Many Radio Amateurs became licensed through courses run by Colchester Radio Amateurs. There have been many changes to the exam system over the years and CRA have maintained a high degree of excellence in training throughout.

The entry point for all newcomers into the hobby is via the Foundation licence, progressing on to Intermediate, culminating in the Full/Advanced licence. An introduction to each of these licences, as explained by the RSGB, is provided below.


This course is open to club members and non-club members alike.

The entry Level is the Foundation licence. This licence was introduced in January 2002 and is designed to get you involved in amateur radio as quickly as possible. But before you are allowed to transmit 'live' it is important that you know a little bit about how your radio works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users, how not to upset your neighbours or your parents (if you are a young person) and the rules and regulations of holding a radio transmitting licence.

You learn these new skills by taking the Foundation licence training course, which is an integral part of of obtaining a Foundation licence. Most of the training is practical. There is a small amount of radio and electronics theory but only enough for you to appreciate things like using the correct fuses in your equipment and how to build an antenna to get the most out of your radio station. Don't be afraid of the thought of having to undertake a training course. 

Our courses are run in a friendly informal atmosphere by experienced radio amateurs. Courses take different formats. Some clubs run the course over a weekend and some over a number of weeks. Once you have passed the exam and have received your 'Pass' certificate, you are on your way! When you have been issued with your own individual M6 series callsign you will be able to operate on all bands without supervision but with a power restriction of 10 Watts. This is a fairly low level of power but with the experience you will quickly gain this will enable you to communicate around the world.

At CRA we do the Foundation as a Fast Track single day including the exam at the end. This requires that candidates do plenty of reading before the day, but all practicals and theory are covered on the day itself.  We find that newcomers appreciate the convenience of only needing to make one day available and this suits our busy volunteer trainers too!  In fact we have had folks coming from some distance out of area to do their foundation with us.  And our pass rate is very high so far.  All successful candidates taking a Foundation course with CRA receive one free year’s membership of the club.


This course is provided for CRA club members only.

Once you have gained experience at the Foundation level, we are sure you will want to take the next step up, the Intermediate licence. The Intermediate licence gives access to the Intermediate frequency allocations within the amateur bands and permitted power levels are increased to 50 watts.

To obtain the Intermediate licence it is advisable to take a training course. This course is more substantial than the Foundation course and aims to teach many of the fundamentals of radio in a stimulating way by actually undertaking practical tasks such as soldering, building a small project and a variety of other exercises building on the experience you have gained as a Foundation licence holder.  

After completing the course candidates sit the Intermediate Licence Examination. Again this examination is a multiple-choice test based on what was learnt on the course, covering the basic concepts of radio operating on the amateur bands and the licence conditions. With both of these successfully completed an Intermediate licence can be obtained.

CRA also implements the Intermediate course in a fast-track single day format which is free, to CRA members as a benefit of their membership (exceptions at the discretion of committee). 

During the one day course you will cover the required material and complete all the practicals. The exam, for which a small fee applies, is open to both members and non-members. It is usually organised for a week or so after each of our Intermediate course days.

Advanced / Full

This course is provided for CRA club members only

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* Intermediate and Advanced courses are available to CRA members only.

For more information, or to register your interest in attending a future course please contact the Tr

Morse Code (CW) Training:

Since the requirement to pass a morse code test was abolished many years ago, many people have wanted to find ways to learn or improve their proficiency.  CRA is fortunate to count amongst its ranks a number of CW enthusiasts who are very willing to encourage and assist.  On air practice sessions are run at 9.30pm local time on 144.163MHz SSB/CW each Sunday and Monday evening.  In addition, quarterly for an hour prior to its main monthly meetings in February, May, August and November, CRA runs face to face sessions for CW practice at the same venue as the meetings to provide coaching opportunities.  Those proficient in the code will also be happy to identify other methods of practice and advice as well as specialist groups that can help. 

For more information, or to register your interest in attending a future course please contact the 

Subpages (2): CW course Exam Successes