Licence Conditions: “Codes” Clause

This is the third of a three-part licence clause discussion, and follows on from “Licence Conditions: Commercial / Advertising Clause”.

So far, we have looked at the meaning and intent behind the rules on “Broadcasting” and “Commercial” use. To me, the “broadcast” and “advertising” clauses are often highlighted as issues, despite the actual wording of the licence being clear-cut.

I’m amazed that the following one doesn’t get as much attention, as I’d argue that this is breached more times than the other two, with very little discussion.

The “Codes” clause

Use of encryption and non public-domain codes is covered by the licence. Here is the ‘encryption’ clause:

11(2) "The Licensee shall ... not encrypt these Messages for the purpose of rendering the Message unintelligible to other radio spectrum users"

And here’s the “codes” clause:

11(3) "The Licensee may use codes and abbreviations for communications as long as they do not obscure or confuse the meaning of the Message"

Clearly the Q codes and Morse code are both fine – they are public domain codes that are easily accessible and decodable. However, consider the following:

  • “I’ve been down the the Emporium today”
  • “See you at the Golden Arches before the club night”
  • “My second harmonic kept me awake last night”
  • “The Station Manager is out”
  • “I’m about to go horizontally polarised”

Most of us amateurs know what we’re referring to here – but do other radio spectrum users? Taking it to the next step – try these:

  • “Let’s QSY to the usual Bill”
  • “Shall we switch to the other mode?”
  • “See you at the same place as last week for a beer”
  • “Are you still getting grief from ‘our friend’?”
  • “Just got your text – yes, she is!”
  • “Have you asked Wallace and Grommit?”
  • “Just on the way to the club to get the you-know-what”

Many amateurs may struggle to decode these, even with knowledge of those involved – is the meaning obscured? Could some find these confusing and/or unintelligible? Could some of these be codes only known by two people? You decide!


Got any thoughts on confusing codes? Add a non-cryptic comment in the box below!

Links to all three parts:


One Comment

  1. M0PZT 28 May 2014 Reply

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