BC-15 Issue 1 June 1994

Spectrum Management Broadcasting Circular

On-Air Testing Procedures for AM, FM and TV Broadcasting Undertakings


Broadcasting circulars are issued for the guidance of department staff
and are complementary to the Broadcasting Procedures and Rules.


The purpose of this document is to explain the procedure for on-air
testing of AM, FM and TV broadcasting undertakings.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Objective
3. AM, FM, TV Broadcasting Undertaking On-Air Testing Procedures
3.1 Request for On-Air Testing
3.2 On-Air Testing
3.3 Specific Considerations for FM Broadcasting Undertakings
3 3.4 Specific Considerations For AM Broadcasting Undertakings
3.5 Simulcasting

Appendix A
Departmental Tests for Type A1 Interference on NAV/COM Frequencies

1. Introduction

On-air testing ensures that the broadcasting undertaking will operate in
accordance with its authorized technical brief, the issued letter of
authority (LOA), and that the required protection is being given to
broadcasting and radio undertakings, especially those of safety-of-life
aeronautical navigational and communications (NAV/COM) services. As may
be seen, on-air testing is critical.

2. Objective

To ensure that a new or amended undertaking is brought to scheduled on-
air broadcasting in an orderly fashion, without impacting adversely the
public or other radio services.

3. AM, FM, TV Broadcasting Undertakings On-Air Testing Procedures

Reference is made to on-air testing requirements in the following
publications: Broadcasting Procedures and Rules, Part II, Part III and
Part IV. Normally, the on-air testing period is three (3) weeks.

3.1 Request for On-Air Testing

3.1.1 Following approval of an application by CRTC and the Department, a
letter of authority (LOA) authorizing the installation and construction
of facilities will be issued by the Department. The broadcaster or the
retained broadcast engineering consultant is to keep the Department's
district office informed of the progress on the installation and
construction of the broadcast facilities as approved in the letter of

3.1.2 Any changes to the approved proposal (e.g., site, parameters,
equipment) are to be submitted to the Department for authorization. HQ
will evaluate the impact of the changes and issue authorization. Note
that significant changes may require CRTC's approval as well.

3.1.3 In the case of special LPs (covered by the regionalization
agreement), the pertinent regional office will handle any changes,
keeping in mind any CRTC involvement. In the latter case, HQ should be
advised and will co-ordinate with the CRTC.

3.1.4 When construction of the facilities nears completion, the
broadcaster or the retained broadcast engineering consultant will
request permission from the district office to commence on-air testing.
This request will be submitted to the district office in writing prior
to the proposed date of testing. A time frame of "three weeks prior to
the beginning of on-air testing" is usually specified in the LOA.

3.1.5 Following receipt of the request, the district office should
confirm that the facilities are as authorized and determine the
potential for interference to existing broadcasting and other radio
services vis-a-vis the technical brief and site evaluation.

3.1.6 The scope and duration of the on-air tests and the course of
action to be taken, should interference be experienced, will then be
discussed with the applicant's representatives.

3.1.7 The district office may now issue on-air authority for testing.
The on-air testing period is three (3) weeks. After authority has been
issued, the regional broadcasting engineer and HQ should be advised.

3.1.8 Where there is potential for significant interference and a
negative public response, the district office should avoid allowing
testing to commence on a Friday, during the week-end, on national
holidays, or on civic holidays.

3.2 On-Air Testing

3.2.1 During on-air testing, identification of the broadcast undertaking
will be made every fifteen minutes by call sign, frequency and location.
In the case of rebroadcasting undertakings without capability to
originate the aforementioned information, the broadcaster will be
responsible for making the public aware that the new undertaking is
being tested. As an example, a notice could be placed in the local press
which would explain that the undertaking is testing, and a means of
contact, such as a telephone number, be given in the event of
interference. The notice should be published for the duration of the on-
air testing period, starting on the day the test is scheduled to begin.

3.2.2 During on-air testing, the district office should also undertake:

 1. An on site visit to ensure that the broadcast undertaking is indeed
 operating as authorized.

 2. A subjective evaluation of the received signal quality.

 3. Field strength measurements to verify the authorized coverage
 contours and protection. See special requirements of Section 3.4.

 4. An investigation to ensure that the studio-to-transmitter link (STL)
 has been appropriately licensed by the Department, if applicable.

 5. Forwarding of all received interference complaints deemed valid to
 the broadcaster for corrective action.

 6. The broadcaster shall implement any instruction given by
 Departmental representatives at the district, regional or headquarters
 level during this testing period. Such instructions should normally be
 coordinated through the district office.

 7. When the district office is satisfied that the on-air testing is
 successful, the regional office should be notified of the
 recommendation for regular on-air authority. The district office's
 recommendation will be based on compliance with radio spectrum
 considerations and conditions specified in the letter of authority.

