In most countries, because we use amateur radio frequencies, no license is required to receive transmissions from the spacecraft. If you wish to transmit information to spacecraft however, you will need to be a licensed radio amateur. An overview of how to become a radio amateur in various countries can be found below.

As regulations vary from country to country and frequently change, please use this information as a starting point for researching whether it is legal for you to participate in this project. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with local regulations.


The book listed below is a great overview of the amateur radio licensing rules and regulations in most countries in the world.

World Licensing and Operating Directory
Steve Telenius-LoweA guide to the operating and licensing rules and regulations around the world.


National association of radio amateurs: Associazione Radio-amatori Italiani (ARI)

Local chapter of AMSAT: AMSAT IT

Body responsible for licensing amateurs: Ministero delle Comunicazioni

There is a single class of amateur radio license in Italy (CEPT A). To obtain it you need to pass a written test which usually takes place in the main city of the region in which you reside. How often the tests are run and their format depends on the regional administration.

If you are in Rome, details of people running local courses can be found here, and  details of the local syllabus can be found here. A recommended book is shown below.

Il nuovo manuale degli esami

As an alternative, you can obtain an US amateur radio license which is legal to use in Italy – details here.

United Kingdom

National association of radio amateurs: Radio Society of Great Britain

Local chapter of AMSAT: AMSAT UK

Body responsible for licensing amateurs: OFCOM

There are three levels of amateur radio licensing in the United Kingdom: Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced. The main differences between the levels are the power and frequencies you are allowed to use. As we hope to use a frequency around 435 MHz in the amateur satellite service, if you are based in the United Kingdom, a Foundation license, a 5W radio such as a Yaesu FT-817N and a good aerial is all that you need. If you wish to operate a ground station remotely or in other country, you will need an Advanced license.

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) publishes a great series of books to take you through the various exams which you can see below. The order in which you take the exams is:

  1. Foundation exam (practical)
  2. Foundation exam (theory)
  3. Intermediate exam (practical)
  4. Intermediate exam (theory)
  5. Advanced exam (theory)

Each time you pass a theory exam you will gain that level of license. At the time of writing, you need to give the RSGB two weeks notice of intention to take the Foundation and Intermediate exams which are held on demand and cost GBP 22.50 which is payable to the RSGB. The Advanced exam is held four times a year and all candidates sit the exam on the same date and at the same time.

The Foundation and Intermediate exams are easily passed by someone with a good grasp of GCSE Physics. The Advanced exam is trickier, but is well within the reach of the motivated A level student. The syllabus and sample exams papers for each exam can be found here for Foundation,Intermediate and Advanced.

The RSGB explain how to get a license here. A list of amateur radio clubs that run training courses can be found here. The textbooks you need for studying can be found below.

Foundation Licence Now
Alan BettsThe standard textbook for studying for the entry-level amateur radio license in the British Isles
Intermediate License
Steve HartleyThe definitive study guide for the intermediate step on the way from a foundation licence to a full amateur radio license in the United Kingdom
Advance: The Full License Manual
Alan Betts and Steve HartleyThe study guide for the full British amateur radio licence

United States of America

National association of radio amateurs: American Radio Relay League

Local chapter of AMSAT: AMSAT NA

Body responsible for licensing amateurs: FCC

To communicate with our satellites with an amateur radio license issued by the United States of America, you will need to obtain the entry-level Technician License. ARRL has a very thorough guide to working thorough this process here. A link to the textbook that will prepare you for the Technician License exam can be found below.

ARRL Ham Radio License Manual: All you need to become an Amateur Radio Operator
H. Ward SilverA comprehensive step by step guide to getting your US Technicians license


Do you have a story, information, brochure, manual, link or other relevant content that should be on this page? If so, we would be very grateful if you would leave it as a comment or email so we can post it here – thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: