An American Ham in Canada

As a licensed amateur radio operator and citizen of the United States, you may operate in Canada as a domestically licensed station without the requirement of obtaining any license or permission from the Canadian government.

An American amateur may allow third party use of his station and call sign, carry international third party traffic, serve as a temporary control operator for a repeater station, and identify themselves as a domestic station using the national call sign system, provided:
  • The Licensee has citizenship and a valid amateur radio license from the country for their residency;
  • The Licensee appends the local Canadian Zone(Region) to the END of their call sign when identifying their station (e.g. KC2XXX/VE3); and,
  • The Licensee adheres to the Canada operating powers, frequency (band) allocations, and laws.
US amateurs operating in Canada must abide by Industry Canada RBR-4 rules.
- A US amateur who is qualified to send and receive in Morse code at a speed of at least 5 wpm may operate an amateur station in Canada in accordance with the provisions applicable to the holder of an Amateur Operator's Certificate with Basic, Morse Code (5 wpm) and Advanced Qualifications.
- A US amateur who is not qualified to send and receive in Morse code may operate an amateur station in Canada in accordance with provisions applicable to the holder of the Amateur Operator's Certificate with Basic Qualifications.
United States licensed stations are required to carry and provide upon request:
  • A US passport;
  • A copy of the 2009 FCC CEPT notice; and,
  • A valid FCC amateur radio license.
Special considerations for 420-430Mhz - Line A and C
By international treaty between the US and Canada, operation in the portion of the band from 420 to 430 MHz is prohibited north of (an imaginary) "Line A",which runs approximately parallel to the US-Canadian border just south of the Canadian border from Washington state to Maine, and east of Line C, which runs from northeast to southeast Alaska.

Part 97 Legal Description of Line A:
§97.3 Definitions. (29) Line A. Begins at Aberdeen, WA, running by great circle arc to the intersection of 48º N, 120º W, thence along parallel 48º N, to the intersection of 95º W, thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Duluth, MN, thence by great circle arc to 45º N, 85º W, thence southward along meridian 85º W, to its intersection with parallel 41º N, thence along parallel 41º N, to its intersection with meridian 82º W, thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Bangor, ME, thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Searsport, ME, at which point it terminates.
It is a wonderful privilege for US hams to have the ability to operate in Canada.  This is particularly valuable considering the vast border that our two countries share.  Amateur radio is a also a useful asset when exploring the great Canadian wilderness and natural beauty.  So the next time you are headed to the great white north do consider bringing amateur radio with you.

See our related article, Flying With An HT

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