New Licence Conditions Now In Effect (21 Feb 2024)

Ofcom LogoOfcom has today (21st Feb 2024) announced the new licence conditions, and they take immediate effect.

The full details can be found in the announcement released by Ofcom today: Ofcom Statement 21 Feb 24.

Watch our video Summary of Feb 2024 changes:

Document Links:

Phase 1 Changes  – Now in effect (as of 21st February 2024):

  • February 2024 Ofcom Licence ConditionsRSLs (Wales, Scotland, NI, etc) are now optional (Except for Intermediate 2x, where the 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)

Ofcom will be issuing around 100,000 new licences, which will obviously take some time. The new rules come into effect today, but it may take until Autumn 2024 before all of the licences get reissued

Other changes have been announced, but these will coming in slightly later as they require updates to the Ofcom IT system. These are:

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

 

Note for students

Although the new rules are now in effect, the RSGB Exam teams have asked Ofcom for more time to prepare for these changes (even though these were hardly a surprise!). Accordingly, the OLD licence conditions will still be examinable for a while.

Exams covering the new conditions start on the 1st of September. See our Guidance for Foundation Students

 

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

Handy Links

22 Comments

  1. Keith 21 February 2024 Reply
    • Pete M0PSXAuthor 21 February 2024 Reply
      • Keith 21 February 2024 Reply
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        • G0WZA 10 March 2024 Reply
  2. Rob Wilkes - 2W0HQD 21 February 2024 Reply
    • Pete M0PSXAuthor 21 February 2024 Reply
  3. M7OCM 21 February 2024 Reply
  4. M5AKA 22 February 2024 Reply
    • M5AKA 24 February 2024 Reply
      • George 1 March 2024 Reply
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  5. Rob Wilkes 24 February 2024 Reply
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  6. Rob Wilkes 25 February 2024 Reply
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  8. Robert 3 March 2024 Reply
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