Tag Archives: Canada

VY2SW: Woo hoo! I passed!

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been studying for my Canadian Basic license exam.

I’ve been working on this in my very limited spare time for a few weeks now, balancing study from the book above and HamStudy.org–both brilliant resources.

Now that I’m actually on Canadian soil, I scheduled an online exam with my friend, the amazing Vince (VE6LK).

Vince must be one of the busiest remote examiners in all of Canada. He’s professional and has the process down to a science which makes the whole experience very fluid and low stress. His website has a load of resources!

Although I’d been on the road most of the day yesterday and was a bit tired, I was ready to write the exam. I gave Vince my schedule and told him I would even be willing to schedule as early as 9:00PM last night or anytime this weekend.

The 9:00 time worked for Vince, so he sent me a Zoom link and I did a bit of last-minute study before meeting him online for the exam.

The Canadian Basic is a 100 question test, so it takes some time to get through it all.

I was absolutely chuffed to pass with 94% which meant passing Basic with Honours.

Vince started the online process which allowed me to create an account on the ISED website.

Getting a call

I’d been giving my callsign a little thought.

Since my mailing address is in Prince Edward Island, I knew the prefix would be VY2.

Every new call issued in Canada is essentially a vanity callsign and  you’re allowed to choose from available suffixes (and even purchase additional callsigns in the future).

PEI is one of the few provinces that also allows Basic licensees to claim a 2×3 or even a 2×2 call. If I were in Ontario, for example, I could only request a 2×3 as a Basic with Honors license.

This morning, with my first cup of coffee in hand, I finished setting up my ISED account and requested my callsign.


I decided that I wanted my Canadian call to reflect the suffix in my US call, so I requested VY2SW.

As soon as I hit the SUBMIT button on the ISED website, it confirmed that the call had been assigned to me. A couple hours later and I’m showing up in the callsign database.

The Canadian licensing system is incredibly efficient and effortless to use.

POTA and SOTA in Canada

Now that I’m VY2SW, I cannot use my US callsign as K4SWL/VE3 or K4SWL/VE2 while on the air.

I’ve already added VY2SW in the POTA system as my second callsign, so I believe it’ll compile all of my park activations under one account. I suppose there’s a way to do this in the SOTA system too.

Sometime within the next two days, I will be doing my first activation as VY2SW here–a park somewhere in the Ottawa region. I can’t wait and I certainly hope to work you!

The Canadian Basic Exam

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ll be spending a few weeks in Canada this summer and will certainly play radio.

I’ve decided to bite the bullet and study to hopefully pass my Basic license exam while there.

I say “hopefully” because my timing couldn’t be worse.

I started studying about 2 weeks ago in earnest–allowing myself one month of prep before my trip–but frankly, I’ve been so busy I’ve had almost no time to dedicate to  studying. In fact, a good 5 days of my two weeks were taken up with a POTA camping trip in WV.

Why in the world do I do this to myself?

That’s what I keep asking.  🙂

There’s no logic in getting a Canadian license because as a US license holder, I can simply add /VE2 onto my call while in Québec et voilá I’m legally on the air!

That and, here at home, I’m juggling numerous projects before we leave, so study sessions are crammed into short openings and are sporadic. Not how I like to study for something like this.

Thing is, I want to fit in the bulk of my studies within the next two weeks so that as soon as I’m on Canadian soil, I can go ahead and schedule a remote exam (one must be in Canada to take the exam even if via Zoom). I don’t want to spend my whole vacation studying, so I’d like to knock this out very early on.

So why get a Canadian license?

In the past, our family has spent whole summers in Canada primarily in Prince Edward Island and Québec. We know there’ll be many more of these trips in the future and my wife and I even entertain the idea of spending nearly half the year in Canada once we’re empty nesters.

I feel like it would be beneficial to have an actual Canadian call for those extended trips; especially in PEI where it’s so easy to grab DX almost anytime I hop on the air.

In fact, my callsign–should I pass–will have a VY2 prefix because that’s where our mailing address is.

There’s another reason, if I’m being honest with myself: I like the challenge of trying to pass the test. It’s just…my timing is kind of [understatement]  crappy. Continue reading The Canadian Basic Exam