RIC-21 — Study Guide for the Restricted Operator Certificate With Aeronautical Qualification

6. Emergency Communications

6.1 Emergency Conditions

In the aeronautical service, an emergency condition is classified in accordance with the degree of danger or hazard as follows:

Distress:
A condition of being threatened by grave and/or imminent danger and requiring immediate assistance

Urgency:
A condition concerning the safety of an aircraft or other vehicle, or of someone on board or within sight, but which does not require immediate assistance.

6.2 Distress Communications

Distress communications should be conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in this section. These procedures shall not, however, prevent a station in distress from making use of any means at its disposal to attract attention, make known its position and obtain assistance.

6.3 Frequencies to be Used

The first transmission of the distress call and message by an aircraft should be made on the air-ground frequency in use at the time. If the aircraft is unable to establish communications on the frequency in use, the distress call and message should be repeated on the aeronautical emergency frequency (121.5 MHz), or any other frequency available, in an effort to establish communications with any aeronautical ground station or other aircraft station.

6.4 Distress Signal

In radiotelephony, the spoken word for distress is "MAYDAY", and it should be used at the commencement of the first distress communication.

The distress signal indicates that a person or station sending the signal is:

  1. threatened by grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance; or
  2. aware that an aircraft, ship or other vehicle is threatened by grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.

6.5 Priority of Distress

The distress call has absolute priority over all other transmissions. All stations which hear it shall immediately cease any transmission capable of interfering with distress traffic and continue to listen on the frequency used for the distress call.

6.6 Control of Distress Traffic

The control of distress traffic is the responsibility of the aircraft in distress or of the station which relays the distress message. These stations may, however, delegate the control of distress traffic to another station, such as an aeronautical station, which normally has a very efficient interface with air traffic control (ATC) and all search and rescue (SAR) organizations.

6.7 Distress Call

The distress call identifies the station in distress, and such calls shall be sent only on the authority of the person in command of the station. The distress call should comprise:

  1. the distress signal "MAYDAY" spoken three times;
  2. the words "THIS IS";
  3. the call sign of the aircraft in distress spoken three times.
Example:
MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY
THIS IS
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY CHARLIE CHARLIE
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY CHARLIE CHARLIE
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY CHARLIE CHARLIE

The distress call shall not be addressed to a particular station and acknowledgment of receipt shall not be given before the distress message is sent.

6.8 Distress Message

The distress message shall follow the distress call as soon as possible.

The distress message should include as many as possible of the following elements spoken distinctly and, if possible, in the following order:

  1. the distress signal "MAYDAY";
  2. the call sign of the station in distress (once);
  3. the nature of the distress condition and kind of assistance required (i.e. what has happened);
  4. the intentions of the person in command;
  5. the particulars of its position (airspeed, altitude, heading);
  6. the number of persons on board and injuries (if applicable);
  7. any other information that may facilitate rescue;
  8. the call sign of the station in distress.
Example:
MAYDAY
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
DITCHING AIRCRAFT
POSITION: 20 MILES EAST OF WINNIPEG
ALTITUDE: 1500 FEET
AIRSPEED: 125 KNOTS
HEADING: 270 DEGREES
ONE PERSON ON BOARD
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC

Note: If the aircraft can transmit the distress message immediately after the distress call, then items 1 and 2 may be omitted from the message.

6.9 Repetition of a Distress Message

The distress message shall be repeated at intervals by the aircraft in distress until an answer is received or until it is no longer feasible to continue. The intervals between repetitions of the distress message shall be sufficiently long to allow time for stations receiving the message to reply.

Any station that has heard an unacknowledged distress message, and is not in a position to render assistance, shall take all possible steps to attract the attention of other stations that are in a position to assist.

In addition, all necessary steps shall be taken to notify the appropriate search and rescue authorities of the situation.

6.10 Action by Station in Distress

When an aircraft is threatened by grave and imminent danger, and requires immediate assistance, the person in command should direct appropriate action as follows:

  1. transmit the distress call;
  2. transmit the distress message;
  3. listen for acknowledgment of receipt;
  4. exchange further distress traffic as applicable;
  5. activate automatic emergency equipment (i.e. emergency locator transmitter (ELT)) if available and when appropriate.

6.11 Action by Stations Other than the Station in Distress

An aircraft station that is not in distress should transmit the distress message when:

  1. the station in distress is not in a position to transmit the message; or
  2. the person in command of the station not in distress believes that further help is necessary; or
  3. although not in a position to render assistance, the aircraft station has heard a distress message which has not been acknowledged.

When a distress message is received and it is known that the aircraft is not in the immediate vicinity, sufficient time should be allowed before the distress message is acknowledged. This will permit stations nearer to the station in distress to reply.

6.12 Action by Other Stations Hearing a Distress Message

  1. Continue to monitor the frequency on which the distress message was received and, if possible, establish a continuous watch on appropriate distress and emergency frequencies.
  2. Notify any station with direction-finding or radar facilities and request assistance, unless it is known that this action has been, or will be, taken by the station acknowledging receipt of the distress message.
  3. Cease all transmissions that may interfere with the distress traffic.

6.13 Distress Traffic

Distress traffic consists of all transmissions relative to the immediate assistance required by the station in distress. Essentially, all transmissions made after the initial distress call are considered as distress traffic. In distress traffic, the distress signal "MAYDAY", spoken once, shall precede all transmissions. This procedure is intended to alert stations not aware of the initial distress call and now monitoring the distress channel that traffic heard relates to a distress situation.

Any station in the aeronautical mobile service that has knowledge of distress traffic, and cannot itself assist the station in distress, shall follow such traffic until it is evident that assistance is being provided. All stations that are aware of distress traffic, and that are not taking part in it, are forbidden to transmit on the frequencies being used for distress traffic until a message is received indicating that normal working traffic may be resumed (cancellation of distress).

6.14 Acknowledgment of Receipt of a Distress Message

The acknowledgment of receipt of a distress message shall be given in the following form:

  1. the distress signal "MAYDAY";
  2. the call sign of the station in distress (spoken three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS";
  4. the call sign of the station acknowledging receipt (spoken three times);
  5. the words "RECEIVED MAYDAY".
Example:
MAYDAY
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
THIS IS
WINNIPEG TOWER
WINNIPEG TOWER
WINNIPEG TOWER
RECEIVED MAYDAY

6.15 Action by Stations Acknowledging Receipt of a Distress Message

  1. Immediately acknowledge the distress message.
  2. Take control of the communications, or, specifically and clearly transfer that responsibility, advising the aircraft if a transfer is made.
  3. Take immediate action to ensure that all necessary information is provided as soon as possible to the Air Traffic Service (ATS) unit concerned, and the aircraft operating agency concerned (or its representative).
  4. Continue to monitor the frequency on which the distress message was received and, if possible, any other frequency that may be used by the station in distress.
  5. Warn other stations, as appropriate, in order to prevent the transfer of aeronautical traffic to the frequency of the distress communication.
  6. Cease all transmissions that may interfere with the distress traffic.

6.16 Relay of a Distress Message

A distress message repeated by a station other than the station in distress shall transmit a signal comprising:

  1. the signal "MAYDAY RELAY" (spoken three times);
  2. the words "THIS IS";
  3. the call sign of the station relaying the message (spoken three times);
  4. the distress signal "MAYDAY" (once);
  5. the particulars of the station in distress such as its location, nature of distress, number of persons on board, etc.
Example:
MAYDAY RELAY, MAYDAY RELAY, MAYDAY RELAY
THIS IS
CESSNA NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
CESSNA NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
CESSNA NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
MAYDAY
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
DITCHING AIRCRAFT
POSITION: 20 MILES EAST OF WINNIPEG
ALTITUDE: 1500 FEET
AIRSPEED: 125 KNOTS
HEADING: 270 DEGREES
ONE PERSON ON BOARD
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC

6.17 Imposition of Silence

The station in distress, or the station in control of distress traffic, may impose silence on all stations in the area or on any station that interferes with the distress traffic. It shall address these instructions to "all stations", or to one station only as appropriate.

The station in distress, or the station in control, shall use the expression "SEELONCE MAYDAY".

If it is believed to be essential, other stations near the station in distress may also impose silence during a distress situation by use the international expression "SEELONCE DISTRESS".

Should radio silence be imposed during a distress situation, all transmissions shall cease immediately except from those stations involved in distress traffic.

Example:
Imposition of silence on a specific station by the station in distress. (Cessna C-FNJI is causing interference to distress traffic.)

CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
THIS IS
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
SEELONCE MAYDAY
OUT

Imposition of silence on all stations by a station other than the station in distress.

ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
SEELONCE DISTRESS
OUT

6.18 Cancellation of Distress

When a station is no longer in distress, or when it is no longer necessary to observe radio silence (i.e. the rescue operation has concluded), the station that controlled the distress traffic shall transmit a message addressed to "ALL STATIONS" on the distress frequency(ies) used, advising that normal working may resume. The proper procedure for cancelling a distress message is:

  1. the distress signal "MAYDAY" (once);
  2. the words "HELLO ALL STATIONS" (three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS";
  4. the call sign of the station transmitting the message;
  5. the filing time of the message;
  6. the call sign of the station in distress (once);
  7. the words "SEELONCE FEENEE"
Example:

MAYDAY
HELLO ALL STATIONS, HELLO ALL STATIONS, HELLO ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
WINNIPEG TOWER
TIME 1630 ZULU
PIPER FOXTROT X-RAY QUEBEC QUEBEC
SEELONCE FEENEE
OUT

Note: The procedure outlined above is mainly for the benefit of other stations so they can resume regular service. To ensure that search and rescue stations are advised that a station is no longer in distress, a normal call to the nearest aeronautical station detailing the reasons for cancelling the distress call MUST be made.

top of page

7. Urgency Communications

7.1 Urgency Signal

The urgency signal indicates that the station calling has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of an aircraft, ship or other vehicle, or the safety of a person, but which does not require immediate assistance and shall be sent only on the authority of the person in charge of the station.

The urgency signal is "PAN PAN" spoken three times. It should be used at the beginning of the first urgency communication.

The urgency signal and the urgency message may be addressed to all stations or to a specific station.

7.2 Priority

The urgency signal has priority over all other communications except distress.

Stations that hear the urgency signal shall continue to listen for at least three minutes on the frequency which the signal was heard. After that, if no urgency message has been heard, an aeronautical ground station should, if possible, be notified of the receipt of the urgency signal and normal working may be resumed. All stations that hear the urgency signal must take care not to interfere with the urgency message which follows. Stations that are in communication on frequencies other than those used for the transmission of the urgency message may continue normal work without interruption provided that the urgency message is not addressed to all stations.

7.3 Frequencies to be Used

The first transmission of the urgency signal and message by an aircraft should be made on the air-ground frequency in use at the time. If the aircraft is unable to establish communication on the frequency in use, the urgency signal and message should be repeated on the aeronautical emergency frequency (121.5 MHz), or any other frequency available, in an effort to establish communication with any aeronautical ground or other aircraft station.

7.4 Urgency Message

The urgency signal shall be followed by a message giving further information about the incident that necessitated the use of the urgency signal.

When the urgency message is not addressed to a specific station (i.e. all stations) and is acknowledged by another aircraft or aeronautical ground station, the acknowledging station shall forward the urgency information to the appropriate authorities (i.e. air traffic service unit, airport operating agency or its representative).

The urgency message should contain as many of the following elements as required, spoken distinctly and, if possible, in the following order:

  1. the urgency signal "PAN PAN" (three times);
  2. the name of the station addressed or the words "ALL STATIONS" (three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS";
  4. the identification of the aircraft;
  5. the nature of the urgency condition;
  6. the intentions of the person in command;
  7. the present position, flight level or altitude and the heading;
  8. any other useful information.
Example:

PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN
ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
LOST, REQUEST RADAR CHECK
POSITION: UNKNOWN
AIRSPEED: 112 KNOTS
ALTITUDE: 1050 FEET
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
OVER

Example of reply:

PAN PAN
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
THIS IS WINNIPEG TOWER
YOUR POSITION IS 20 MILES SOUTH OF WINNIPEG
WINNIPEG TOWER
STANDING BY

7.5 Cancellation of Urgency Message

When the urgency message which calls for action by the stations receiving the message has been transmitted, the station responsible for its transmission shall cancel it as soon as it knows that action is no longer necessary. The cancellation message shall be addressed to "ALL STATIONS".

Example:

PAN PAN
ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA HAS BEEN POSITIONED AT
20 MILES SOUTH OF WINNIPEG AIRPORT PROCEEDING NORMALLY
CESSNA FOXTROT NOVEMBER JULIETT INDIA
OUT

top of page

Appendix A - Definitions - Aeronautical Terms

Aerodrome

Any area of land, water (including frozen surface) or any other supporting structure used, designed, prepared, equipped or set apart for use, either whole or in part, for the arrival, departure, movement or servicing of aircraft. This includes any buildings, installations and equipment situated thereon or associated therewith.

