We all know that the Titanic disaster highlighted the value of ship-to ship radio communications and very quickly afterwards that ship-to-shore radio communications was also recognized as being essential for ensuring the safety of life at sea. Then following Reginald Fessenden's demonstration that it was possible to transmit and receive speech by radio it did not take long for people interested in radio to establish radio stations with the objective reaching the public.


Soon broadcasting radio stations, as they came to be known, were attracting listening audiences all over North America. It was clear then and generally accepted by those engaged in this activity that radio did not recognize geographical or political borders of any kind and that some sort of arrangements were needed to ensure that broadcasting stations did not interfere with each other.

Governments were soon to become involved in regulating all kinds of radio communications known at that time. It was obvious to them that they would need to get together to plan and coordinate the use of the radio frequencies if chaos in radio was to be avoided and the future benefits of radio communications were to be realized for the public good.

Canada and the United States were quick to get started. Here is a list of the Canada/United States agreements regarding the use of radio frequencies that were signed and ratified in the beginning years of radio.



Exchange of Notes on October, 1928 and January, 1929 Governing Radio-communications between Private Experimental Stations.


Agreement between Canada, the United States, Cuba, and Newfoundland re the assignment of high Frequencies on the North American Continent, March 1929.


Inter-American Radio Communications Convention, December 1938, involving Brazil,Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, December 1937.


Exchange of Notes between Canada and the United States re Allocation of Channels for FM Broadcasting in the Band 88-108 Mc/s, 1947.


Exchange of Notes between Canada and the United States constituting an agreement regarding Allocation of Television Channels, 1952.


Regulations between Canada and the United States relating to the operation by Citizens of Radio Equipment of Stations in the other country, May 1952.


Agreement for the Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by means of Radio, 1952.


Agreement concerning the Sealing of Mobile Radio Transmitting Equipment installed on vehicles of U.S. Registry so it cannot be used while U.S. vehicle is traveling in Canada, 1953.


North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement signed by Canada in 1950 involving Canada, The United States, Cuba, Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom for the Bahamas Islands and Jamaica.


Exchange of Notes between Canada and the United States concerning the coordination and Use of Frequencies above 30 Mc/s, October 1962.


Exchange of Notes between Canada and the United States providing for Joint Cooperation on Civil Emergency Planning, 1963.


Exchange of Notes between Canada and the United States re Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Loran-C Station and Monitoring Station in Newfoundland, 1964.


Agreement concerning the Pre-Sunrise Operation of AM Broadcasting Stations in Canada and the United States, 1967.


Exchange of Notes revising the Agreement of 1963 concerning Joint Cooperation on Civil Emergency Planning, 1967.


FCC DOC Understanding for the Exchange of Notes on Civil Maritime Mobile Radio Frequency Usage in the Band 1605-3500 Kc/s, 1970.


Agreement between Canada and the United States permitting the operation of radio stations in the other country upon compliance with certain conditions, 1969.


Generally these arrangements spell out such pertinent requirements as necessary frequency allotment plans, technical and operating frequency sharing criteria and finally the procedures to be followed by each administration in coordinating individual frequency assignments for licensed stations. Of course they are in accord with the ITU's internationally agreed Radio Regulations including the associated frequency allocation table. Such bilateral and regional agreements of this kind are permitted by these Regulations. Undoubtedly, in the course of time, these agreements have been revised or replaced and new agreements struck as necessary to keep up with changes in technology, spectrum congestion and new communication requirements.


Backgrounding these are important considerations such as life styles, commercial activities and interests, travel and intercommunication needs in both countries along the common east-west border since these are largely similar. So arrangements such as those covered in the above are absolutely necessary if radio is to serve both countries as it should. However, representatives of both countries also have to take into account the differences in such things as population distribution, styles of government, mutual defense needs of the two countries, radio regulatory arrangements and styles of radio spectrum management of both countries.


Resolving the many radio problems brought the radio spectrum management authorities of both countries together very frequently as you have read. Hence the representatives at these meetings got to know each other very well. This made for easy resolution of some very difficult radio problems. Proof of this spirit of togetherness and cooperation that flowed from our joint discussions over the years is evident in the following photo of a Memento signed by those of this group who took part in a conference held in Washington on October 12, 1962, the results of which are reported in item 10 above. The names (Canadian names are shown in bold print.) of those who signed includes those who took part in some of the earlier conferences the results of which are listed above.



of a


held in Washington on October 12, 1962.


Chuck Innes -  FAA Jerry Kerr Wilson -  RCAF Steve Chisholm -  RCCS
Cdr. R. A. Clark Ralph Reynolds -  Ext Affairs Irving (Bud) Weston -  FCC
John J. McCue James P. West Francis Colt de Wolfe State
Walt Loeber Grant Woodside -  FCC W.A. Caton -  DOT
Charles A. Brooks -  FAA Arthur L. Manning L. Bob Raish
Jack Jeevers -  RCN Jim  Ogle -  FAA Allan Barnabie -  FAA
Art Lebel -  State K.H. Langerbeele A.R. Rasmussen
F.G. Perrin -  DOT Pappy Pigon W.E. Plummer
Walt Owens Merle Glunt Ed Goodwin
Paul Miles W.B. Hawthorne -  FAA Nat White -  Army
Joe Stewart -  USCG Bob Krister Ralph J. Renton
John D. Carley -  USAF Gene Fitch -  USAF Tom Wilson
Fred J. Miel -  NASA George Jacobs -  VOA Al McIntosh -  Army Dept.
William Howe -  DND Robert M. Koteen -  FCC Charles A. Gregory
George Sielzummelle Bill Wilson -  DOT Col. John Clapper
E.C. Wagner Lew North               William T. Page
Gordon Nixon -  DOT R.W. Bantley Bert Blevis -  CRC/DND
Bob Macfarlane -  DND Lyman G. Hailey -  OTM Bill Watkins -  FCC
Paul N. Kugler -  FAA Helen Kelly -  State Charlie Acton -  DOT
John A. Galer -  US Army Paul A. Price -  NASA A.J. Dawson -  DOT
John Evans -  FCC Gordon T. Henderson -  USCG S.L. Winder
John Sharpe Bob Morrell Pat Pette
Ellery Estes -  W4SU All Loew Bert Fowler
Verne G. Stingley W.A. Culpepper John Cartwright -  RCAF
James B. McElroy -  NASA Will Dean -  OTP Curtis B. Plummer
Saul (Whitey) L.Meyers -  FCC Dan Spitz  


W. J. (Bill) Wilson

Ottawa, 2005.

Links   -   Liens