So you are interested in radios, but you aren’t sure how to become a licensed amateur? This page will hopefully answer most of your questions and get you started on the path to amateur radio as a hobby.
You no longer need to learn Morse Code in order to have an amateur radio license! This makes getting into amateur radio much more accessible. All that is needed is a little dedicated study time and the desire to achieve this attainable goal.
Who is Amateur Radio for?
- People of any age and any background
- Individuals who enjoy technology
- Anyone interested in outdoor activities in secluded locations
Why obtain a Certificate of Proficiency?
- You are legally allowed to use radios which offer a much better range than FRS/GMRS radios
- You enjoy chatting with people over the radio and might enjoy chatting with someone thousands of kilometers away
- You want to experiment with new digital modes of communication via radio (ie. 2.4GHz WiFi, or via short-wave)
- Having a radio system provides peace of mind when other modes of communication eventually do fail
How do you get your “license” / Certificate of Proficiency?
- Take a course offered by a local club such as the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club (OVMRC). Link to radio course here.
- Study with an experienced amateur (a so-called Elmer) and then schedule an exam with an accredited examiner. List of accredited examiners.
- Study on your own with good amateur radio study material and then schedule an exam with an accredited examiner (see above).
- Industry Canada offers a program (free to use) that generates practice basic (and advanced) exams which you can use as a study tool. The software is found here: ICP-2007.ZIP
What is a call-sign and how do I know which ones are available?
- An Amateur Radio call-sign is used to identify yourself as a qualified Radio Amateur and provides a method for others to contact you for any reason (which may include causing unintentional interference)
- Industry Canada has an available call sign search engine to assist in selecting your future potential call-sign
What does a basic amateur radio qualification allow you to do?
- Gives the privilege of using (potentially powerful) radio equipment which has the ability to transmit a signal many hundreds of kilometers away. A basic license permits you to use a transmitter capable of up to 250 Watts (input power to the amplifier) which is significantly more powerful than FRS/GMRS radios are legally allowed to transmit.
- Allows you to operate an amateur station when the station’s owner is not present, provided you are authorized to do so by the owner
- Experiment with different modes of communication including: morse code, packet radio, APRS (GPS tracking), digital communication (text chat), and even transmit live video!
Are there any other resources online?
So if amateur radio sounds like an interesting hobby to you, please have a look at the links above and/or contact me for more information.