The Ottawa Monitoring Station Moves

From The Dominion Experimental Farm in Ottawa to Almonte, Ontario


Telecom's oldest monitoring station


has been moved to new quarters.

In front of new building are

Edward Davey


Albert Berry

Radio Operator

Steve Curley

Radio Operator











Edward Davey


Monitoring Station, Ottawa,

shows equipment to DOT officials

W.A. Caton


W. J. Wilson

Radio Engineer

A/V/M de Niverville

Director of Air Services











Radio Operator

Albert Berry


high precision equipment


F.G. Nixon

Controller of Telecom

W. B. Smith

Senior Radio Engineer

A/V/M de Niverville

Director of Air Services

Canada's first radio monitoring station, situated on the Dominion Experimental Farm in Ottawa since 1934, has become a casualty of the city's growth. Housing developments which have sprung up in the post­war years in that area have introduced so much interference from myriads of electrical appliances that the station's efficiency was impaired.


As a result, the battery of high precision instruments has been given a new home 35 miles southwest of Ottawa. Careful studies by the Department's Telecommunications Division preceded the selection of the site to ensure good reception and enable the station to carry on its duties which increased considerably in recent years.


Officer in charge is Edward Davey who has been with "Telecom" Division for 32 years and supervisor of the Ottawa installation since its inception. Other members of the staff are G. B. Gard, A. E. Berry, A. J. Dickie, E. H. Leaver and S. Curley.


Purpose of the monitoring station is to ensure observance of both national and international regulations covering radio and television transmission and, along with the six sister stations in various parts of Canada, it keeps a continuous round-the-clock check. That its job is a big one is indicated by the fact that in Canada alone there are approximately 20,000 radio stations of all kinds.


The  International Telecommunications Union, of which Canada is a member, lists hundreds of thousands of them covering the world in a 2400-page volume


''With the air crowded as Department of Transport officer, and T.V. transmitters welcome the work we do to maintain clear channels and thus help them carry out their tasks. "


The Almonte Monitoring Centre, to give the official title, constantly is checking the frequency of station transmissions since the "drift" away from assigned frequencies results in interfering with other station transmissions. Only a very small tolerance in frequency "drift" is permitted and when this is exceeded, the offending station is immediately notified.


Frequency is determined by a tiny quartz crystal which is sensitive to temperature changes. Although transmitters have built-in temperature controls, the mechanism sometimes goes wrong and then the station finds itself off its assigned frequency. The Department of Transport's monitor centre, with its specially designed measuring equipment, not only detects "drift" but is used to help the station get back on to its frequency.


It's the rare case where there is a deliberate attempt to use an illegal frequency; the air is so congested that the users are only too glad to get assistance in staying to their given frequencies. "Clandestine transmissions are exceptional in this country."


It is common practise to assign the same frequencies to two stations--provided they are low-powered and sufficiently far apart so that mutual interference is kept to a minimum. For instance, giving the same frequency to a station in the Maritimes and one on the West Coast is not unusual.


Radio broadcast stations are only one of several types of transmitters that are monitored. Aids to air navigation as well as to shipping come under surveillance as well as radio communications used by telephone and telegraph companies, police, taxicabs, forestry services, amateur operators, construction companies, etc.


Besides checking on frequencies, the monitor station ensures that procedural regulations are carried out, identification properly made, profanity kept off the air, and the station is actually used for the purpose for which it was licensed. (Program monitoring of radio and television broadcasting stations is not carried out by the Transport Department but is a function of the CBC.) Canadian industrialization in recent years has greatly increased the problem of allocating frequencies. "Even the cement mixers on their way to the job are in touch with their headquarters by radio," was one example quoted of the way radio has become so closely integrated with daily commerce.


The "Telecom's" monitor centre must, of necessity, employ the most accurate type of radio equipment that is made today. For instance, its own high precision quartz crystals are as fine as one part in ten million. And the answer to the question '' Who checks the checker?" is quickly at hand. Six times daily, the Almonte station compares its own frequency against several standards, including Canada's national standard of frequency transmitted from the Dominion Observatory by radio station CHU on the Merivale Road.


Mr. Davey and his staff of five technicians work closely with the other departmental monitor centres which are situated in Vancouver, Wetaskiwin, Winnipeg, Strathburn (Ont.), Quebec City and Halifax. The Almonte station concerns itself mainly with transmission emanating from Sault Ste. Marie to the west, James Bay on the north, Three Rivers to the east and the Canadian border to the south.




The following aerial photos were downloaded from Google Earth in 2017












This sign just up at the site of the former Almonte Monitoring Station... Peter Dalton, 3 September 2017


This sign just up at the site of the former Almonte Monitoring Station... Peter Dalton, 3 September 2017


The road into the site of the former Almonte Monitoring Station... Peter Dalton, 3 September 2017


The grounds where the station and the 150' antenna tower stood... Peter Dalton, 3 September 2017


The garage of the former Almonte Monitoring Station... Peter Dalton, 3 September 2017


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