QRT License Upgrade

AH2AP

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Canadian Amateur Radio operators will be excited to hear that a new class of license will be available starting September 1, 2020: the Quiet Radio Transmitter or “QRT” license. To qualify for this license you need to simply agree to never transmit.

A 2019 study found that 73% of hams never transmit. Most interestingly, the study found a third of those not only don’t want to transmit, but object to others transmitting, preferring to have silence for hours, if not days on end. As one survey respondent said, “We invested over $1000 in equipment to setup our club’s repeater and yet people think they can just use it as if this were a hobby. It is really bothersome to hear someone looking for a QSO. It only encourages others to join in and, before you know it, everyone’s on the air disturbing the peace and quiet.”

Responding to the survey’s results, commercial interests proposed the QRT license be created. During the consultation period no-one from the ham community spoke up, confirming that the license was a perfect match to the needs of many hams. One exception was a special interest group who requested an endorsement be created allowing for frequent short transmissions, such as kerchunking of repeaters (provided you never say your call sign) or dialing DTMF to turn off a link.

A second endorsement was also agreed to after a letter was received from a meeting held at Tim Hortons requesting that some QRT licensees should be able to say, “That’s not real ham radio” whenever someone is talking about new technology.

A third endorsement, the “stuck microphone with road noise” was not adopted as this was agreed to be a form of lengthy transmission, something that was in opposition to the spirit of the new license.

Hearing the news, a local Amateur instructor and examiner said, “This really is a game changer. The QRT license can be earned in a single day, except for the kerchunking endorsement which can take an extra day to practice using a test repeater we have setup in the classroom. Mind you, some people think the extra day is worth it as you can earn a new ‘Kerchunked All Repeaters’ award in as little as 24 hours using just a simple handheld radio.”

Commercial interests across the country are welcoming the arrival of the QRT license. Speaking at a spectrum auction, an industry representative said, “This really speeds up the process of taking back our VHF and UHF spectrum from the Ham community. As people see the benefits of a QRT license such as no antennas, longer battery life, and no RFI, they will quickly see that it makes sense to hand over the spectrum to us so more kids can send emoticons to each other instead of wasting their time experimenting with electronics.”

Is your license a QRT license? Perhaps consider upgrading.

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