Updated: Jul 5, 2021
You need a restricted radio license as part of your PPL, NPL, Glider Pilot License, Balloon Pilot License and Remote Pilot License (Drone Pilot). It is your license to operate the radio when at the controls of an aircraft. But it is also SO MUCH MORE!
When you first listen to the radio, if you are anything like me when I first started, you will not understand a bleeping thing! Don't worry, this is perfectly normal.
The Restricted Radio Course must be completed for PPL, LSA, Glider, Balloon and Drone Pilots.
You need to do a radio course. It ends with an online multiple choice exam, and an oral exam done by a Designated Radiotelephony (RT) Examiner.
I have found it is best for an aspirant pilot to do the radio course after a little experience in the air, once your instructor has explained the basic workings of your radio to you, you are finally managing to understand what people are saying, and you are starting to become more comfortable with your flying. Do your radio course only once you have started training in the circuit.
What you will learn
You will not only learn about the verbal side and phraseology of pilotology, but also about vital concepts like airspaces, and what they mean, air traffic services, flight rules, altimeter setting procedures, flight plans, radio failure procedures, special areas, search and rescue and more.
All of this is highly valuable, and vital information to understand as a pilot. Radio is a living subject, so you need to know how to keep up with the constant changes. You learn this in the Restricted Radio Course.
Restricted or General License?
You need only the Restricted Radio License as a PPL. If you carry on and become a Commercial or Instrument Rated Pilot, you will need to do the General License, which you can do later.
High Personal Standard Hold yourself to a high standard. It is such a pleasure to have people on the airwaves that know the proper terminology for their "radio-speak".
Proof of RT License
When your Radiotelephony Examiner has sent your documents off to the CAA, do not expect any proof back. CAA will record the achievement, and it will be mentioned in your PPL License. You do not get a card or any other document back stating you have it. You can always phone CAA and just double check they have your efforts on record.