Resource Road Updates: Southern and Northern Interior

As noted in our previous posts[1], standardized resource road channels are coming into use in various areas of BC at staggered times.

The latest update from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations notes that the next area to undergo this change is a large portion of the Southern Interior Forest Region, including Quesnel, Thompson Rivers, Cascades, Okanagan Shuswap and Chilliwack.[2] The date scheduled for this change is May 4th, 2015.

As of June 1, 2015 portions of the Northern Interior Areas will also make the move to RR. Specifically, Prince George, Robson Valley, Mackenzie, Stuart Nechako (Vanderhoof and Fort St. James), Nadina (Burns Lake and Houston) and Skeena Stikine Forest Districts.

A rough idea of the included area can be determined by use of this map from 2011:

Prior to May 4th and June 1st respectively, radio users in the above areas must have pre-programmed the new 40 RR channels into radios. As previously mentioned, compliance with this requirement may require a newer narrow band radio to accommodate the channels.

In an effort to promote a smooth transition, it is advised that resource road users become familiar with the new signs.  Information regarding the content and interpretation of these new signs can be found here:

Walco will continue to endeavor to provide updates as they occur.



CB Radio: The Basics

Citizen’s Band (CB) radio has long been a source of information, enjoyment and connection. The band has expanded and changed over time, originating with 23 channels and growing to 40 in the late 1970’s.[1] Of late, CB has become less and less favored as people move toward alternative technologies including cell phones and other radios.

Public Resource

A CB may be less fashionable than an iPhone; however, it remains a valuable tool for the public. CB or General Radio Service (GRS) is “exempt from licensing. Radio Standards Specification 136 (RSS-136) prescribes the technical requirements applicable to radio apparatus operating in the GRS.” Thus, CB is far more accessible than other frequencies, which are closely regulated by Industry Canada and require licensing. As such, CB is a public communications resource, especially during emergencies. For those who often drive in areas out of cellular coverage, or who may require information regarding changing road conditions- CB’s offer a back up system.[2] Further, in situations of emergency, ‘channel 9’ remains a place where people can communicate dire situations and obtain assistance.[3]

Basic and Valuable Skills

CB radio requires basic radio communications skills that are valuable as general knowledge. Just as it is beneficial to know CPR, or how to fix a flat tire, it is also beneficial to understand the basics of radio communication. Examples include the phonetic alphabet and procedure codes. Most people have vague knowledge of these facets of radio from the movies (10-4 sound familiar?). However, it can  be valuable and interesting to have this information on hand.

The phonetic alphabet is as follows: [4]

A Alfa

B Bravo

C Charlie

D Delta

E Echo

F Foxtrot

G Golf

H Hotel

I India

J Juliett

K Kilo

L Lima

M Mike

N November

O Oscar

P Papa

Q Quebec

R Romeo

S Sierra

T Tango

U Uniform

V Victor

W Whiskey

X X-ray

Y Yankee

Z Zulu

Procedure Codes are as follows:[5]

10-1 Receiving poorly.

10-2 Receiving well.

10-3 Stop transmitting.

10-4 OK, message received (acknowledgment).

10-5 Relay message.

10-6 Busy, please standby (unless urgent).

10-7 Out of service, leaving air.

10-8 In service, subject to call.

10-9 Repeat message.

10-10 Transmission completed, standing by.

10-11 Talking too quickly.

10-12 Visitors (non-CBers) present.

10-13 Advise weather and road conditions.

10-16 Make pick-up at . . .

10-17 Urgent business.

10-18 Anything for us? (Any assignment?)

10-19 Nothing for you, return to base or station.

10-20 My location is . . .

10-21 Call by telephone or get in touch (but not by radio).

10-22 Report in person to . . .

10-23 Standby.

10-24 Completed last assignment.

10-25 Can you contact . . .

10-26 Disregard last message.

10-27 I am moving to channel . . .

10-28 Identify your station.

10-29 Time is up for contact.

10-30 Does not conform to Industry Canada rules.

10-32 I will give you a radio check.

10-33 EMERGENCY at this station.

10-34 Trouble at this station, help needed.

10-35 Confidential information which cannot be discussed on radio.

10-36 Correct time is . . .

10-37 Wrecker needed at . . .

10-38 Ambulance needed at . . .

10-39 Your message delivered.

10-41 Moving to another channel. Please tune to channel . . .

10-42 Traffic accident at . . .

10-43 Traffic tie-up at . . .

10-44 I have a message for you . . .

10-45 All units within range, please report (or identify).

10-46 Assist motorist.

10-50 Break channel.

10-60 What is the next message number?

10-62 Unable to copy, use telephone.

10-63 Network directed to . . .

10-64 Network clear.

10-65 Awaiting next message (or assignment).

10-67 All units comply.

10-70 Fire at . . .

10-71 Proceed with transmission in sequence.

10-73 Speed trap at . . .

10-75 You are causing interference.

10-77 Negative contact.

10-81 Reserve hotel room at . . .

10-82 Reserve room for . . .

10-84 My telephone number is . . .

10-85 My address is . . .

10-89 Radio repairman needed at . . .

