Canada callsign -- how to mitigate CW requirement

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by K3RW, Oct 13, 2017.

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  1. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any Canada VEs on QRZ?

    I'm an Extra class operator (2015) and looking to operate in Canada from time to time. Looks like no problem getting a Basic license in Canada, but I can't do a lot of things that I planned on.

    Supposedly we would convert to the equivalent class in Canada, if not for a 5wpm morse code requirement. So even at an Extra class level, I revert to Canada's Basic class. Had I been an Advanced class, then perhaps that would be different.

    From RAC:

    A US Amateur who is qualified to send and receive in Morse code at a speed of at least 5 wpm may operate an Amateur station in Canada in accordance with the provisions applicable to the holder of an Amateur Operator's Certificate with Basic, Morse Code (5 wpm) and Advanced Qualifications. A US amateur who is not qualified to send and receive in Morse code may operate an Amateur station in Canada in accordance with provisions applicable to the holder of the Amateur Operator's Certificate with Basic Qualifications.

    Well, US hams have no send and receive CW tests anymore. So I'm trying to figure out how to meet this 5wpm equirement and get the higher class license.

    I looked at the ARRL page and it does have a CW proficiency test, but its copy-only. Hmm. I asked Industry Canada if that would work (I doubt it).

    Is the solution to find a VEC in Canada, and send/receive 5wpm? Go to an Industry Canada office?

    This question popped up in 2012 on QRZ, but the thread is now closed--looks like no one pursued it further.

    I sent a message to Industry Canada, and I'll update the thread if/when they respond. Curious if anyone in the no-code license dilemma has figured this one out. Hey, at least its 5wpm and not 20!
  2. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm a little confused, why do you want/need a Canadian license? you can operate there with your FCC issued license due to the reciprocal agreement.

    as I read the agreement, there is no paperwork or WRITTEN proof of CW ability required. I guess it depends on the legal definition of the word "qualified". IMO, if you CAN send/receive CW @ > 5 wpm, then you are "qualified".

    3.1 Foreign Amateur Equivalencies
    3.1.1 A foreign amateur who is not qualified to send and receive in Morse code may operate an amateur station in Canada in accordance with the provisions applicable to the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification.

    3.1.2 A foreign amateur who is qualified to send and receive in Morse code at a speed of at least 5 w.p.m. may operate an amateur station in Canada in accordance with the provisions applicable to the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic, Morse Code (5 w.p.m.) and Advanced Qualifications.
    There is no need for paperwork or other formalities when exchanging visits between Canada and the US. Under the terms of the agreement, the visitor must identify using his or her call sign followed by a call area suffix, e.g., VE3FRV/W9 or N9CFX/VE3.
    K3RW and KA0HCP like this.
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Or, if you really want a Canadian license, spend the six weeks you are waiting for a response from Industry Canada studying morse and be prepared to test for the license! :)

    Spend less effort trying to 'get around" the requirements and broaden your skills!

    FCC Part 97.1.c
    (c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

    Give it a try. I'm not one to tell others that learning morse is easy. I know that learning in general becomes harder as we age. I think that most hams already licensed can learn that minimal speed within six weeks.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    N2EY, W7UUU and K3RW like this.
  4. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually Morse code @ 5wpm should really not be that much of a challenge. Give it a shot... you may find yourself interested in Morse code. If not you won't have expended that much time or energy.
    K3RW likes this.
  5. VA3VF

    VA3VF Guest

    This is not a legal opinion! I think 'qualified' here means allowed to send and received morse code. There is no requirement to pass a morse exam in the US, but that does not prevent you from operating in CW mode legally.

    The qualified, as in passing an exam, may come into play if a Canadian callsign is wanted. But if you are an Extra Class ham in the US, you could use your US callsign with the applicable VE prefix.

    We're nice people, the worst that can happen is a friendly reminder to stop operations.
    ND6M and K3RW like this.
  6. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh, its definitely doable. But mostly I was curious how a no-code Extra licensee could submit the certificate to satisfy the Canada license requirement. But since the CEPT doesn't even require me to file anything, as long as I run K3RW/VE7 and announce Victoria every 10 minutes, I really don't need to do anything further, if I read it right.
  7. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    To clarify, the reason I wanted a Canadian license was 1) seemed like something fun to have, and 2) I read the requirements page as meaning 'no-code US Extra class operators will be reverted automatically to the Basic Class privileges when in Canada (whether or not they get a Canada callsign), because they don't have 5wpm proficiency demonstrated.

