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is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Changes to UK Foundation Exam syllabus

The new Foundation Exam syllabus has had two sections added to it. They are...

8a.5 Understand that the transmission of music and the use of offensive or
threatening language whilst on the air are unacceptable in amateur

8a.6 Understand how to respond to music or inappropriate language
overheard or received from other stations.

Exams from 1st July 2010 will have an extra question added to cover this topic and the pass mark increased from 18 out of 25 to 19 out 26. The time allowed remains 45 minutes.

The July 2011 syllabus can be seen here.

Now I have to admit that I have not read the licence conditions for a long time but I don't recall anything about that in the past. I would have thought that singing Happy Birthday to a mate or something similar was okay as long as it was not copyright material. I seem to recall a couple of musicians on amateur radio who would exchange musical riffs they were playing with on the guitar during their late night chin wags. No one ever seemed to challenge them or suggest they were doing anything wrong. It was fascinating to listen to. I realise that is not quite the same as playing music as a way of annoyance, but it makes me wonder. What if you accidentally transmit music as often happens at special events when a band starts up or music for the dancing? We try to avoid it but I am sure it is something that happens every day and no one says anything. The intention is clear but I am not certain that this is not another veiled attempt to make amateur radio what someone else thinks it should be and not what it could be. Broadcast radio after all started with amateurs playing music to one another. At one time you could find people playing chess over the air and teaching each other their languages, but now in some ways it is all plain vanilla. Now I like vanilla but you get the ratchet jaws and the five and niners and not much else any more. Whatever happened to the inventive ways of using amateur radio?


  1. Hmm. Does that mean it is okay to retransmit party political broadcasts or old Goon shows (which, being more than 50 years old are presumably out of copyright?)

  2. I think political stuff would be covered in the licence conditions, but if you want to transmit old Goon shows just tell me where and I will tune in. I love the Goons so I won't tell anyone. ;0)


    Seriously I don't want anyone playing music or using foul language on amateur radio, but like one or two other parts of the RSGBs exam syllabus the way the questions are formed is someone's interpretation and not based on the word for word facts as printed in the licensing conditions.