2019 UK Exam Syllabus released.

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2019 UK Exam Syllabus released.

Postby m0lsx » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:15 pm

I spotted this on Southgate ARC's news site.

The RSGB have released the new Amateur Radio Examination Syllabus to enable preparation for its adoption in August 2019

In addition to the syllabus for the three exams the RSGB has also published documents showing what has been added and removed at each level.


Download the syllabus from
https://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/tutor-resources-2/syllabus/syllabus-2019/

Essex Ham - Changes to Foundation Syllabus
https://www.essexham.co.uk/news/rsgb-syllabus-released-changes-to-foundation.html
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Re: 2019 UK Exam Syllabus released.

Postby m0lsx » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:36 pm

Essex Ham reports..

A sizeable amount of new material has been added – far more than is outlined in the RSGB’s 3-page summary. The current syllabus has around 130 items, and the new one has over 250!

Some of the changes will present challenges for classroom teaching and for online teaching, and will likely involve many trainers in having a re-think in how they deliver content.

Foundation will still be a 26-question multiple choice, but will require more time to teach, and additional resources to support the new practical. There will be one less “technical aspects” question, but one extra “safety” question.


A totally new practical has been added. This was NOT in the version of syllabus put out for general consultation, so will come as a surprise to many who reviewed the original version.

The practical is a basic electronics “construction” exercise – an interesting addition given that construction remains largely an “intermediate” activity.

:arrow: Candidates will be required to connect a battery, resistor and LED
:arrow: Candidates will be required to calculate the value of the required resistor and specify the current (Ohm’s Law). It’s not clear if, after selecting the value, they will be required to identify using colour code (currently ‘Intermediate’)
:arrow: Candidates will be required to measure the current (Use of Multimeters is currently ‘Intermediate’)
:arrow: Candidates will then have to connect another resistor in parallel, and explain to the tutor why the current doubles

The statement “Explain the reason to the tutor” is interesting. Typically, an RSGB Registered Assessor would sign off a practical, but references to “Assessor” have been dropped since the last published draft, and “tutor” is used for this new practical. Is this a document error, or a change of policy on assessments

RSGB had not justified its reason for the addition of this practical, which will impact all Foundation training requiring extra time and additional hardware for volunteer trainers.


The Morse Appreciation has been the subject of controversy amongst trainers for some time, and the RSGB has listened – Trainers can now choose between asking candidates to take the Morse Appreciation, or a Data Mode practical.

The specification for the data mode practical highlights some issues that trainers need to consider seriously before adopting, notably:

:arrow: The specification states that the candidate must “type and send all information in real-time” – My assumption is that JT65, JT9 and FT8, are therefore not permitted. SSTV would be out too
:arrow: The QSO must be on-air – therefore requiring another station to be set up using the same data mode, operated by another volunteer
:arrow: Setting mic gain and computer levels is part of the practical – which can be a complex exercise in its own right

Realistically, PSK31 is the mode that most likely meets the requirements (odd that the most popular modes are excluded!), but even PSK31 relies on macros and codes – it’s also a mode that’s decreasing in popularity. From a Tutor’s perspective, I’d personally rather stick to the short CW appreciation, than have to deal with setting up two PSK31 stations, PTT/CAT and soundcard setup, plus the vagaries of Windows COM ports and software setup in front of a group of trainees.


Licence Condition Changes

Remains at 6 questions – but there are 10 additions to the syllabus, including:

:arrow: Vessels at sea, Aircraft operation, optional suffixes, testing “from time to time” – all previously Intermediate
:arrow: Addition of re-validate every 5 years, Ofcom’s right to revoke, and Ofcom’s right to mandate logging
:arrow: Requirement that only a Full licencee can supervise Foundation course QSOs (which will impact training at some clubs)
:arrow: Requirement to identify station when there is a change of supervisor, protocol or RSL


Technical Aspects

Previously this was called “Technical Basics”, but the addition of 18 new items here justifies this no longer being “basic”. Drops from 4 question in the exam, to 3.

Syllabus changes include:

:arrow: Current in series and parallel circuits
:arrow: More on resistors – Conversion of energy to heat, current across all components
:arrow: Requirement to remember the RF range (below 30kHz to over 3,000MHz)
:arrow: Digital signals – (stream of finite values at a specific sampling level), processed by computers and software
:arrow: A-to-D and D-to-A converters
:arrow: Primary vs secondary battery properties


Transmitters & Receivers

Stays at 3 exam questions, but addition of 8 new syllabus items, including:

:arrow: Introduction of sidebands and SSB operation (previously at Intermediate)
:arrow: Mic amplification and frequency limiting
:arrow: 5 new requirements for software-defined radios including that a “mathematical operation enables signals to be sifted to separate frequency components”, and SDR filtering


