The entry level qualification to Amateur Radio is the Foundation License. It is designed to get you involved in amateur radio as quickly as possible. However, before you are allowed to transmit unsupervised it is important that you demonstrate that you know a little bit about how your radio works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users, how not to upset your neighbours or your parents (if you are a young person) and the rules and regulations of holding an Amateur Radio transmitting license.
This knowledge can be obtained in one of two ways; through self-study, or a taught course. The Southport & District Amateur Radio Club runs self-study courses which culminate with two classroom-based sessions where you will be required to demonstrate the practicalities of operating an Amateur Radio transmitter through a series of practical assessments and other knowledge gained through the sitting of a short multiple-choice test.
Don’t be afraid of the thought of having to undertake practical assessments and a short test. They are not there to catch you out, simply to ensure that know how to run your station safely and in a manner that it causes as little interference to other users of the radio spectrum – remember, radio waves can travel right around the world and beyond, so those users could be on the other side of the globe, or even out in to space.
All of our classroom sessions are run in a friendly informal atmosphere by experienced radio amateurs to put you at your ease.
At the end of the test we will inspect your test paper and provide you with the mark we think you will be awarded. We will then post the test papers to the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) as soon as we can and they will mark them, informing both you and Ofcom (the organisation that will give you your Amateur Radio callsign). The whole process, from the RSGB receiving your test papers to you receiving notification of your actual result, will take approximately ten working days, but this can be extended if the RSGB receives a large number of test papers to mark from different clubs around the country.
Once you have received notification that you have passed the practical assessments and test you will be able to contact Ofcom to arrange for a callsign to be issued to you.
In the unfortunate event that you are not successful, your practical assessment results will remain valid for one year. This is to give you enough time to revise your theory and retake the test without having to undertake the practical assessments that you successfully completed the first time around.
Once your new callsign has been issued to you will be able to operate an Amateur Radio station, in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable to Foundation Licence holders, without supervision.
We look forward to communicating with you under your new callsign soon.
Special Exam Requirements
If you have special exam requirements it is important that you read and understand our Special Exam Requirements policy before applying. This policy has been put in place to try and and assure you of the best possible support during the practical assessments and examinations.
Information about the course
If, having read the information below, you have any questions about the course, please contact our Course Administrator.
The Southport & District Amateur Radio Club (SADARC) Foundation courses take place over two weekends.
They don’t have any formal taught sessions; students are encouraged to study the course manual, “Foundation Licence now”, and use our virtual classroom to:
- View additional materials not found in the manual
- Undertake quizzes containing sample questions and, most importantly…
- Discuss any questions you may have with your fellow students and the course instructors
At the end of the course students will need to attend our training centre on two separate Saturdays to undertake the practical assessments, some revision sessions and the short test.
Below are the dates of our next Foundation courses.
Courses start promptly at 09:00 each day so you are asked to be on-site for 08:45 in good time for the start. They finish at approximately 16:30 on both days.
The second session will include the test and you will be informed of your mark which will be subject to confirmation by the RSGB.
Cost of Course
The cost of our course is £60. We don’t make any profit from these courses and the cost is made up of the hire of the venue/s, refreshments, a copy of the course manual and your examination fee.
Full payment for the course is required with your application before the course starts.
The venue for the course is our registered examination centre; Cottage Lane Mission, Ormskirk.
The Foundation Level Certificate in Radio Communications Specification shows you what you will need to know to pass the short Foundation Licence test.
Students will have access to our on-line Virtual Learning Centre to discuss any problems they are having with the content in the course manual. Additional materials and sample tests may be available for download/completion too.
We encourage all students to read the course manual a few times before they attend the taught sessions/short test as it will help with your understanding of the subjects taught on the course.
Assessment for the course consists of two parts; several practical assessments and a short test.
The practical assessments are undertaken on the first of the two classroom-based sessions, during which you will be required to undertake a number of tasks, culminating in the building of a radio station and making some real contacts on it. Students will sit the small test on the second of the classroom-based sessions after some revision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Class sizes and age limits
We like to limit our courses to between six and ten candidates since we find that this atmosphere is more conducive to learning and it enables us devote more time to the candidates individual learning requirements.
We have no age limit on our courses.
What do I need to bring to the classroom based sessions?
In addition to pens, a notepad, and a packed lunch, there are a few essential tools which you will need to bring such as long nose pliers, side snips, craft knife, screwdriver, solder sucker and a non-programmable scientific calculator.
Specific details of everything you need to bring with you for each day is included in the checklist for the intermediate course which will be sent to you on receipt of your completed application forms.
Do I need to join the Southport & District Amateur Radio Club (SADARC) or the RSGB?
There is no requirement for you to join either organisation before attending the course. You will however find that joining a local amateur radio club will prove very beneficial as you begin this new and exciting hobby. You will be able to learn from the more experienced members, as well as participating in various club activities, including for example, their ‘on-the-air’ evenings – an excellent opportunity to gain operating experience under the watchful eye of ‘Advanced’ licensed radio amateurs. SADARC membership will enable you to meet many other club members and chat about amateur radio.
We are happy to accept candidates from all over Europe – we have had a student from Czech Rebuplic who passed his Foundation Course with us and has since gone on to pass his Intermediate Course with us.
However, our more traditional catchment area includes West Lancashire (Ormskirk, Burscough, Bickerstaffe, Lathom, Newburgh, Up Holland, Wrightington, Skelmersdale, Aughton, Parbold, Tarleton and Rufford), Lancashire (Chorley, Mawdesly, Croston, Bretherton and Euxton), Wigan, St. Helens, Liverpool, Merseyside and Sefton (Southport, Birkdale, Ainsdale, Formby, Freshfield, Hightown, Crosby, Litherland, Bootle, Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree and Netherton).