CISA WEBSITE IS http://www.qsl.net/ve3tpz/cisa
THE MAPLE LEAF RADIO SOCIETY -VE3GCO-
c/o Garry V. Hammond, VE3XN
5 McLaren Avenue, Listowel, Ontario,
CANADA, N4W 3K1
WHAT IS C.IS.A.?
C.IS.A. stands for the Canadian Islands Award. This program, administered by
the Maple Leaf Radio Society, encourages island activity and island hunting
in Canada and helps to stimulate operating activity around the world on the
shortwave amateur radio bands.
HOW IS C.IS.A. DIFFERENT FROM IOTA?
C.IS.A. is a national island awards program begun in 1973 by Garry V.
Hammond, VE3GCO. Today it continues to be administered by him. IOTA is an
international islands award program begun in 1965 by SWL Geoff Watts. Today,
IOTA is administered by the RSGB, the Radio Society of Great Britain and
G3KMA, Roger Ballister and a management team. C.IS.A. was initiated to
supplement and enhance the fun of island DX'ing, not to be a substitute for
or an alternative to IOTA. C.IS.A. is similar to the other popular national
awards programs in countries such as France, Italy, Brazil, Spain and the
The awards programs for the two are entirely different. However, each
reflects levels of achievement in working/hearing and confirming islands.
i.e. Canadian Islands (only) for C.IS.A. and islands and groups of islands
from all continental areas for IOTA.
The C.IS.A. program allows each and every separate, distinctive island of
Canada to count for credit towards the award regardless of whether the island
is situated exterior to the coastline or whether it is an interior islands
such as those found in fresh water lakes or rivers. The IOTA program
primarily assigns a number to each of the principal island groups, the
largest individual islands, and to the coastal areas of all non-land locked
countries of the world providing they meet the IOTA criter. IOTA islands
must be exterior to the coast, not interior.
More than 700+ Canadian island numbers have been allocated, while 900+ IOTA
numbers have been activated. However, please understand that the IOTA list
is "closed", although it is reviewed every five years by the RSGBIOTA Board.
The Canadian islands list is "open-ended", and each new island activated
qualifies for a number as long as it meets the specified criteria.
Is it true that one Canadian island may have two "numbers?" Yes, it is! An
example is Newfoundland. VO1, Newfoundland is NF001 for C.IS.A. and NA027
for IOTA. Coastal islands around Nfld. may count for NA-198 (Coastal
Islands of Nfld.)...so Fogo Island has that number as well as NF005.
WHAT IS AN ISLAND?
Most people agree that an island is a tract of land surrounded by water. The
largest island is Greenland, followed by New Guinea and Borneo. The other
dozen which make the top fifteen are Madagascar, Baffin, Sumatra, Honshu,
Great Britain, Victoria, Ellesmere, Celebes, South Island New Zealand, Java,
North Island New Zealand, and Newfoundland. Note that four of the top
fifteen are Canadian. The Canadian Geographic Magazine says we have 52,455
islands! For the C.IS.A. program, the island should be shown and labelled by
name, on any government, navigational, tourist, or locally authorized map.
Any reasonable-sized island, recognized and named by the local people as
distinctive from another island will count. Islands may be connected by
bridges, or causeways, and/or connected to mainland areas or other islands do
There is no minimum size rule in effect. It is expected that common sense
will prevail. Island activators are NOT encouraged to put rocks or islets on
the air, take risks, or rock hop, simply to activate a new island number.
All islands must be named on a map. Creative names/numbering like different
islands in a group with "Isla da Jour # 1, Isla da Jour #2 is unacceptable.
HOW IS THE NUMBERING OF THE ISLANDS DONE?
A computerized listing of all previously activated and numbered islands by
province and territory, is available in directory form. These pages are
updated regularly as new islands are activated.
When an island is activated for the first time, the operator should make a
minimum of twenty-five contacts with amateur radio stations in two countries
before a new number can officially be used. These numbers are assigned by.
*VE3XN Garry V. Hammond Telephone 1-519-291-4813
*VE3TPZ James R. Davidson Telephone 1-519-273-1397 (leave a message with phone number)
Almost any of the regular "island hunters/activators" will be glad to call
either of them to obtain the number for you to use. They, in turn, often
alert other island hunters by telephone to get them on the air to work you.
