The Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) permits the operation of an Aeronautical Radio Station in a UK registered aircraft.
General information regarding the FRTOL may be found on the CAA web site here
To obtain the FRTOL a successful pass is required in both the Communications theory exam and the RTF practical test. It is not unusual for student pilots to have completed some training and possibly the Communications theory exam as part of their ongoing NPPL or EASA PPL/LAPL training and they just need to pass the RTF practical. Other applicants arrive having already been issued with a flight crew licence of one sort or another.
If the Communications examination is taken together with the theoretical examinations for the issue of a PPL, LAPL or NPPL licence the examination validity periods as per UK Part- FCL.025 apply;
(b)(2) an applicant has successfully completed the required theoretical knowledge examination for the appropriate pilot licence or rating if he or she has passed all the required theoretical knowledge examination papers within a period of 18 months counted from the end of the calendar month when the applicant first attempted an examination.
(c)(1)(i) The successful completion of the theoretical knowledge examinations will be valid for the issue of a light aircraft pilot licence or a private pilot licence, for a period of 24 months, which shall be counted from the day when the pilot successfully completes the theoretical knowledge examination, in accordance with (b)(2).
What isn’t clear from UK Part-FCL.025 is the scenario where a pilot already holds a flight crew licence or someone who doesn’t intend to ever hold a flight crew licence but wishes to apply for the FRTOL. This category of applicant doesn’t appear to fall within the scope of (b)(2) because they haven’t ‘…successfully completed the required theoretical knowledge examination for the appropriate pilot licence or rating…’
Neither will they fall within the scope of (c)(1)(i) because they haven’t ‘…successfully completed the theoretical knowledge examinations…’ ‘…for the issue of a light aircraft pilot licence or a private pilot licence…’
The simple answer is don’t leave it too late after your Communications theory examination to complete the RTF practical or if you do then expect to take another Communications theory examination – oh and don’t shoot the messenger!