Last weekend i attended a Foundation Amateur Radio course held by Loughton & Epping Forest Amateur Radio Society (LEFARS) and i’m now the proud owner of the call sign M6JCQ.
The course was condensed over two days followed by an exam at the end on Sunday. After which you can broadcast on the amateur bands (assuming you pass!), albeit with a power limit of 10w. This is enough power to talk with people all over the world.
The course covers the theory and practical elements you need to understand. The theory is mostly a refresher because you should have covered all this in the Foundation Licence Now (by Alan Betts) book before attending the course. The practical assessments were fun and interesting:
- Transmitting on HF and VHF
- Sending and receiving Morse code
- Tuning a dipole antenna for different frequencies
- Connecting radio equipment
The instruction was carried out by a number of volunteers from LEFARS who made the weekend really enjoyable and were obviously very knowledgeable and passionate about amateur radio. They also provided copious amounts of tea and chocolate biscuits!
The exam consists of 25 multiple choice questions which i felt tested your understanding to a reasonable level. After the exam we found out if we had passed or not, i think this says it all:
For those of us with inquisitive minds we don’t just rest after achieving something… on March the 2nd i have my Intermediate Exam scheduled with LEFARS, so i better get studying! I have already completed the practical assessments (strangely i did this last year prior to getting my Foundation licence), which involved things like wiring antenna feeder cables and building electronic kits to prove some technical competence and electrical theory appreciation.
While the Intermediate licence allows you to use up to 50w (which is enough for me) and build your own transmitters, i will then be aiming to take the advanced licence exam shortly after this. Why? Well i like challenges!