Ham Train Newcomer’s Survey 2020

In 2020, we reached out to students who’d completed our course recently, to collect views and opinions.

Here is a snapshot of the results, taken on 18th February 2021. 1,038 newcomers completed our survey as of the snapshot date.

How did you use our course?

I fully completed the Foundation Online Course (A1) 939
I partly completed the Foundation Online Course (A2) 58
I just used some Foundation Online material to help my studies (A3) 20

Have you passed yet?

I’ve passed (Remotely-invigilated by RSGB) (A1) 804
I’ve passed (At a traditional exam centre) (A2) 74
I’ve not passed yet (A3) 122
I gave up (A4) 15

How did you find out about amateur radio?

From a family member (SQ001) 88
From a friend (SQ002) 158
From a work colleague (SQ003) 23
Long-term interest in radio (SQ004) 599
From recent promotion of amateur radio (web, newspaper, TV, radio) (SQ005) 32
Searching for a hobby (SQ006) 116
A specific need (e.g. sporting activity, emergency comms, etc) (SQ007) 74
Other 112

Why did you pick 2020 to get your licence?

As good a time as any (SQ005) 206
Looking for a new hobby (SQ006) 198
Change of work situation (e.g. furlough / retired) (SQ007) 166
Spare time due to COVID-19 (SQ001) 343
Ability to take online, not via a club (SQ002) 506
Encouragement from friends / family (SQ008) 102
As a result of the “Get On The Air To Care” campaign (SQ003) 10
Seen adverts / press articles (SQ009) 14
Special requirement (e.g. work, other hobby, emergency comms (SQ004) 63
Other 113


Where are you on your amateur radio journey?

Passed Foundation and studying for Intermediate (A1) 318 30.64%
Passed Foundation and staying put for the moment (A2) 385 37.09%
Passed Intermediate and studying for Full (A3) 93 8.96%
Passed Intermediate and staying put for the moment (A4) 35 3.37%
Passed Full (A5) 17 1.64%
Waiting for Foundation Exam (A9) 44 4.24%
Still Studying for Foundation (A6) 36 3.47%
Not got around to booking exam yet (A8) 38 3.66%
Given up (A7) 11 1.06%
Other 30 2.89%

What initially attracted you to the idea of amateur radio?

To chat to others locally (SQ001) 402 38.73%
To chat to others around the world (SQ002) 548 52.79%
Listening / Scanning / SWL (SQ011) 414 39.88%
To be able to use radio equipment for other hobbies (SQ012) 259 24.95%
To use data modes (SQ004) 216 20.81%
To learn / use Morse code (SQ003) 170 16.38%
Contesting / Competitions (SQ005) 46 4.43%
Electronics & radio construction (SQ007) 335 32.27%
Antenna design (SQ009) 291 28.03%
Space and satellite comms (SQ010) 244 23.51%
General technical interest (SQ008) 575 55.39%
Social side of the hobby (SQ006) 222 21.39%
Other 51 4.91%

Statement: “It was easy to find how to get started in amateur radio”

Strongly Agree (A1) 412
Agree (A2) 492
Disagree (A3) 78
Strongly Disagree (A4) 10

Statement: I preferred to take the exam online rather than at a club

Strongly Agree (A1) 582
Agree (A2) 262
Disagree (A3) 81
Strongly Disagree (A4) 15

Statement: It was easy to book my exam

Strongly Agree (A1) 553
Agree (A2) 322
Disagree (A3) 37
Strongly Disagree (A4) 10

What are your views on: [Essex Ham / Ham Train]

Very Positive (A1) 944
OK (A2) 35
Not very positive (A3) 2
No contact (A4) 3

What are your views on: [RSGB Exam Invigilator]

Very Positive (A1) 814
OK (A2) 58
Not very positive (A3) 3
No contact (A4) 30


What are your views on:

[RSGB (as an organisation)]

Very Positive (A1) 529
OK (A2) 329
Not very positive (A3) 31

What are your views on: [Ofcom]

Very Positive (A1) 343
OK (A2) 414
Not very positive (A3) 25
No contact (A4) 108

What are your views on: [Your local amateur radio club(s)]

Very Positive (A1) 216
OK (A2) 153
Not very positive (A3) 78
No contact (A4) 355

What are your views on: [Other Radio Amateurs (You’ve encountered on-air)]

Very Positive (A1) 399
OK (A2) 258
Not very positive (A3) 21
No contact (A4) 164

What ways would you appreciate help and support after passing your Foundation exam?

Video guides / online tutorials (SQ001) 643 61.95%
Support forums / Facebook groups (SQ002) 349 33.62%
A structured “Foundation Plus” course (SQ011) 446 42.97%
Through membership of a local radio club (SQ003) 286 27.55%
Online radio groups / communities (SQ006) 394 37.96%
Friends & Family (SQ004) 88 8.48%
Searching online as needed (SQ005) 311 29.96%
Events (rallies, field days, social events) (SQ007) 218 21.00%
An awards scheme that encourages further study (SQ012) 150 14.45%
Practical “hands-on” sessions locally (SQ010) 371 35.74%
Q & A Database / Help Pages (SQ008) 282 27.17%
Webinars / Zoom Sessions (SQ009) 315 30.35%
Other 68 6.55%


The RSGB is running a scheme for newcomers where you undertake tasks with your local club, and can get PDF certificates for activity. Examples of how to get points include: Log 50 VHF/UHF contacts with unique stations. Log 50 HF contacts with unique stations using data modes (FT8, JT65, RTTY, etc) Log 10 successful contacts with unique stations in one contest. Take part in 6 club nets Make a presentation to the club on any amateur radio related subject Build a piece of amateur radio-related equipment for your shack Introduce someone to the hobby who goes on to start a Foundation course What do you think of this scheme?

I would be interested taking part in this scheme (A1) 443 42.68%
I would not be interested in a scheme like this (A2) 305 29.38%
I am already taking part in this scheme (A3) 14 1.35%
Other 90 8.67%



Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.


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