make sure you respond to the consultation.


Of course!

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The airborne proposal excludes the 70cm band which is a shame. It will leave the High Altitude Balloon (HAB) group in the same position as they currently use license exempt equipment. Also there is a plentiful supply of “Free” 70cm beacons falling from the sky that could be relaunched. These are the weather radio sondes, the Valsala RS41 is easy to reprogram but would be in the 70cm band. These can be used for STEM school projects and would be an ideal amateur reuse of hardware.

73 de Andrew G4VFL


I think the problem is 433/434 MHz is used by many low power ( <25Mw) devices including vehicle locking systems and medical implants. I suspect this part of the band is already too crowded to allow the possibility of interference from (relatively) higher power transmitters.


OTOH, it would give them access to APRS on 2 metres (which they can’t use at present).

…and that won’t change. That said, quite a few are using even higher frequency ISM kit these days, much of it using LoRa…

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Which is why it is essential it runs in the correct part of the band at the correct duty cycle to minimise QRM to others wanting to do likewise.

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I was going to suggest that the new licence platform doesn’t offer old callsigns automatically (it offers M7/M8/M9/M0 options first) then if a different one is desired you have to click to another step to find a free one from a previously issued series, then maybe another step to find a previously issued callsign.
And suggest the time limit is increased before it can be reissued.

I got the impression from the consultation that Ofcom think there may be a shortatge of callsigns in the future (I think we’re a long way from that point) and that Ofcom hate the 2 callsigns and want them gone :slight_smile:

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I agree with this. Also callsigns are used as logins to some amateur resources, they would need to be constantly updated with new information. This would also apply to licences that have been handed back as part of a licence upgrade, since you will only be able to hold one licence at any one time.

As for the increase in permitted power for full licencees, I doubt it will make any difference to most amateurs. How many run 400W now? It may mean a few smaller amps come up for sale as some upgrade to 1Kw.

Overall, I didn’t read any real negatives in the consultation document.

[Edit] Not made my mind up on the regional locator yet though. I think I would carry on using it when in a location that it was a vailable, but I don’t think I would use the ‘E’. That regional locator would have made sense to be introduced when the others were introduced, but too late for me now :slight_smile: (I forgot to put ‘R’ about 75% of the time the past two months)

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So I would ask why they offered the reissue of former class B calls to Full Licencees for an admin fee of £20 back in 2009? To claim that a person having multiple licences creates additional administration is utter rubbish. Once issued, the validation system keeps the admin side up to date (or almost up to date) with no action required on their part. If they are that concerned, why not require revalidation every year? After all, if we can manage to get our vehicles MOT’d annually, then why not revalidate our amateur licences annually?

I agree with the comments on the time between the revocation / cancellation of a callsign and its reissue being too short at 2 years. In my opinion, it should be at least 10 years.

The other issue I have is that of the power increase. Surely this is contrary to what we are trying to achieve globally… the lowering of power consumption. I appreciate that the power consumed by amateur radio is very only a small percentage of the total power consumed by society, but we are always being told to do our bit… even as far as switching off electronic equipment rather than having it on standby. Oh well, the QRO guys will have the pleasure of watching their Smart Meters clock up the additional amps.


I had a bit of a battle with ofcom regarding reactivating my class B call. I was told that ofcom were in trouble with the ITU as the regulations state that one station should hold one call sign - their words, not mine. I was also told that the database wasn’t clever enough to work out if the same person held more than one call sign, it could just link the call sign to the holder, it couldn’t work out if the holder was the same actual person for multiple calls. It seems like simple stuff to me (DOB, postal address etc should be able to link records).

Ofcom basically told me that many call signs had been re-issued in error and they were in a mess. Eventually I did manage to reactivate my old call sign after cancelling my A class call.

It seems as though ofcom are finally going to have a good go at sorting some of the mess out.

73, Colin


The things i find t he most interesting are the proposed changes around calls signs… i still have my M6 (M6VXL) and do occasionally use it “on air”. but it sounds like this is going to go (and that is fair enough i suppose). I also like the changes to the 20 21 calls being moved (if operators wish) to M8/M9… iva ALWAYS hated the 2* call signs, don’t know why, but i do! so im well up for a new M8/9 call sign, hopefully this time ill get more choice over it too!

Other than that 100W - Seems fair enough, and the other interesting one is changes to the supervision of non amateurs… being able to supervise my lad, and get him hooked on radio would be a really good thing! hes semi interested ast the moment, but as he cant use my kit (as im not a full licence) I think hes struggling for interest if im honest!

the only thing I havent seen mentioned is adopting CEPT for intermediate licence holders… (if you didnt know, the current intermediate knowledge is compatible with CEPT) …

Cheers - Alan


Good point.