Aeronautical Service

A radiocommunication service that provides for the safety and navigation and other operations of aircraft, and that may also include the exchange of air-to-ground messages on behalf of the public.

Aircraft Station

A mobile station in the aeronautical service, other than a survival craft, located on board an aircraft.

Aeronautical Operational Control Communications (AOCC)

Communications related to the regularity of flight.

Aeronautical Station

A land station in the aeronautical mobile service. In certain instances, an aeronautical station may be located, for example, on board a ship or on a platform at sea.

Air Traffic Control Service (ATC Service)

A service provided for the purpose of:

  1. preventing collisions between:
    • aircraft;
    • aircraft and obstacles; and
    • aircraft and vehicles on the manoeuvring area; and
  2. expediting and maintaining an orderly flow of air traffic.

Controlled Aerodrome

An aerodrome at which an air traffic control unit is in operation.

Flight Service Station

An Air Traffic Service (ATS) unit established to provide selected flight services.

General Aviation Communications (GAC)

Communications relating to all civil aviation operations other than for scheduled air service and nonscheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire.

Ground Control Communications

ATC Service communications provided for the purposes of:

  1. preventing collisions on the manoeuvring area between aircraft, and between aircraft and obstacles or vehicles; and
  2. expediting and maintaining the orderly flow of aircraft operating on the manoeuvring area.

Private Advisory Service

A communication service offered at controlled aerodromes for use in connection with company business such as the servicing of aircraft, availability of fuel, lodging, etc. Such services shall not include information relating to ATC Service, weather reports, the condition of landing strips, or any other communication normally provided by ATC Service units.

Private Multiple Station

An aircraft or aeronautical station established to provide air-ground multipurpose communications of an operational nature.

top of page

Appendix B - Procedural Words and Phrases

Word or Phrase Meaning
ACKNOWLEDGE Let me know that you have received and understood this message.
AFFIRM An expression used in radiocommunication meaning "Yes."
BREAK Indicates the separation between portions of the message. (To be used where there is no clear distinction between the text and other portions of the message.)
CLEARED Authorized to proceed under the conditions specified.
CONFIRM Have I received the following ... or
Did you receive the message?"
CORRECTION An error has been made in this transmission (or message indicated). The correct version is ....
DISREGARD Consider this transmission as not sent.
GO AHEAD Proceed with your message.
HOW DO YOU READ? What is the readability of my transmission?
I SAY AGAIN An expression used in radiocommunication meaning "I repeat for clarity or emphasis."
MAYDAY An expression meaning "I am in distress." It is the international radiotelephony distress signal. Preferably spoken three times, it indicates imminent and grave danger and means that immediate assistance is requested.
MAYDAY RELAY The spoken word for the distress relay signal.
MONITOR Listen (on frequency).
NEGATIVE No, or that is not correct, or I do not agree.
OUT Conversation is ended and no response is expected.
OVER My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.
PAN PAN The international radiotelephony urgency signal. Preferably spoken three times, it indicates a condition that concerns the safety of an aircraft o ranother vehicle, or some person on board or within sight, but that does not require immediate assistance.
READ BACK Repeat all, or the specified part, of this message back to me exactly as received.
ROGER I have received all of your last transmission.
ROGER NUMBER I have received your message Number ________.
SAY AGAIN An expression used to request a repetition of the last transmission.
STANDBY I must pause for a few seconds or minutes. Please wait and I will call you.
SEELONCE International expression to indicate that silence has been imposed on the frequency due to a distress situation.
SEELONCE FEENEE International expression to indicate that the distress situation has ended.
SEELONCE MAYDAY An international expression to advise that a distress situation is in progress. The command comes from the station in control of the distress traffic.
WILCO Your instructions received, understood and will be complied with.
WORDS TWICE (a) As a request: Communication is difficult, please send each word, or group of words, twice;
(b) As information: Since communication is difficult, I will send each word, or group of words, twice.

top of page

Appendix C - Equipment Fundamentals

Maintenance

Microphone and Antenna Connections

There are various types of connectors used to attach cables to the electronic equipment. Each connector requires its own assembly technique. Care should be exercised when repairing or replacing connectors. The main problems with connectors are shorts (when two bare wires are touching either each other or the metal case) or open wires (when the wire is broken inside the plastic shield or outer covering).

