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  1. Committee Report January 2007

  2. Background • RAC established an Advisory Committee on the Restructuring of Amateur Radio in Canada - February 2006 to: • consult widely with Canadian Radio Amateurs • gather information on the Foundation License as used in Great Britain and Australia • examine how such a concept might be used in Canada. • examine how the whole licensing structure for Amateur Radio in Canada might be modified to accommodate a Foundation License.

  3. Background • The committee consisted of: • Bj. Madsen - VE5FX - Chairman - from Tisdale, Saskatchewan • Jim Anderson - VE6JWA - from Edmonton, Alberta • Brian Jackson - VE6JBJ - from Airdrie Alberta • Neil Carleton - VE3NCE - from Almonte, Ontario • Howard Dickson - VE1DHD - from Seabright, Nova Scotia Also assisting: • Jim Dean – VE3IQ – from Ottawa, Ontario • Richard Ferch – VE3IAY – from Ottawa, Ontario • Earle Smith - VE6NM - RAC’s President, ex officio member

  4. Background • The Committee proceeded by: • sending an email to all Radio Amateurs listed on the RAC database; • posting an official RAC Bulletin in both official languages; • establishing a website linked to the RAC home page to provide an ongoing update on the activities of the Committee; • developing a PowerPoint slide show for the use of Clubs to inform their members about our activities • establishing a web-based survey in both official languages.

  5. Background • The results of the survey are presented here, along with the recommendations that the Committee has made to the Board of Directors of RAC.

  6. The Survey • Survey started July 18, 2006 • Survey ended October 31, 2006 • There were 2,220 responses • 1,815 (82%) completed the English version of the survey; • 405 (18%) completed the French version of the survey; • In addition, we received 860 written comments

  7. The Average Respondent: • Is between 40 – 70 years of age

  8. The Average Respondent: • Is between 40 – 70 years of age • Has been a ham for more than 10 years

  9. The Average Respondent: • Is between 40 – 70 years of age • Has been a ham for more than 10 years • Is active on all bands, including HF

  10. The Average Respondent: • Is between 40 – 70 years of age • Has been a ham for more than 10 years • Is active on all bands, including HF • Spends more than 2 hours per week on radio

  11. The Average Respondent: • Is between 40 – 70 years of age • Has been a ham for more than 10 years • Is active on all bands, including HF • Spends more than 2 hours per week on radio • Is somewhat willing to give time to radio

  12. The Survey What did our average Amateur think about the issues?

  13. Of the 2,220 Amateurs who responded, 92% were quite concerned about the perceived declining interest in Amateur Radio.

  14. Of the respondents, 92% were concerned that the declining Amateur Radio population will ultimately lead to a loss of spectrum space for Amateur Radio.

  15. And, they (81%) would like to see changes made in licensing in order to make Amateur Radio certification more easily achievable.

  16. Most (96%) felt that special attention should be given to bringing young people into the Amateur Radio service.

  17. Nearly everyone (97%) agreed that it is desirable to bring more people of all ages into Amateur Radio.

  18. On the subject of young people, making changes to the theory/practice ratio in the exam in order to make certification requirements more meaningful was less enthusiastically supported. Only 69% of respondents agreed that this was a good idea, with the remaining 31% showing a lack of enthusiasm.

  19. However, most (87%) supported the idea of getting young people involved in public service activities.

  20. And most (75%) agreed that a ‘critical mass’ of young people is necessary to maintain the interest of young people in the service.

  21. The concept of ‘Elmering’ and support from clubs and individuals for young people was strongly supported (91%) as was the idea of promoting Amateur Radio to youth groups and schools (92%). Most respondents (67%) felt that they would be willing to participate in mentoring new Amateurs.

  22. There was much less agreement on the issue of BASIC certification requirement, with only 38% agreeing that the exam as it currently exists is preventing prospective Amateurs from getting their qualification. A significant number (42%) were satisfied with the status quo.

  23. Despite this, a majority (62%) felt that they would like to see the introduction of an ‘entry level’ certificate as a means to improve recruitment into the service. However, 24% were opposed to this idea.

