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Update on the new Amateur radio licence

Ofcom has recently announced that the issuing of new lifetime licences will be postponed until 1st December 2006. However, license will be free from 1st October as promised.

Licences due for renewal after 1st October will be issued with the BR68 version free of charge by the Radio Licensing Centre. A lifetime licence and the new licence terms will be sent by Ofcom in December. Members who currently pay by Standing Order are encouraged to cancel the arrangement because no payments will be taken after 1 October 2006.

Licences will now be valid for life, subject to you contacting Ofcom at least every five years to validate your details. No fees are payable for licences updated electronically over the internet. If you choose to revalidate in writing, an administration charge of £20.00 will be payable.

The licence terms and conditions (BR68) have been overhauled to make them more understandable and to shed regulations that were deemed unnecessary. The major changes are:

• A logbook need no longer be kept unless required by Ofcom on a case-by-case basis.
• During disaster or emergency exercises, any UK radio amateur licensee can offer to pass exercise or emergency traffic. More Users Services have been identified and are listed in the new licence.
• The need to /M/P and /MM suffixes when portable, mobile and, in the case of Full licensees, maritime mobile has also been dropped, although they can be used voluntarily. The alternative address suffix /A has been re-introduced.
• All licensees can now operate their equipment on an unattended basis and by remote control providing it is only for their personal use. Foundation and Intermediate licensees may only use up to 500m W ERP on amateur frequencies above 30 MHz for this purpose. Full licensees are now permitted to operate their stations remotely using any means of linking. In all cases adequate security measures must be taken to avoid access to the station by others licensees. A Notice of Variation will still be required for repeaters, internet gateways and packet mailboxes etc that are intended for use by other amateurs.
• The alternative club prefix originally used for passing greeting messages may now be used for general operating purposes.
• Foundation licensees have now been granted for the use of the 10m band plus a microwave allocation at 10GHz. Ofcom has also agreed to allow Foundation licensees to access the amateur satellite service.

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