ham radioNo factual history of electronic radio technology is recorded about its inventor. However, most documentation often point to Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Yet there are other people who made important ham54 checking indiscoveries and improvements to the radio hence they have good credit to claim the title. Such as Engineer Edwin H. Armstrong who was the first person to demonstrate the use of radio technology successfully and exploit it commercially by sending a message via radio across the Atlantic from England to Canada, Nikola Tesla who is best known for championing of the alternating current over direct current of power distribution, there was also Sir Oliver Lodge from England who made wireless telegraph systems in the mid-1890s, Alexander Stepanovich Popov from Russia, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose from India and many other individuals who also made important contributions. The list is quite long.
The radio technology has since been greatly exploited by building devices that could generate radio waves and modulate them to add information, as well as devices that could receive radio waves and extract the information that was added. One such device is the Ham Radio whose use is considered as a hobby.

imagesAmateur Radio Administrative Services

This website is under construction, but with new content as opposed to earlier information and database of ham radio operators in Canada. In fact the old site, it was discontinued in 1998, and the website expired in 2001. The domain sat unused until recently. So keep this in mind, this is no longer the Call Sign Database.

ARAS was a non-profit service established by Radio Amateurs of Canada.

The website had a wonderful database, to find call signs.

This news item from 1999, broke the bad news.

Industry Canada shelves delegation project –

February 18th was truly Black Tuesday for the joint RAC – Industry Canada Amateur Delegation Working Group (ADWG) when senior Industry Canada officials abruptly shelved the program for the delegation of the administration of the Amateur Radio Service on the eve of final approval of the project. In a letter to RAC President Farrell Hopwood,VE7RD, Mr. Jan Skora , Director General Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch, advised that the Department had decided not to commit to long term funding of the Delegation Project at present, saying that the risk associated with making a long term commitment was currently deemed too great. Mr. Skora added that a decision on the options for the long term funding is scheduled to be rendered only later this year. In this context RAC understands that ” a decision on options for long term funding” means approval of a mechanism which would permit retention of a portion of collected licence fees by the service company, ARAS-SARA, enabling it to be completely self-supporting in the second phase of the program, which would be full service operations a year after startup. Contrary to its previous position, Industry Canada apparently has decided that until it has that decision, it is now unwilling to provide support in next fiscal year for the first phase of the project, which is the startup and test of the new service concept. Therefore, until Industry Canada takes its decision there is little more that RAC can do. RAC and ARAS-SARA were ready to begin the program. RAC will continue to monitor the situation and will consider opportunities to cooperate with the Department in this regard.

The Delegation Project was initiated by Industry Canada at the first Canadian Amateur Radio Advisory Board meeting in September, 1993. RAC was asked to participate in the project, and the joint RAC – Industry Canada ADWG was formed in early December that year. Since then , the ADWG has proven the feasibility of Delegation, developed and costed a concept to implement it, and developed the tools that would be necessary for effective administration of the Amateur Radio Service by a service company. Radio amateurs have been kept informed of the ADWG’s activities and progress. Said RAC Vice-President, Government Affairs and Co-Chairman of the ADWG, Jim Dean, VE3IQ, “The plan and virtually all the work that the ADWG could do were completed in September, 1996. The ball was clearly in Industry Canada’s court to finalize the funding and secure Government approval. Industry Canada members of the ADWG indicated that the approval process was in place and proceeding satisfactorily. This eleventh hour decision very significantly jeopardizes the project.”

RAC very much regrets the Department’s decision. The Delegation Project has the potential to significantly improve the provision of various examination, licensing and callsign selection services to Canadian radio amateurs, as well as to benefit Industry Canada. RAC moved its headquarters to Ottawa and committed funds to the project development in anticipation of the project’s approval. Given the circumstances of the Officials’ decision, RAC had no alternative but to minimize its financial risk by withdrawing from active participation in the project until the Department sorts out its priority and funding approval.

A news item from 1997, regarding Industry Canada Poll on Certification and Licensing.

From: Jim Dean VE3IQ
Date: 1997 12 02
On Friday, November 28th, Industry Canada convened a meeting of the Amateur Delegation Working Group (ADWG) and informed RAC that after four years of joint Industry Canada – RAC collaboration on the Delegation of the Administration of the Amateur Radio Service, Industry Canada had decided to terminate the Delegation initiative and to retain the administration of the Amateur Service in house. No reason was given for the termination.

Industry Canada further advised that they were going to have a Commercial firm poll a cross-country sample of Canadian radio amateurs to obtain views on amateur radio licensing and certification to assist in Industry Canada’s decision making and management. RAC has now been advised that the poll began on Monday, 1 December. RAC is attempting to obtain the details of the poll and will provide them if they are made available.

