Shortly after World War II, NWT&Y Radio System had installed and operated low power broadcast transmitters at Whitehorse, Dawson, Aklavik, Norman Wells, Hay River and Yellowknife for the benefit of these communities. This service was of course outside of normal duties and soon became too burdensome for Sigs personnel to cope with so local citizen volunteer committees were formed to assist in the operation of these broadcast stations.

In 1958, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation decided that it was their responsibility to provide broadcast services for the residents of the Yukon and Northwest Territories and arrangements were accordingly made for the CBC to assume control of the existing broadcast stations. By year's end the CBC had taken over operational control of CFYT Dawson, CFHR Hay River and CFYK Yellowknife and the same would be done at CHAK Aklavik soon thereafter.

We have some information on these broadcast children of the RC Sigs radiotelegraph system and would appreciate learning more. If anyone can bring us up to date on the history and evolution of these stations, and perhaps add some anecdotal history as well, we would be pleased to hear from you.

     COMMUNITY BROADCAST STATIONS – NWT&Y RS. While stationed in Edmonton (VED) for familiarization training prior to a northern posting, I was assigned to a shift, NCO i/c was WO Gordie DRINNAN, others on the shift were Ed CATTAPAN, Don WARD & Civilian Opr. Noreen ALLEN & possibly Ted ALLEN.  Under the watchful eyes of Ed or Don, my duties were to send messages to some patient soul at one of the CQ stations & due to some agreement between R.C. Signals and the CBC, on the hour and every 15 minutes after, to interrupt the CBC northern radio service Broadcast Station to the North, with station identification.  There was a script to follow but what it said escapes my memory after all these years.  Sometimes the ident. was given a little late or even forgotten but on the whole, percentage wise, we did a reasonably good service.  I don’t remember the frequency used but northerners did receive and listen to the CBC Radio Station that R.C.Signals supplied re-transmission services to.

The Broadcast station at Hay River was also manned by R.C. Signals personnel, Call Sign CFHR. Operators for the station R.C. Signal personnel and the station was usually up and running at 7:00 P.M. & until 10:00 P.M. or when we felt like shutting it down.    

Programming was selected from at least 200 LP records, about 14 or more inches in diameter and had several programs on each side, from 15 minutes to 1 hour long. Some I recall were  Lux Radio Theatre, Fibber  MaGee & Molly, Jack Armstrong the All American Boy, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, and there were many others.  At times we played requests that were phoned in and others that were unsolicited.

When Telegraph messages were received for companies doing exploration work at “Bush” stations or local citizens working out on the ice or on trap lines with radios, we transmitted the message “blind”, twice, hoping it was received. No guarantees were given and messages were passed starting at 7:00 P.M. until all messages were sent then onto normal programming.

--- Bill Rogers

Aklavik R.C. Sigs station operated station CHAK.
This station is now active in Inuvik.
      "In December 1946 radio station "CHAK" went on the air at Aklavik. Built and initially operated by WO2 R.A. (Red) McLeod the station was a voluntary operation serving the MacKenzie River Delta. It initially had 30 watts of power, later upgraded to 100 watts, and operated on 1,290 Kilohertz. It received its license in 1947. For many years there were no commercials and its sole source of income was a 25 cents contribution to broadcast personal messages."

R.C. Sigs station operated station CFYT
Members of the Dawson Signals Station began to operate CFYT out of a hotel room in the late 1940s. The antenna lead trailed out the window and was of strictly limited range.

In the 1970s CFYT was revived as an fm station under a volunteer board, broadcasting mostly music and the odd community announcement.

In the 80s the station moved into local cable television and still operates rolling ads and broadcasts biweekly town council meetings. The music feed is mostly a pick-up from CKRW in Whitehorse now, though the station has tended to come alive with volunteers in the summer.

Click here for a reprint of an article from the archives of the Klondike Sun - The Clandestine Beginnings of CFYT

Hay River
R.C. Sigs station operated station CFHR

Norman Wells R.C.Sigs station operated station CFNW.
he equipment was destroyed by fire in the early '50s and not replaced.

R.C. Sigs station operated station CFWH.
Control of the station passed to headquarters Northwest Highway System when the RC Signals Radio Station Whitehorse was turned over from the NWT&Y Radio System to West Command Signal Regiment in 1951.

Yellowknife R.C. Sigs station operated station CFYK

You may send mail care of the Military Communications and Electronics Museum. Their address is:

Military Communications and Electronics Museum
Box 17000, Station Forces
Kingston ON,
K7K 7B4