Intermediate Licence Training Course
Next Intermediate Courses
The next Gloucester Amateur Radio and Electronics Society Intermediate Course will run over the two weekends: September 30th and October 1st plus October 7th and 8th from about 9am to 5pm each day. It will be held in Hartpury, which is about six miles (10km) north of Gloucester. The exam will take place on Monday 9th October 2017 at Churchdown School (the normal meeting place for Gloucester Amateur Radio and Electronics Society) starting at 7.30pm.
One of the exercises in the course is to build a small, radio related project. On this course, we are standardising on the project so everybody will build the same project: a 3.5MHz VFO project from Colin Tuckley (G8TMV). Details of this kit is available at http://www.tuckley.org/vfo. We will supply the kits but will need charge for them.
You will also need to pay the RSGB for the exam.
If you want to join the course please can you contact training @ g8cqz . co . uk or use our Contact Us form and let us know soon as possible. We don't need any money or formal paperwork at this stage, just your name, your M6 callsign and an email address that we can use to contact you. A phone number might also be helpful.
Our intermediate programme consists of eight theory modules and seven practical tasks.
- Introduction, Safety, Identify Construction Projects
- Nature of Amateur Radio, Licence Conditions
- Technical Basics
- Transmitters and Receivers, Feeders and Antennas
- Propagation, EMC
- Operating Practices and Procedures
- Course Review, Demonstration of Completed Projects
A major part of the Intermediate licence program is the practical element. You are required to:
- construct your own simple DC circuit
- measure voltages, currents and resistance (equipment provided)
- demonstrate the operation of diodes and transistors (equipment provided)
- put a BNC or PL259 plug onto a piece of coaxial cable
- put a 13A plug onto a piece of mains cable
- calibrate a Variable Frequency Oscillator (provided)
- build your own radio related project
You must have passed both the Foundation examination and the Foundation level practical assessment before you can take this course.
The course normally takes part over two consecutive weekends with the exam on a Monday evening following the second weekend:
Days 1 and 2: Electronics and Practicals
- Licence Conditions
- Calculating Input Power
- Conductors and Insulators
- Components and Symbols
- Multi-meters and units of measurement
- Measuring Potential Difference
- Measuring Current
- Measuring Resistance
- Capacitors, Inductors and Transformers
- Tuned Circuits
- RF Oscillators
- Calibrating a VFO
- Project building
Days 3 and 4: Radio and Theory
- Operating Practices and Procedures
- Other Transmitting Modes
- Power Supplies
- Antenna Matching
- Antenna Feeders
- Antenna Gain
- Electromagnetic Compatibility
- Harmonics and Spurious Emissions
- Good Radio Housekeeping
- Mock examinations
How do I book onto a course?
For the Intermediate Course send an email to training @ g8cqz . co . uk
Please note that there is a different email address for the Foundation course
Self Study and Distance Learning Courses
For students who are unable or do not wish to join an instructor led course there is always the option of self study or joining an online (distance learning) course. We can provide:
- additional informal mentoring if required
- formal evaluation of the required practical tasks
- facilities to take the exam at our next exam session
For more information please contact training @ g8cqz . co . uk or use our Contact Us form.
Understanding electronic components and actually building things are major parts of the Intermediate Course. Therefore, you will need some tools. Personally, I think that the absolute minimum is:
- Eye protection
- Long nosed pliers
- Side cutters
- Soldering iron, stand and solder
- Desoldering pump
The choice of soldering iron depends on personal choice and the type of projects that you will work on but an 18W to 25W iron is probably a good initial choice. Anything less than 12W is unlikely to have enough thermal capacity for anything other than microscopic surface mounted components and anything over 40 watts (unless very well temperature controlled) is likely to burn out printed circuit board tracks. I strongly recommend that you avoid gas powered or instant heat irons for electronics work.
Please make sure that you have a soldering iron stand or some way of holding the hot iron whilst you are inserting components or doing other work and not actually soldering.
The use of 60/40 solder is still permitted for the Intermediate Course and many people find it easier to use than lead free solder.
There are two basic types of multimeter (digital and analogue). You will need one for the course (of either type) but, in the longer term, I recommend that you get a good quality digital meter plus a very cheap analogue meter. When working with tuned circuits that need to be adjusted for a maximum or a minimum, it is much easier to do this with an analogue meter.
The Book (and other resources)
The official course manual is:
Intermediate Licence: Building on the Foundation (ISBN: 9871-9050-8650-4)
This has been edited by Steve Hartley (G0FUW) who was one of the key people who developed the three tier licensing system. Any edition dated 2011 or later is good for the course.
A number of sample questions for the theory test are available in Amateur Radio Exam Secrets (ISBN: 9871-9050-8648-1).
The full official Ofcom syllabus is available to download from https://thersgb.org/services/education/downloads/pdf/intermediate_syllabus.pdf
One of Steve Harley’s early (2003) courses was videoed and these are available on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/album/1666647
(8 videos: about 10 - 11 hours in total)
There is a list of other resources that is available via links from the RSGB website at http://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/training-resources
On our next course, we are going to try building a standardised project.
Part of the assessment requires you to provide and build an amateur radio related project. This can be from a kit or a design from elsewhere (such as a magazine). It can be built on a printed circuit board or on stripboard but the type of construction known as dead bug (where components are directly soldered together or to a solid groundplane) is NOT acceptable. The project MUST include at least one small signal transistor or FET. Large signal (power) transistors (i.e. transistors with a threaded stud or a hole in them for screwing them to a heat sink) are O.K. but NOT as the only transistor in the project. Although projects with some surface mount components are acceptable, the majority of components should be wire ended to go through holes in the board. Finally, the project must run from a battery or other low voltage supply. Projects that run directly from the mains (i.e. projects that need 240 volts) cannot be accommodated as we do not have the necessary isolated supply.
Please do not start construction on your project without asking us for advice as we must see you undertake a significant amount of work. We can take quite a wide view of the term amateur radio related but if you have any doubts over the suitability of your chosen project, or you would like some advice on this or any other aspect of the course, please do not hesitate to contact us.
You may already have a selection of tools but an alternative is to buy a complete toolkit such as item TL10269 from CPC (www.cpc.co.uk) at about £20 post free. You also need some 60/40 solder if you don’t want to use the lead free solder that is often supplied with these kits. CPC have a variety of thicknesses and spool sizes. I use 18swg/1.2mm for normal electronics work but thinner wire for surface mount components. Hobbycraft also sell small spools of 60/40 solder. Solders that require a separate flux should never be used with normal electronic components.
If you are looking for a kit to build, you may wish to consider:
- I have built a number of kits from Tim Walford (http://www.walfords.net/list.htm). The quality of these kits is quite good but they suffer from the fact that the boards have no component location markings so you have to follow the layout diagrams in the instructions very carefully. They also have no cabinets.
- The Kit Radio Company (http://www.kitradio.co.uk/page2.htm). No experience.
- I have built one kit from FoxDelta. These (more advanced) kits are very good but delivery times can be extremely long.
- I have also built kits from Velleman. Many of these are (or have been) available from Maplins. Good kits with excellent instructions but many of their items are available ready built so please make sure that you are buying a kit of parts to build yourself and that it is (loosely) radio related.
If you have any other questions, please use our Contact Us form.
Please note: The suggestions for tools and projects are the personal recommendations of our instructor (Cliff Powlesland) but have not necessarily been tested by him. Other suppliers may be as good as, or even better than, the ones suggested. Details of suppliers and prices may change.