If I get a German Amateurfunklizenz, will I be allowed to experiment with non-communication radio technologies like radar?

Obviously, I'd still adhere to using allocated ham bands, stay within power budgets (solidly below), and identify.

The according law states:

Im Sinne dieses Gesetzes ist


  1. Amateurfunkdienst ein Funkdienst, der von Funkamateuren untereinander, zu experimentellen und technisch-wissenschaftlichen Studien, zur eigenen Weiterbildung, zur Völkerverständigung und zur Unterstützung von Hilfsaktionen in Not- und Katastrophenfällen wahrgenommen wird[…]

in English

In the sense of this law,


  1. amateur radio service is a radio service utilized by radio amateurs among each other, for experimental and technically-scientific studies, for their own education, for international understanding, and for support of aid endeavors in crisis and catastrophe cases […]

which seems to indicate that the German legislation intends on fostering the usage of amateur radio bands for the purpose of doing radio experiments.

  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that radar, ionosondes, etc, would be absolutely within the spirit of ham radio. But there was some recent discussion about transmissions for testing only, that are not communication with another amateur, being not strictly allowed - that there should always be a counterpart. $\endgroup$
    – tomnexus
    Jun 3, 2019 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @tomnexus there is the opportunity to ask (and pay) for a time-, place-, band- and purpose-bound experimental license – obviously, companies developing radio hardware can't use amateur licenses to test their stuff, either. These licenses then allow you to do something in a band you normally couldn't touch. $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ Aren't there restrictions against a signal occupying the large bandwidth of radar pulses? $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Jun 3, 2019 at 16:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MikeWaters you can shape the pulses however you like; for example, I did OFDM communication based radar with exactly the waveform as used by car-to-car wifi (802.11p) of the day. Of course, limited bandwidth limits your resolution. But, for example, 5.65–5.85 GHz is a German ham band – and 200 MHz of bandwidth isn't all that bad for radar, and 5.7 GHz is still doable with "cheap" electronics/SDRs. Also, 10 – 10.5 GHz, which I'm sure is right up your alley, would be relatively easy to block-convert to something "doable" with consumer electronics LNBs. $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


I can’t comment on the specifics of the German Licence, but the wording of the terms, conditions and limitations of the UK licence is such that it sounds exactly within the terms of the amateur licence.

1. Purpose

1(1) The Licensee shall ensure that the Radio Equipment is only used:

(a) for the purpose of self-training in radio communications, including conducting technical investigations; and

(b) as a leisure activity and not for commercial purposes of any kind`

It’s that additional clause that makes me think that this is exactly within the terms of the amateur radio: “including conducting technical investigations”. What you are asking about is exactly that.

Now, obviously this is the UK licence, but this iteration of the terms was written while the UK was an EU member state, regardless of what might happen later this year. My German is not good enough to go through a large legal document, but I would expect it to have similar intent.


In the USA, amateurs ARE allowed to use pulse modulation, which apparently includes radar pulses.

The FCC allows pulse transmissions on and above the 33 cm band.

I found nothing in Part 97 prohibiting radar.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In the USA, the operator would have to transmit a call sign at the end of the transmission and at least every ten minutes for long periods of operation. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jun 3, 2019 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think (meaning: I don't know) that's different in Europe. But no big deal – Especially if we don't use "boring" radar pulses, we can encode identification into the radar signal, easily, at little loss. $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 20:45

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