10-90 I have TVI (television interference).

10-91 Talk closer to microphone.

10-92 Your transmission is out of adjustment.

10-93 Check my frequency on this channel.

10-94 Please give me a long count.

10-95 Transmit dead carrier for 5 seconds.

10-99 Mission completed, all units secure.

10-100 Time out for rest room.

10-200 Police needed at . . .

Meeting New People

Finally, CB radios offer the possibility of communicating with people who aren’t on your Facebook. Hobbyists have long appreciated the ability to ‘meet’ people in this way. In our world of apps and efficiency it has quickly become forgotten that communications devices are supposed to increase communications, not hamper them.


CB still has a place in this world. It provides safety, requires basic and useful knowledge and generates connections between people.





[3] Ibid, note 1.

[4] Ibid, note 1.

[5] Ibid, note 1.

Front Panel Programmable Radios

The use of radios is governed by the Radio Communications Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. R-2 (the “Act”). This Act regulates the various parties using radio equipment. Like any other area, Radio Communications has a complicated regulatory framework. People often are not fully informed of the restrictions and obligations in place surrounding licensing and use. For example, in our experience, many consumers are unaware of the difference between amateur radio equipment (which is front panel programmable) and commercial land mobile radio equipment (which is not user programmable).

Often customers will come to own an amateur radio without full understanding of the limitations on its use. For example, individuals may ‘inherit’ an amateur radio through purchase of a vehicle or other equipment. Alternatively, they may buy an amateur radio because of the significantly lower cost as compared to commercial radios.

However, this equipment may not be used for commercial land mobile purposes. First, amateur equipment requires an amateur license to operate. Second, much of the equipment is illegally modified to accept commercial land mobile channels and thus is not legal even with a proper amateur license. Finally, frequencies are delineated by Industry Canada as to who may use them, under what license. Therefore, commercial land mobile frequencies may not be installed in front panel programmable equipment regardless of the capability of the equipment.

RSS Documents

For those seeking to further understand the requirements and restrictions of certain equipment and licensing, Industry Canada provides numerous documents to assist. These contain important information as to what equipment may be used for what purpose, and whether it must be certified.

RSS-119, section 3.4 sets out the requirement that commercial equipment must be internally preset to operate only on frequencies authorized under the licensing process. Operator selection of other than preset frequencies shall not be permissible.

3.4 Transmitter with External Frequency Selection Controls[1]

In order to prevent radio interference caused by end-user transmissions on unauthorized frequencies, transmitters with external frequency selection controls and/or frequency programming capability shall conform to the following:

(a) Transmitters with external frequency selection controls shall operate only on authorized channels which have been preset by the manufacturer, equipment supplier, or service technician/maintenance personnel.

(b) Transmitters with frequency programming capability must have at least one of the following design characteristics, which prevent the user from altering the preset frequencies:

(1) transmitters with external controls available to the user can only be internally modified to place the equipment in the programmable mode. Furthermore, while in the programmable mode, theequipment is not capable of transmitting. The procedure for making the modification and altering the frequency program is not available to the user of the equipment; or

(2) transmitters are programmed for frequencies through controls inaccessible to the user; or

(3) transmitters are programmed for frequencies through use of external devices or specifically programmed modules made available only to service/maintenance personnel; or

(4) transmitters are programmed through cloning (i.e. copying a program directly from another transmitter) using devices and procedures which are available only to service/maintenance personnel.

If using land mobile equipment, it is strongly suggested you become familiar with RSS-119. Furthermore, it is beneficial to review RSS-Gen, another useful resource for information regarding equipment requirements. RSS-Gen outlines the breakdown of radio types and how the categorizations result in different obligations, including certification. Further information is also available on the Industry Canada website.[2]


Government documents can be confusing to read. Therefore, it is completely understandable how people may be unclear as to rights and obligations. At Walco, we are happy to clear up misconceptions surrounding radio licencing and usage.





Resource Road Update: Implementation Dates

Further to our previous post, an update has been released by Industry Canada regarding dates of implementation for the Resource Roads in BC.

Implementation Dates:

A new release was made yesterday with respect to the start dates for 100 Mile House, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Fort St. John and Fort Nelson Forest Districts:[1]

• 100 Mile House Forest District – Saturday, May 31st, 2014

• Cariboo-Chilcotin Forest District – Monday, June 16th, 2014

• Fort St John Forest District – Monday, June 16th, 2014

• Fort Nelson Forest District – Monday, June 16th, 2014

Location of Channels:

Maps can be found here, to locate which channels are in use in which location.

License Amendments:

It should be noted that an ‘RR Appendix’ is required for each mobile license. Each license holder must obtain said RR Appendix through emailing Industry Canada to obtain a quote. Simply provide company name and license number to the local Industry Canada office. [2]

We will endeavor to provide continuing updates as the Resource Roads project progresses. If you have any questions or require compliant equipment, we would be happy to assist you in the transition.






