Becoming a Radio Amateur

Amateur radio is a varied and diverse hobby which can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Whether your interest is in listening to short wave stations around the world, operating radio stations from the rarest corners of the earth, building your own radio equipment or simply chatting to local friends while out and about the Hog’s back amateur radio club can help introduce you to a wonderful new hobby.

The Hog’s Back Amateur Radio Club is affiliated to the Radio Society of Great Britain, who look after the interests of Amateur Radio in the UK.

Operating a radio transmitter on the amateur bands requires an amateur radio license. The Radio Society of Great Britain recognise four levels of licensee in the UK and provide, through clubs and societies such as ours, a training program to help you to achieve the level of license that allows you to explore the hobby according to your interests.

Short Wave Listener

Not really a licensee at all, a short wave listener is not generally interested in transmitting radio signals but in receiving signals from other amateur and broadcast stations around the world. Short Wave Listeners (SWLs) do not require a license but commonly share the same interests as those holding a radio amateur license. In fact, for most interested in radio, becoming an SWL is a good introduction to the hobby. For many, the fascination of receiving signals provides plenty of enjoyment and they feel no need to transmit. Either way, our club and the RSGB welcome all radio amateurs, whether licensed to transmit or not.


The first stage of Amateur Radio Licensing, a foundation license is straightforward to attain. Typically, a course of 10 to 12 hours duration will teach you everything you need to know and after a short multiple choice examination, marked on the spot by one of our instructors, you will quickly be able to take to the airwaves with a transmitter of up to 10 watts power output.


Once you have obtained a Foundation license the next step – the intermediate course – will teach you in a little more depth about the practice and theory of radiocommunication. This course equips you to start building your own simple electronics projects and also teaches you more about the fundamentals of how radio works. Another multiple choice exam will see you promoted to an Intermediate license which allows an increase of transmitter power to 50 watts.


The highest level of amateur radio license, the passing the advanced exam allows you to build and operate the highest power radio stations permissible for amateur use with up to 400 watts transmitter power.

Such stations offer the capability to talk to other amateurs worldwide, to relay your signals through satellites or even bounce them off the moon!

With this power comes responsibility, and therefore the Full license does require a greater level of training than the Foundation and Intermediate. This is mainly theory which can be self-taught from the excellent publications available from the RSGB and other sources but we are also equipped to offer training courses where the demand exists and, of course, you can always count on our knowledgeable members for help and advice, in whatever form suits you. Our instructors can arrange the advanced examination which you must pass to obtain a full license when you are ready.

Full Licence (Advanced Exam)

Unfortunately at hte moment the Radio Club is not able to offer courses or exams. We hope eventually to be able to resume this service.

The RSGB web site has valuable information on the various license levels and the training programme, as well as a list of Clubs offering courses and exams.