How are Amateur Radio operators “authorized” in Canada?
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 Amateur can be found on their website at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/025.nsf/eng/home
The first level of authorization is the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with the Basic Qualification. Passing (70%) a multiple choice exam of 100 questions will provide you with your own call sign and allow you to operate on all Amateur Radio frequencies above 30 MHz. These are most often used for relatively short-range radio to radio communications that can be extended to greater distances using “repeaters” operated by other Radio Amateurs.
The next level of authorization allows Radio Amateurs to use all of the Amateur frequency bands including those allowing direct communications with other Radio Amateurs over much greater distances.
There are two ways to achieve these greater operating privileges: by passing the Basic exam and also by demonstrating the ability to send and receive Morse Code at 5 words per minute or by scoring a higher mark on the Basic exam. The “Basic with Honours” qualification is awarded to persons who get 80% or higher on the 100-question, multiple choice exam. Today the majority of candidates who pass the Basic exam achieve Honours and are able to use all Amateur Radio bands immediately.
The Advanced Qualification added to your Basic Qualification will allow you build and operate your own transmitting equipment, sponsor a club station, run higher power and operate your own repeater station. To earn this qualification requires passing a 50-question multiple choice examination on radio theory.
The examinations may be taken in any order but station operating privileges require a Basic Qualification. Candidates for the examination for Basic, Morse Code or Advanced qualifications are examined by an accredited examiner.