Author: Alan 5B4AHJ

The following is published verbatim from RSGB DX News Sheet #1141, dated 1984-11-06. The information was supplied to the editors of DXNS by F6AJA.

Old Licensing System (before 1984):

Class 1 Licence.      Above 30 MHZ (no CW exam) F1, FK1, FG1, etc.

Class 2 Licence.      All Band (with CW exam) F2, F3, F5, F6, F8, F9, FG7, FY7, FO8, FK8....

F0AAA-F0ZZZ          for visitors

New Licensing System (after Jan 1st 1985):

Class A Licence.     13 years old minimum, 144 MHz only.

Class B Licence.     13 years old minimum, 144 MHz plus a few segments on CW sections of 

7 14 21 28 MHz bands +28400-29000 on phone.

Class C Licence.     Above 30 MHZ (no CW exam), i.e. the old class 1 Licence.
Class D Licence.     All band (with CW exam), i.e. the old class 2 Licence.
Class E Licence.     Issued after 3 years in Class D.

The Callsign:
Mainland France -    1st letter F
2nd letter A, B, C, D, E denoting licence class.
One figure 0-9, figure 7 for special event stations.
2 or three letters for the suffix.
Corsica, Overseas Departments & Territories:
Two letters for the prefix.
One figure 1-5 (1 for Class A........, 5 for Class E).
2 or 3 letters for the suffix.
TK Corsica, FT=Antarctic Territories, others unchanged.

In 1984: 
The F6 series will cease at F6IZZ and all F6K-- for club calls. 
All licenced before 1984 are in the old system but will change on 1.1.'85. 
All new-comers in 1984 are in the new system. 
All Corsica stations are changed to the new prefix. See, for example, the TK4CW QSL for May, 1984.

On 1.1.'85: 
All F1 become FC1. All F2 F3 F5 F8 F9 become FE2 FE3 FE5 FE8 FE9. 
All F6AAA to around F6HQZ (issued at least 3 years ago) become FE6. 
All from about F6HRA to F6IZZ become FD6. All F2O-, F5O-, F5K-, & F6K-- (radio clubs) become ?????
All overseas departments and territories with a figure "1" become "3". 
All overseas departments and territories with "7" or "8" and 3 years of licence become "5". 
All overseas departments and territories with "7" or "8" and less than 3 years of licence become "4".

Note: DXNS #1166, dated 1985-05-07, reports: "French first class licencees are now permitted to omit the 'E' from he prefix if they wish. E.g. FE6AJA and F6AJA may both be used by the same operator".

Note: DXNS #1191, dated 1985-10-29, reports: "FF.. This prefix may now be used by French Radio Clubs. FF6 will be common, FF2 & FF5 less so, FF3, FF8 & FF9 will be quite rare"

Note: DXNS #1205, dated 1986-02-18, reports: "The new French prefixes FA & FB are now being issued . FA is only for VHF but FB <snip> licencees may use 20w".  Operation by FB calls was limited to parts of the  40/20/15/10m bands.

RSGB DX News Sheet, F6AJA