Path to your HAM licence
Since you are here, you have already made the first step to the right
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
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.