Some of the most active C.IS.A. honour rollers include VE6VK, VE7IU, VE3MDQ,
VE3LDT, VE7YL, VO1XC, KQ4YI, N6AWD, N6BOI, F5XL, W0BBT, etc. to name a few.
Numbers are not given out ahead of time. However, if you contact VE3XN the
day before your time of operation it may be possible to suggest what
number/numbers you will probably be assigned once you have reached the
minimum number of QSOs. If it happens that more than one island activator is
on the air from the same call area, advance numbers will not be given out.
They will be assigned according to the order of activity.
HOW CAN I MAXIMIZE THE NUMBER OF CONTACTS?
Please publicize your intentions of operating from any island with as much
advance notice as is possible.
Before you go to the island to operate...
01. Let others know in a QSO on or around the 14.260 frequency what your
02. Put out a news release on packet radio Many cluster sysops will post
03. Send an e-mail to the 425 DX News in Italy via I1JQJ, etc. or to
others on email.
04. Call an experienced island activator for suggestions...some of these
include VE1OTA, VE1REC, VE6VK, VE3VGI, VO1XC, VA3JS, G3ZAY,
WT2O, VE1AGF, VE1MA, VE7IU, VE7YL, VE7IG, VE9GLF, VE9MY, WB9EEE,
and K9PPY to name a few.
05. Conduct some tests of your equipment, antennas, and power supply to
see that everything is in working order before you go on your island
When you are on the island...
06. Most Canadian island activity is on 2X SSB.
07. Operate on 14.260 mHz , plus or minus up to about 10 Hz either side.
It is a gentleman's agreement that if an IOTA expedition comes on
14.260, the Canadian (or US) island should QSY to another frequency.
Resident IOTA stations which are very active should defer to an
expedition please, and allow them to maximize their QSOs by operating
08. Try to spend a few hours on any one island so any one who is
interested and active stands a fair chance of working you.
Propagation, time of day, and other factors may affect the number of
QSOs you make. The minimum may be 25 station QSO's (for a number)
but you are encouraged to enjoy making more than that. 50 are
needed for qualifying for the activator award.
09. If conditions are poor you may request one or two of the stronger
stations to help you, but remember that the majority of island
hunters/DX'ers prefer that the island DXpedition handle the "pileup"
on their own. i.e. LISTS ARE DISCOURAGED AND NOT ENCOURAGED.
10. If possible take a low frequency antenna with you to work stations in
close, in your skip zone. Usually 7.260 and/or 3.815 mHz are used.
Please announce your intentions of shifting to a lower frequency.
Have another station or two relay the same information about time and
frequency so people in your own skip zone will be informed.
11. Give your callsign often, and identify your island frequently.
People want to know this information. Saying "QRZ" each time is
frustrating. Say your call instead or add the island number to when
you say "QRZ".
12. Request that any station with packet radio spot you on his/her
cluster for others to be alerted to your activity.
After the operation what is expected of me?...
13. The radio amateurs who contact you or the shortwave listeners who
hear you, often like to QSL in order to obtain confirmation/credit
for the island for the C.IS.A. program.
14. You are not expected to QSL any QSO until you receive a QSL from the
station contacted. At that time, if the station sends you a self-
addressed envelope with return postage/IRC/greenstamp, you are
expected to reply, within a reasonable amount of time. (Most agree
that an upper limit of three months is fair and reasonable.) E-mail
cards are not allowed, presently.
15. If you receive a card with no postage, or if you receive a card for a
QSO/reception via the QSL bureau, the station assumes that you will
return a QSL via the bureau also. You should keep sufficient
envelopes and postage at your bureau because the high costs
associated with postage force many to rely to the bureau system.
16. Special QSL cards are great but unnecessary. Some alternatives to
buying special QSLs for each island operation include:
*Use your present card and merely add the appropriate/portable or
mobile designation and give the name of island and the C.IS.A.
*You might make a computer label to affix to your regular card.
