Posts Tagged ‘Amateur Radio Regulations in Canada’

Following the Rules is a good thing…

November 3, 2008

Recently there has been much debate on the air and on on a few websites/blogs about how much “power” you can use with the different levels of Licences for Canadian Amateurs…

Personally I do not use an amp… I run around 5w if I’m using my FT817 and somewhere between 5 and 100w the rest of the time depending on what radio I am operating with.  I have nothing against amps just that with my main style of operating being portable or semi-portable, I am just getting too old to carry around enough batteries to power a kilowatt in the field…

Now the debate did start to interest me and so I decided to read up on the rules and regulations to see exactly what I could use IF I wanted to…  I have the Basic and Morse Code endorsement….

Below is the excerpts from the rules and regulations as they pertain the Amps and power levels…

Before anyone out there comments on what their country allows…This entry pertains to Canadian Rules and Regulations


From RIC 3


1.4 Privileges and Restrictions

Privileges and restrictions can be found in the Radiocommunication Regulations and Radiocommunication Information Circular 2, Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service RIC-2). A brief summary follows:

Basic Qualification: 

  • access all amateur bands above 30 MHz
  • use a maximum of 250 watts DC transmitter input power
  • build 1 and operate all station equipment, except for “home-made” transmitters

Basic with honours (80% or above score) – access to all amateur bands below 30 MHz

Advanced Qualification: 

  • access all amateur bands below 30 MHz
  • use maximum transmitter power of 1000 watts DC input
  • build and operate transmitting equipment
  • establish repeaters and club stations
  • remotely control fixed stations, including the use of radio links

Now the RIC 3 has been updated and renamed as RBR4 which addresses the issue as the following:


10. Restrictions on Capacity and Power Output

The transmitting power of an amplifier installed at an amateur station shall not be capable of exceeding by more than 3 dB the limits on transmitting power described in this section.

10.1 Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification

The holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification is limited to a maximum transmitting power of:

(a) where expressed as direct-current input power, 250 W to the anode or collector circuit of the transmitter stage that supplies radio frequency energy to the antenna; or

(b) where expressed as radio frequency output power measured across an impedance-matched load,

(i) 560 W peak envelope power for transmitters that produce any type of single sideband emission, or

(ii) 190 W carrier power for transmitters that produce any other type of emission.

Now as I read this they are now giving us a choice…  250W DC or 560W PEP at the antenna output.  No remember these are not specifically directed at amplifiers but more meaning any transmissions. 



Now this gets interesting as there seems to be some question on the wording of the rules. 


There can be NO DOUBT that if you have a basic license you cannot exceed the power level as stated in RBR 4 Item 10.1  . 


However there seems to some debate as to if you can possess equipment that exceeds your license class.  As an example … I hold the basic license as I have stated above…


Can I go out an buy a 1kw amplifier and just “throttle it back” so its output is lets say 500w which is by the above quoted RBR 60w under the limit??? 


Or am I limited to an amplifier that can not exceed the 560w maximum???


I remember back when I got my first call back in 1992 that there was some debate on what I could even own with my first basic only license as I did not get my code endorsement at the same time as my basic.  That gave me 30mhz and above only…  Now at the time I wanted to buy an HF Rig so I could copy code to prepare for taking my test but people were saying at the time I could not even own a rig capable of transmitting past my capabilities.  That really became a “moot point” with me, as soon after I joined the world on HF but it does ask an interesting question…


Its hard to get a straight answer on this topic.  The answer of the day is determinined by who you talk to…


In an attempt to get a straight answer an email was sent out to Jim Dean VE3IQ  who writes theRegulatory Roundup” column in the RAC Magazine “The Canadian Amateur” which read as follows:


HI Jim,


Recently I have heard a couple of different opinions from amateurs concerning the use of amplifiers.  Although I do not use an amp on any band it does peak my curiosity…


From reading the RBR4 I see that a basic holder is limited to 560 W PEP using SSB.  That point is fairly clear and not open to opinions. 


However I am wondering is the basic holder restricted to operating an amp that will not exceed the 560W PEP limit or can he use a larger amp and just reduce the power so he is not exceeding  560W?




And  Jim’s response was one that I concider to be very honest.  He offered me his opinion, but sent my question out to Rich Ferch VE3KI who happens to the Vice President, Regulatory Affairs for the
Radio Amateurs of Canada and his answer to my questions was as follows:



Immediately above section 10.1 in RBR-4, where you found the 560W limit,
take a look at section 10. An amateur may install an amplifier capable of
exceeding the power limit by no more than 3 dB (a factor of two). So a
Basic-only operator can use an amplifier capable of up to 1120 W PEP (500W
DC input), as long as he doesn’t exceed an actual power of 560 W PEP (250W
DC input).

Richard Ferch VE3KI
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Radio Amateurs of


So there we have it…  An Amateur with the basics can use an amplifier with the “potential” output of over 560w PEP as long as the “potential output can not exceed 1120W PEP.  But at the same time the Basic amateur can not exceed the maximum output allowed to a Basic Licence Holder of 560W PEP.


So according to this you can own it…you just can’t “crank it up” to its full potential…


Now the “Ten Thousand Dollar Question”  would be “ How do we tell is the Basic Amateur is keeping his Kilowatt Amplifier turned down to 560W?


 Even though the times have changed I would still hope that if someone had gone through the trouble is attaining his Amateur License they would abide by its rules and regulations. 


So there you have it…  The rules and regulations of our great hobby give you latitude in what equipment you can use but a restriction in the amount of power… Please work inside the rules and let us all enjoy our hobby again.