Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.  What is amateur radio?

See the page:  What is Amateur Radio?

2.  Do I need to be licensed?

Yes.  You require a licence issued by Industry Canada, a branch of the federal government of Canada.  This licence is issued after one passes a test set by Industry Canada.  The test is not very difficult and involves a demonstration of very basic technical knowledge on radio theory and electrical theory and legislation.  YARS has two delegated examiners who can invigilate the exam and assist you with submission of the necessary paperwork.

3.  Do I need specialised knowledge?

Not really.  You should have a basic knowledge of radio and electrical theory.  The level is about high school. If you do not have this knowledge, there are online courses and YARS runs a basic course annually that helps you learn the necessary knowledge to write the exam.

4.  Do I need to buy equipment?

No.  You should have your own radio, even if just a VHF handheld transceiver.  These are relatively inexpensive and can be found second hand for under $50.  You should be able to get a new radio for under $100.  It is also possible to build your own equipment.  Even if you do not have equipment, you can always use another person's or equipment belonging to YARS.

5.  Can I broadcast on commercial broadcast radio?

No.  Amateur radio is a non-commercial activity and it makes use of radio frequencies that have been allocated to the amateur radio service.  The only persons allowed to use those bands are licensed amateur radio operators.  That does not stop others from monitoring them.  A person with a scanner or a short-wave receiver can tune into the amateur radio bands and listen to amateur radio traffic.

6.  What use is HAM Radio in today's Internet world?

Quite a bit.  Radio-communications, including amateur radio, and computing have been converging for at least a decade.  Never has it been so simple for an amateur radio operator to send digital communications using computers or to have sophisticated control over radios and directional antennas.  That said, while it may appear as though email has rendered amateur radio communication obsolete, it must be remembered that amateur radio operates independent of the infrastructure on which our modern society depends and takes for granted.  If the power goes out, there is no Internet.  Most operators have emergency power supplies (solar or wind).  Time and again amateur radio has been relied upon in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters. 

7.  Do I have to learn Morse Code?

No.  But that said, YARS has discovered that in the North, Morse Code is a very reliable and viable method of communication.  It requires very little in terms of equipment and it is easy to make the necessary circuits.  Furthermore in terms of power it is very efficient and therefore one can use a small battery.  This makes it very portable.  For difficult atmospheric conditions, Morse Code seems to get through even when digital signals do not.  Do not dismiss this seemingly archaic method of wireless telegraphy.  Passing a 5 WPM Morse Code test may, in certain cases, allow you to have enhanced operating privileges on the HF bands for your class of licence.