Foundation Online – Your Questions

Your questions about our free Foundation Online Course

Questions about how COVID-19 affects amateur radio training and exams? See Coronavirus and amateur radio exams

 The Course

Q: Is there anything I need as part of the course?

Foundation Licence Manual BookYou’ll need a web browser, an Internet connection, and at least 3 hours free time to study each week. We’d strongly recommend you get a copy of the RSGB’s “Foundation Licence Manual”, which costs around £5 from Amazon. This is the official book that supports the course, and our online course broadly follows the structure of this book. More: Foundation Licence Manual

Q: How does the course work?

Course run once a month and are completely online. Once you’ve enrolled, you’re given access to an online classroom. A new module is released every couple of days, and you work through each module online, either reading the on-screen material, or watching the video (or both). You take a short multiple-choice quiz before the next module is available. At the end, there’s a mock test.

Q. How much does the course cost?

Nothing – the course is free. If you get to the end and fancy making a donation to help cover running costs, that’s always appreciated.

Q: What does the course cover?

There is a formal exam syllabus for Foundation, issued by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). Our course goes through each part of the syllabus in detail. For a course summary, see: Foundation Online Course Structure

Q: Do I need to be in front of my computer at a set time for a live lesson?
Q: Is there a set day/time for the online class study as I work various shifts?

There are no ‘live’ classroom sessions and there are no set times that you need to be in front of your computer.

We release between 2 and 3 modules a week via our online classroom. The classroom will email you to let you know that a new lesson is available, and you can complete them whenever’s suitable. We expect you to spend around 3 hours a week studying in our online classroom, at a time to suit you.

Q: Why do I have to wait for a set start date? Can’t I start today? Can’t I do it in a day?

We find that many people learn better if they can study in chunks, not all at once. By splitting the course into 9 sections, we encourage you to tackle the course in small sessions. We also find it helps to have others on the course who also start at the same time, so the modules can be discussed as a group. It’s also easier for us to run.

If you have an imminent exam, or a need to get on a course straight away, contact us and we may be able to help, thanks to our Fast Track course.

Q: Is the Foundation Online course suitable for under 16s?

Our amateur radio training course has been created with adult learners in mind, however the course material is child-safe. Note that the online software used to deliver the course does have an un-moderated forum where students can discuss the course. The course organiser, Pete M0PSX is a RSGB-registered assessor and holds a DBS Enhanced Certificate. Under 16s are welcome to join, but we require a parent or guardian’s consent.

Q: I’m an existing trainer… would this course be useful?

Very possibly. Whether you’re a stand-alone independent trainer, or involved with training for a club, this could be useful. Your students sign up (for free) and can learn at their own pace in parallel with your own training programme.

If you’re a trainer and are curious about our online amateur radio training course, please contact us and we’ll let you have a look at our test area, so you can see how it all works.

Q: I am outside the UK, can I apply?

The course covers the UK amateur radio Foundation syllabus. If you are intending to visit the UK to sit the Foundation Exam in the next six months, you are welcome to apply, otherwise we would ask you not to apply, so that we can allocate spaces to those in the UK intending to sit an exam.

Q: Can I take the course again?

Yes, if you wish. As a reminder, we are funded by donations and as such if you’ve found the course so useful that you want to take it again, we ask you to consider showing your appreciation by making a small donation. If you’d like to support the course with a donation, see: Donating to support the course

Q: I already have a licence. Can I apply?

Yes, if you wish. Our course is free to those new to the hobby, but for those with a licence, we normally ask that you show your appreciation in the form of a small donation. See: Donating to Essex Ham

Q. How can I make a donation?

If you want to show your support for us, a small donation would be very much appreciated. You can do this online via PayPal (Using an existing PayPal account if you have one, or by using a debit or credit card. See: Donating to Essex Ham

Q. Can I phone you to discuss the course, or to ask for help?

Sorry, but we don’t offer a phone service for our Internet course. With over 60 enquiries and applications a month, and this being a free part-time service, it’s not practical for us to handle phone enquiries, course support or content enquiries.
If you need to talk to someone about UK amateur radio courses by phone, you may wish to give the RSGB a call on 01234 832700


If you have an imminent exam and can’t wait for our next course to start, we may be able to arrange fast-track access to our online course material. Contact us if you require this service.

If you don’t want to use our structured course, there are plenty of other options. You can buy the Foundation Licence Manual book or download our Foundation course slides and study the course material at your own pace.

Foundation Exam Questions:

Q: Can I do my exam online at home/work?

Sadly not. You’ll need to take the Foundation Practicals in front of a registered assessor, then sit the exam at an RSGB-recognised exam centre. Normally, a local amateur radio club can help with both practicals and exam. Our online course includes a mock test online, but the exam still has to be done in person at a test centre.

Q: What practicals do I need to do?

You’ll need to complete five basic practical exercises – they’re straightforward and don’t take long. See our Foundation Practicals Information page for full details, and some videos showing what’s involved.

Q: How do I take my practicals and exam?

You will need to go to a physical location to complete the practical exercises, and you will need to take the Foundation exam at a registered exam centre – local amateur radio clubs can help with this. There is a fee for sitting the exam (currently £27.50), and clubs usually charge a nominal fee to help cover room hire costs. Normally you will not need to join a club in order to take the exam. To find your nearest club, go to RSGB Club Finder

Q: I’m struggling to find a venue for my exam. Can you help?

See our guide to finding a venue for practicals and exam

Q: I suffer from dyslexia – is there any help available?

Yes. See our guide to Amateur Radio & Dyslexia

Course Problems

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