December 13, 2016 – For immediate release
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), formerly Industry Canada, has issued a revised version of RIC-3, Information on the Amateur Radio Service. It replaces RIC-3 Version 3 that was released in July 2005. Radio Amateurs of Canada welcomes the change as it addresses several long-standing issues pointed out by RAC in the past where the document required updating to address changes in technologies and practices, notably the decision by many administrations to remove the requirement for Morse code qualification for new Radio Amateurs. The new version of RIC-3 can be found online at: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01008.html
The new document contains several editorial changes (such as the change in the name of the Department) and clarifications regarding the operating privileges granted to holders of the Basic qualifications. Over recent years there have been questions about which qualification is required by Canadian Radio Amateurs to modify a commercial transceiver to operate on Amateur bands. Those with Advanced certification could certainly make any sort of modification as they are allowed to design and build transmitters. The new RIC-3 makes it clear that the privileges of those holding Basic certifications includes:
“re-programming of radio equipment to operate in the Amateur Bands if this can be done by a computer program. Note: No physical modifications to the circuitry of the radio are permitted.”
RAC had urged that the limitation of the restriction of remote control of Amateur Radio stations to those with Advanced qualification be relaxed as changes in transceiver design have made remote control over the Internet much simpler than in the past and so the higher technical qualification of Advanced was not essential. We believe that those with Basic should have this privilege but ISED has not yet agreed. Dealing with regulations and their interpretation is an ongoing activity where several rounds of discussion are often required to achieve results.
The document also drops the outdated requirement for visiting American Radio Amateurs to have demonstrated CW proficiency to be able to operate HF phone in Canada. The World Radiocommunication Conference of 2003 agreed that CW need not be required for Amateur Radio licensing and the USA dropped the CW requirement for Amateur Radio licences in 2007 after the previous RIC-3 was published.
The major change to the document relates to reciprocal operating privileges, in particular those provided in a European intergovernmental agreement developed through a European telecommunications committee (referred to by its French acronym CEPT) that has grown to include several non-European countries.
Canada is a signatory to the CEPT T/R 61-01 reciprocal operating agreement, under which Canadian Amateurs who have a CEPT permit issued in Canada may operate in European countries during temporary visits. This agreement has undergone various revisions over the years notably to acknowledge the removal of CW qualification as a requirement for Amateur Radio authorization in many countries, and after negotiations between ISED and CEPT, the rules for Canadian participation have been updated to follow suit. There have been two major changes as a result:
(1) There will no longer be two classes of CEPT permit depending on the holding of a Morse code qualification. Although Morse code is no longer a requirement for the CEPT permit, any such qualifications will still be noted on the permit for use in countries that still require Morse code for access to HF;
(2) After conducting a comparison study of the syllabus for Canadian and CEPT examinations, CEPT has determined that only Canadian Amateurs who hold an Advanced qualification will be eligible for reciprocal operating privileges under CEPT T/R 61-01. Therefore, effective immediately, and as described in RIC-3, CEPT permits will only be issued to Amateurs with an Advanced qualification. Canadian Amateurs who have the requisite qualifications may submit requests for CEPT permits to RAC as described at: /cept-permits/
Canada is a party to another intergovernmental agreement, the “Inter-American Convention on an International Amateur Radio Permit” that provides reciprocal operating privileges to Radio Amateurs of one country that signs on to this agreement when they visit other countries that have also joined the agreement. At the meeting of national Amateur Radio organizations in Chile in October, Radio Amateurs of Canada and other similar organizations in our hemisphere agreed to encourage their governments to update this agreement. At last week’s meeting of the Canadian Amateur Radio Advisory Board (CARAB), RAC was told that at a recent meeting of representatives of governments of the Americas, the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), delegates agreed to update the agreement. We expect this will be done in the summer of 2017.
Richard Ferch, VE3IAY/VE3KI
RAC Regulatory Affairs Officer