What is ham radio ?

Also known as amateur radio, its a technical hobby & public service that is as old as radio itself where people pass an exam and are then free to experiment, build and communicate using radio equipment on allocated frequencies,  the term amateur simply implies that it may not be used for commercial purposes.

If you successfully pass the amateur radio exam a call sign will be issued to you by the UK communications regulator Ofcom ... you will now be authorised to use the allocated amateur radio HF, VHF and UHF frequencies to communicate using FM, AM, SSB, Data, Morse Code and even transmit your own TV pictures.

Radio hams come from all walks of life from Royalty to the ordinary person on the street.

Ham radio is not CB radio.

What can I do with ham radio ?

You can talk to similarly licensed people across town or in remote and interesting locations worldwide,  even astronauts on the International Space Station,  yes you really can as most astronauts/cosmonauts hold a licence and can be heard on VHF on a regular basis,  if you're lucky they might even answer your call.

Ham Radio has a more serious side and is often the only means of
providing vital communication during national emergencies or disasters such as tsunami,  hurricane/typhoon or earthquakes situations where there is immediate danger to life ... mobile phones are usually the first to go in such situations but as ham radio does not depend on terrestrial facilities radio hams are called upon to provide vital communications on behalf of the emergency services during times of crisis. 

How do I get a licence ?

Contact your local amateur radio club ... Unfortunately we do not offer training courses or exams

The UK uses a form of "incentive" licensing though you are under no obligation to upgrade,  you start off with the Foundation licence exam, if successful you may then move on to the Intermediate exam,  finally taking the Full or Advanced exam.        

Call signs begin with  2,   G  or  M  prefix.   

The G series of call signs ran out in 1996 so all call signs issued now have either a 2 or an M prefix followed by a secondary regional indicator. 

Club stations may use an alternative prefix.

                                                   Standard prefix                   Country                       Club prefix                                                                                                                                                                 

      2D  GD  MD                              Isle of Man                               GT   MT 

                                            2E    G                                   England                                    GX   MX                                    

      2I  GI   MI                            Northern Ireland                     GN  MN 

       2J  GJ  MJ                               Jersey                                     GH   MH  

       2M  GM  MM                              Scotland                                  GS   MS

     2U  GU  MU                               Guernsey                                 GP   MP

     2W  GW MW                              Wales                                     GC   MC


Special event prefix

(regardless of UK location ? )

The call sign prefix and number usually indicates the class of licence and country of operation.

example:    MM3 = Foundation, Scotland,    2UØ = Intermediate, Guernsey,    MWØ = Full, Wales,     GH4 = Club station, Jersey

     GB2 = Special event station could be anywhere in the UK ??

                                                                                                       Ø = number 0  (zero)

When you move from one country to another within the UK you only need to change your call sign prefix

       License class privileges                                  

Foundation licence ...  access to most UK amateur radio frequency allocations with 10 watts output power.       call sign example    MM6QRA.

Intermediate licence ...  you gain more UHF frequencies and up to 50 watts output power.                                  call sign example     2MØQRA.

 Full licence   ...          gives you full privileges and up to 400 watts output power.                                               call sign example     MMØQRA.


Since 2003 a morse code test is no longer a requirement to gaining an HF licence.


The licence training course and exams are run by local radio clubs.

(We do not run training courses/exams)

For any questions you might have about amateur radio in the Hebrides please click on link below to email us.

Please contact us if you wish to use or publish any of the material on this website.

MS0NFC      Na Fir Chlis ARC