RSGB Exam Syllabus v1.6 Changes

Syllabus Update IconOn the 18th of December 2023, the RSGB kindly released a draft version of the next syllabus, v1.6, to allow tutors to review the likely changes. (Link to announcement and document).

This page looks at the upcoming changes to the syllabus and how this affects students and tutors

Why the syllabus update?

The syllabus v1.6 update is intended for one reason – to bring the syllabus in line with the changes to the licence that took place on 21st of February 2024 (see Ofcom 2024 licence changes).

When does this kick in?

The new licence conditions started from 21st February 2024. RSGB had previously announced that the new syllabus would start from 1st April, but have asked Ofcom for a delay as they’re not ready.

Exams on the new licence conditions will start from 1st September 2024.

I’m a student – will this affect me?

If you’re taking an exam up until 31st August 2024, you’ll be answering questions on the old licence conditions. From September 2024, you’ll be answering questions on the new syllabus. The change almost entirely only affects licence condition changes, not the other parts of the syllabus. Our free Foundation Online course will be updated in plenty of time.

Licence Changes – How will these affect students in 2024

I’m a tutor – will this affect me?

Yes, You’ll need to update training material for Licence Conditions, plus two tiny changes in Safety and Operating Procedures (see below). If you’re teaching Foundation, the free HamTrain slides will be updated in plenty of time!


Summary of proposed changes

Below is a summary of the changes being proposed by RSGB Exam Team, plus Essex Ham’s comments:

Section Proposed Changes Essex Ham Review Comments
1A1 Updates re. callsigns and Regional Secondary Locators Disagree. Wording for RSLs implies these will only be used in the minority. RSL is still mandatory for 2x callsigns
1A3 Dropping restrictions on Foundation constructing transmitters Agree
1A4 Changes to Ofcom validity and revalidation Disagree. Doesn’t match the wording in the new licence
1A5 Callsign identification tweaks Disagree. Could be clearer. List of modes and modulation is not needed. Does a change of optional RSL require an ident change? (RSL change only required for 2x callsigns)
1B1 Supervision tweaks Disagree. The wording needs to stay “Direct supervision”. Intermediate needs updating to “Person” not “amateur”.
1B2 Removal of redundant licence terms Agree
1C1 Updates to sending messages to others Disagree. Doesn’t match the wording in the new licence in several places
1C2 Updates re. codes and User Services Disagree. Includes 3 references to items descoped from the new licence
1D2 Ofcom mandating logging Disagree. Doesn’t match the wording in the new licence
1E1. Beacon power and shutdown (Intermediate) Disagree. 2 power levels for beacons. The definition doesn’t match the licence definition
1E2. Remote control comms link changes Disagree. Doesn’t match the wording in the new licence. This applies to any station, not just “main”. Recall of “over 30MHz” is unnecessary/onerous unless “open book”
1F2 Requirements for maritime operation (Full) Disagree. Needs “aircraft” to be added. Move to 1A2?
7A4 Meaning of /A, /P, /M and /MM Disagree. Ofcom has explicitly descoped /MM, so this should not be examinable
Frustratingly for tutors, the RSGB has not released a changelog, but we’ve managed to create one: v1.5 to v1.6 changes (PDF) – this may not display on some PDF viewers / browsers due to font issues

Changes not addressed in v1.6 draft

Below is a summary of other changes that potentially need updating, that haven’t been captured in the RSGB v1.6 draft:

1D1 Station tests – This has been dropped from the new licence, so needs to be descoped from the syllabus
7B1 Beacons – States that transmissions on beacon frequencies must be avoided. With relaxed rules on beacons, this needs correcting
8D1 Power limits – Intermediate refers to 50w, but this is due to be increased to 100w

Response to RSGB v1.6 Release

Although this is not a formal consultation by RSGB, Essex Ham has prepared a document outlining the various errors, inconsistencies and omissions in the draft v1.6 document, which has been submitted formally to RSGB for their review. The list has been peer-reviewed by members of the HamTrain Tutors Community – our submission is available here: Essex Ham Response to Syllabus v1.6 Draft.

We’ve yet to hear back from RSGB…

Licence Changes Video

Here is our video highlighting the changes announced by Ofcom in February 2024:

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