Feeders and Antennas

Stays at 3 exam questions. The 3-page summary from RSGB indicates no changes to this section, but we have found 20 new syllabus additions, including:

:arrow: Additional technical detail on feeder: balanced, equal and opposite signals in twin feeder, energy converted to heat, loss in long feeder runs, increased loss in higher frequencies
:arrow: Antenna radiation patterns
:arrow: Polar diagrams for dipole and Yagi
:arrow: Directions of maximum and minimum radiation
:arrow: More on gain (expressed relative to a half-wave dipole)
:arrow: ERP calculation, given input power and antenna gain (dB conversion table will apparently be provided)
:arrow: SWR much greater than 2:1 may damage a transmitter
:arrow: Addition of SMA and N plugs (in addition to BNC and PL259)


Edited to add. This post cut in two as I had exceeded the permitted number of smilies due to needing to highlight the bullet points.
Last edited by m0lsx on Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2019 UK Exam Syllabus released.

Postby m0lsx » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:37 pm

Oddities

A quick scan has highlighted a few oddities:

:arrow: It appears that the requirement to identify circuit symbols has been dropped. It was a requirement in the old syllabus (“Identify the circuit symbols” – 3b.7), but no mention of these symbols in the new syllabus, and the table of symbols present in previous drafts, has gone.
:arrow: It appears that the requirement to convert frequency to wavelength been dropped from Foundation. It was a requirement in the old syllabus (“use a graph to convert…” – 3c.3), but that sentence has been removed (See 2E7 of the new syllabus). Oddly, 2E7 implies the chart will still be provided in the exam, even though it appears to no longer be examinable. The conversion moves from Foundation to Intermediate (Intermediate syllabus 2E7 states “Calculate frequency or wavelength given the other parameter”)
:arrow: “Recall that tuning of a receiver is carried out in the first stages of the receiver” has been removed. (The new block diagrams haven’t been provided yet, and it’s not clear if this box will be removed)
:arrow: The dangers of using home-made filters or fitting things to mains wiring, have both been removed – are these no longer a safety risk?
:arrow: “Table 2” is referred to three times in the new syllabus, but there aren’t any tables. “Table 2” will apparently include examinable points affecting Waveforms (3A4), Receiver block diagrams (3H2) and Plugs (4H1)
:arrow: “Recall the frequency bands for HF, VHF and UHF” appears twice – Questions 8 and 22 (2E2 and 7B2)
:arrow: References to examinable prefixes “milli, kilo and Mega” (section 3a.1 of the old syllabus) are not listed in the corresponding section of the new syllabus, 2A1. Are these still examinable?
:arrow: Much of the introduction information provided in the previous syllabus drafts has been omitted, including pass marks, “prior knowledge”, the definition of “recall” and “understand”, and the requirements for handling of practical assessments.


The above is about half of what Essex Ham covers, there really are a lot of changes & it is going to take some digesting. Plus it looks like many less able Intermediates are going to struggle to teach this syllabus properly.

The above has been quoted from...https://www.essexham.co.uk/news/rsgb-syllabus-released-changes-to-foundation.html
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Re: 2019 UK Exam Syllabus released.

Postby Darkstar » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:26 am

Interesting changes but probably won't matter as 'new amazing IP radio' means nobody will have to bother getting a license.

Southwales wrote:Have just downloaded the Zello app and it works great, bonus is not needing a licence so can start talking straight away.



I rest my case.
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Re: 2019 UK Exam Syllabus released.

Postby m0lsx » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:51 am

Darkstar wrote:Interesting changes but probably won't matter as 'new amazing IP radio' means nobody will have to bother getting a license.

Southwales wrote:Have just downloaded the Zello app and it works great, bonus is not needing a licence so can start talking straight away.



I rest my case.



Remember the 70's & 80's? Remember that CB was no licence needed before it became legal & then only a £10 licence. Remember Echo Charlie? No licence, or Morse test needed there either.
Now look at Amateur radio licences during that period, they actually peaked as CB, in particular, drew in a large number of people.
Foundation licences have been dipping over recent years, yet groups like Hackspace have been growing.
Amateur radio has been dumming down, into an all that is needed is a VHF/UHF digital black box or a cheap & nasty dual band handheld & a repeater type hobby & loosing potential members as a result.
Yes this new course will frighten some & put them off. BUT it is also an opportunity to attract people who are interested in more. Able to do more? Than just sit on a repeater for hours at a time.
Network Radios is a great addition to the hobby & unlike Death Star for example, it does not involve the need to spend hundreds of pounds on equipment from a specific & greedy manafacturer. As a mobile phone is all that is needed as a minimum & with that you can do APRS too, plus other bits. So it has more of the spirit of amateur radio about it.
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