  24. 38 > Passing grade of 70% BUT with demonstrated HF competency 22 >Passing grade remains at 80% BUT with demonstrated HF competency 30 >80% as currently required for HF 9 >No opinion

  25. Written Comments Received: Of the 2220 respondents to the survey, 699 took the opportunity to amplify their input through attached written comments. In addition, over 300 e-mails were received, providing more detailed input. We have summarized those points which recurred: Please note that these comments should be considered in proportion to the total number of respondents. There were 2220 respondents to the survey itself, of which 816 provided written comments (37%). For example ---> Only 79 of a total of 816 comments (nearly 10%) stressed a need to bring young people into Amateur Radio. But, from the survey itself, well over 2000 of the 2220 respondents (90%) either ‘Strongly Agreed’ or ‘Agreed’ with this issue. 1. We must bring young people into Amateur radio...............................……..... 79

  26. Analysis of comments received: Number of written comments on this topic >> 1. We must bring young people into Amateur Radio....................................................... 79 2. Certification should require less theory with more operating procedure & practice... 66 3. There is a need for the active promotion of Amateur Radio - to the public, youth groups, service clubs .................................................... 58 4. Mentoring is very important ....................................................................................... 56 5. An ‘entry-level’ certificate would result in the ‘dumbing down’ of Amateur Radio.. 48 6. It is preferable to keep the ‘status-quo’: leave the current system along .................... 47 7. Amateur Radio will become like CB/GRS - there is no upgrade incentive ............... 40 8. An ‘entry-level’ certificate is a good way to get people started ................................. 35 9. The survey was a very bad idea and/or was poorly done ........................................... 24 10. An ‘entry-level’ certificate should be limited to VHF/UHF operation .................... 19 11. An ‘entry-level’ certificate should be available for all .………………………….....18 12. Some level of challenge should remain to promote pride of achievement ............... 10 13. RAC is not acting in the best interests of Amateur Radio ........................................ 10 14. An ‘entry-level’ certificate should be time limited ..................................................... 9 15. An ‘entry-level’ certificate should be limited to youth only ....................................... 9

  27. Other, various, comments: 1. An ‘entry-level’ certificate should be for HF only, with low power. 2. An ‘entry-level’ certificate should be aimed at new retirees. 3. It is important to maintain the quality of Amateur Radio operators. 4. Add a ‘family/spousal’ license similar to the Foundation license. 5. Put more focus on emergency communications. 6. Encourage the use of bands other than 2 metres. 7. Emphasize Internet related radio links. 8. Industry Canada has abandoned Amateurs. 9. Bring back annual fees for Amateur Radio. 10. Create formal courses to be given in high schools, night schools, etc.

  28. Summary of Recommendations: Based on the overwhelming concern expressed in relation to the declining interest in Amateur Radio (92% of respondents) the Advisory Committee on the Restructuring of Amateur Radio in Canada suggests that the RAC Board of Directors consider the following recommendations to be made to Industry Canada. I. That a new Entry-level (Foundation) license for Radio Amateurs, similar to that currently in place in the UK, Gibraltar and Australia, be introduced with the following criteria applied:

  29. a) That the focus of the Foundation license be weighted on the side of operating technique and regulations; b) That the Foundation license not be limited as to age; c) That the Foundation license be time-limited to a maximum of three years, with annual renewals required and that licensees be encouraged to upgrade to the Intermediate level at the earliest opportunity; d) That Foundation licensees should be identified by a unique four-letter callsign suffix beginning with the letter “F” and followed by three unique letters. The three trailing letters in the callsign would be unique at the time of issuance of the Foundation license and would be carried forward and become the full suffix of the subsequent Intermediate license;

  30. e) That the Foundation license provide access to all bands from VHF/UHF to 160 metres, with the exception of the 10, 15 and 20 metre bands and include CW, SSB and digital sub-bands; f) That the Foundation license be limited to 100 Watts PEP output power; g) That the Foundation exam consist of both a written component that tests theory and the regulations and a practical component that focuses on the setup and operation of VHF/UHF and HF radio equipment as well as all necessary associated gear; h) That mentoring be an important and mandatory aspect of the Foundation program; i) That Foundation trainees be required to demonstrate that they have logged, under the supervision of an accredited Elmer, a minimum of 25 QSOs on VHF/UHF (a mix of simplex and repeater contacts) and 25 QSOs on HF before proceeding to take the Foundation exam;

  31. j) That the passing mark for the Foundation written exam be set at 80% and that of the practical exam be set at 75%; k) That Foundation licensees must present their log books to confirm a minimum of 250 contacts on VHF/UHF (simplex or repeater) and/or HF before being permitted to take the Intermediate exam;

  32. II. That the current Basic and Advanced licenses be revamped as necessary to mesh seamlessly with each other and with the new Foundation license, as follows: i) That the current Basic license become the Intermediate license and that it consist of a stronger practical component with some reduction in theoretical electronics; this to be reflected in both the syllabus and the examination; m) That the current Advanced license should also undergo some structural change that reflects the overall policy of the new licensing system for Radio Amateurs and therefore should include some practical aspects such as: - the design, building and testing of antennas; - the design, building and testing of simple circuits; - and retain an emphasis on electronic theory.


  34. The End