As of February, 2019, returning customers may notice a considerable decrease in the offerings from Fleetwood Digital. While Fleetwood Digital has always been at the forefront of offering and selling radios that were suitable for the Amateur Radio market the emergence of easy to use end user programming software that is feature rich has come under question from Industry Canada / ISED. The following will help to provide greater context into the situation, and what Fleetwood Digital is doing to remain alive and well.
Radiocommunication Act - Prohibitions
4 (1) No person shall, except under and in accordance with a radio authorization, install, operate or possess radio apparatus, other than
(a) radio apparatus exempted by or under regulations made under paragraph 6(1)(m); or
(b) radio apparatus that is capable only of the reception of broadcasting and that is not a distribution undertaking.
For example an AM/FM radio, CB Radio, GMRS Radio, Ham Radio with Amateur Certificate, Land Mobile Radio with appropriate license, etc...
(2) No person shall manufacture, import, distribute, lease, offer for sale or sell any radio apparatus, interference-causing equipment or radio-sensitive equipment for which a technical acceptance certificate is required under this Act, otherwise than in accordance with such a certificate.
For example, an uncertified radio cannot be sold for use on the logging roads, or any other frequency. - The radio you have ordered from your favourite auction site / marketplace may be a good example!
(3) No person shall manufacture, import, distribute, lease, offer for sale or sell any radio apparatus, interference-causing equipment or radio-sensitive equipment for which technical standards have been established under paragraph 6(1)(a), unless the apparatus or equipment complies with those standards.
For example, an uncertified radio cannot be sold for use as a ham radio unless it complies with the ham radio standards. - A radio that will only operate within the ham band (144-148 / 430-450) is a good starting point.
Exemption of Radio Apparatus Operated in the Amateur Radio Service
15.3 A radio apparatus that is operated in the amateur radio service at a mobile or fixed station is exempt from subsection 4(1) of the Act, in respect of a radio licence, if
(a) a person who operates the radio apparatus is an individual who is the holder of one or more of the certificates or licences referred to in section 42; and
(b) the operation of the radio apparatus in the amateur radio service is in accordance with the technical requirements referred to in section 45.
Section 45 references RBR-4 which contains the standards for the amateur radio service, including the exact frequencies an amateur radio must stay within. If a radio can stray outside the ham frequencies, including just to RX, and it is not certified for the outside frequencies, it may be offside! - Many ham radios produced by the "big 3" have IC certification to RX on the frequencies outside of the ham band. Most of the Chinese radios do not have this certification.
RSS-Gen - 6.4 External controls (This is what really has upset the apple cart!)
The device shall not have any external controls accessible to the user that enable it to be adjusted, selected or programmed to operate in violation of the regulatory requirements, including RSS-Gen and the applicable RSSs. Furthermore, information on internal adjustments, reconfiguration or programmability of the device which would in any way enable or cause the equipment to operate in violation of ISED requirements must be made available only to service depots and agents of the equipment supplier, and not to the public.
The radio must not be programable by the end user except for radios capable of only transmitting within the amateur radio bands. Using programming software to allow the radio to operate (TX or RX) outside of the ham band is a potential violation of the radiocommunications act.
BUT…. I’m an advanced amateur, I can build and operate my own equipment!
Yes, but the equipment must operate within the scope of the RBR-4 amateur radio operating standards, which states the band limits of amateur radios. If the radio is capable of operating on bands other than listed it is in potential violation. You cannot build a radio that will operate on all frequencies including those outside of the ham band.
Yes the rules are hard to follow and loop back and forth and circle one another. They make references to points that reference other sections, that seem to reference back to the beginning. This is also only an excerpt designed to provide some context. While we appreciate your support, we are not in a position to bring back radios that we have ceased and desisted in importing and selling because of how you interpret the law, or what you have watched on YouTube :) If you wish to hire a lawyer to represent 8374350 Canada Inc. in a court of law we may revisit this decision.
So what does that mean?
Regardless of license class, because software exists, for example Chirp, that allows a number of radios to be programmed outside of the amateur bands, the radios are no longer allowed to be imported, or offered for sale.
The above is Fleetwood Digitals interpretations of the laws and regulations that are linked to. We have had multiple meetings over the last month with Industry Canada / ISED to go over these to ensure our understanding is correct. Please excuse any Errors and/or Omissions.
So what does this ultimately mean for Fleetwood Digital?
Fleetwood Digital is still very much in business. Adapting to market trends and conditions is what every business must do to remain relevant and vibrant. Fleetwood Digital has sourced new Wouxun and Helida models for 2019 that fully adhere to the laws and operational standards that have been set forth. As new models are introduced from Baofeng, Wouxun, TYT, Helida, and others, we will look to add them to our lineup providing the radios and programming comply with all laws and regulations.
Your support and understanding of our decisions and direction are most appreciated.
Feel free to share this post with those who will find it of interest. Given the nature of the topic, any questions you may have, should be directed towards Innovation, Science, Economic Development of Canada to avoid any further misinformation being passed around. I am not an authority or an expert in this field, just simply a family man trying to support his family. - https://www.ic.gc.ca