Frequently asked questions

Certification

  1. I am interested in becoming an amateur radio operator. How do I go about it?
  2. I have looked on your website and there are no Accredited Examiners in my area. How can I take my Amateur Exam?
  3. How often can a candidate for the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate be tested?
  4. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with basic qualifications. Do I require additional certification in order to use Morse code?
  5. I am interested in becoming an accredited examiner. How do I go about this?

Technical

  1. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. May I install and use a RF/Linear Power Amplifier with the operation of my station?
  2. My transmitter is capable of operating on frequencies both within, and outside of the amateur radio frequency bands. May I operate it on these other frequencies?
  3. What frequencies may I use with the operation of my Amateur Radio Station?
  4. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. Does this allow me to operate other radio transmitters?
  5. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with basic qualifications. May I install and operate an automatic repeater?

General

  1. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. Can I sponsor a radio station for an amateur radio club?
  2. How can I find out if I should have been grandfathered to a new qualification?
  3. Where else can I go besides ISED to find information about amateur radio?

Travel

  1. I am planning a visit to the USA, can I use my amateur radio station while visiting?
  2. I am going on vacation in Europe, and would like to operate my amateur radio station from the various locations that I visit. Am I allowed to do this?
  3. I am making a trip by boat to another country. Do I have to use a VE0 call sign when in international waters or can I use my home station call sign?
  4. I am an amateur radio operator visiting Canada from another country. While in Canada can I use my call sign from my home country?

Relocation

  1. I have moved to Canada from another country where I held an Amateur Radio Licence/Certificate, how do I get the equivalency in Canada?
  2. I am moving. What are my obligations to ISED and the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC)?
  3. I am going to be moving outside of Canada and will no longer have a valid Canadian address. How does this affect my Amateur status?

Call signs

  1. How do I know if my event qualifies for a special call sign?
  2. What is the procedure for re-assigning a call sign after an amateur has died?

Answers:

Certification

  1. I am interested in becoming an amateur radio operator. How do I go about it?

    In order to become an amateur radio operator, you must pass the basic examination with a mark of 70% or greater. It is recommended that you read RBR-4: Standards for the operation of radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service, RIC-3: Information on the Amateur Radio Service, and RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes before taking the examination. You will also find on this website the Amateur radio exam generator, which is a learning tool for prospective Amateurs and accredited examiners. In order to take the exam, you must contact an accredited examiner in your area. Contact information can be found on the Accredited examiners page.

  2. I have looked on your website and there are no Accredited Examiners in my area. How can I take my Amateur Exam?

    Contact the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC) to discuss what options are available in this situation.

  3. How often can a candidate for the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate be tested?

    A candidate who fails an exam may be retested as often as necessary. The examiner is required to provide a different exam for each re-examination.

  4. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with basic qualifications. Do I require additional certification in order to use Morse code?

    The Morse code certification is one of three means of obtaining access to frequency bands below 30 MHz, but is not required in order to make use of the mode itself. Canadian amateur radio operators may make use of any mode of communication that does not result in exceeding the technical parameters authorized by their certificate, and which does not employ the use of any secret code, or cipher.

  5. I am interested in becoming an accredited examiner. How do I go about this?

    To become an accredited examiner you must have a certificate with Basic, Morse (5 wpm) and Advanced qualifications. The document RIC-1: Guide for examiners accredited to conduct examinations for Amateur Radio Operator Certificates is the document that provides information for accredited examiners. Application may be made via the Accredited examiners page or an email to the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC). A completed, and signed, Annex A must be included as part of the submission. It can be found at the end of RIC-1.

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Technical

  1. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. May I install and use a RF/Linear Power Amplifier with the operation of my station?

    As per section 10.0 of the document RBR-4: Standards for the operation of radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service, the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate may install and operate transmitter equipment capable of producing an RF output of no more than twice (3dB) that authorized by their certificate . (Regardless, the operator MAY NOT exceed the maximum RF output levels authorized by their certificate).

  2. My transmitter is capable of operating on frequencies both within, and outside of the amateur radio frequency bands. May I operate it on these other frequencies?

    As per section 3 of the document RBR-4: Standards for the operation of radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service, amateur radio equipment may only be used to transmit on frequencies allocated for use by the Amateur Radio Service.

  3. What frequencies may I use with the operation of my Amateur Radio Station?

    A list of radio frequencies authorised for use by Canadian Amateur Radio Stations is provided within the document RBR-4: Standards for the operation of radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service. Frequencies allocated, but “not listed” within RBR-4, MAY NOT be used by Canadian Amateur Radio Stations.

  4. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. Does this allow me to operate other radio transmitters?

    An Amateur Radio Operator Certificate provides authority for the use of radio transmitters operating within the Amateur Radio Service. The use of transmitters operating within other radio services may require additional certification and/or licensing.

  5. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with basic qualifications. May I install and operate an automatic repeater?

    You may install and operate a repeater receiving on one frequency band while transmitting on another (Cross-Band); or that transmits and receives alternately on the same frequency (simplex store-and-forward). You must only utilize frequencies available for your qualification. However, the installation and operation of a repeater receiving on one frequency while transmitting on another within the same radio frequency band is restricted to holders of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with advanced qualifications.

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General

  1. I am the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. Can I sponsor a radio station for an amateur radio club?

    In order to sponsor an amateur radio club station, you must hold an Advanced Certificate.

