CAA Licenses

The place to discuss Commercial & Private licensed hand held & mobile transceivers, as well as imported hand held and mobile transceivers.
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paulears
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CAA Licenses

Post by paulears » 05 Oct 2016, 08:52

Has anyone any information on specific types of license types issued by the CAA.

I have the appropriate licenses from OFCOM to install, test and demonstrate VHF radios - mobiles and hand-held, and the worst formality was a half-day course to get the short range marine license needed to operate the equipment I'm able to install and demo. I've had a client interested in the hire of aviation radios- NOT aircraft fitted ones that I realise need specific installation by approved engineers. I'm thinking about handhelds - so think parachuting, ground services, balloons etc.

The information I have requires the pilots radio license, which is way OTT for our needs. We don't need to talk to aircraft, but simply be able to use a ground frequency to demonstrate to the client how the radios work, so perhaps just being able to call the parachute ground director and get a "loud and clear" back. That really is all that we need.

I contacted the CAA, who OFCOM designate to control all aviation licenses, and asked if there were any non-pilot licenses for such things, and after three emails have not had any response from their "product specialists".

It may be that there really is no aviation equivalent, and every ground person has to take a pilots test, but that seems unlikely. The ground controller talking to the people on the apron would mean everyone involved doing a pilot qualification? There must be a ground license, or must there?

As I've had no response from the CAA and have a potential client getting restless because he wishes to hire some equipment from me, I'm a bit stuck. I have too little information to complain, and while I could easily buy half a dozen, and simply hand them over, I'd prefer to be able to at least check the equipment I hire out. Dummy loads in the workshop are fine - but being able to say test into a radio and hear it coming out of another is a very basic requirement.

Anyone know the UK current system and what license types are available for aviation, apart from the pilots version. To be fair, this is hardly a difficult one, but very expensive to take, as it's usually part of the PPL.

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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by thelad » 05 Oct 2016, 15:52

I looked into doing ATC at a local airfield and found out to use the Handheld VHF as a ground station i would have had to go on an expensive traning course and then what would let me use it but only at one site, but the CAA/ofcom must have something you can do like when helis use safetycom to talk to the ground on races landing sites. This guy may help you hes called Andy (nice guy) 07944 633 97 4 from Yorkshire Aviation Service.
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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by Tigersaw » 05 Oct 2016, 16:30

Does the site you wish to use or demo the radio's have a licence / allocation? It might be that they can allow you to test under supervision or do it for you?
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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by paulears » 05 Oct 2016, 18:26

The CAA are scratching their heads - and have referred it to somebody higher up to give an opinion. The course is very expensive as it has a proper examination at the end (although as it's designed for new pilots with no real experience, it's heavy on procedure and very light on everything else. They've promised an answer in a few days. I've made sure they understand I don't wish to communicate with aircraft in flight, and only wish to establish that a ground path will work. They do have the ability to issue a permit rather than a licence I'm told, which would actually do fine for what I want.

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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by M3VBS » 05 Oct 2016, 20:52

Don't most aerodromes get around the ground crew training issue by having a uhf relay to atc? IIRC the uhf channel rebroadcast all of the vhf traffic but there is a uhf freq return path for ground to call the tower (which won't be heard by a/c)

I always assumed these systems were in place to get around the training requirments and lack of exemptions for apron crew

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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by Tigersaw » 05 Oct 2016, 22:51

All the airfields I work at have airband allocations, and anyone needing to use VHF usually just have RT procedure tuition, often alongside airfield driving. No CAA involvement, hence my previous suggestion.

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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by LeakyFeeder » 06 Oct 2016, 18:05

Have foned our CFI at the field i use and his reply was basically what Tigersaw says..

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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by paulears » 06 Oct 2016, 20:27

That makes sense - clearly it is impractical to expect the folk working on ground duties to take tests. I wonder how it would extend to a contractor - which would be my classification working on the site. I've had the driving instruction for a video job (chasing a Cessna down the runway), complete with flashing light and they gave me a radio to talk to the tower. I'm guessing the radio must then be some kind of permit to work system, with the person using the radios doing it with explicit permission. I'm not sure that would be a get out of jail free card for me, as a non-employee. Let's say, for the sake of discussion that this works. I can call the tower, get a radio check and hand over the radio. How about if I do the radio test from my van in the car park? Still OK? Still OK if I do it as I turn off the main road, or perhaps from the workshop, plugged into the aerial? Maybe the sensible outlook would be that it's ok, once on the airfield?

This is why I'd like to get it sorted properly if I can. Clearly nobody really cares practically. I can call up my harbour radio and ask for a radio check, and I'm sure they'd simply respond - as they always respond to any call from oddly named boats, but to do it legally, I need the short range radio test, with associated payment to the RYA. A very brief and totally non-technical half day which I doubt anyone ever fails , despite the need to talk a bit of French. For business radio, you have the specific license for demonstration/testing and hire - but for air, nothing?

It does make you wonder how they deal with interference and bad practice. I assume that ground staff radios are simply programmed with a couple of memories, and they don't usually use the direct access features.

I suspect I've asked the CAA for something they simply don't do, or see any need to do if they just allow the airfields to sort things out for themselves.

My client has gone off the boil now, but is one of those people who wants to do things 100% correctly. Instead of hiring, he'll simply not bother.

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Re: CAA Licenses

Post by Tigersaw » 06 Oct 2016, 21:13

It works like this - the CAA allocate the frequencies according to the requested 'declared operarating coverages' required, then ofcom issue and charge for the licences. The airport operator then uses their frequencies according to the licence conditions. Use of hand held equipment on the ground on those frequencies are just like a business user - they can issue hand held radios for contractor use subject to their own RT training, so long as it follows standard guidelines and is controlled. As far for not being on the airfield itself, a bit grey but if you were talking back to the tower you'd only be able to wander a mile or so at the most. If you were talking to another handset as end/end test, then no, that would be outside of the remit and you would be illegal.

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