Hello, I’m Dr. Halls, and as I began my hobby of learning about amateur radio, I do what I always do. I get too deep into it, and spend more time with equipment and history, than I do talking on the radio. It was pure accident that I encountered the expired website aras-sara.ca, and it fascinated me. I became even more riled up, when I dug into the history of it, and learned about the noble aspirations of the Radio Amateurs of Canada, and their cool idea to operate a call sign database on the internet.
As you can see, below, the story took a shocking twist in 1999, when Industry Canada, made the database “go away”. I’m a realist, and there’s nothing to be done, decades later, but it makes for a nice piece of history, worth preserving. So I re-published what I found, and then had some beginner-level writing done about ham radio. It was part of my own education in the matter.
Since then, my ham radios are in my aircraft hangar in Camrose, and on my vacation home in a BC coastal island. One of my projects has been to raise up an antenna on the island. I’m doing a non-standard approach there. I’m having the antenna built up a tall tree. And being beside ocean, it will benefit from the groundwire in to sea-water.
Because this website is about radio, I had a little content written about past history of radio development. Here’s a few paragraphs, with more in the subsequent posts.
The history of electronic radio technology is a little unclear. However, most documentation often points to Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Yet there are other people who made important discoveries 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 radio technology has since been incrementally developed 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.
Amateur 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.
July 21, 2015 update. I haven’t had time to do much radio blogging, but I have hopes of doing better in the future.