3.2.3 The regional office will notify HQ of the recommendation to enable
them to grant regular on-air authority.

3.2.4 Following successful on-air tests, and as specified in the LOA,
the retained broadcast engineering consultant will certify to HQ that
the facilities are operating as authorized for purposes of requesting
permanent on-air authority for regular programming. This request must be
received in the Department at least three working days before the
desired on-air date. See special requirements of Section 3.4.

3.2.5 Should the retained broadcast engineering consultant or the
broadcaster request regular on-air authority from the district office or
regional office, the request is to be immediately passed on to HQ along
with the region's recommendations.

3.3 Specific Considerations for FM Broadcasting Undertakings

3.3.1 Where NAV/COM compatibility tests have been identified in the LOA,
coordination with the Transport Canada (TC) office will be required. HQ
will initiate coordination with TC Headquarters and advise of specified
steps, if any, to be taken. See Appendix A for further information.

3.3.2 Three weeks are required for departmental HQ to effectively
coordinate with TC HQ; therefore the district office should ensure that
the client is aware of this required lead time. 3.3.3 Testing should not
commence on a Friday, during the week-end, on national holidays, or on
civic holidays as Transport Canada does not have available personnel for
coordination of NAV/COM testing for these periods.

3.3.4 Due to NAV/COM compatibility aspects, on-air testing requires the
following conditions:

 1. An unmodulated carrier is not permitted.

 2. The carrier must be modulated. No tone modulation is permitted.

 3. Test programming should be as close as possible to regular

 4. If interference to NAV/COM facilities is identified, the broadcaster
 will be instructed to cease transmitting immediately and to correct
 this interference. On-air testing will resume after successful remedial
 measures have been applied. HQ should be apprised of developments.

3.3.5 In some cases, remedial measures and/or conditions for continued
testing may be specified by the Department or Transport Canada
Headquarters, which will be channelled to the district office for

3.4 Specific Considerations for AM Broadcasting Undertakings Following
successful on-air tests, and as specified in the LOA, the retained
broadcast engineering consultant will certify that the facilities are
operating as authorized. This certification shall also be supported by a
Preliminary and/or a Final Proof of Performance, except for low-power

3.5 Simulcasting

3.5.1 Simulcasting means to broadcast the same program from two or more
broadcast undertakings at the same time to provide service to the same
general area.

3.5.2 The licensee may request to simulcast when they commence on-air
testing of a channel or frequency change to ensure that the listening
public is aware of their impending move.

3.5.3 In the case of a frequency or channel change within the same
service band, simulcasting is not normally permitted. However, the
region may authorize simulcasting after consulting with HQ. Consultation
is critical, especially for FM, due to NAV/COM compatibility

3.5.4 Simulcasting will end with the conclusion of the three-week on-air
testing period.

3.5.5 In the case of a frequency or channel change to another service
band, such as an AM to FM change, simulcasting will be permitted.

3.5.6 The duration of simulcasting is normally found in the CRTC
decision and therefore may extend beyond the normal three-week on-air
testing period.

3.5.7 Should a problem, such as interference, be unresolved and
necessitate an extension to the three-week on-air testing period, the
region will consult with HQ prior to authorizing an extension to

Appendix A

Departmental Tests for Type A1 Interference on NAV/COM Frequencies

 1.  For all Classes of FM Stations

 1.1 Off-air spurious emission measurements are to be made in the 108-
     117 MHz band with special attention to nearby airport NAV/COM
     frequencies as published in the current edition of the Canada
     Flight Supplement. Special attention also to VOR identified in the
     FM/NAV/COM form (with nearby airways as published in En Route Radio
     Navigation Charts).

 1.2 No tests are required for FM stations with ERP < 1 watt.

 1.3 Only receiver listening checks required if the FM transmitter is to
     be located within 5 NM of an airport having only COM facilities.

2.  Notes

2.1 The Department is responsible for assigning and protecting UNICOM
    frequencies (e.g., 122.8 MHz) at uncontrolled aerodromes and
    airports with ATS or FSS air/ground COM. 2. 2 Listening checks on
    ground-based aeronautical COM receivers are to be co-ordinated by
    departmental regional/district offices. The user of the COM facility
    (could be TC personnel, or a private individual/company) monitors
    his receivers at the time that the FM station begins on-air testing.
    In some COM receivers, squelch circuits are carrier operated; FM
    interference may not break squelch, but could still disrupt
    communications after the squelch has been broken by a COM signal.
    Therefore, for COM receivers, the squelch feature must be disabled
    and the audio monitored for any unacceptable increase in background
    noise when the FM station goes on-air.