I passed my Foundation Amateur Radio Licence. What can I do now?

First of all, congratulations on passing your first amateur radio exam. Hopefully by now you are in possession of your call-sign and ready to start transmitting on the amateur radio bands that you are entitled to according to the schedule.

Beginning the hobby is a very exciting time as you stand on the brink of starting to communicate with amateur radio enthusiasts just like you all over the World and enter a diverse, technical and exciting hobby that lasts many amateurs their entire lifetime. Do not feel intimidated by the scope of the hobby, you will learn just as we did as time goes on, and there is always something interesting to learn!

If you have no previous experience with radio equipment at all, by now you will have at least picked up the basics you need to get you started from your Foundation licence, and any questions that you may have can easily be directed to the club via our Yahoo Group which is managed by the Vice Chairman, Rob (M0LYD), or directly at one of the clubs monthly meets, or even on the air if you catch one of us on the local repeaters. There are usually one or two members monitoring them most of the time.

So let’s take a look at the basics of getting started now that you have passed your exam.

Your first hand-held/rig.

The choice is overwhelming at first but as a guide you would be well advised to start out with either a dual-band handheld for 2m and 70cm, or possibly if you prefer operating exclusively from home or your vehicle, a dual band base station rig. Remember that most hand-helds are limited to a maximum of 5w which with their stumpy, lower gain antennas have a shorter range than base station rigs (or mobile rigs) which can run up to 100w and beyond giving them a huge range by comparison allowing them to make contacts via VHF across the channel and beyond in good weather conditions. Make sure that your hand-held has CTCSS capability which is required for accessing repeaters.


A Pofung (Baofeng) UV-5R dual band hand-held.

If you will be operating from home or a vehicle, either with a hand-held or a base station/mobile rig, then you can of course install an antenna on a mast in a safe and suitable location as high up as you can possibly mount it, above the roofline by a couple of metres is usually about right.

Traditional co-linear antennas are a good place to start and will extend the range of your 5w handheld significantly and may be required if you happen to live in an area which may not have a good position in relation to the local repeaters.

Once you have your hand-held see if it has a quick reference sheet to get you started which some do and also take a quick look in the safety instructions to ensure that you keep your first handy/rig in good shape for continuous use.

Remember that you do not have to spend a fortune to get started.  Many new amateurs opt for good value Baofeng (Pofung), Wouxun, Puxing and Quansheng radios. Names you have most likely not heard of before but these Chinese manufacturers have become popular in recent years and offer value for money hand-helds and rigs that you might like to consider.

They have come on a long way in recent years so do not dismiss them without taking a good look first. Some amateurs purchase a main hand-held which is relatively expensive which spends much of its time at home in the shack only to be taken out on special occasions and use a second, less expensive, hand-held for day to day use.

Everyone is different so do not feel obligated to buy the most expensive hand-held or base-station you can as you may find in the near future that it was not necessary. Take your time and ask around for advice. Some amateurs are still using hand-helds they bought 20 years ago with the same good results and when you get bitten by amateur radio bug, and you will at some point, you can always upgrade once you have plenty of knowledge under your belt to make a more informed buying decision next time around.

Using the local repeaters

There are local repeaters for you to use all over the country though to start with you will want to try and open the local ones which are located in Hastings and Eastbourne. With a handheld rig you will be limited by its 5w maximum power output but depending on your location you may be able to open them, remember elevation and antenna gain help, so you may find that while you are unable to access it from home using your HT’s rubber duck antenna, that you can easily access one using a sufficiently positioned high gain “white stick” dual-band 2m/70cm antenna. Here is a list of the repeaters details so you can program your hand-held or rig and get going!

GB3EB Eastbourne 2m
Location – Eastbourne
Frequency Listen – 145.7875 MHz
Frequency Transmit – 145.1875 MHz
Split TX/RX – 0.6 MHz
Mode – Analogue Repeater
CTCSS – 88.5 Hz
1750 Hz Access – No

MB6EB Eastbourne – DStar node
Location – Eastbourne
Frequency Listen – 144.8250 MHz
Frequency Transmit – 144.8250 MHz
Split TX/RX – Simplex
Mode – Digital DStar Node

MB7UVS Hastings – APRS Digipeater
Location – Hastings
Frequency Listen – 144.80 MHz
Frequency Transmit – 144.80 MHz
Split TX/RX – Simplex
Mode    APRS – Digipeater

GB3HE Hastings 70cm
Frequency Listen – 433.3500 MHz
Frequency Transmit – 434.9500 MHz
Split TX/RX – 1.6 MHz
Mode    – Analogue Repeater
CTCSS – 103.5 Hz
1750 Hz Access – No

GB7ES Eastbourne – DStar Repeater
ETCC/Ofcom in process of approval. Coming soon!

GB3ZX Hastings  70cm
Frequency Listen – 430.825 MHz
Frequency Transmit – 438.425 MHz
Split TX/RX – 0.6 MHz
Mode – Analogue Repeater
CTCSS – 88.5 Hz
1750 Hz Access – No

Once you have your hand-held configured to access the repeaters (try and store them in your hand-helds memory for easy recall), open one up and put out a call to see if someone is listening.

Should I join a club?

The choice is entirely up to you though there are several useful benefits you will gain by joining one even if you are not interested in attending every monthly meeting or participate in the clubs special events.

Being part of a club is about being part of the amateur radio community in your area and being able to talk to people that you have met at a club meeting or event in person, share experiences, ‘rag chew’ (have a QSO about anything you like), ask for ideas or guidance from experienced club members and who knows, maybe contribute some ideas yourself for others to benefit from.

Another benefit of joining is being part of what other amateurs just like you are doing. While we all enjoy amateur radio, some of us only work HF on higher bands, some spend much of their time on repeaters, some use Echolink, some CW and some data modes. Others restore vintage radios, while others chase hard to get DX in foreign countries and obtain QSL cards for their collections. Some like me enjoy antenna design and building them at home out of spare parts in the garage. The list is almost endless. You will be exposed to other amateur’s experiences and activities and that in itself is a very good place to start to help guide your interests in the hobby which will give you a lifetime of enjoyment in whatever areas of amateur radio you care to pursue.

Remember that you also have an additional bonus now that you have passed your Foundation Licence with the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club. Free membership for the remainder of the year! If you have passed your Foundation exam and have not signed up for free club membership then you should contact the club secretary Gordon Sweet (M3YXH) on (01424) 431909 and the relevant form will be given you to complete. Once this is completed and returned you will be issued with a club membership when you attend a meeting sometime and welcome to use the clubs online resources and engage with the members via the free club members-only Yahoo Group where you can ask questions and stay in touch via the web if you want to.

How do I join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club?

If you have taken your Foundation licence with us, the clubs RSGB trainer Phil (G3MGQ) or Gordon (M3YXH) the club secretary will have given you a membership form to complete which will be attributed with free membership for the remainder of the year so all you need to do is complete the form and send it back. If you can’t find your membership application form, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so you can take full advantage of membership.

Need more help to get started?

Keep your eye on this section for additional updates and ask amongst fellow Hastings Electronics and Radio Club members or via our members only Yahoo Group – see Rob (M0LYD) the group moderator for details.

Click here to return to find out about Amateur Radio Licence Training if you are thinking about taking your Amateur Radio licence (RCE).



G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

Prepared by the clubs RSGB trainer, G3MGQ, you will find the latest DX contests including the ones to shoot for as well as ones to give a wide berth. Why not download the latest edition of Month on the Air and enjoy your DX just that little bit more.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

UK Amateur Radio Repeaters

UK repeaters

Click button above for full list, or a local repeater callsign below for info.

GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
MB6RY Wires-X DigiGate in Broad Oak - Active
GB3HE 70cm in Hastings - Active
GB7HE 70cm DStar in Hastings - Coming soon
GB3ZX 70cm in Eastbourne - Low Power
GB3JT 23cm ATV in Hastings - NoV cleared
GB7RY 70cm X-Wires Repeater Rye - Active
GB7ES Eastbourne - DSTAR Rpt. - Active
GB3ES 2m in Hastings - Active

For a complete list of repeaters, head over to
the UK Amateur Radio repeaters list.

Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa