Licence Changes – Ofcom Statement December 2023

Ofcom LogoOfcom has released the results of the consultation into licence changes. Those changes are likely to come into effect from February 2024

In their statement dated 11th December 2023, Ofcom confirmed that they had received 1,443 responses (approx 2% of UK amateurs), including responses from the RSGB and Essex Ham.

All of the proposals have been provisionally agreed, some with some tweaks. These roll out in 3 phases. The following video summarises the changes:

Here’s what’s changing, and when:

 

Ofcom Announcement released (21st February 2024). New licence conditions are now in effect! See Licence Updates – February 2024

 

Phase 1 – Implemented 21st February 2024:

  • RSLs (Wales, Scotland, NI, etc) are now optional (Except for Intermediate 2x, where letter is mandatory)
  • Those in England are now able to add an optional “E” to their callsign at Foundation and Full (e.g. ME7QQQ)
  • Any suffix is now allowed after a callsign (e.g. “M7QQQ/Garden”)
  • If a special prefix is allowed by Ofcom (as for Queen’s Jubilee), no need to apply for an NoV
  • New applicants will only be allowed to hold one personal licence
  • Power increases:
    • Foundation: 25 watts (most bands) – the consultation was for 20 watts
    • Intermediate: 100 watts (most bands)
    • Full: 1,000 watts (primary bands)
  • Airborne to be permitted to a maximum of 0.5 watts EIRP (primary bands)
  • Supervision of unlicensed people at all 3 levels
  • More flexibility for Beacons, Gateways and Repeaters
  • Updates to remote and unattended operation
  • New “Data Station” mode (mainly for machine-to-machine modes)
  • Foundation licence holders can now build their own equipment/kits
  • Foundation licence holders now have access to 2.4GHz and 5GHz (max 2 watts)

Phase 2 – Planned for “Later in 2024”

  • Ofcom to cease issuing 2x Intermediate calls – to be replaced with M8 and M9
  • Existing Intermediates will be encouraged (but not forced) to move to M8 / M9 callsigns
  • Simplified rules for Special Event (e.g. GB) callsigns
  • Restrictions to the number of callsigns held (one for personal use, up to 5 for clubs)

Phase 3 – Planned for before April 2025)

This is when a new licensing platform is in place.

  • Revoking lower-class licences begins (one for personal use, up to 5 for clubs)
  • Improved online validation
  • The ability for amateurs to choose any available callsign
  • The ability for amateurs to change their callsign once every 5 years
  • Reissuing of old callsigns after a 5-year grace period

Essex Ham Submission

As many will know, we ran a survey about the changes. We had 461 responses, and comparing our results with the submissions Ofcom received, it looks like our survey was pretty close to that of the wider amateur radio community. It’s great to know that we can represent the views of UK radio amateurs with a high degree of accuracy!

Percentage agreeing with proposals (Ofcom and Essex Ham)
Percentage agreeing with proposals by question (Ofcom and Essex Ham)

Next Steps

A General Notice has been published, but there is still a chance to raise objections. Representations can be made to Ofcom by 5pm on the 22nd of January 2024. Final results will be published “no later than February 2024” with new licence conditions coming into effect from February 2024.

What do you think of the changes? Have your say in the comments below!

Handy Links

90 Comments

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