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I am a radio amateur licenced in Canada and a member of a local club station. At a recent meeting, someone asked me whether they could operate at the station if they did not have a radio licence. I am aware that, in general, an unlicenced individual can operate an amateur station with the supervision and presence of a licenced operator, but I am not sure how this rule specifically applies to club stations.

  1. Is an unlicenced individual permitted to operate radio equipment at a club station if supervised by a licenced club member?
  2. Assuming that an unlicenced individual can use a club station under supervision, which callsign do they use to identify on the air - that of the club station, or that of the licenced supervisor?
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I forwarded this question to the Radio Amateurs of Canada Regulatory Advisor and received an interpretation.

To summarize as direct responses to my original questions:

  1. Yes, an unlicenced individual can use equipment at a club station if supervised by a qualified operator.
  2. A non-qualified operator should use the call sign an authorized operator would use when operating the station. For a club station, this would generally be the club station call sign.

Excerpts from the interpretation (paraphrased):


Regarding the first question, about whether an unlicenced individual can operate under supervision.

The Industry Canada regulatory document RIC-3 contains the following comment:

1.5 Non-Qualified Persons

Non-qualified persons may use an amateur radio station provided a qualified operator is in attendance to perform the control functions.

[T]here is no distinction as to the type of station, so this applies to clubs as well as personal stations.


Regarding the second question, about identification.

...I didn't find any Industry Canada guidelines. Certainly the non-qualified operator should use the call sign an authorized operator would use when operating the station. This is usually the club station call sign when operating the club station.

That is what I have seen done on field days at "Get-On-The-Air" stations, at stations in museums and science centres, as well as stations operating with a club or RAC call sign for contests. The call sign was not changed when different radio amateurs took turns supervising.

[T]he move away from licensing...to certifying radio amateurs left the status of station call signs a little more murky. I am not aware of any firm rules on this so you can use common sense. If your practice is for the ham operating the club station to sometimes use their own call this could be an option when a ham is supervising non-qualified operators. However, the club call sign is always correct.

(thanks to Glenn MacDonnell VE3XRA for providing this interpretation)

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