    But being a no-code era Extra, I can't show that I have it--I've never sat for any certification on it. So seeing that to operate above the Basic level, I needed 5wpm proficiency, my first thought was 'how do I show that to them'. But now if I am following what I've read today in the CEPT (which I don't even have to file at all), it seems more on-your-honor (or for our partners up north, on-your-honour). In the really unlikely scenario I'm questioned on it, I'll be prepared to send/receive 5wpm on the spot. So if I went up there today, I'd play by the Basic rules since my CW is terrible, and when I'm fully proficient, I'll follow the Advanced rules, if that makes sense.

    And today I got an email back from Industry Canada. Here's an excerpt:

    You can’t be assigned a Canadian call unless you have a residence in Canada, and write the exam. If you obtain 80% or higher on the basic exam you have access to all bands. You can also sit the advanced exam at the same time if you wanted those qualifications, as well.

    So, minus a residence, I won't be getting a Canada callsign anyway. I've known several people who vacationed in far off places and went to the local office and picked up a foreign callsign. But reading further today, non-residents aren't going to get one in Canada, whether or not they take the test.

    So in the distant future when I head to Nunavut for a self-sponsored DXpedition, I'll just sign mine K3RW/VYO and announce "Iqaluit" every 10 minutes.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
    ND6M likes this.
  8. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    CW is good. I've been starting SOTA activations and the CW operators seem to do much better, and their power and rig requirements are far easier.
  9. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep, I'll concur that at least in my case, it will be 6 weeks if I buckle down and make it a priority.

    Partly I've always thought 'this is hard'. And I've always avoided learning it. And another is, some methods try to send 5wpm, but at 18wpm character speed, so you don't get stuck in a 9wpm plateau as one is learning. I can see the benefit to this, but its very tough for me to learn that way. I copy a few characters, and then think 'grr, what was that last one' and get immediately flustered and lost on the next group. With my hearing problems, I really copy better on some sidetones than others. But in noisy conditions, even with the CW filters on, I'm struggling to copy almost any of it.

    I seem to send much better, but with my shaky hand and lack of confidence my spacing is terrible. But I know what I'm trying to say!

    I'll get there. Using a straight key for practice seems to help me.
    KA0HCP likes this.
  10. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You don't need a "residence", but you do need an address in Canada when you obtain a Canadian license (certificate). The RIC-9 Call Sign Policy document makes that clear:

    Quoting from that document, in section 1.2:

    "A foreign national holding a Canadian Amateur Radio Operator Certificate does not need to be a resident in Canada, but must have a Canadian address at which the amateur radio operations in Canada will be based. The prefix for this call sign will be determined by the relevant Canadian address."

    Do you know someone in Canada? If so, and if your friend agrees, you could use that address to get a Canadian license. Your call sign's prefix would be based on that location. This may not help you much for a VY0 call sign unless you have a friend in that territory, but the Canadian regulations allow non-residents to obtain licenses and call signs after writing at least the Basic exam.

    I have held my Canadian license since 2002, initially writing the Basic and Morse exams, followed by the Advanced exam the following year. My address in the Canadian licensing database is a friend's house in a Vancouver suburb, which is now redacted from public view (you can request your address and city not be made public). You can see how this works if you look up VA7EWK in the Canadian regulator's call sign search page:$.startup

    QRZ requires address fields to be listed for a call sign in the database, or the record is flagged as incomplete and other data like the Biography is hidden from view. QRZ periodically downloads the Canadian call sign database and updates entries, which means I have to go in every so often and add an address and city to my VA7EWK entry. I use "QSL VIA WD9EWK" as my address, and Vancouver for the city, whenever I need to add those fields back into that entry.

    Now, should you want to write the exam(s) for a Canadian license, many clubs have an "Accredited Examiner" who can give you the exam. Some clubs and groups host exam sessions like you'd see in the US, and others will have one-on-one sessions where it's just you and an examiner (this is what I did for my exams in 2002 and 2003). Once you pass the exam(s), the examiners should be able to upload results and - not long after that - you can see your name and call sign show up in the database. You'll also get two license documents - a certificate, and a smaller fold-up card for your wallet.

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