United Kingdom Amateur Radio Statistics

The statistics listed in this site are taken from public data published by United Kingdom Radiocommunication agency, at the end of the fiscal year ending March of each calendar year. With the reorganization and creation of OFCOM, the Office of Communications, statistics reporting has changed, thus the variations in reporting periods documented in this section of the web site.

Care must be taken in comparing this data to "equivalent" U.S. FCC data. There are differences in the in regulations that make direct comparisons problematic. This information may or may not be useful in projecting trends in the Amateur Radio service in other countries planning similar license processes.

In January 2006 OFCOM, the UK Office of Communications revised regulations by introducing a no-cost lifetime amateur radio license. This will have an effect on the number of licensed amateur stations in the UK so comparison with previous data is not appropriate.

Please use this data carefully. Consider the following points:

  1. Licenses are similar, but not identical.

    The three license classes: Foundation, Intermediate and Full, are roughly equivalent to the U.S. Technician, General, and Amateur Extra licenses. However when the UK dropped the Morse requirement Intermediate and Full licensees were given all amateur privileges, decreasing the incentive to obtain a Full license.

  2. Stations licenses were relatively expensive

    U.K. Amateurs used to pay about $25 per annum for the privilege of operating an Amateur Radio Station. This may have been one factor in the lower number of stations per 1,000 population, which is only about 1.1 stations per thousand population. The corresponding figures for the U.S. and Japan are 2.5 and 10.3 station per thousand population. Amateur radio licenses now have no cost.

  3. Station Licenses Validity

    In both Japan and the U.S. the number of active stations is overestimated because expiration's occur after 5 and 10 years respectively. Effects of "loss of interest" in Amateur Radio have show up more quickly in the United Kingdom when they had a one-year license. The license is now considered a life-time license, although there is an obligation for an amateur to report every five years if he is still active and wishes to retain the license. How the licensing authority will act on "expired licenses" is not yet clear, so going forward statistics may not be comparable.

  4. UK Amateurs Can Hold More Than One Station License

    Unlike in Japan and the U.S., a UK amateur can hold multiple station licenses, each with a different call sign. This occurs because of progressive licensing whereby a candidate can enter the service with a Foundation license, upgrade to Intermediate, and finally obtain a Full license. At each step he receives a new call sign corresponding to his privileges. Because amateurs no longer pay a yearly fee for each license, they may retain all station licenses. The actual number of duplicate licenses is probably small and does not materially affect licensing trends documented in the reported statistics.

Best 73 de Joe Speroni, AH0A/7J1AAA

By Joe Speroni