From a knowledge of these ham radio call signs it is possible to learn something about the licencee - the type of amateur radio or ham radio licence held and also when it was issued. As the types of ham radio licence available have changed over the years, and different call sign series were issued for each one, it may be difficult to identify what the callsigns mean without a table and explanation. Within the UK, there are three types of amateur radio licence that can be obtained, namely the Foundation Licence, Intermediate Licence and the Full Licence. Each of these ham radio licences offers different privileges in a form of incentive amateur radio licence scheme through which all new UK radio hams must progress to achieve the full licence. The different ham radio licences reflect the experience of the operators, the Foundation Licence offering entry level privileges while the Full licence offers the highest power levels and the greatest number of bands.
Amateur radio call signs are allocated to amateur radio operators around the world. The call signs are used to legally identify the station or operator, with some countries requiring the station call sign to always be used and others allowing the operator call sign instead. The International Telecommunication Union ITU allocates call sign prefixes for radio and television stations of all types. Since these have been used to uniquely identify operators and locate amateur stations within a geographical region or country of the world. Call signs meant for amateur radio follow the ITU's Article 19, specifically
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The International Telecommunication Union ITU allocates call sign prefixes for radio and television stations of all types. They also form the basis for, but do not exactly match, aircraft registration identifiers. These prefixes are agreed upon internationally, and are a form of country code. A call sign can be any number of letters and numerals but each country must only use call signs that begin with the characters allocated for use in that country. A few countries do not fully comply with these rules.