RIC-9 — Call Sign Policy and Special Event Prefixes

Issue 2 (Provisional), October 2005
Radiocommunication Information Circular

Radiocommunication Information Circulars are issued for the guidance of those engaged in radiocommunications in Canada. The information contained in these circulars is subject to change without notice. It is therefore suggested that interested persons consult the nearest district office of Industry Canada for additional details. While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure accuracy, no warranty is expressed or implied. As well, these circulars have no status in law.

Comments and suggestions may be directed to the following address:

Industry Canada
Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch

300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8
Attention: DOS
E-mail: spectrum_pubs@ic.gc.ca

All Spectrum Management and Telecommunications publications are available on the following website: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.


Table of Contents

  1. Call Sign Assignment
  2. Call Signs for Special Events
  3. Fees

Forward

This new issue of Radio Information Circular 9, Call Sign Policy and Special Event Prefixes, (RIC-9) reflects recent modifications to the international Radio Regulations pertaining to the amateur service resulting from decisions made at the International Telecommunication Union World Radiocommunication Conference of 2003 (WRC-2003).

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Purpose

This circular outlines the policies and procedures as they relate to call signs and special events prefixes within the amateur radio service.

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Policy

1. Call Sign Assignment

1.1 General

A Canadian call sign is issued to anyone, including a foreign national, who successfully writes the Canadian Basic Qualification examination and obtains an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate.

Individuals who are citizens of another country and are not the holders of a Canadian Amateur Radio Operator Certificate may be authorized to operate with their own call sign with an appropriate Canadian call sign area designator in accordance with Radiocommunication Information Circular 3, Information on the Amateur Radio Service (RIC-3) when a reciprocal operating agreement exists between Canada and the home country or the visitor is operating under a CEPT or IARP permit.

Call signs are assigned to individuals for a lifetime. However, there are cases when call signs become available for reassignment. In the case of an amateur requesting a replacement call sign, the unwanted call sign would be returned to the block of available call signs at the time of exchange.

In the case of a deceased amateur, Industry Canada policy allows for a member of the immediate family to apply for the call sign. Immediate family includes father, mother, step-parent, foster parent, guardian, brother, sister, spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild and adopted members of the family.

If no family member has applied for the call sign within one year of the death, it will be returned to the block of available call signs.

All call signs become available for reassignment when the current year equals the certificate holder's birthdate plus 125 years.

1.2 Call Sign Prefixes

When a Canadian applicant is qualified to install or operate an amateur radio station, a call sign will be issued using a prefix based on where the applicant resides. An amateur who subsequently changes his residence from one call sign prefix area to another shall apply for a change of call sign with the prefix allocated for this new area of operation.

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. Prefixes currently used for assignment are in accordance with the following table:

Prefix Province/Territory

Prefixes currently used for assignment
Prefix Province/Territory
VE1 VA1 Nova Scotia
VE2 VA2 Quebec
VE3 VA3 Ontario
VE4 VA4 Manitoba
VE5 VA5 Saskatchewan
VE6 VA6 Alberta
VE7 VA7 British Columbia
VE8 Northwest Territories
VE9 New Brunswick
VE0* International Waters
VO1 Newfoundland
VO2 Labrador
VY1 Yukon Territory
VY2 Prince Edward Island
VY0 Nunavut Territory

* VE0 call signs are only intended for use when the amateur radio station is operated from a vessel that make international voyages.

1.3 Call Sign Suffixes

1.3.1 Restricted Suffixes

In certain circumstances, the Amateur Radio Service Centre may decide not to issue certain suffixes. An example is the suffix SOS, which could result in confusion in a real emergency.

Suffixes for call signs issued on a permanent basis in accordance with Section 1.4, will consist of either two or three letters.

In conformity with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, call signs with three-letter suffixes and four-character alpha numeric suffixes will not be issued from block QOA to QUZ as these combinations are reserved for abbreviations to be used for radiocommunication services (ITU — Article S19). Existing call signs will remain valid until the call sign is released.

1.3.2 Single-letter Suffixes and Four-character Alpha Numeric Suffixes

Call signs with single-letter and four-character alpha numeric suffixes will only be issued as special event call signs for limited periods of time as described in Section 2.

