Archived — Notice No. DGRB-001-01

Industry Canada

Radiocommunication Act

Amendments to the Technical Requirements set out in the Radiocommunication Information Circular 2 (RIC-2), "Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service"

Notice No. DGRB-001-01 — A Proposal to Grant Full Operating Privileges in all Amateur Radio Frequency Bands Below 30 MHz to Amateur Radio Operators Holding a 5 word per minute (w.p.m.) Morse Code Qualification


In accordance with the Radiocommunication Regulations, made pursuant to the Radiocommunication Act, the Amateur Radio Service is "… a radiocommunication service in which radio apparatus are used for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication or technical investigation by individuals who are interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

Amateur radio operators enjoy communicating domestically and worldwide with other amateur radio operators. They experiment with various radio modulation techniques ranging from elementary modes involving the on-off transmission of continuous wave (CW) radio emissions using the International Morse code, to more complex emissions such as slow scan television and packet radio communication techniques. The amateur radio service is, by virtue of the potential for global propagation of amateur signals in high frequency (HF) bands, an international service, and it is governed internationally by regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), of which Canada is a signatory nation. ITU regulations require that all amateur radio operators be familiar with the International Morse code in order to use frequencies below 30 MHz.

Industry Canada has recently received a number of petitions from individuals who contend that the current regulatory requirement for maintaining an operator proficiency in the transmission and reception of Morse code at a speed of 12 words per minute can no longer be justified. Their view is that CW is an outdated modulation technique and that proficiency in the Morse code should no longer be the basis upon which amateurs are granted enhanced operating privileges. Many have also questioned the logic of maintaining a regulatory regime whereby operator proficiency in the Morse code is the standard applied in order to grant Canadian amateurs enhanced operating privileges in telephony.

Over the years, officials of the Department have worked with amateur radio operators and their organizations to foster the development of the service. As part of this effort, the Department consults with the amateur community through regular meetings with Radio Amateurs of Canada Inc. (RAC), the national association representing Canadian amateurs. The issue of the Morse code requirement was brought forward by RAC during the April 27, 2000 meeting of the Canadian Amateur Radio Advisory Board. A formal proposal to eliminate the 12 w.p.m. Morse code requirement in order to grant amateurs full HF operating privileges on frequencies below 30 MHz was received by Industry Canada in a letter from RAC dated June 15th, 2000.

In that letter, the RAC noted that:

"this proposal would give Canadian radio amateurs operating privileges similar to those currently accorded to United States amateurs who successfully pass a 5 w.p.m. Morse test". RAC also emphasized the "ongoing debate in the amateur radio community concerning the validity of the retention of the international radio regulations' requirement for Morse Code competency for operation below 30 MHz., given the (recent) removal of Morse for international maritime communications and its declining use by government and military organizations. A number of administrations have proposed that a review of the international regulations governing the Amateur Services be placed on the agenda of the World Radio Conference scheduled for 2003. The Proposed review is supported by the International Amateur Radio Union, which has consulted with its member organizations in over 180 countries during the past four years".

The letter also pointed out that:

"RAC has consulted with the Canadian Amateur Community in various ways including web site surveys, message boards, analysis of e-mail and postal correspondence and letters to the editor of The Canadian Amateur magazine, as well as on-the-air discussions and fora. It is evident that a majority of Canadian Amateurs are supportive of dropping the 12 w.p.m. test."

Apart from the international trend to amend the ITU Radio Regulations, many European countries including the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, Australia and South Africa, have decided to decrease their Morse code proficiency requirements or are currently considering such action. A decision by Canada to reduce the 12 w.p.m. Morse code qualification would be consistent with what is happening in other parts of the world and would therefore simplify the process of implementing reciprocal operating agreements for Canadian amateurs with other administrations.


In light of the foregoing, Industry Canada proposes that Radio Information Circular 2 (RIC-2), Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service be amended to remove the requirement that amateur radio operators hold the 12 w.p.m Morse code qualification to operate an amateur radio station on frequencies below 30 MHz. It is also proposed that RIC-2 be amended so that full operating privileges in all amateur bands will be granted to amateur radio operators holding the basic and 5 w.p.m. morse code qualification.

Industry Canada invites comments, preferably in electronic format, from all interested parties. Submissions should be addressed to the Chief, Authorization, at the following Internet address:

Submissions can also be sent by mail to the Chief, Authorization, Spectrum Management Operations Directorate, Room 1588D, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8. To ensure consideration of comments, submissions must be received within 60 days of the date of publication of this Notice. All submissions should cite the Canada Gazette Part 1 Notice publication date, title and the Notice reference number.

All submissions received in response to this Notice will be made available for public viewing on Industry Canada's web site noted below.

World Wide Web (WWW)

Jan Skora
Director General
Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch

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