*You might make a separate card on your computer for each different
*You might use a multi-QSO card as K2OLG has for his many mobile
operations for IOTA and the US Island award. Discuss further
thoughts on QSLing with experts VE3XN, VE9MY, VE6VK, and VE7KRC. Sorry,
but E-mail QSLs are not accepted for the C.IS.A.
May I also suggest and request that....
17. You might consider sending in a photo and story to Rob Ludlow, VE3YE,
the editor of The Canadian Amateur for RAC, The Radio Amateurs of
18. If possible send a photcopied map showing the name, location, and co-
ordinates of the island(s) from which you operated. These are kept
on file by VE3XN. VE3TPZ maintains a database which includes the
specific latitude and longitude of each island. Thank you.
WHAT CONTACTS COUNT FOR C.IS.A. AWARDS?
All contacts made with a licensed amateur radio operator/station since 15
November 1945 count, provided they are on any of the amateur radio bands from
6 through 160 metres. The WARC bands of 12, 17, and 30 metres are
acceptable. All modes are acceptable but repeaters are not allowed. One
exception to this is the use of satellites including OSCAR and or the RS
Contacts with land mobile stations on islands are all right, however,
contacts with maritime mobile stations near islands do NOT count. This
condition applies to boards in a harbour, except that credit may be given if
one or more essential parts of a station such as the transceiver, antenna, or
power supply is shown to have been on shore on the island for the QSO.
The Canadian Islands Award is issued to the individual, as opposed to a
callsign. All contacts you make with different Canadian islands, whether
they are from your "home" station, while you are visiting another call area,
country, or continent, count toward your personal C.IS.A. total. (i.e. You
do not have to rework islands because you may have moved, nationally or
When you work a minimum of twenty-five stations from any island, that
particular island can be claimed for credit for you personally, for your own
C.IS.A. total. If you work 50 or more stations then the island may count
toward the "Island Activator of Excellence Award".
Go ahead...have some fun....work, and possibly activate some island and share
in the nesomania of islands.
THE CANADIAN ISLANDS AWARD PROGRAM
CONSISTS OF FOUR LEVELS OF ACHIEVEMENT:
O1. The C.IS.A. CERTIFICATE AWARD..this a parchment certificate for 5,
10, 15, 20,
or 25 Canadian Islands..It is preprinted with a red maple leaf &
other info is computer generated.
SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM OF PAGE REGARDING PLAQUES, SHIELDS, SCROLLS AND TROPHIES EFFECTIVE DEC 4, 2010
02. The CANADIAN ISLANDS AWARD PLAQUE...this is a black and gold beauty
for 50 Islands SEE NOTE AT BOTTOMW
03. The CANADIAN ISLANDS ACTIVATOR AWARD OF EXCELLENCE PLAQUE...this is
a similar black and gold plaque issued free of charge to outstanding
Canadian Island Activators..KA2PHQ, VE3NSZ, VE7KRC, VE3VGI, G3ZAY, VE7YL,
K9PPY, VE6VK, VE2ICM, VE9GLF, VE9MY have earned theirs!
04. The CANADIAN ISLANDS AWARD OF EXCELLENCE PLAQUE...is the third in the
trilogy of complementary plaques...you must work and confirm 300 or
more Cdn. islands in all the geographic call areas of Canada. What
an outstanding accomplishment to qualify!
73 and Good Luck!
Clarifications on the Interpretation of the Rules
The proliferation of, and controversy about, island activity in North
America, has precipitated the need for a better understanding and clearer
interpretation of the rules/ guidelines for the C.IS.A. program.
Although the C.IS.A. was founded twenty-five years ago by VE3GCO (The Maple
Leaf Radio Society), in support of, and complementary to IOTA, the premiere
Islands on the Air program. CISA has maintained its own criteria/rules. In
the past decade, a number of additional national island programs have been
deployed for the enjoyment of radio amateurs and shortwave listeners. The
Italian, Spanish, Brasilian, German, Polish, American, and French national
island awards have all begun actively promoting islands. Bravo! Nesomania
continues to attract new island chasers and activators, domestically and
internationally, literally every day!
