Digital sign of the times

August 19th, 2017 by

The move towards the use of digital modes for entry level licences is being considered in at least three major countries as a means of making Amateur Radio more relevant and attractive.

Reviews of the Foundation licence in the UK, Australia, and the USA Technician licence, include talk and proposals that some digital modes should be included.

A number of European countries are considering entry level licences, with
proposed inclusion of digital modes. The UK Foundation licence has permitted some digital modes since the outset.

WIA Secretary, Jim Linton VK3PC, told us while past entry level or beginner licences have initially given a taste of Amateur Radio, technology has moved on in the past decade and beginner licences are no longer reflective of current practice, or society generally.

Of course, the incentive to upgrade to a higher level with more operating power, bands and privileges, must be retained. Differences between Entry, Middle and Advanced licences exist.

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) is looking at the syllabus of its
Foundation Licence, while the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) is considering adding some digital modes to the Technician Licence, among other changes.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) is preparing an updated submission for its regulator, reviewing the current and out-dated regulations that cover Amateur Radio licensing, based on responses to recent online consultations via the WIA website.

Let’s face it, the majority of people aged over 15 years already use a
smartphone and communicate digitally in voice, text and vision. For Amateur Radio to be attractive to experimenters and to future generations it needs to seriously look at increasingly embracing or catching-up with the digital age.

However, a degree of relativity between each level of licence will need to be maintained – and this may mean some improvement, while still meeting international standards.

Source: Wireless Institute of Australia