Licence Requirements (in Canada)

Why a Licence ?

Although the main purpose of Amateur Radio is fun, it is called the "Amateur Radio Service" because it also has a serious face. Industry Canada created this "service" to fill the need for a pool of experts who could provide backup emergency communications. In addition, Industry Canada acknowledged the ability of the hobby to advance the communication and technical skills of radio, and to enhance international goodwill. This philosophy has paid off. Countless lives have been saved where skilled hobbyists act as emergency communicators to render aid, whether it's an earthquake in Italy, a flood in India, or a tornado in Canada.

What is the Right Qualification for Me ?

In Canada, there is one Amateur Certificate with three levels of qualification.

Currently, the entry level licence for Radio Amateurs is the easy-to-learn code-free Basic Qualification which requires a 70% passing grade of a 100 question, multiple-choice examination on radio theory, regulations, and operations. The Basic Qualification gives access to frequencies in the VHF, UHF, and microwave bands, with all modes of operation, including access to Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio (OSCAR) which opens up communications world-wide.

Either an Honours grade (80% or higher) on the Basic Qualification examination, OR the 5 word per minute Morse Code endorsement, allows additional access to the rest of the amateur bands, i.e. all Amateur Radio frequencies can be used. Again, all modes of communication can be used, for example, radio teletype, voice, packet, AMTOR, Morse Code, and television.

The Advanced Amateur Qualification requires a 60% passing grade of a 50 question multiple-choice examination on radio theory, regulations, and operations, with a more detailed knowledge of electronic theory. With this qualification, the operator is allowed to use more transmitting power, to build a transmitter for personal use, and to be the licensee of a repeater and/or club station.

A more detailed discussion regarding Amateur Radio Licencing/Qualifications can be found on the Getting Started page at the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) web site.

The Industry Canada (federal government) documents regarding amateur radio licencing, exams, regulations, etc. can be found at either of the following web sites. The most relevant documents are RIC-2 and RIC-3, where RIC stands for Radiocommunications Information Circulars.

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Thanks to Fred Bengel (VE3TIG), and others, for their original text used in the above.
Editing and links by Wayne Barrey (VE3JV).