UK operators only: Changes to UK licence (Part 1)

The UK radio licence regulations change today. One of the changes is the use of RSL (regional secondary locators) has become voluntary.

SOTA MT decided that for the foreseeable future we still require that any UK activators and chasers submitting logs to the database MUST continue to use the correct RSL in their callsign from the rules in force before today’s changes.

Note that an activator may work a chaser who is not active in SOTA and is following the new rules and so you log what the chaser users. Only people submitting logs in the UK need to use the existing RSLs.


Sensible compromise to exercise the RSL option in this way. Good work. :+1:


The RSL-to-DXCC problem isn’t new. GB* special event callsigns and most of the various special RSLs available through NoVs in the past have all broken the clear callsign-to-DXCC connection. The problem’s just a bit more widespread now. Given we’re already seeing phrases in contest and award scheme rules (and not just here) that constrain entrants to using callsigns which maintain an unambiguous callsign-to-DXCC connection, it seems only Ofcom are saying RSLs are optional. So long as Ofcom allow us to continue using them, there’s no point in getting het’up…


Seems fair enough… If im honest making the RSL optional was a mistake IMO… I will always continue to use it (being 2E I haven’t got much choice) but even when i eventually get a “normal” callsign or upgrade to full i shall continue to use the RSL…



Sensible decision

I was one of those who made representations to keep the RSLs mandatory, but we were ignored.



Hi Andy - I believe the RSL remains mandatory for Intermediate licences, it’s only Foundation & Full where it is optional. Plus Foundation and Full can now add in the E RSL if they so chose.
Or did I read this wrong?
The 2xx callsign is special as regards ITU naming conventions and I believe that is why it has to keep the RSL.
73 Ed.

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So operators in England have to use the E in their callsign from now on?



I knew you would clarify things!

I’m not planning any activations while the weather is so poor down here. Hopefully, when I do I’ll know what callsign to use. :slight_smile:


I did too, but we weren’t ignored. More respondents agreed with the proposal than objected. Accept and move on.

As far as Ofcom and, indeed, the ITU is concerned the UK is a single regulatory entity which is allocated prefixes in the G, M, 2E series. It does not matter to Ofcom or the ITU whether a station is in England, Wales or wherever, it has the same allocated prefix. No other type of radio licence differentiates between the constituent parts of the UK - for example, an aircraft has the same allocated prefix (G) regardless of where in the UK it is located.

It is entirely understandable that Ofcom doesn’t want to have anything to do with RSLs. Happily Ofcom is permitting the existing RSLs to continue on an optional basis, effectively delegating decisions on their use to the amateur radio fraternity. For obvious reasons most amateur radio activity organisers will choose to make RSLs mandatory, just as SOTA has, so in effect RSLs will continue in use indefinitely - albeit no longer required by the licensing authority.

In DXing terms all of the non-English RSLs (GM, GW, etc.) have a rarity factor that plain old G lacks. That will further assure the continued use of RSLs regardless of whether they are mandatory or not.

As a side note the reason that Ofcom has been obliged mandate the RSL for intermediate licences is that the ITU regulations on callsign construction do not permit, for example, 20ABC instead of 2E0ABC. There has to be a letter immediately after a numeric prefix. That’s why Ofcom wants to replace the 2 series licenses with M8/M9 callsigns.

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Yes. I’m firmly of the opinion that the voluntary nature is going to be relatively short term.

I can see that cleaning up the multiple calls as first priority. After that recycling calls (SK and recovered from multi call holders) gives a massive callsign pool.
IL call holders with a 2 call will be forced to relinquish them for a new M call.
Finally when the pool in use is G’s and M’s only, the RSLs will be removed.

At that point there will be recycling and they should never run out of G or M calls leaving the entire 2 series for special events/reason/whatever that properly follow ITU expectations.

Of course I could be wrong.

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No. It’s optional. But it seems that the SOTA MT is banning their use.

G, M and 2A-2Z

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Yes, apologies. In fact 2 (anything) is the UK. See Table of International Call Sign Series (Appendix 42 to the RR)

I don’t think so. Doing so would not add to the callsign pool and Ofcom has explicitly recognised that RSLs are very important for so many amateur radio activities. Effectively they have simply deregulated RSLs in the same way that suffixes are now deregulated.

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So if it’s optional what’s the “correct RSL”, which was the term used in the original post?

Should, for example, operators in Scotland and Wales use M and W respectively as they always have? Except England, where it shouldn’t be used? Or are all RSLs banned?

I don’t think it’s a difficult question. I just want some clear guidance. :slight_smile:


The SOTA MT have mandated the retention of the old system for activators. Whether this is related to the database or an inclination for tradition is unclear. And the why doesn’t matter. You will use the old system for SOTA activations.

For other activities you do what their rules require.



For what it’s worth (not a lot, I suppose) I think this MT decision is crazy. Nothing in the SOTA awards programme depends on knowing the DXCC entity of a station. Even on a border summit, only the summit reference matters. What does this ruling achieve?

It is going to look pretty daft in ten years time to require adherence to a complicated set of rules that were abolished long ago.

For avoidance of doubt, I had every intention of sticking to the old rules anyway. But I don’t see any merit in imposing obsolete restrictions on newcomers.

Martyn M1MAJ


The statistics and the Honour Rolls do. I suspect there might be other things in the backend that would need possibly complicated changes if they were done away with.


Hi John,

As a UK activator, just do as you’ve always done - i.e. before the new changes came into effect - and submit your logs accordingly.



73, Robert