There is, however, no standard criteria for what is an acceptable
island/isle/islet. There probably never will be! G3KMA has a fixed number
of 1072 islands/groups for the IOTA program. Other island programs have gone
through various revisions of their lists. Some are now "closed" lists,
others such as the C.IS.A. are "open-ended", although "The Canadian
Geographic Magazine" says Canada has 52,455 islands. Our radio hobby thrives
on the variety of interesting interpretations, taken in different components
of our hobby, whether they concern countries, frequencies, modes of
operation, contests, awards & their rules, expeditions, etc., etc. Islands
are no different!
Rest assured..... the effort, expense, and work done by many dedicated
operators in the past continues to be appreciated. However, because of a
number of questions raised recently, it was felt that the following points of
explanation are necessary regarding C.IS.A., in order to maintain a common
base of integrity to the program.
01. Only islands, which have a name, will be accepted for C.IS.A.
"Creative" naming by the operator and use of numbers for islands in
the same group will be unacceptable for the C.IS.A. program.
e.g. "Isla da Jour" is all right if it is identified on a map, but
other islands in the same area, but with no specific name, will not
be accepted. This will do away with Isla da Jour #1, Isla da Jour
#2, Isla da Jour #3, etc. to name other islands in a group. If the
islands have recognized, different names, they count. If they do
not, they will not count as separate counters for the C.IS.A.
02. Atlas maps, federal maps, provincial maps, territorial maps, road
maps, navigation maps, topographical maps, and locally produced maps
(even for commercial interests, which clearly show colloquially
accepted names) will be acceptable for the identification of islands.
03. No specific size rule should be necessary. (We have all seen photos
of DXCC counters such as BS7, Scarborough Reef; or OJ0, Market
Reef....and realize that they count for DXCC. If named, it is all
right. Please, however, be reasonable!
04. Operating from an island may involve permanent or temporary
accommodation for the station. Mobile operation (using a land
vehicle/device on an island) is perfectly acceptable. Operations
from boats, canoes, dinghies, etc. as partially marine/maritime
mobile will count for the C.IS.A. award program if at least one
major part (rig or antenna) is landbased. (as per DXCC)
05. The minimum number of QSOs needed for an island to qualify will be
twenty-five (25) different stations in a minimum of two (2)
countries. Different calls held by, and used by one operator, from
the same location, should not be used to merely help the island to
qualify. 50 QSOs qualifies the new island to count for
consideration, in the
future, along with other islands, for the Island Activator Award of
06. In any one day, a maximum of four NEW islands will be accepted from
one operator/team of operators. There is no specific minimum number
of contacts needed for islands already previously activated, and
which an existing number already exists. It would be appreciated,
however, if an operator/operation would take into account the day of
the week, the time (UTC and local), and the conditions in order to
maximize domestic and international QSOs from the island/islands.
**One or two new islands per day, with a minimum of two to six hours
of operating effort for each, is desirable. Going back to a previous
island, so that different propagation may be present, is always
appreciated and encouraged.
07. E-mail QSLs for the Canadian Island Awards program are not
acceptable, at this time. E-mail QSLs are not part of the
for QSLs as a part of amateur radio. Stations are encouraged to use
direct mail with return postage. Many experienced amateur radio
operators accept QSLs via the bureau, too. Contrary to what some
people think, QSL bureaus are, for the most part, working well. Time
delays are the norm but costs are reduced for the island chaser. If
particular island activators are especially helpful to you with their
island trips, you may consider sending a separate thank you letter
and small contribution to those amateurs. This is clearly a personal
decision, and must never be considered a requirement for receiving a
08. Computer-generated QSLs or Island Reply cards, as some amateurs use,
are quite acceptable. A number of stations have become "experts" in
producing artistic QSLs from their computers. We thank them, and
encourage them to continue this fb effort! One's own card, which is
submitted to an island activator, can be "stamped" or indicated as
"correct" and returned to the individual making the contact, if the
expense of cards becomes too great for the activator.
08. The feedback/input/suggestions/constructive critcism and discussion
from the island chasing community is truly appreciated. Thanks and
Happy Island Hunting/Activating!
09. Remember the famous quote, "No man is an island!"
DEC 5 2010