1.3.3 Two-letter Suffixes

In Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia the demand for two-letter suffixes exceeds the availability. In some areas, waiting lists for two-letter call signs have been held in district offices for many years. With the introduction of the centralized Amateur Radio Service Centre, two-letter call sign waiting lists have been discontinued. Applicants in the VE1 – VE7 and VO1 call sign areas who are qualified to install or operate an amateur radio station may apply for a two-letter call sign if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. the amateur has been the holder of a Canadian Amateur Radio Operator Certificate — Basic Qualification for a minimum of five years; or
  2. the amateur is applying for the two-letter call sign of a deceased family member in accordance with Section 1.4.4 below.

Applicants in call sign prefix areas with very small amateur populations (VE8, VE9, VY1, VY2, VY0, and VO2) in which two-letter call signs are readily available, may apply for a two-letter call sign. Once the number of two-letter call signs issued in an area exceeds 80% of the total two-letter call sign combinations, the eligibility criteria in subsection (a) above will then apply to that area.

Only one two-letter call sign will be issued per amateur operator and the prefix will be issued in accordance with Section 1.2. No two-letter call sign will be issued to club stations. Existing two-letter call signs remain valid until the holder releases the call sign or becomes deceased.

1.4 Choosing a Call Sign

1.4.1 Choosing a First Call Sign

Applicants may request any unassigned two or three-letter suffix call sign using a prefix in accordance with Section 1.2. Applicants requesting a two-letter suffix call sign must meet the requirements of Section 1.3.3. A maximum of three choices in the order of preference will be considered. If none of the choices are available or no choice is indicated, the Amateur Radio Service Centre will assign a call sign.

Applicants are urged to check the availability of call signs at the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate Services website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/callsign.

1.4.2 Additional Call Signs

Amateurs may apply for any additional three-letter suffix call sign.

Amateurs who are not already holders of a two-letter suffix call sign may apply for an additional call sign with a two-letter suffix providing they meet the requirements of Section 1.3.3.

Please note that only one two-letter call sign is assigned per amateur operator and the prefix will be issued in accordance with Section 1.2.

1.4.3 Changing a Call Sign

An amateur may request a change of call sign for a three-letter suffix. If the requested call sign is available, it will be issued, provided that the applicant's prefix remains in accordance with Section 1.2.

Applicants who request a change of call sign from a three-letter call sign to a two-letter call sign must meet the requirements of Section 1.3.3.

1.4.4 Transferring a Call Sign from a Deceased Amateur to an Immediate Family Member

The call sign of a deceased amateur will not be returned to the Available Call Signs List until one year after the death. An immediate family member who is the holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate may apply for the call sign within that year, provided that the applicant's province or territory call sign prefix matches the call sign of the deceased amateur's area of residence.

1.4.5 Call Sign Reservations

Amateur radio service call signs cannot be reserved.

Applicants are urged to check the availability of call signs at the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate Services website at at www.ic.gc.ca/callsign.

1.5 Club Stations

1.5.1 Call signs for club stations will be issued with three-letter suffixes only. Existing two-letter club station call signs will remain valid until the club disbands or the call sign is released.

1.5.2 Sponsor Requirements

The application for a call sign intended to be used by an amateur radio club station must be made by a holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Advanced Qualification.

1.6 Automatic Repeater Stations

1.6.1 The application for a call sign intended to be used for an amateur radio automatic radiotelephone communications repeater station operating above 30 MHz and within the same band must be made by a holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Advanced Qualification.

1.6.2 The applicant must be the holder of an applicable Morse code qualification if the repeater is to transmit on frequencies below 30 MHz.

1.6.3 A holder of an Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with Basic Qualification may apply for a call sign intended to be used for an amateur radio digital repeater on frequencies above 30 MHz.

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2. Call Signs for Special Events

2.1 Eligibility for Consideration

A special prefix assignment may be made to all amateurs in a geographical area for Canadian significant commemorative non-commercial anniversaries or Canadian significant events.

Request should be received at the Amateur Radio Service Centre at least 60 days before the beginning of the proposed event to provide ample time to process the request and allow the Centre to inform the amateur community at least 30 days before the event.

Special event prefixes and call signs are listed in Table 1.

2.2 Definitions

Special call signs and prefixes fall within one of the following categories:

Category I
(a) National:

Special prefixes for all provinces and territories for use by all Canadian amateurs not to exceed two months.

e.g. All VE3's become CG3, all VE7 become CG7, etc.

 

(b) Provincial or
territorial:

Special prefix for the applicable province/territory for use by Canadian amateurs residing within the applicable province/territory, not to exceed one month.

e.g. All VE4's become CG4.

 

(c) Municipal:

Special prefix for the applicable municipality for use by Canadian amateurs residing within the applicable municipality, not to exceed two weeks.

e.g. All VE1 within the municipality become CG1.

 

(d) Organization:

Special prefix or call sign for the use of the applicable organization, not to exceed one month.

All members of the organization that are radio operators can use the special prefix.

 

Category II
(a) Individuals or club stations:

Specific call signs using a special prefix and suffix to be issued to specific stations, not to exceed one month.

e.g. VE3ABC becomes CG3A or CG3DEF

 

Category III
(a) Individuals or club stations:

Specific call signs to be issued for specific stations using the existing prefix and number but using a different suffix, not to exceed one month.

 

Category IV
(a) Individuals or club stations:

Specific call signs to be issued for selected significant amateur events to specific stations using special prefix and/or suffix, not to exceed the event period.*

* Events are from time to time held in multiple phases. The authority granted under this category is valid for the duration of these separate phases and are not to exceed a total overall period of 60 calendar days.

2.3 Issuance of Special Call Signs

Requests falling within Categories I and II (special prefixes are involved) will be accommodated if they meet the following criteria:

Anniversaries must be a minimum of a '25th' or any 25th increment.

Significant events must be of a historical or cultural nature and not of a repetitive type. For example the annual local corn roast would not qualify and neither would the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, nor the Calgary Stampede. However, the Calgary Olympics or the opening of the Confederation Bridge between P.E.I. and New Brunswick would qualify.

Requests falling within Category III for significant events or anniversaries not covered under Categories I and II would be approved on request, provided the proposed suffix is available. For example, an amateur radio operator's birthday would not qualify, but the Calgary Stampede or similar events may qualify as Category III.

Certain annual amateur radio contests may be considered as significant events for which requests for special call signs under Category IV may be approved. Contests for which special event call signs are requested will be considered and their eligibility will be determined in consultation with the Canadian National Amateur Radio Society.

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3.0 Fees

The radio authorization fee for the assignment of a call sign or prefix in the amateur radio service is $60.00 for each occurrence of the following transactions:

  1. changing an existing call sign (including changing to a two-letter call sign);
  2. issuing a station call sign to a club or other organization;
  3. issuing an additional station call sign to an individual; and
  4. issuing a special event call sign or a special prefix.

There is no fee charged:

  1. to issue the initial call sign with the Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with the Basic Qualification;
  2. to issue a replacement certificate due to loss or damage;
  3. to issue a replacement call sign with a new prefix, due to a change in address to a new province or territory; and
  4. to issue a certificate as a result of an additional qualification such as 5 w.p.m., 12 w.p.m. or Advanced.
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Table I — Special Event Prefixes and Call Signs

Table I - Special Event Prefixes and Call Signs
Provinces and
Territories Prefixes
National, Regional and
Municipal Special Event Prefixes
Special Call Signs with Special Prefix Special Call Signs with Normal Prefix
VE1 (NS) CG1 CK1 VX1 XM1 VC1 VE1
VA1 (NS) CF1 CJ1 VG1 XL1 VB1 VA1
VE2 (QC) CG2 CK2 VX2 XM2 VC2 VE2
VA2 (QC) CF2 CJ2 VG2 XL2 VB2 VA2
VE3 (ON) CG3 CK3 VX3 XM3 VC3 VE3
VA3 (ON) CF3 CJ3 VG3 XL3 VB3 VA3
VE4 (MB) CG4 CK4 VX4 XM4 VC4 VE4
VA4 (MB) CF4 CJ4 VG4 XL4 VB4 VA4
VE5 (SK) CG5 CK5 VX5 XM5 VC5 VE5
VA5 (SK) CF5 CJ5 VG5 XL5 VB5 VA5
VE6 (AB) CG6 CK6 VX6 XM6 VC6 VE6
VA6 (AB) CF6 CJ6 VG6 XL6 VB6 VA6
VE7 (BC) CG7 CK7 VX7 XM7 VC7 VE7
VA7 (BC) CF7 CJ7 VG7 XL7 VB7 VA7
VE8 (NT) CG8 CK8 VX8 XM8 VC8 VE8
VE9 (NB) CG9 CK9 VX9 XM9 VC9 VE9
VO1 (NF) CH1 CY1 XJ1 XN1 VD1 VO1
VO2 (LAB) CH2 CY2 XJ2 XN2 VD2 VO2
VY0 (NU) CI0 CZ0 XK0 XO0 VF0 VY0
VY1 (YT) CI1 CZ1 XK1 XO1 VF1 VY1
VY2 (PEI) CI2 CZ2 XK2 XO2 VF2 VY2
CY0
SABLE IS
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
CY9
ST-PAUL IS
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A