All connections should be tight and clean. Where connections are exposed to the weather, they should be protected with a coating of silicone to prevent corrosion build-up and to keep water from getting inside the outer casing of the cable.

Fuses

Electric circuits are protected against overload and short-circuits by fuses, each rated for a given amperage. Never replace a fuse with one of a higher rating. That will simply compromise or negate its protective function and create a definite fire hazard.

Fuses (or circuit breakers, if your electrical system is so equipped) act as safety valves. When something goes wrong with a circuit, the fuse for that circuit blows (or the breaker trips off), shutting down power to the circuit. In addition to preventing overheating and possible fire, this action also warns you that there is a problem on the circuit. The fault should be corrected before the fuse is replaced.

Note: Always exercise caution when changing a fuse. Make sure that your hands are dry.

Appendix D - Radio Station Licences

Unless otherwise exempted, all radio stations in Canada must be licensed by the Minister of Industry. Certain conditions exist that exempt aeronautical stations from requiring a radio station licence. Please consult your local district office of Industry Canada for details (See Appendix F).

The licence (or copy thereof) must be made available at the request of an Industry Canada inspector.

The radio station licence generally specifies the call sign of the station, the frequencies to be used for transmitting and any special conditions under which the station should be operated.

To obtain a radio station licence, a completed licence application form with the prescribed fee should be submitted to Industry Canada. To be eligible for licensing in Canada, radio equipment must be type-approved or found to be technically acceptable for licensing by the Department.

Radio station licence fees are due on April 1st of each year. Billing notices are mailed directly to licensees from the Department's headquarters in Ottawa.

Note: Any person who establishes a radio station without a radio authorization is liable, on summary conviction, in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both, or, in the case of a corporation, to a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars.

Inquiries concerning radio licensing may be directed to any of the district offices of Industry Canada.

top of page

Appendix E - Frequency Assignments

The following table indicates, for each frequency band listed, the service and primary use of the band.

Band Service
108.1000 - 111.9750 MHz Aeronautical Radionavigation
111.9750 - 117.9750 MHz Aeronautical Radionavigation
117.9750 - 121.9625 MHz Air Traffic Control Services
121.9825 - 123.5875 MHz General Aviation Communications
123.5875 - 128.8125 MHz Air Traffic Control Services
128.8125 - 132.0125 MHz Aeronautical Operational Control Communications
132.0125 - 136.0000 MHz Air Traffic Control Services

top of page

Appendix F - Radio Operator Certificate Service Centre

In October 2010, Industry Canada opened a new centralized Radio Operator Certificate Service Centre. The Centre is intended to streamline and improve the delivery of Professional Radio Operator Certificates and the Accredited Examiner Program across Canada.

In addition, a new website was recently launched, which provides an accredited examiner search option for the Restricted Operator Certificate - Aeronautical (ROC-A) and includes a current list of accredited institutions for the training and assessment for the Restricted Operator Certificate - Maritime Commercial (ROC-MC) and the General Operator Certificate (GOC). This website, which can be found at www.ic.gc.ca/radio-operator, also offers various online application forms for accredited examiners and radio certificate holders.

The above-mentioned Centre provides the following services:

  • receives and processes applications for an Operator Certificate;
  • issues Professional Radio Operator Certificates;
  • revalidates and issues replacement certificates;
  • manages the Accredited Examiner/Institute Program; and
  • responds to examiner and general public enquiries.

The types of Professional Radio Operator Certificates issued by the Centre are:

  • Restricted Operator Certificate - Aeronautical (ROC-A);
  • Restricted Operator Certificate - Maritime Commercial (ROC-MC); and
  • General Operator Certificate (GOC).

Note: The Restricted Operator Certificate - Maritime (ROC-M) was delegated to the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons in 2000.

The contact information for the Centre is:

Industry Canada
Radio Operator Certificate Service Centre

2 Queen Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 1Y3
Telephone: 1-877-604-7493 or 705-941-2001
Fax: 1-877-604-7491 or 705-941-4607
Email: ic.spectrumcertificates-certificatsduspectre.ic@canada.ca

Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

Date modified: