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Exams and training (2 replies and 1 comment)

4 weeks ago
DavidP 4 weeks ago

Morning All.

After taking My exam and passed last june, for foundation I am working on the Intermediate course.

I see that the practical of all exams have now been stopped, but the course is still deep into the intenal workings of the radio.  Do we think that with this day and age of micro electronics, we will move to courses on only how to set up and operate radios and antennas?.

Protacols such as how to set up antennas, radio and transmitting the equipment safely.  Along with which bands, power and how to conduct radio yourself on air.

Most amatures I guess buy of the shelf radios, and set up thier shack, check thier bandplans and power output, and leave it at that.  I see that DMR, has taken off big time, using jumbo-spots or repeaters, (I use this type of comms) were it bypasses HF and the need for large antennas.  Round here the 2M & 70cm are quiet. 

Will the exams change to encompass this?. 

Price also comes into play, and what you can afford, so in retrospect is all this electronics aspect nessecery?

M7ATX  David

Pete M0PSX
Pete M0PSX
4 weeks ago
Pete M0PSX 4 weeks ago

Hi David,

This is the subject of much discussion within the amateur radio training community. 

Speaking personally, I feel there's too much focus on theory and not enough on operating procedures and practices. As you say, few amateurs construct their own transmitters these days, and therefore the "weighting" towards design theory is less relevant than in previous years.

The flip side of the argument is that the Full licence has to meet an Internationally-agreed standard, so that a Full UK licence holder can travel overseas and operate having the same level of knowledge as a full licence holder in that country - this is known as HAREC compliance (Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate). This is a valid argument for the UK Full to include the theory, but not Foundation & Intermediate - although some content needs to appear at lower levels to prevent Full from being a massive learning curve.

It's interesting to see how other countries handle this, and we appear to have some of the most stringent conditions here in the UK. In the US, for instance, all questions come from a pool of questions that is in the public domain (unlike ours). Many countries have no practical component, and one country has a spoken test.

It's expected that there will be a syllabus review in 2021. The new syllabus (2019) has only been in effect for a year, and I suspect the data and feedback from the new syllabus will be looked at carefully to see what changes need to be made. 


4 weeks ago
DavidP 4 weeks ago

Hi Pete.

Hope you are keeping well, during these times.
Maybe it is how far you want to advance in amature radio, some may quiet happy with the foundation, some with intermediate, and what it entails.  It's a bit like people who stay in the UK for a holiday won't need a passport. While others go abroad need one.  So the FULL exam is like a world wide passport, so you would study hard to obtain the licence.  The DMR, side of things also gives the opportunity to foundation users, like Myself to talk worldwide.
Some say its cheating using DMR, but I use a repeater six miles away, as well as a jumbo spot at home.  I want to advance to intermediate and studying hard for the exam, only to increase the output power, and learn more.
As I said on the forum, cost can be a issue for some, with branded top radios topping over a thousends pounds, for a homebase radio.
Antennas are the same, when we go to the exstreme of towers and high low loss feeders ect.
Maybe in the light of this virus, the RSGB could've looked at the exams objectives in radio and to see if the full licence needs practical with hard theory for amateurs who want to travel abroad, but let intermediate and foundation amateurs learn to operate, set up, safety issues, and know what the licences boundary are.
These are My thoughts on the matter.
Regards M7ATX.
Ps take care Pete  
peter M7PGW
2 weeks ago

you can get some chinese SDR based HF transceivers for under £500 new, and if you purchase the relevant UNUN or BALUN for the long wire or dipole you can make for less than £50, so HF is affordable
i passed my foundation and waiting to get my ofcom detail to get my license / callsign, i am also looking at intermediate exam (booked it last night for late november)
as to the question of the level of theory, i am slightly different to Pete
i think there should be a little more on the foundation and the intermediate is about right
the theory on foundation could include a little more on antenna theory but no more needed on electronics, as you can make your own antenna at foundation but only use commercial equipment, the only other thing i think could be included is a little more about regular checks for interference, frequency etc
may be as part of the initial call from the invigilator when you are one to one, go through a simulated QSO similar to the one you would do at a club

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