National Shortwave Listeners Club Logo

National Short Wave Listeners Club

Would you like an Irish Amateur Radio Licence?

The National Short Wave Listeners Club (NSWLC) is affiliated with the IRTS. We offer free, live online courses to help you study for and pass the HAREC exam in line with the Irish regulations set out by ComReg. We have just finished our Spring/Summer course. The next one is planned for Autumn 2022.

 

Weekday classes are led by volunteers who are experienced radio operators. Members also meet on Sundays to socialise and chat about anything related to amateur radio. We use our email group to organise online.

 

Follow the 3 steps below to get on the air!

3

Study

IRTS Logo

IRTS: Irish Radio Transmitters Society

The IRTS has been the national society for radio amateurs and experimenters in Ireland since 1932. It is a member of the IARU, the International Amateur Radio Union, who coordinate our affairs with the ITU, the International Telecommunications Union. Thanks to them, we have access to the valuable radio spectrum.

 

Although IRTS does not offer training, you should become an IRTS Shortwave Listener Member as soon as possible to get your SWL number. By joining our national society you will also support the IRTS and the IARU who will help you enjoy this hobby for many years to come.
 

Members of the IRTS can join the NSWLC for free!

 

Find out about the benefits of IRTS membership and join.

NSWL Club Logo

Next course:
Autumn 2022

To study with us you have to join our Club. First, read and accept:

 

NSWLC Constitution
IRTS Child Protection Policy

IRTS Anti-Bullying Policy

 

Or email NSWLC+subscribe@groups.io to subscribe. You will receive further instruction, Zoom etc, by email. Please also complete this form:

 

Membership Application Form

 

Membership starts in January and ends in December. It is free for the current IRTS members—use the same email address as with IRTS—otherwise it costs €30.

IARU Logo

Licensing and exam study syllabus

The IRTS has plenty of study material:

 

Amateur Radio Licensing

HAREC Exam Syllabus

Sample Exam Paper

Radio Theory Links
and Exam Discussion Forum

 

Thanks to the IARU and the internationally harmonised exam your CEPT licence will enable you to operate worldwide. While learning, start listening using a free online receiver if you do not have a radio:

 

rx.kiwisdr.com

websdr.org

 

While Morse Code is not needed for a CEPT Class 2 licence (see FAQ below) if you would like to get Class 1 you need to pass the Morse test. Take that test before the HAREC exam to avoid having to change your call signs later.

 

lcwo.net

morsecode.world

CWOps Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we doing this?

 

Learning live, online, in an enthusiastic group, getting regular weekly support from experienced tutors, who are active radio operators, has proven to be a good way to get ready to pass the licensing exam.

 

Who are we?

 

The Club is run by the Officers in accordance with our Constitution, who, at present, are: Rafal Lukawiecki EI6LA (Chairman & Tutor), Dave Moore EI4BZ (Secretary & Tutor), Gerry Sweeney EI7IFB (Treasurer & Tutor), Jerry Cahill EI6BT (Tutor), Keith Crittenden EI5KJ (Tutor), Mike Lee EI4HF (Tutor), and Simon Kenny EI7ALB (Tutor). 

 

How much is the HAREC course and the membership of NSWLC?

 

The course is free for all NSWLC members. We are unpaid volunteers, the Club aims to be non-profit, and we get no income from it. Membership of the NSWLC is free to the current IRTS members—please join the IRTS as an SWL member if you are new. If you cannot join the IRTS the membership of NSWLC costs €30 for a calendar year. Membership starts in January and ends in December and it does not renew automatically. Later, you will have to pay for the HAREC exam and for the licence to the respective bodies.

 

How many people have we helped?

 

As of mid-2022 we have seen over 250 attendees in our classes and meetings. About 70 sat their HAREC exams in 2021. Just over 50 have passed and obtained their licences. We usually see 30–50 attendees at each of our courses.

 

Can I watch course videos on-demand?

 

Sorry, no. This is an interactive class without recordings. You need to attend it live and we do not permit recording it. Our tutors and moderators can show and explain much more to you without having to consider the needs and implications of being recorded. Of course, there are many videos about amateur radio on the Internet.

 

I have attended the NSWLC live course but I cannot get into the Sunday meetings.

 

Sunday club meetings use a separate invitation. You have received a registration link in the welcome email when you have joined our group email service. Use the group email to contact us if you would like it again. To maintain security, you will need to use a free Zoom account to register for our meetings. You need to log-in to that Zoom account each time you want to attend a meeting.

 

What are the class hours?

