Amateur Radio Foundation Practicals

If you’re looking at getting your UK amateur radio Foundation licence, you’ll be required to complete a number of short practical exercises. Typically, you’ll do these at a nearby amateur radio club, in front of a Registered Assessor (clubs may change for this). When you have completed them, you’ll receive a form confirming you’ve done them, and this is required when sitting your multiple choice Foundation exam.

The practicals are referred to as “assessments” – There’s no pass or fail, and you can complete these at your own pace – The assessor needs to be sure that you have the basic competence.

Here is a summary of what’s required, plus a short video.

Foundation Practical: Station and Antenna Setup

You’ll be required to demonstrate that you can connect a radio to a power supply, antenna and feeder. Some clubs will also show you how to connect an SWR meter, microphone and filter too.

You’ll also have to “tune” an antenna. This means moving the adjustable elements of an antenna known as a dipole, and measure the SWR (standing wave ratio) value. You keep adjusting until a good SWR reading is achieved.

Here is a video of a typical station setup and antenna tuning practical:

Morse Appreciation

You no longer able to learn Morse code. To introduce you to Morse, you will complete an “appreciation”. Typically, this means working with the assessor to send and receive between 20 and 30 characters of Morse code.

There’s no time limit, and no need to rush. You have a printed sheet containing the letters, and can write it down one letter at a time.

The following video shows what’s involved – It’s pretty easy!

Foundation Practical: VHF Radio Contact

This is one of two practicals where you get to try your first messages on the radio. The requirements are:

  • Demonstrate correct tuning in to an amateur FM voice signal and a data signal, such as packet.
    Read the signal strength meter (where fitted).
  • Demonstrate correct operation of a VHF transmitter/receiver in simplex mode (change frequency, adjust squelch and change volume).
  • Demonstrate a CQ call, making a contact and initiating a change of frequency.
  • Make a simplex radio contact and exchange signal reports.

Here is a video example of the type of contact you’ll be required to make:

Foundation Practical: HF Radio Contact

Making a different type of amateur radio contact, this time on HF. Requirements are:

  • Demonstrate, using an HF transmitter/receiver, correct tuning in to an amateur SSB voice signal and a Morse signal.
  • Demonstrate correct operation of an HF transmitter/receiver in an SSB contact (change frequency, use the clarifier, adjust the volume, RF gain, microphone gain and antenna tuner.
  • Make an HF SSB voice contact and exchange signal reports.

As this is more simple than the VHF QSO – we’ve not made a video for this one.

That’s all there is to it.

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