Way back when, if my recollection is correct, the requirement for using ham radio was to have a license and the required skill was some level of Morse code proficiency.

I have heard that Morse code is no longer required — if that's true, does a person still need a license to operate ham radio equipment?

I'm in Canada.


2 Answers 2


Referencing this page which outlines the licensing requirements http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01862.html you do need to obtain a license to transmit.

Also, it's good that you mention you are from Canada, as it seems Canada still requires Morse code as part of the licensing scheme to operate in certain scenarios. If you only obtain the "Basic" license, with no honors or Morse proficiency for example, you are very limited in where you can transmit.

Here is a table that outlines what you can and can't do, based on your Canadian license level. https://www.rac.ca/en/rac/services/bandplans/allband.php

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The Basic licence is quite limited, but the "Basic with honours" (B+) certificate gives pretty much all privileges. You get it by scoring 80%+ on the Basic exam. B+ operators are only really limited in power, kit radio usage, and maintaining in-band repeaters (which they can use, not run). $\endgroup$
    – scruss
    Nov 28, 2013 at 16:04

You do need a license, it's just easier to get, since there's no Morse Code test.

The first test is the Basic, and you can pass either at the 70% level or the "honours" 80% level. Honours lets you operate below 30 MHz. Non-honours restricts you to VHF and above.

Basic holders may operate cross-band repeaters, and same-band store-and-forward repeaters. That's clarified in an FAQ on Industry Canada's website.

There is an option to take a Morse test, at 5 words per minute, and if you pass (and if you've also passed the Basic), it grants you the same privileges as getting honours on the basic: i.e., operation below 30 MHz.

The other license class is Advanced, which allows higher power on some bands, the right to build your own equipment, to install club equipment, and to operate same-band repeaters. It also grants the right to the whole Amateur spectrum, in case you hadn't previously gotten your Honours and/or 5 w.p.m.

In no event does your license class restrict what operating mode you use, within the bands you're entitled to. And Canadian bandplans don't reference license class, either. So you can try Morse even if you've never passed the Morse test.

It's been clarified that only Advanced license holders are eligible for the CEPT certificate that allows operation while visiting certain EU countries. This is not because of the Morse, since dropping the Morse requirement is ITU-wide. It's some other element of the Advanced curriculum they're after.

  • $\begingroup$ Greetings and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Mar 10, 2017 at 22:00

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