  2. How can I find out if I should have been grandfathered to a new qualification?

    The following is a time line for regulatory changes and their effect on existing amateurs:

    • July 2005: Any amateur who held a Basic Certificate prior to April 2, 2002 was grandfathered to a Basic with Honours Certificate.
    • March 2000: VE9 becomes the exclusive prefix to New Brunswick. All residents of New Brunswick who held VE1/VA1 call signs are grandfathered these call signs.
    • March 2000: A new policy was introduced, limiting the number of two letter call signs assigned to individuals to one, and disallowing clubs from holding any two letter call signs. Individuals or clubs holding more than one two-letter call sign were grandfathered these call signs.
    • March 1993: All amateurs who held an Amateur and Advanced Certificate were grandfathered to a Basic, Morse (12 wpm) and Advanced Certificate.
    • March 1993: All amateurs who held an Amateur Digital Radio Operator’s Certificate were grandfathered to the Basic and Advanced Certificate.
    • October 1990: All amateurs who held an Amateur Certificate or an Amateur and Advanced Certificate were grandfathered to a Basic, Morse (12 wpm) and Advanced Certificate.

  3. Where else can I go besides ISED to find information about amateur radio?

    Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) is "Canada's National Amateur Radio Society" and provides an abundance of information. Radio Amateurs du Quebec inc. (French only) is the association that supports amateurs in the province of Quebec. Both of these groups are excellent resources, and are able to direct you to local clubs.

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Travel

  1. I am planning a visit to the USA, can I use my amateur radio station while visiting?

    Under the Canada/USA reciprocal agreement: Treaty Series 1952 No. 7: Operation of Certain Radio Equipment or Stations (Convention between Canada and the United States of America), persons holding appropriate amateur authorizations, issued by either country, may operate their stations within the territory of the other country subject to some restrictions and identification requirements.

  2. I am going on vacation in Europe, and would like to operate my amateur radio station from the various locations that I visit. Am I allowed to do this?

    Canadians can obtain a CEPT permit, issued by Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), that allows for the operation of their station within countries participating in the CEPT agreement. Further information is available from the document RIC-3: Information on the Amateur Radio Service and from the RAC website. If the country does not participate in the CEPT agreement you must obtain permission from the country’s administration prior to operating your station.

  3. I am making a trip by boat to another country. Do I have to use a VE0 call sign when in international waters or can I use my home station call sign?

    You may use your home station call sign when in international waters without any problems. You may also obtain a VE0 call sign. As per the document RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes, the VE0 call sign can ONLY be used when a vessel is within international waters.

  4. I am an amateur radio operator visiting Canada from another country. While in Canada can I use my call sign from my home country?

    As per the document RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes, you may use the call sign assigned by your country’s administration in Canada, but you must bring your amateur radio operator’s certificate/licence and have obtained a CEPT certificate from your home administration. If your country is not part of the CEPT agreement you must obtain a letter of authority from the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC). Visiting amateurs must include the prefix of the geographical location, and the area of operation with the identification of their station. Therefore, an amateur from the United Kingdom with the call sign G**** who will be operating in Winnipeg, Manitoba, would append the prefix “Portable VE4” or “/VE4” to their home call sign, and transmit “Winnipeg” at least once during each communication.

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Relocation

  1. I have moved to Canada from another country where I held an Amateur Radio Licence/Certificate, how do I get the equivalency in Canada?

    There are no equivalencies given for holders of amateur certificates or licences issued by other countries. The only way to get your Canadian Amateur Radio Operator Certificate is to successfully complete the Canadian basic amateur qualification examination with a mark of 70% or greater.

  2. I am moving. What are my obligations to ISED and the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC)?

    As per the document RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes, when moving to a new address, you must notify the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC). To update online, select “Request a change of amateur address" or "Request a change of Amateur Province” via the appropriate link provided on the Amateurs and clubs page. You can also email or fax the ARSC with the new address along with your date of birth as a confirmation. If you are moving out of province and will no longer be retaining an address in the province of your call sign, a new call sign will be issued to you for the appropriate province, free of charge, and your previous call sign will be made available for reassignment. If you have addresses in two, or more different provinces, you may hold call signs in these provinces, as long as a valid address is provided for each province and call sign. Please contact the ARSC if you have addresses in two different provinces.

  3. I am going to be moving outside of Canada and will no longer have a valid Canadian address. How does this affect my Amateur status?

    As per the document RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes, call signs are assigned based on your geographical area in Canada. If you do not have a valid address in Canada you may not be assigned, nor may you retain, a Canadian call sign. Your call sign must be released. Your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate remains valid for life. Should you return to operate in Canada, and have a valid Canadian address, you may apply for a new a call sign without having to re-take the examination.

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Call signs

  1. How do I know if my event qualifies for a special call sign?

    Information regarding special events can be found in the document RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes.

  2. What is the procedure for re-assigning a call sign after an amateur has died?

    As per the document RIC-9: Call sign policy and special event prefixes, when an amateur dies the Amateur Radio Service Centre (ARSC) must be notified of the death and be provided with either a copy of the Death Certificate or an Obituary Notice, which should include the amateur’s date of birth, or age. Once the documentation is verified, the ARSC places the call sign on hold for one year from the date of passing. During this period of time, a qualified immediate family member may obtain the call sign by submitting an application. If the call sign is not obtained by an immediate family member, within the one year time period, the call sign is then released and becomes available for re-assignment.

    Note: Close family friends, etc., are not eligible to obtain the call sign during the year that the call sign is on hold. If the family does not want the call sign, they can write or email the ARSC granting permission to release the call sign early. Once a call sign is released it is assigned on a "first come - first served" basis.

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