Shown here is information related to writing an amateur radio examination. You need to pass the basic exam before you can write the advanced exam. The basic exam has two types of content, regulations and theory. The advanced exam has just theory.
Regarding studying, there are two approaches, self study and taking a course.
For the regulations, please look at the Radio Information Circulars (RBRs and RICs) and the appropriate question bank. Emphasize RBR-4, RBR-3, RIC-3, RIC-7, RIC-8, RIC-9, RIC-15, and RIC-22.
For in-person exams, on the examination day, please bring:
Reference material must not be used during the examination;
it is a closed book examination.
The use of calculators is permitted provided that the
calculator does not have the capability of storing formulas
or text. The examiner may forbid the use of calculators
that are deemed unacceptable. See
On the basic examination, if 70 to 79 questions are answered correctly, it is a passing grade and grants the candidate privileges on the VHF and UHF bands; if 80 to 100 questions are answered correctly, it is a passing grade, with honours called a basic with honours or basic plus, and grants the candidate privileges on the HF, VHF and UHF bands. On the advanced examination, the passing grade is 70 out of 100.
There is not usually a prescribed duration of the examination; it is often two hours. Morse code is not required to get a basic with honours qualification. Morse code is not required to obtain an advanced qualification. The exams are overseen by the examiners who are accredited with ISED Canada. At this time, there is no fee to write an examination at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), but some non-UNB examiners ask for a fee. If one passes the examination, the certification is normally good for life, free of charge, provided one maintains compliance with the regulations. A burden is that each time one moves, regarding the mailing address change, one must notify ISED Canada.
If you pass the examination, then your information from the ISED 2381
form will be entered into the ISED Canada database by an examiner.
You will receive an email from ISED Canada with instructions to follow.
These instructions will allow you to choose an available call sign. Also,
these instructions will allow you to indicate if you want to have your
address made public. If all steps went well, after a few business days, you
may see your call sign in the ISED Canada database of amateurs at
and selecting "amateur/club call sign search".
To assist you in completing the ISED 2381 form, note the following.
At the web page
you may download the database for all amateur radio operators in Canada.
The form requests your first three choices for call signs, but that is
likely not useful because you would claim an available call sign online using
the ISED Canada process. If your permanent Canadian address is in New
Brunswick, your call sign would be of the form VE9ab or VE9abc, where the
lowercase "ab" or "abc" are replaced by uppercase letters. If your permanent
Canadian address is outside New Brunswick, you should use the prefix for that
address, such as: VY2ab or VY2abc for Prince Edward Island, VE1ab or VE1abc for
Nova Scotia, or other more distant Canadian addresses which can be checked at
radio operators, also known as hams, choose their initials
or something personally meaningful. My initials were
taken, so I just chose a call sign with two letters.
Another consideration, that I found after some experience
as an amateur radio operator, is that other amateur radio
operators informally provide their own words to refer to
the letters of a call, instead of using the international
radio code words; for example, a call sign such as XX9MM
would normally be spoken as x-ray x-ray nine mike mike, but
instead operators may say x-ray x-ray nine mickey mouse during
informal conversation; in
choosing your call sign, you may want to consider positive
and negative possibilities.
The ISED Canada regulations may change faster than this web page. If there is a conflict, clearly their regulations prevail.
QRZ is a common international way that amateur radio operators look up information about other amateur radio operators. You need another amateur radio operator to enter your call sign before you claim a free account. Please let someone who already has a QRZ page to add your new call sign to the QRZ database, according to the way they are shown in the ISED Canada database. Some QRZ pages are at:
If you pass the examination, consider joining
the Radio Amateurs of Canada,
which has a publication called The Canadian
Amateur This publication has valuable information
for newly licenced amateurs and may show your name and
call sign in a column about new amateurs.
Membership is free during the first year that you obtain a licence.
https://www.unb.ca/initiatives/ar/people/advise me if you think it would be appropriate to list you in the Affiliates section.
73 <-- That is "ham speak" and means "best regards"
Brent Petersen VE9EX
January 20, 2022