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OFCOM, HAREC and all that…

This post contains some bad news – not just for me but for anyone in the UK who has been studying for a license via the US Exam route.

I’ve held a US Amateur Extra license for about 2 years now and have been issued licenses by the Bahamas and Malta for use there on the strength of that license. Since the modification of the UK Reciprocal License privileges earlier this year, I felt it was worthwhile applying for a UK Full Reciprocal License since I would be able to use it while /MM and also when visiting other CEPT countries.

I had already prepared the path for this in the past with OFCOM and the RSGB neither of whom saw any difficulty in the application barring that the Federal Communications Commission in the USA does not issue HAREC certificates. (A HAREC is a certificate indicating that their examinations meet the harmonised standards in CEPT). I was encouraged by OFCOM to explain this in my application and I did so – I also included the initial correspondence with them.

This afternoon, I received the following email from OFCOM:

Dear Mr Macrae


Thank you for your e-mail.

As you do not have access to a HAREC you are required to provide proof of US citizenship (generally in the form of a Passport)

Please provide this detail included in an e-mail to us then we can proceed with the application.

I have written back to explain that I am not a US Citizen but a British Subject.  However, the implications of this demand are serious for those who planned to take the US examinations this year at the various Hamfests.  It is clear that if you are not a US citizen then the door is firmly closed.

Of course, it does make a mockery of the recognition of competence of US licensed amateurs.  Apparently you are only competent to operate an Amateur Station if you hold a US passport so all of the people that legally hold a US license but are not citizens are somehow less competent.

Words fail me!

Needless to say, I shall be in touch with the RSGB in the morning to let them know what OFCOM’s stance is.



  1. dkozel says:

    Has there been any follow up from Ofcom or the RSGB about this?

    I am an American with an Amateur Extra and was just rejected due to the US not signing T/R 61-02 or issuing HARECs. I had specifically sent a scan of my passport with the application due to reading your post.


    • admin says:

      Regrettably there has been none – it’s a black hole. As an American citizen with AE you automatically have privileges under CEPT. See ARRL web site.

      • dkozel says:

        Thanks for the reply. I’ve just used my three months of CEPT privileges and will probably go with the renewable 6 month temporary reciprocal licence option for now. I’m going to call the RSGB this afternoon first though, I’d hate to add to the precedent of not issuing full licences if they’re being inconsistent.

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