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The following page refers to the FORMER, rather Draconian rules contained in the now superseded document BR68.

The NEW Terms & Conditions can be downloaded from the website HERE.

We will be making a comparison between the former rules and the new rules soon, but this page will remain as a historical point of reference.

Briefly, the new rules remove the need to keep a log book and subsequently the requirement to close your station at the end of a communication period, so it will effectively stay established on the frequency for an unlimited time.
Many of the rules containing the word MUST have been replaced by similar rules, but using the term "it is recommended that", making it completely up to you as to whether you take any notice or not - we think it is pointless to include recommendations in a legal document.
Gone are the suffix requirements /M, and /MM etc. as is the former need to give your location if not operating from your main station address.
Never an issue before, but gone now is the ban on religious and political statements, plus we can now legally talk about more things than technical investigations and remarks of a personal character, specifically now you are "permitted to use the Radio Equipment to discuss any topics of mutual interest with other Amateurs, and to seek to receive and impart any information and any ideas."

One rather sinister and nasty new rule is that every 5 years you MUST revalidate your license, otherwise it will be revoked by OFCOM. As of July 2013 only 22,000 of 81,880 issued licenses had been revalidated. (Official OFCOM figure)

The main change as far as we can see is the removal of the ban on the transmission of music!

More details of coming possible changes are HERE


Amateur Radio

What is Amateur Radio?

 

In the UK, it is a hobby that requires you to obtain a qualification from The City & Guilds of London Institute prior to transmissions. When you have obtained this examination pass, a licence used to be required, for a mere £15.00 per year, now FREE!. Armed with these 2 pre-requisites you can then :-

With a license you can "use the station for the purpose of self-training in communication by wireless telegraphy, which use (without limiting the generality of the foregoing) includes technical investigations."

Check out the old "rules" here, THE BR68  OBSOLETE since 2009!! New rules HERE.


It is a great pity that a potentially useful hobby seems to attract nothing but a bunch of secretive social miss-fits, and otherwise low achievers, to it's ranks.

Amateur radio seems to be a virtually unknown hobby unless you happen to know a radio amateur. The Radio Amateurs Exam seems to be a barrier to "outsiders" but if the truth was known to them as to how easy it really is, we could attract far more participants from all walks of life. The new Foundation Licence appears to be addressing this point.

Snobbery and Hierarchy

Amongst the ranks of radio amateurs there is tremendous snobbery and a hierarchy based on your station's call-sign (remember it's the station's call-sign, not yours) and the type of licence you have.

In the past, well up to the start of the new century in fact, this prejudice was aimed at those who had a "B" class licence - in other words, those who had not passed their Morse exam. Now the childish bigots have a far greater range of fellow amateurs to look down upon.

  • Novice licence holders

  • Foundation licence holders

  • M3 licence holders

  • etc. etc.

It is also usual to look down upon and denigrate anyone with a call sign issued after yours.

To look down upon a fellow radio amateur merely because he/she has not passed the Morse test, irrespective of whether they intend to operate below 50Mhz, is as preposterous as a lorry driver looking down upon a car driver who has not bothered to pass an HGV driving test.

What is amateur radio?

Amateur radio is a little known hobby practiced mainly by a group of social inadequates, you know, the sort too stupid to be a traffic warden but craving some kind of recognition without any life skills. 

Amateur Radio does naturally interest people who work in, or whose hobby is electronics. However, as soon as they join the ranks of “The Licensed Amateur” they quickly find they are rubbing shoulders with mostly self-important morons.  This is where The LPWS find the majority of our members, when the educated and intelligent ones realise they are dealing with a bunch of technically backward, squabbling, bunch of “old women”.

It is true to say that Amateur Radio is a hobby governed by international treaties, as the majority of countries reserve similar frequencies for amateur transmissions.

Radio amateurs make use of their frequencies in a number of ways but the licence says you can only send messages relating to technical investigations or make remarks of a personal character. It is usually regarded that this includes:-

  • Telling people you have never met that “The name this way is Brian” (not my name is Brian!)

  • Saying “Hi Hi” instead of “Ha Ha”.

  • Using the term “Fine Business” as often as possible

  • Never saying “Over” when you have finished speaking. That really annoys them.

  • Telling people what microphone you have, what radio you have, how many Watts you are using, and what aerial you have. (People will be familiar with this as it is common in every telephone call to discuss what phones you are using, which service provider and what tariff you are on.)

  • Contacting people all over the world is the usual view of the hobby but it rarely happens, and when it does is restricted to the above plus sending each other silly postcards.

  • You can take part in pointless competitions to see how many other international morons you can make contact with in a given time. This is actually as silly as it sounds, and is usually all in "Q" codes!

We are not sure about the origin of Q codes, and there doesn't seem to be any official description of what a CQ call is and what actually constitutes one even though they are referred to in both the old and new rules. An LPWS member wrote to the former Radiocommunications Agency to clarify this point, the reply he recieved said that if he needed to ask this question, he wasn't a fit person to hold an amateur radio license - so they didn't know either!

Specifically, from the BR68:-

1(4) The Licensee shall address Messages only to other licensed amateurs or the stations of licensed amateurs and shall send only:


(a) Messages relating to technical investigations or remarks of a personal character; or
(b) Signals (not enciphered) which form part of, or relate to, the transmission of Messages.

 

As a radio amateur you can transmit on quite a number of frequencies, or bands, and there are NO official restrictions on what mode you transmit in and where you do it. (Depending on your license of course.) For instance, if a frequency is free you can use AM, sideband, Packet Radio, or anything you like even if the common mode of communication on that frequency is FM. The "calling channel" and numbered frequencies setting out the 2 metre allocation into channels has no basis whatsoever in law and is another imaginary regulation though up by RSGB Limited.

