Archived — Gazette Notice No. DGRB-003-04

Department of Industry

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. DGRB-003-04 - Consultation on "Recommendations from Radio Amateurs of Canada to Industry Canada Concerning Morse Code and Related Matters"

The purpose of this Notice is to solicit public comments on the above noted proposal that, if adopted, may result in modifications to the regulatory framework for the amateur service in Canada, for example, to Radiocommunication Information Circular 2, Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service (RIC-2), the standard that relates to this service.


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 is governed internationally by regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), of which Canada is a signatory nation.

Historically, the ITU regulations required all amateur radio operators to be familiar with the International Morse code in order to use frequencies below 30 MHz.

At the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2003 (WRC-2003), the member administrations of the ITU made the decision to remove from the International Radio Regulations the mandatory requirement for proficiency in Morse code as a qualification for the Amateur Service, but left the continuation of Morse code proficiency requirements to the discretion of individual administrations. Since WRC-2003, led by Switzerland on July 5, 2003, more than twenty administrations have removed the Morse code qualification requirement for access to the HF amateur bands below 30 MHz.

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.

In July and August 2003, to form a basis for a recommendation to Industry Canada, RAC conducted a survey via the Internet of Canadian radio amateurs to ascertain their wishes concerning the deletion or retention of the Morse code qualification. More than 1 400 valid responses, a statistically significant sample of the approximately 51 500 Canadian amateur community, were received. Of the respondents, 66 percent recommended deletion of the mandatory Morse code requirement. At the same time, RAC Directors conducted surveys of their constituents, and these results also were taken into account in preparing their proposal. In addition to recommending the deletion of the Morse code requirement, the proponents also recommended other changes, such as increasing the pass mark for the Basic qualification. Many of the recommendations are included as related matters in the proposal.

In October 2003, RAC presented the proposal, as a draft, to the Canadian Amateur Radio Advisory Board (CARAB) meeting, and in July of 2004, this proposal was formally presented to Industry Canada.

Interested parties should submit their comments on the issues raised in the RAC proposal no later than 60 days from the date of this Gazette notice. Shortly after the close of the comment period, all comments received will be posted on Industry Canada's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at:

Submitting Comments

Respondents are requested to provide their comments in electronic format (WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF or ASCII TXT). All comments should make reference to "Comments - Gazette Notice DGRB-003-04" and be sent to the following email address: along with a note specifying the software, version number and operating system used.

Written submissions should be addressed to the Director General, Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch, Industry Canada, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8.

All submissions should cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, publication date, the title, and the notice reference number (DGRB-003-04).

Obtaining Copies

Copies of this notice and documents referred to are available electronically on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at: The RAC proposal can also be found at:

Official printed copies of gazette notices can be obtained from the Canada Gazette Web site at: or by calling the sales counter of Canadian Government Publishing at 819-941-5995 or 1-800-635-7943.

August 20, 2004

Jan Skora
Director General
Radiocommunications and
Broadcasting Regulatory Branch

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