I hope you all had fun yesterday. A big day in amateur radio here in the UK for sure. Very significant changes to our licencing conditions were waved through by Ofcom, as the proposed variations we've all been mulling-over were finally implemented.

Large nets were run to mark the occasion, with many calling in just to flaunt their increased power limits and callsign freedoms. I joined the MSARS 70cms net with the brand spanking new identifier ME0XYF/BONKERS just to see what it sounded like. It sounded worse than it looks on paper, which surprised nobody at all. It was also an excuse to give an inaugural outing to my brand new Quansheng UV-K5(8), which went down better than my new callsign.

If you were caught a little bit on the hop, then here is a catch-up of the changes now in effect, and some supplementary changes yet to follow:

Phase 1 - Changes now in effect (as of 21st February 2024)

Power increases:

  • Foundation: 25 watts (most bands) - The consultation proposed 20 watts
  • Intermediate: 100 watts (most bands)
  • Full: 1000 watts (primary bands)


  • Regional Secondary Locators ('W' Wales, 'M' Scotland, 'I' Northern Ireland, etc.) are now optional (except for Intermediate 2x)
  • Those in England are now able to add an optional 'E' to their callsign at Foundation and Full (e.g. ME7XXX)
  • Any suffix (after the '/' slash) is now allowed after a callsign (e.g. M7XXX/TEST01)
  • New applicants will only be allowed to hold one personal licence
  • Supervision of unlicensed people allowed at all 3 levels
  • Airborne to be permitted to a maximum of 0.5 watts EIRP (primary bands)
  • Relaxing / clarification of operating maritime (now at all licence levels)
  • More flexibility for Beacons, Gateways and Repeaters (including the ability to run 5w ERP without an RSGB-issued callsign)
  • More flexibility and clearer terms for remote and unattended operation
  • New 'Data Station' operation clause (intended for unattended machine-to-machine modes)
  • Foundation licence holders can now build their own transmitters (including kits)
  • Foundation licence holders now have access to 2.4GHz and 5GHz (max 2 watts)
  • If a special prefix is allowed by Ofcom (as for Queen’s Jubilee), there is no need to apply for an NoV

Ofcom will be issuing around 100,000 new licences, which will obviously take some time. The new rules come into effect today, but it may take until Autumn 2024 before all of the licences get reissued.

Phase 2 - Planned for 'Later in 2024'

  • Ofcom to cease issuing 2x Intermediate calls - to be replaced with M8 and M9
  • Existing Intermediates will be encouraged (but not forced) to move to M8 / M9 callsigns
  • Simplified rules for Special Event (e.g. GB) callsigns
  • Restrictions on the number of callsigns held (one per person for personal use, up to 5 callsigns for clubs)

Phase 3 - Planned for 'Before April 2025'

  • Revoking lower-class licences begins (leaving one for personal use, and up to 5 for clubs)
  • Improved online validation process
  • The ability for amateurs to choose any available callsign
  • The ability for amateurs to change their callsign once every 5 years
  • Reissuing of old callsigns after a 5-year grace period since the licence was surrendered or revoked. This includes SK callsigns

The official Ofcom document can be downloaded below.

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