RSGB Syllabus 2019 Released: Changes to Intermediate Practicals

The RSGB’s new syllabus for 2019 was finally released on the 15th of August 2018, after 5 years of planning and implimentation.

We have already completed a detailed breakdown of the changes at Foundation (See Syllabus 2019 – Changes at Foundation), and following requests from tutors, we’ve had a look at Intermediate. The new exams start from August 2019.


The addition of extra theory (dropped down from Full), plus digital content, was largely expected. What’s less expected is the changes to the Intermediate practicals.

Trainers will no longer require a stock of mains plugs or diodes, but may apparently need hairdryers (*), new kits, mutiple HF rigs (or a spectrum analyser), and something to hit an oscillator with (*). Plus, as with Foundation, they’ll need to find significant extra teaching time and a host of new training material.

Intermediate "heat & hit test"
Intermediate “heat & hit test” (This photo is not to be taken seriously)

(*) Note: Suggesting that trainers buy hairdryers, or hit radios with hammers, was not to be taken literally – some people apparently did not appreciate the humour. Apologies to those who thought I was seriously suggesting that the RSGB would actually ask trainees to hit transmitters with hammers. Apologies too to those who were concerned after the comments about “raining cats and dogs” on our group’s net recently – no falling canines or felines were harmed in the making of that point. Pete


Intermediate Theory

Some significant additions, with a lot of material dropping from Full to Intermediate (which we expected), plus new content on digital transceivers and SDRs. If there’s desire, we’ll provide a detailed breakdown, but as our focus here at Essex Ham is ‘Foundation’, this is not a priority for us.

Given the complexity and additional tutoring needed for this toughened Intermediate, we’d strongly recommend that anyone considering getting their Intermediate licence, aims to pass the exam before August 2019.

Intermediate Practicals

Some significant changes here, likely with cost, time and resource impact for clubs:

Removed: “Demonstrate that a diode will only conduct in one direction” (10d.5)

Removed: “Fit a 13A plug top a piece of 3-core mains cable” (10d.8) – Odd choice to remove this one. Yes, plugs are moulded, but us hams use a lot of second-hand kit, or make extension leads, etc.

Enhanced: 10B3 – The simple circuit for Intermediate has been updated. “Battery, resistor, LED, lamp and switch” has now changed to “power source, switch, at least two resistors and two LEDs or bulbs.”

Enhanced: 10B4 – The requirement to “Demonstrate that a transistor can be used as a switch in a simple DC circuit.” has been extended, and now includes “Measure base and collector currents and calculate gain” (A significant increase in effort and knowledge)

Added: 10C1 – The syllabus’s apparent obsession with series and parallel continues with a new requirement to “Measure DC potential difference and current in series and parallel circuits”

Added: 10C3 – “Determine the value of at least two resistors using measured values of V and I and compare with the marked component values”

Added: 10C4 – “Demonstrate that a crystal oscillator is stable when subjected to reasonable temperature changes and mechanical shock” – This took some thought and discussion. Perhaps an oscillator kit being heated and cooled with a hairdryer and Freeze spray, and thumped or dropped (Discussion – See our Post 02 in our Syllabus 2019 Group)

Added: 10C5 – “Demonstrate that a variable frequency (LC) oscillator is not very stable when subjected to reasonable temperature changes and mechanical shock”. As above – Hairdryer, Freeze spray and a thump. (Discussion – See our Post 02 in our Syllabus 2019 Group)

Added: 10C6 – “Find at least the 2nd and 3rd harmonics from an RF oscillator by using either a receiver or spectrum analyser” – Again, some team discussion on this one. If using the amateur bands, this would seem to require  an HF rig (or a kit) transmitting on 7MHz, with a spectrum analyser (and of course, we all have access to these for training), or a second HF rig looking around 14MHz and 21MHz

Added: 10C7 – “Demonstrate the reduction in harmonics by using a low pass filter or AMU, measured using either a receiver or spectrum analyser” – Again, requires clubs to use a transmitter, and either a  spectrum analyser, or a second HF rig.


As part of our high-level review, here’s what we’ve noted so far:

  • General Reception (1C1) would appear to be a progression of Foundation 1C3, so may be in the wrong section
  • 9C1 states a requirement that candidates need to “recall the resistor colour code”, followed by a note stating “Note the resistor colour code will be provided”. If the colour code is supplied in the exam, why is there a need to recall it?


Syllabus 2019 – Foundation Changes Quiz!

Just for fun, can you answer 12 questions? Foundation Syllabus Quick Quiz


Related links


Your thoughts?

Please let us know what you think. We’re particularly interested to hear what trainers have to say!



  1. David 20 August 2018 Reply
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