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Not to belabour the point too much, but Canadian unlicensed broadcasting is very different from that of the U.S. I thought I’d give my experiences here, for those in Canada reading this Forum, as it is very confusing, and the manufacturers only confuse it more.
The complicating factor for us in Canada is that there is an additional government agency involved in radio broadcasting – the CRTC. Industry Canada is responsible for the technical aspects of a radio station, and the CRTC is responsible for the content, or programming. Ordinarily, you need licenses from both if you are transmitting in the broadcast bands.
There are 2 sets of regulations for unlicensed transmitting in both the AM and FM broadcast bands. If you are NOT broadcasting (i.e., experimentation ONLY), then the rules for AM are pretty much the same as in the U.S. (you are allowed 100mw to the final), and transmitters are certified for use by Industry Canada. You do not need a CRTC license, as you are not broadcasting.
However, if you ARE broadcasting, and that is what most of the people here on the Forum do, then the rules are much more restrictive, at least for AM (identified in the BETS-1 circular on the Industry Canada website). You are limited to a field strength of 250uv/m at 30 meters, period. If that signal requirement is met, then you do not require a CRTC license.
The manufacturers of AM transmitters conveniently ignore the differences between experimentation and broadcasting. And adding to the confusion is that broadcasting really isn’t adequately defined in the rules. Would running a real estate talking sign be broadcasting? Maybe, maybe not. It all would boil down to if someone complained (at least, according to Industry Canada).
As a result of all this, broadcasting on AM is problematic in Canada, as the allowed field strength just doesn’t get you very far. You can ignore the rules and use a 100mw transmitter, but you run the risk of being shut down (or more) if someone complains.
FM is another matter. Unlicensed FM broadcasting is actually useable in Canada, as we are allowed 4 times the field strength of the U.S. – 100uv/m at 30 meters. Under ideal conditions, that can get you a range of 1km (or over 1/2 mile) or more; ranges of 1/4 to 1/2 km (800 to 1600 feet) and more are very doable even with obstructions and less sensitive receivers. Industry Canada certified transmitters are few and far between (the Decade MS-100 is the one I used) but the difficulty and expense in getting one is offset by the clarity and quality of FM broadcasting.
To conclude, in the U.S., AM unlicensed broadcasting is the way to go. In Canada, FM will get you far greater range. Go figure.