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Struggling with Foundation Study?

A question from a Foundation student:

I’m finding it quite difficult. I didn’t realise that I should have first gained a Phd in Electrical engineering before embarking on the course! Which is how I am beginning to feel. I think that I am able to grasp some of what the modules are covering but didn’t realise how technical these were going to be. My main reason for doing the course is to obtain the licence to be able to ‘legally’ use a hand held radio over the 0.5w power range. I’ve used the ordinary walkies before but the range is limited.

We provided a few thoughts, repeated here to help others:

First off, note that online training isn’t for everyone – we all learn in different ways, and if you’re working through our modules and watching our videos, and it’s just not sinking in, then other ways of studying might be worth exploring – typically in-person training (at one of the network of clubs), or learning from another ham in person, may be a better option for you, as they can explain tricky issues in a way that might make better sense for you.

Yes, Ofcom does require an exam for amateur radio, and it’s helpful to understand why. This is a technical hobby that allows experimentation and world-wide range. Because of that, all amateurs around the world need to take an exam, and understand a common set of basic aspects – including licensing rules, the basics of how radios work, the different antenna types, safety, reducing interference and some basic electronics. For those who don’t want to take an exam, there are exam-free options, such as PMR446, CB radio and Ofcom Business.

The Foundation exam is a 26-question multiple choice exam, where you can get 7 questions wrong (two whole modules) and still pass.

Hard to give you a definite answer on how you should proceed. If you find you’re watching the videos and nothing is sinking in, then that would point to the way you’re studying, and you may need to look at face-to-face study. If the material is just to hard to understand, then you’re welcome to ask for help – we have a discussion area, you can mail me for help, or we have webinars to ask for more help and advice.

If you’re still keen on the idea of getting a Foundation licence, then the trick is to use the questions at the end of each module to identify where you might be weak.

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