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Ofcom fine tunes high tech ham licence

Porcine radio fans, rejoice

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Good news for radio hams: communications regulator Ofcom plans to replace annual amateur radio licences with a new electronic licence that lasts for life. The regulator says it is seeking a balance between maintaining regulatory control and reducing expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy.

The proposed new system would mean licences only need to be changed if the licence holders' details - such as home address - changes. Updating the licence could also be done online, making it faster and cheaper for everyone.

Although the new licensing system would be web-based, with licences issued for free to those using the online system, Ofcom says it will continue to offer licences by post to those who either don't want to use a computer, or who don't have access to the internet. Postal applications will be subject to an administration fee, but Ofcom promises that disabled licence holders will not be disadvantaged.

The terms of the licence will not change, however, and the access rights granted will remain the same: Ofcom will still hold a database of names and addresses, and anyone who wants a licence will still have to pass the Radio Amateur Examination, and will need a valid Pass Certificate.

The licence would still come with the same conditions, and could be revoked by Ofcom if the holder is deemed to have broken the rules. The regulator will continue to monitor frequencies and will deal with undue interference as it always has done.

The closing date for contributions to the public consultation on the proposals is 18 August, so point your browser here to find out more.

Over, and out. ®

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