RSGB Limited, a magazine publishing company,  does produce a “Band Plan” but the licensing authority do not recognise this. The usable frequencies are published by OFCOM in the BR68 leaflet that accompanies your license. (Now it's the Term & Conditions)

The ONLY rules that apply and actually mean anything at all, are those printed and distributed by OFCOM, anything RSGB Limited have to say has as much relevance to the hobby as would speed limits and traffic regulations suggested by either the AA or RAC, or for that matter, Green Flag!

With the correct amount of boredom and money you can also transmit rudimentary pictures of a piece of card carrying your station’s call sign; this is called Amateur Television or Slow Scan TV, and defies logical explanation here. For extremists, you can attempt to use amateur radio satellites or communicate with the International Space Station.

Something that will never happen, but is the “Prime Mover” for the hard core nutters, is providing emergency communications in times of some kind of horrendous disaster that has taken out all telephone lines, all mobile telephones, the Internet, satellite phones, and GPS. If this does happen, we hope your aerial has survived and that you still have mains electricity to use it.

The RSGB Limited website says “There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur.” They forget to say that they make their entire income from within the hobby, and so need as many new customers as possible!

In 1910, The Postmaster General (either Sidney Buxton or Herbert Samuel, we are not sure which at the moment) licensed experimental wireless stations, which is still the main reason for licensing today “Technical Investigations”.

There are many rules and regulations, but none of these are enforced these days, The last prosecution we have confirmation of, was in 2003 and the last Radio Amateur to have his license revoked, had it reinstated shortly afterwards. It seems that the most severe action taken since 1995 was when a prolific repeater jammer was written to and asked to “please stop it”!

Whatever you imagine being a radio amateur to be, you are wrong. Remarkably, comedy playwrights Ray Galton & Alan Simpson captured the essence of the true Radio Amateur when they wrote their famous episode of Hancock's Half Hour, “The Radio Ham”. Broadcast on BBC TV on 9th June 1961, it was later recreated in audio at the Pye Telecommunications factory. Essential listening or viewing, both can be found on our website with the later 1996 remake starring Paul Merton. 

What can I do with Amateur Radio?

Under the BR68 (now obsolete) it was surprisingly little really:-

1(4) The Licensee shall address Messages only to other licensed amateurs or the stations of licensed amateurs and shall send only:

(a) Messages relating to technical investigations or remarks of a personal character*; or

(b) Signals (not enciphered) which form part of, or relate to, the transmission of Messages.

In these days of the Internet, social networking, VOIP, Skype, and instant messaging, amateur radio is fast becoming as superfluous as Morse code, so you may wonder what fascination it holds for you.

Anyone can listen to Amateur Radio, in fact apart from broadcast radio, it is about all you can legally listen to on a scanner. You need a license to transmit however, but extensive testing has shown that the radio waves travel just as far without one. Luckily for you, it is now relatively easy to get a license, a minimal amount of study and a simple test will see you on the air. In the old days, 2 City & Guilds exam passes were required, with a further examination in Morse code to allow you to use the HF band (High Frequency) which is actually another amateur radio anomaly as they are in fact LOW frequencies.

Employers in the technology industries often seek people who can combine the theoretical understanding of electronics with practical ability. By becoming a radio amateur you are virtually ensuring that, if you were to disclose this at an interview, you can kiss the job goodbye!

* Apparently calling someone a "cunt" was not regarded as a remark of a personal character!

Under the new rules, we can now expand our range of conversation a little:-

11 Messages

11(1) The Licensee shall be permitted to use the Radio Equipment to discuss any topics of mutual interest with other Amateurs, and to seek to receive and impart any information and any ideas 6

6 Please refer to note (h) to this Licence.

(h) The Wireless Telegraphy (Content of Transmission) Regulations 1988 make it an offence to use any station for wireless telegraphy or any wireless telegraphy apparatus to send a message, communication or other matter in whatever form that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.


For some inexplicable reason, the use of abbreviations in amateur radio communications within the UK is restricted by the terms of the BR68, and still now under the relaxed Terms & Conditions.

Ofcom (formerly The Radiocommunications Agency) publish a list of abbreviations which they approve, as reproduced below, but it is our opinion that using this list is in contravention of the rule:-

11(3) The Licensee may use codes and abbreviations for communications as long as they do not obscure or confuse the meaning of the Message. So why obscure and confuse a casual listener with preposterous codes?

The Abbreviation

The Meaning

ABT about
AGN again
ANT antenna
BK Signal used to interrupt a transmission in progress
CPI copy
CPY copy
CQ general call to all stations
CUL see you later
CW continuous wave (Morse code transmission)
DE from, used to precede the call sign of the call station
DR dear
EL element
ES and
FB fine business
FER for
GA good afternoon
GD good day
GE good evening
GM good morning
HPE hope
HR here
HVE have
HW how
K invitation to transmit
MNI many
MSG message
NW now
OC old chap
OM old man
OP operator
PSE please
PWR power
R received
RPRT report
RST readability, signal-strength, tone-report
RX receiver
SIG signal
SRI sorry
TEMP temperature
TKS thanks
TNX thanks
TU thank you
TX transmitter
TXR transceiver
UR your
VERT vertical
VY very
WID with
WX weather
XYL wife
YL young lady
73 best wishes

It has always been a mystery to us why a phrase like" FINE BUSINESS" should be used at all, let alone to such an extent that it needs an officially sanctioned abbreviation!
Before entering "amateur radio" circles, we had never heard anyone ever use the phrase!

 
 
      "Wicked" Willy Bodwen ex Sgt. 3116 (forced to retire & not a laughing policeman!)

The Laughing Policeman Wireless Society is a non-profit organisation for the furtherance of amateur radio.
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