So you want to become a Ham?

A typical amateur station setupA typical amateur station setupBecoming a Radio Amateur is easier than you think!  Gone are the morse code requirements that previously held back a lot of people.  All you need to do now is pass the Basic (and then the Advanced, if you wish) exams and once your callsign has been registered with Industry Canada, you're good to go to air.   Your callsign is yours for life and there are no on-going (annual) fees anymore.


The Basic Qualification exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions covering such topics as radio operating practices, basic electrical theory, and the Radiocommunication regulations that apply to amateur radio.


A Basic Qualification is earned with a 70% pass mark and this allows you access to all amateur bands above 30MHz.  If you acheive over 80%, then you'll have Basic Qualification with honors and that will give you all bands above and below 30MHz.  You can also add Morse code at 5 WPM to a Basic Qualification for access below 30MHz.

An Advanced Qualification means sitting the Advanced exam and achieving a 70% pass-grade on 50 multiple-choice questions covering electrical theory primarily related to the additional privileges granted to holders of the Advanced Qualification.

With the Advanced Qualification added to your Basic Qualification you can build and operate your own transmitting equipment, sponsor a club station, run higher power and operate your own repeater station.

Interested?  Y.A.R.C. can help you with your study and examinations. Contact any of the Y.A.R.C Executive for more information.

By the way, you might be wondering just how much power you can legally transmit as a Canadian Radio Amateur?  Remember the old C.B's of the 70's and early 80's?  They were limited to 12 Watts PEP...that's it, just 12W.  On a really good day you might have been able to talk into the US (but legally you weren't supposed to!).  A Canadian Amateur with Basic Qualification can transmit with 560W PEP and an Advanced Qualification can go to 2250W PEP.  Honestly though, very few Amateurs use that kind of power as we're all about getting the most bang for our buck using our advanced knowledge of radios and antennas.  A big part of the challenge is seeing just how far you can communicate with the least amount of power required to do it.  On just about any given day, putting out around just 100W and using a decent antenna, you can talk with other Amateurs in Europe and South America.  You can use even less power with Morse code.  In fact, distances of several thousand miles have be recorded using Morse code and just a few milli-Watts of power! 

Facinating, huh?