RAC deeply regrets Industry Canada’s unilateral decision to terminate the Delegation project which RAC considers would have significantly benefitted amateur radio in Canada. RAC will be meeting further with Industry Canada concerning the termination and will provide further information to Canadian radio amateurs when available.

David David
That was too many words. What is this really about?

Megan Megan
The amateur radio operators were told that THEY could make a database for Call Signs.

Levi Levi
So they made it, and let it run on this website for a while.

Betty Betty
Then Industry Canada changed their mind, and told them to shut down.

Megan Megan
Which pissed off the citizens, and wasted their efforts.


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Listening to Ham Radios

Listening to ham Radios

listening to ham radio
Listening to a ham radio is one of the most important ways of adding a contact which is also referred to as QSO. Therefore when you turn on your radio you may need to tune the band to different frequencies and assess any activity going on. This helps you know of ham operators who are tuned in and what they are doing. You also what the radio condition are like and you get an opportunity to determine the best way to make a contact.
The different bands you can listen to are:
HF (High frequency) bands. They are like the shortwave bands covering 3 MKz to 30 MHz.

VHF (very high frequency) bands. These cover 30 MHz to 300 MHz.
UHF (Ultra high frequency) bands. These cover from 300 MHz to 3 GHz

Microwaves. These start from 1 GHz
listening to ham radio2 listening to ham radio1On HF bands, you may locate stations on any frequency that offer a dear spot to make a contact.

HF Bands/ shortwaves are different from VHF bands in their clarity and the sound they produce. On HF bands you can tune and find frequencies that offer a clear spot for making a contact while on VHF bands, majority of contacts do take place by means of repeaters on specific frequencies or on channels found between a different KHz.
Repeaters are radios that capture what is being transmitted by another radio and transmit the same information on a different frequency other than the original one. This makes it challenging to find out hams on these VHF bands.
ham6In most cases a beginner who wants to communicate over ham radio or to listen to ham radio will usually tune on VHF or UHF bands, its advisable to also tune on HF bands even though their frequency is lower and may discourage you from tuning on the band. Now as you tune your ham radio on either HF or VHF band, you should note that hams already tuned will be engaging in some specific activities and in most cases they tend to squeeze on or near specific frequencies eg digital hams using PSK31 mode will usually be found on 14.070 MHz. (It’s not a mandatory requirement for them to be found on this frequency, hence its subject to change find them there.).

Anyhow this consistency in the hangout frequency makes it easier for you as a beginner to locate and meet other hams with similar interests and modes. These kinds of frequencies where you will meet a group of several hams congregated together are known as calling frequencies.

Once you locate any ham who serves your interest, you should take a step and add them as contact and start communicating. Moreover, it’s vital that you know if the ham is involved in nets or other discussions so that you too can join them.

Understanding Ham Radio

Basic Understanding of Amateur Radio Services

han radiochecking in ham2Amateur radio service, commonly known as ham radio, is a personal radio services used by a community of people (often referred to as ‘hams’) to communicate in friendly tones using radio transmitters and receivers among themselves. It is usually considered a hobby but hams often make a difference in situations of emergencies or disasters.
Hams are able to communicate over radio waves through hand-held transceivers to other hams all over the world. They may exchange information, hold contests or arrange regular discussions (called nets) using these digital devices over radio waves.

 Ham Radio Signals

Ham radio signals usually starts use three-letter Q signals called Q-code to communicate. A Q-code can be sent as be a question or an answer.

Below is a list of commonly used signals and the meanings intended by the operators.

QRL- This means that the frequency is busy.
QRM-  This means that there’s interference from other signals.
QRN- This means that there’s interference from static waves.
QRO- This is a sign call to increase the frequency from a lower frequency band such as HF to a higher frequency.
QRP- This is a sign call to decrease the frequency from a lower frequency band such as HF to a higher frequency.

QRQ- This is a signal to increase the communication or information sending speed e.g. words per minute (wpm).
QRS- This is a signal to decrease the communication or information sending speed.
QRT- This is a signal to quit sending or transmitting?

QRU- This is a signal to inquire if there is any extra information to communicate.
QRV- This is a signal to inquire if a receiver ready to continue communicating.
QRX- This is a signal to request the receiver to stand by.
QRZ- This is an inquiry to determine who the caller is.
QSB-This is an abbreviation for signal fading.
QSL-This is a signal to inquire if the message was comprehended.
QSO- This is an abbreviation for a contact.
QST- This is a signal for a general call preceding a message addressed to all amateurs.
QSX- This indicates the frequency an operator is using to communicate.
QSY- This signals a change of transmission to another frequency.
QTH- This is a request to indentify the location of an operator.