 

Our classes, as well as the Sunday socials, run from 2000 to 2200 Irish time, every Thursday, and sometimes on Tuesdays. We start the meetings half an hour earlier, at 1930, to let you join and set-up in time. If you have any difficulties joining, please use the group email to contact us. If you get no reply please call or message us using the number we shared with you when you registered.

 

How long do the courses take?

 

Our courses take about 4 months and consist of 18 two-hour sessions. We have offered them twice a year. We try to schedule them so that they end in time for an upcoming HAREC exam as much as is known in advance.

 

Is Amateur Radio popular?

 

It has never been more popular in Ireland than now! Membership of IRTS grew over 9% in 2021 and there are over 2000 current licensees in the country right now. It has also grown worldwide in the last few years.

 

Do I have to learn Morse Code?

 

No. Morse has not been a requirement to get a licence since 2003. However, Morse proficiency will enable you to get the Irish CEPT Class 1 licence with its shorter call sign without the trailing letter "B", and additional CEPT T/R 61-01 worldwide rights. There are no other differences from Class 2 licences. More importantly, radiotelegraphy (CW) can help you make long-distance contacts without needing much power and even under difficult conditions. It has been having a resurgency recently, and it is now more popular than voice (SSB) but not as popular as the FT8 digital mode of communication. See links at the top of the page for sites and tools that can help you learn Morse code. Above all, have fun with it!

 

Who becomes a radio amateur?

 

Although traditionally it has been a somewhat male-oriented hobby, the recently licensed amateur radio operators, or hams, have been helping to diversify our community. There are youngsters, middle lifers, and pensioners amongst us. Young teachers, older grannies, ambulance crews, teenage Morse enthusiasts, plumbers, airline pilots, electricians, students, stage crews, civil servants, audiologists, fishermen, musicians, hotel managers, dentists... Inclusion and diversity are important to us: we welcome people of different religions, political persuasions, different genders, sexual orientations. If you feel that being in a minority has limited your ability to enjoy amateur radio you will find good support in our Club. This hobby has universal appeal. Is it for you? If you like the idea, then yes!

 

Can I join if I don't intend to get a transmitter's licence?

 

We welcome all Short Wave Listeners (SWLs) to become NSWLC members and to attend our Sunday socials. Please also join the IRTS to get your SWL call sign.

 

I am a fully licensed amateur, can I join?

 

Our Club's main focus is on those studying for the HAREC exam and the short wave listeners. Once you get your licence we expect you to join another club to continue the social aspect of the hobby. However, we also welcome recently licensed amateurs who would like some help while making their first steps on the air. If you are an experienced, licensed operator and you are good at teaching, and if you are able to commit significant amount of time to teaching, or if you can help in other ways to run the classes or the Club, please also get in touch with us. As outlined in our Constitution, we do not admit licensed amateurs to the Membership in any other cases.

 

Is amateur radio expensive?

 

Not at all, unless you want to spend much. You can get started online without any equipment by using web SDRs (see top of the page), or you can buy used or new, or you can spend a fortune if you want the glitzy stuff. Unlike in other hobbies, you can inexpensively make your own equipment. Indeed, the licence explicitly permits you to experiment with things you build, which is why you need to pass the exam to make sure you know what you are doing, while staying safe, and not interfering with other radio spectrum users. Making your own, for example an antenna, is a great way to learn and to enjoy the hobby.

 

When did it all start?

 

The National Shortwave Listeners Club was formed in March 2021. The IRTS has been operating since 1932, however amateur radio has started in Ireland even earlier. Read more about the experiments of Colonel Meade Dennis EI2B in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, in 1898, who has to be the one of the first, if not even the very first, radio amateur in the world. Ireland has a special place in the history of radio, being also the site of the original transatlantic Marconi stations.

 

I would like to know more about club rules and regulations.

 

Please read the NSWLC Constitution. Familiarise yourself with the IRTS Child Protection and the IRTS Anti-Bullying policies. To join, please send an email to NSWLC+subscribe@groups.io or submit your email address at the top of this page. You also must complete the NSWLC Membership Application Form and return it by email to info@swl.ie.

 

How can I contact the Club?

 

Everyone can email us at info@swl.ie. Members, please use our group email service to contact all the Club members.

 

Are there any more pages to browse here?

 

Other than the files linked on this page, there are no other pages on this site. We update it when a new course has been announced. Please have a look at the many useful resources on the IRTS site including a weekly news bulletin and a regular newsletter. Of course, there are lots more resources on the Internet.