Reaction from amateurs across Ontario and from as far away as the US is coming in fast and furious to the provincial government’s decision to ban the use of hand-held devices on two-way radios in mobile installations in three years.
This three-year exemption that applies to the use of hand-held microphones associated with all two-way radios (not just amateur radios) allows us time to either incorporate hands-free devices (a VOX headset or VOX mic on a swivel stand attached to the sunvisor for example would comply with the ruling as would a Bluetooth interface which is already available commercially for one radio at this time) or time to organize and lobby for a permanent exemption.
While we may not agree with the research (or lack thereof) that the government used to make this ruling, we have the next three years to create a more positive outcome.
And, while it is human nature to react strongly, we might stop to realize that this is a great victory for amateur radio. We long feared, based on government staff questions, that amateur radio alone might have been immediately and severely adversely affected by Bill 118 and that commercial radio of all types including taxis and pizza delivery people might have been exempted. That did not happen.
RAC, along with the Canadian Association of Rally Sport, the Toronto FM Society, and individual amateurs including Vince d’Eon, VE6LK/3 and others lobbied long and hard over the last year to convince the government staffers, committee members and the Minister that the use of a hand-held microphone did not contribute to distracted driving and thus should be exempt from Bill 118.
Our position as stated remains the same and we would encourage individual operators to work together to create a united front able to offer well-researched information to help the government understand the error of its ways. So it comes down now to who among us willing to step up and form a working committee??