Frequently Asked Questions - Angel of the North Amateur Radio Club

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is ANARC?
A. ANARC is the Angel of the North Amateur Radio Club.

Q. Why choose the name?
A. We asked our first members to come up with a name and Tom, one of our founder members, said “Angel of the North” and we all liked it.

Q. What is Amateur Radio?
A. Amateur Radio is a hobby enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It allows anyone to learn about radio, wireless technology and electronics. A Radio Amateur is interested in the science of radio communication.

Q, What is the purpose of a Radio Club?
A. Radio Clubs do a number of things. They provide a forum where radio amateurs can get together and exchange information about the hobby. Our club also runs courses in designed to help people pass the amateur radio exams. We have talks from amateurs about subjects that improve understanding about the hobby and technology. We run events and we also try to provide equipment you can use on club nights.

Q. What do you charge for membership?
A. We charge a small annual fee of £12.00 per year for membership. Each week we ask for a £1.00 contribution towards room hire. Some courses may require an extra room and we ask for contributions as required. An extra 50p on club night gets you a cup of tea or coffee. All the money is spent on the club. Members decide how money is spent. New members can come along for the first 3 weeks without payment. Anyone taking a course is expected to join as a full member.

Q. Do you broadcast like the BBC or pirate radio?
A. No. Amateur Radio doesn’t make general broadcasts. It is for amateurs to talk to other amateurs. Anyone can listen in but the intention is to work like a phone call rather than to create radio programmes.

Q. So it's like CB (Citizens Band) radio?
A. There are some superficial similarities. However CB is intended to be a "black box" technology allowing anyone to use a very limited set of channels. CB is designed to be used for local communication using FM (frequency modulation). Amateur Radio uses many frequencies, many modes of operation, uses higher power and a variety of communication modes. Amateur Radio has specific frequencies intended for worldwide communication.

Q. Aren't big organisations like the BBC and SKY the only people allowed to use the airwaves?
A. People have been experimenting with electricity, magnetism and the properties of these forces for close to 200 years. When Marconi made sent the first transatlantic radio signal over 100 years ago he was both a businessman and an engineer doing experiments. Ever since then most countries in the world have allocated space so that people can experiment with radio and learn what it can do. Amateur Radio is part of that tradition. Experiments conducted by amateurs filter into the commercial world of radio and many people working inside those industries are also radio amateurs. Many countries recognise that becoming a radio amateur helps technical education and knowledge of electronics.

Q. How do you become a Radio Amateur
A. You need to pass an exam to get a licence. It’s a little like getting a driving licence. The most basic exam ensures you can use a radio safely and within the law. You can read about our learning programme elsewhere on the website.

Q. Who organises the exams?
A. The exams are organised by the Radio Communication Foundation on behalf of the Radio Society of Great Britain. ANARC teaches courses and is a registered exam centre.

Q. Is the exam designed to make you a radio engineer?
A. No. The exam is designed as an entry point into understand radio. Efforts are being made to give exams a qualification status like an NVQ or GCSE but right now that is not what it is for. The exam tests whether you have an understanding of topics like safety, legal use and basic principles of radio.

Q. A mate of mine says Radio Amateurs have to do morse code - is this true?
A. No. Morse is not required to become a radio amateur.

Q. What is the RCF, RSGB and OFCOM?
A. The Radio Communications Foundation (RCF) is a charity set up to promote learning about Amateur Radio. The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) represents all radio amateurs in the UK when they talk to government or international organisations. The RSGB does have members and joining does give you additional services however it represents all amateurs whether they are members or not. OFCOM is the government body whose job it is to manage all of Britain’s radio spectrum from TV to mobile phones and amateur radio.

Q. Are your course tutors CRB checked?
A. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check is designed to see that people working with young people or vulnerable adults have not committed criminal offences. The radio club is not specifically for children. Members can be of any age. Many courses are taught with only adult candidates. During our courses where a young person is attending we encourage parents to come with their son/daughter so that they can support the child through the course and the exam. We do not put our volunteer tutors in a position where they are alone with young people. All our tutors are registered with the RSGB and they manage CRB checks on our behalf.

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