Changes to Resource Road Channels

Resource roads cover swaths of British Columbia. According to the Provincial Government, there is over 650,000 km of “RR’s” tracking to and from remote locations.[1] These roads often require radio communication and coordination to ensure safe passage for the many users. In 2006, the Government decided to reassess RR’s and their safety. As stated in the Pilot Project Summary Report of March 2013:

In 2006, led by the Ministry of Forests and Range (MOFR), the BC Radio CommunicationsWorking Group (including participants from MOFR, FPInnovations (formerly FERIC), Industry Canada, Forestry TruckSafe and the Council of Forest Industries) was drawn together to create a comprehensive communications strategy for all of the radio-assisted resource roads in BC with the intent of improving user safety. The strategy had three key parts: refine resource road signage, create standardized radio calling procedures, and establish a bank of radio channels that are dedicated for resource road use in BC.[2]

These goals were undertaken by pilot projects in the Peace Forest District and Strait of Georgia Business Area (including the Sunshine Coast).[3]

Standardized Signage:

The first issue was to determine consistent signage identifying channels, and establishing must call locations. Under the pilot project, several sign types were developed:[4]

  • Resource Road Orientation;
  • Km Marker;
  • Road Channel Identification;
  • Must Call at road junctions and Km markers;
  • Caution signs that would be installed in high hazard areas.

Under the pilot project, these signs were considered to improve safety and create consistency. Signage was adopted as a result.

Standardized Call Procedure:

The second issue was to determine consistent call procedures, ensuring understanding between drivers. The pilot project standardized:[5]

  • The order of descriptors for vehicle position and standardized direction descriptor;
  • Frequency of calling;
  • Rules for convoy calling.

Some variations in the procedure are permitted for ‘local variation’, for example, high call locations which may result in ‘walkover’ or excessive chatter.[6]

Standardized Channels:

The final issue was regarding uniform channels for use on RR’s. After some tweaking, two new types of channels were created for the purpose. Thirty-five ‘Resource Road’ or ‘RR’ channels will be used for “radio assisted traffic control”, and marked at the entry point to each road.[7]  Five ‘Loading’ or ‘LD’ channels will be used for “co-ordination of temporary site specific field work”, for example “loading and unloading of resources or equipment”.[8]

Industry Canada has listed the primary changes to RR channels as follows:[9]

  • CTCSS Tones will no longer be used.
  • Forty unique channels will replace the tones.
  • Output power for channels will be standardized to a maximum of 30 watts.
  • Naming will be standardized to RR-1 through RR-35, LD-1 through LD-5.

Two-way radios must be programmed to reflect these channel changes. However, as the new channels are in the narrow band (11kHz), only radios “approved under RSS 119 issue 5 or later” will be usable.[10] All older wide band radios will have limited compatibility with the new channels. This roughly translates to two-way land mobiles purchased prior to 2000.  As noted in the Pilot Project Report, “newer narrowband radios [can] effectively receive wideband transmissions without distortion. Depending on the wideband radio model, however, narrowband transmissions may sound quieter [or be distorted] on a receiving wideband radio. Wideband radio owners should be made aware of this possibility and be encouraged to purchase narrowband radios.”[11]

However, narrow band radios may have some limitations with respect to signal propagation. For example, “users of the narrowband RR channels may notice garbled or distorted communications near rock bluffs, power lines, steep road dips and during bouts of inclement weather that wasn’t present previously with wideband radio use.”[12] Therefore, those who are new to narrowband devices should consider this factor when reviewing locations of must call signs.


The primary concern for those using RR’s is the progressive implementation of the new channels. Presently the RR channels will be transitioned in the pilot regions of North and South Peace for June 15, with the Sunshine Coast and Strait of Georgia anticipated to complete the transition in August.[13] Rumors are circulating regarding when other areas will be added. However, as some users may require new narrow band radios, it is important to obtain accurate information regarding the switch.

On speaking to Industry Canada, it was reported that the next transition will occur starting in 150 Mile, south to Ashcroft (off highway 97).  The maps included below were given as direction, and will be reportedly updated in the coming month.

Rumors place the Kamloops forest district in transition next year. However, this has yet to be confirmed.


The assessment and implementation of the new RR channels has been progressing for several years. These changes are coming into effect over time and in line with stakeholder request. Therefore, it is important to watch for notifications of the transition in your area. It is also advisable to consider purchase of narrowband radios with an eye to these changes.

Walco will continue to monitor the situation through contact with Industry Canada. We will post all pertinent updates to our website blog ( and twitter account (@walcoradio).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, compliant radios, or radio programming, feel free to drop in to the shop.







[1] Government of BC, “Important Information on Resource Industry Radio Channels Used in British Columbia,” find at: (“Important Info”).

[2] Craig Evans & Allan Bradley, “A Radio Communications Protocol for Resource Roads in B.C.:

A Summary of Three Pilot Project Reports and Recommendations for Provincial Implementation”, find at: (“Three Pilot”).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, at 6.

[5] Ibid, at 7.

[6] Three Pilot, note 2 at 13.

[7] Important Info, note 1.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Industry Canada, “RSS 119”, find issues at:

[11] Three Pilot, note 2 at 16.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Government of British Columbia, “Resource Road Radio Standardized Channels Revised- Coast Transition in Progress”, find at: