Path to your HAM licence
Since you are here, you have already made the first step to the right direction...
To operate a HAM radio transmitter in Canada, you need to have a licence issued by the Government of Canada. Applications and all matters related to HAM radio are handled by Industry Canada, Spectrum Management and Telecommunications
It is worth pointing out that you do not have to pass a Morse-code exam to become a HAM Radio Operator. However, if youwish to do so, our Club offers a one-on-one tutoring to learn Morse-code. Although there are numerous operating modes -other than morse (CW)- you would be suprised to know that CW is still one of the most widely used way of making contacts. There are good technical reasons to it, but for the records here is a list of the most common modes:
CW (continuous wave) This is the traditional way of communication. The transmitter generates a signal when you depress the morse key. In doing so, you send 'dit'-s and 'dah'-s to assemble letters and words. Click here to hear a sample. What you heard was "CQ CQ DE VE3SWA VE3SWA +K" The code was sent at a rate of 20 WPM (Words Per Minute) To make life easier during a CW contact, Q-codes and abbreviations are frequently used. The meaning of those codes are translated to one's own language, so that "TNX" sent from Brazil will mean "THANK YOU" in Norway. This makes Morse-code really and truly an international language.
Phone. The second most popular mode. You use a microphone and talk to the other station just like you do on the telephone or internet. Of course, there are limits as to what you can say, but this is a subject you will learn on your HAM Radio Certificate course... There are different ways your radio will send your voice over the airwaves, such as: SSB, AM, FM. These refer to different modulation methods. More technical stuff on your certificate course....
Digital. This mode deserves a little more attention. In digital modes < you would use your computer's sound card and keyboard to work with your radio to produce different, very exciting possibilities.
Phase Shift Keying. A small software is installed on your PC that will handle the modulation and demodulation of the digital signal. Below is a sample you would see on your screen. (The picture is not too good, but you get the picture...)
Radio Tele Type. It is very common among HAM-s and is widely used all over the world. Originally the RTTY used an actual typewriter with an electrical motor in it; it was rather noisy. The shaft of the motor had a mechanical encoder that opened or closed 5 switches in a certain combination that represented a key you pressed on the typewriter. Nowadays it is all done electronically in your computer.
Do not worry, nowadays it is all done electronically in your PC, no noise...! You just type on your keyboard and the rest is done by the software.
This mode provides error-free communications by sending a small packet of information with a check bit. If a receiving station detects an error, it requests that the packet be sent again. It is repeated until it all 'cheks out' See a screenshot below.
SSTV and FSTV. (Slow/Fast Scan TV) As the name indicates, in this mode you can transmit an image. The TV mode requires a relatively wide bandwidth. On short waves we can only transmit a still image, most common is the image of the station with the operator. On high frequencies -VHF and UHF- a moving image can be transmitted.