How to Become a Ham

To become a radio amateur, or a Ham, requires a license authorized by the appropriate governing body in your country. On this page we will look briefly at licensing in Canada and point you to web sites that contain more licensing information.

Amateur Radio in Canada is regulated by a federal government department, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada). A step-by-step guide on becoming an Ham can be found on their website at: http://www.ic.gc.ca /eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07048.html#ic-subnav-2-

It is illegal to operate on the amateur bands without an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate which has three levels of qualification as follows:

Basic Qualification: an examination of 100 questions.

  • access all amateur bands above 30 MHz
  • use a maximum of 250 watts DC transmitter input power
  • build and operate all station equipment, except for “home-made” transmitters
  • Basic with honours (80% or above score) – access to all amateur bands below 30 MHz
  • There is no Morse code requirement on this test.

Advanced Qualification: an examination of 50 questions.

  • access all amateur bands below 30 MHz
  • use maximum transmitter power of 1000 watts DC input
  • build and operate transmitting equipment
  • establish repeaters and club stations
  • remotely control fixed stations, including the use of radio links
  • There is no Morse code requirement on this test.

Morse Code (5 wpm with Basic or Basic and Advanced Certificate):

  • access to all amateur bands below 30 MHz

For more information on Amateur Radio examinations and requirements visit http://wp.rac.ca/requirements/

The appeal of Amateur Radio is the ability to communicate across the country, around the globe, and even with astronauts on space missions. Many Radio Amateurs build and experiment with radio.

Computer hobbyists find digital modes to be a low-cost way to expand their ability to communicate. Those with a competitive streak enjoy contests where the object is to see how many Radio Amateurs they can contact in a fixed time period. Some like the convenience of a technology giving them portable communication. Others use it to open the door to new friendships over the air, or through participation in an Amateur Radio club. Many combine Amateur Radio with the Internet in various ways.

Here are some helpful links which have some additional information you need to get started in Amateur Radio:

Study Guides

Radio Amateurs of Canada offers the study guides below to help you learn everything you need need to pass your exam and have fun with Amateur Radio.

Morse Code may be learned in a class or by self-study using a number of methods. A popular way is to download a software program that teaches the Morse Code and provides drills at progressively higher speeds until the student is ready for the examination.

It should be noted that while Morse Code is almost extinct in the commercial radio services, it still has wide usage in Amateur Radio. As a proficiency speed beyond the five words per minute is desirable, it is important to learn and practice the Morse Code so as not to inhibit your own future speed development. An accepted practice is to use what is known as the Farnsworth Method whereby character speed is faster than the word speed, allowing longer timing spaces for comprehension. One of the most popular Morse Code learning and practice programs is called Morse Academy.

The resources below incorporate the latest changes in the Canadian Amateur Radio regulations. You may purchase RAC publications at major Amateur Radio retailers or online below.

Amateur Radio Exam Generator

A learning aid for prospective amateurs & administrative tool for accredited examiners.

Basic

Basic Study Questions
Choose a category of basic study questions or search by question.

Basic Practice Exam
Attempt a practice exam of 100 questions from all categories.

Print Basic Practice Exam
Print practice exam, blank answer sheet, correct answer key.

Print Basic Official Exam
Print official exam, blank answer sheet, correct answer key. (Requires login)

Print All Basic Questions
Print a full set of all possible questions for the basic level available in PDF format.

Advanced

Advanced Study Questions
Choose a category of advanced study questions or search by question.

Advanced Practice Exam
Attempt a practice exam of 50 questions from all categories.

Print Advanced Practice Exam
Print practice exam, blank answer sheet, correct answer key.

Print Advanced Official Exam
Print official exam, blank answer sheet, correct answer key. (Requires login)

Print All Advanced Questions
Print a full set of all possible questions for the advanced level available in PDF format.

Publications

Downloads

If any of the following documents is not accessible to you, please contact Industry Canada to obtain other appropriate formats.

Amateur Call Sign List (delimited TXT format) or Amateur Call Sign List (TXT format)
This link provides a ZIP file containing a text listing of all assigned call signs and the associated amateurs and sponsored clubs. Amateur qualifications and addresses are also included.

Special Event Call Sign List (delimited TXT format)
This link provides a ZIP file containing a delimited text listing of all special event call signs (past, present and future).

Accredited Examiner List (delimited TXT format)
This link provides a ZIP file containing a delimited text listing of all accredited examiners.

Amateur Basic Questions (delimited TXT format)
This link provides a ZIP file containing a delimited text listing of a full set of all possible questions for the basic level amateur exam.

Amateur Advanced Questions (delimited TXT format)
This link provides a ZIP file containing a delimited text listing of a full set of all possible questions for the advanced level amateur exam.