History of Amateur Radio in Canada

Article by Ken Oelke, VE6AFO. Reproduced with permission.

HISTORY OF ARRL

Almost since the birth of Amateur Radio, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has been virtually synonymous with Radio Amateurs and short wave development. The late Hiram Percy Maxim founded the American Radio Relay League in 1914, and today is one of the largest Amateur organizations in the world. It has become the spokesman for Amateur Radio in the United States, and for the most part in Canada until January 1, 1988. At this time the Canadian Radio Relay League (CRRL) became completely independent from the ARRL. The ARRL is an organization BY and FOR AMATEURS. The members of the League are the owners of the ARRL and publish the magazine QST on a monthly basis. The ARRL own and operate Amateur Radio Station W1AW, which carries bulletins on many frequencies and different modes. The ARRL also publish annually the Radio Amateurs Handbook along with many other publications.

The ARRL have a large Field Organization that covers the United States with Section Managers, Section Emergency Coordinators, Section Traffic Managers, Emergency Coordinators, Official Observers, Official Bulletin Stations and many other appointments in each ARRL Section. The ARRL sponsor many sought after operating awards and certificates such as the DXCC Award, WAS, VUCC, VHF/UHF Award and many others too numerous to mention here. Further information on these and others are available from ARRL Headquarters, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT. 06111-1494 USA and the ARRL website.

HISTORY OF CRRL

The Canadian Radio Relay League (CRRL) was founded in 1920 to serve Canadian Amateurs. The CRRL was a Division of the ARRL with one Director who sat on the ARRL Board of Directors. The CRRL incorporated in 1979 as a self-governing and self-administering division of the ARRL. At this time CRRL managed the Canadian sections. On January 1, 1988 the Canadian Radio Relay League became autonomous and had their own Officers and a seven (7) member Board of Directors elected by CRRL members. CRRL maintained the Canadian Field Organization with the same structure as ARRL. The members of the League were owners of the CRRL, which published the magazine QST Canada on a monthly basis. They published a Study Guide for Radio Amateur courses, a Canadian Call Book Directory and other operating aids for Amateur Radio operators. They sponsored the CRRL Central Incoming and Outgoing QSL Bureaus. They were also the Canadian representative and voting member of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), and paid annual membership dues for all licensed Canadian Amateurs whether CRRL members or not.

HISTORY OF CARF

The Canadian Amateur Radio Federation (CARF) was founded in 1967. Basically, the formation of CARF was a Federation of provincial organizations until the early 1970s. At this time reorganization took place that allowed individual members to join the National Organization. CARF published a magazine called The Canadian Amateur. They also published many operating aids, a Canadian Call Book and Study Guides for Radio Amateur courses across the country. CARF sponsored a number of Department of Communications (DOC), now Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC), symposiums across Canada, which brought together Amateur Radio operators and department officials for communications in Canada. This liaison created a mutual understanding for Amateur Radio operators' concerns.

RADIO AMATEURS OF CANADA

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) was formed on May 3, 1993 when the CRRL and CARF merged after several years of discussion between the two National Organizations. It is a Not-For-Profit Organization incorporated within Canada. When CRRL became completely autonomous in 1988, this more than caused confusion for Canadian Radio Amateurs when deciding which organization to support. Both the CRRL and CARF were duplicating many services, which was a waste with a country having so few Amateur Radio operators. After much deliberation on the parts of both former organizations, a new National Organization for all Canadian Amateurs now represents all of the things that CARF and CRRL had done in the past. The best from both Organizations were implemented on May 3, 1993 and continue to grow with membership support.

The main services of RAC consist of a National magazine called The Canadian Amateur, published bi-monthly, the Field Organization that maintain supplies, certificates, and management of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the National Traffic System in each Section managed by Section Managers elected by RAC members. Study Guides for Amateur Radio courses are continually being improved for today's needs. RAC is also the voting member of the IARU.

RAC is owned by its members who can voice their concerns through a Board of seven (7) elected Directors across Canada. The Board of Directors elects a slate of Executive Officers for day-to-day management of the Organization, which includes an Office Manager. The RAC administration office is in Ottawa, ON. This location provides close liaison with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC) officials in Ottawa. Please consider joining RAC, the only single National Amateur Radio Organization in Canada. Membership support is needed more than ever with the many issues that face Amateur Radio today. For further information contact the RAC Administration office at 720 Belfast Road, Suite 217, Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5, the RAC website, your Regional Director or Deputy/Assistant Directors in your area.