Learning to Participate in Ham Radio Nets

Ham Radio Nets

ham radio operator
Ham operators with common interest or using common equipments usually congregate at certain frequencies to chat or exchange information. At times, the hams may decide to have regular on-the-air meeting for their discussions at specific days and time. Such organized and regular meetings are called Nets.
Nets may be scheduled for pleasure, for instance when hams schedule to be meetings for regular chat; to play radio games such as radio chess, to discuss certain topics or they could meet for arranged contests. Also nets can be held for pertinent radio issues such weather reporting, to check and enhance traffic on radio and also they can be held incase of emergency situations.
ham radio imagesNets are usually classified according to their nature and structure.
Directed net. This is a net which follows standard operating rules. The basic structure of directed nets involves a Net Control Station (NCS) which is used to initiate net operations, ensure that there is order among hams operators (in nets they usually referred as stations because of the way one checks in), directs all net activities, and also end all net operations when the activities are over. This means that there must be a net manager to oversee all these operations. The net manager defines net policies to be adhered, and works on managing the NCS stations to keep the net meeting on a regular basis and ensure everything runs according to schedule. Stations (ham operators) that want to be involved in the net activities usually check in at the direction and command of the NCS.
You should note that nets have different structure of operations, so as a new member who wants to participate, you will have to tune your radio and listen, then you will have to identify the NCS, and follow the directions and policies set as well as study the behavior of net members to guide you on what how you can participate.
Checking in on ham radio nets
checking inIf you are already a member of a net, checking in is not a big deal. You only will have to register your call sign and location with the NCS. Therefore you will have to listen to the NCS and follow the instructions provided.
If you are a newcomer however, it there may be some hindrances because you will have to wait for the NCS to invite visitors who want to participate. This is your chance, so follow the instructions and register. Then check in and give your call sign once and wait for the NCS to copy your call. If your call sign is not copied, repeat it until it’s copied and you are allowed into the net.
Another way of checking in is through announcements or through traffic (messages) for that specific net.
This means that you will have to listen to the net as other members check in and find out which method is appropriate to use.
Incase you want to contact other stations checking in, you can state this intention as you give your call sign. This may make it seem as if you have net business and it will be scheduled for attention by the NCS. Alternatively, you can wait until the check-in process is over and when NCS calls for net business you indicate your intention. Either way you decide to do this, the NCS will request the other station to acknowledge your call and thus connects the two of you together as per the nets policies and procedures or any other relevant regulation.

Ham Radio Licences

Getting started in radio service

hamradio boxInternational standards required that ham radio services be licensed. This typically means that in every country with ham radio services, applicants must seek government approval before an individual is allowed to transmit using the ham radio. The reasons for licensing include:

  • It allows ham operators to communicate directly even internationally without the use of an intermediary to regulate the communications.
  • Licensing also helps in regulating ham radio services from abuse or interference of other radio services such as broadcasting.
  • Licensing is also important to help and maintain quality of ham radio services and the operators.

Types of Licenses Extended to Ham Operators

ham5 ham1There are usually 3 types of licenses which are extended to ham operators and they form the basis used to determine the type frequency to assign to the ham operators and the operating privileges which the ham operators will enjoy under the license.
The 3 licenses are determined and approved according to the type of exam the operator will sit for and the total score secured by the interested ham candidate. As you go higher in the licenses level, the exam gets harder. Typically, the initial level is a simple exam granting beginners a technician’s license. The exam is at times referred to as an element. You will find it on every license level.
The license is normally valid for ten years after which you are supposed to renew.
Technician’s Class License.
licenseThis is the basic license and minimal entry for anybody interested in using ham radio. This license grants one access to use all ham radio band frequencies of 50 MHz or higher
The privileges for this license includes operating at the maximum legal power limit and also using all available types of communication available on ham radios

Under this license, hams may transmit using voice on part of the 10 metre band or through Morse Code on high frequency (HF) bands below 30 MHz.

To acquire this license you have to sit for a test consisting of 35 multiple-choice questions on the regulations of ham radios and technical radio topics and a pass mark is 26 correct answers or more must be achieved to be granted the license.

(b) General Class License
This license gives ham operators full privileges on almost all amateur frequencies. The general class license exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions on regulations and technical radio topics. The main difference of this test with that done at the technician’s level is that this one is more detailed. Also some new questions are asked.
The pass mark is 36 correct answers.

(e) Amateur Extra Class License
licence-us-extra-w1dyj-2004This license grants ham operators all amateur frequencies usage rights and privileges. These extra frequencies include some rare high frequency (HF) bands and the users are therefore considered experts of the ham radio. These extra frequencies are used for contests, contacting rare foreign stations (DXing) etc.
The test for this license consists of 50 multiple choice questions with a pass mark of 37 correct questions. The questions cover additional topics on ham radio regulations which come with advanced ham radio operations and other advanced technical questions.