CHAK-AM, Radio One, Inuvik

Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

CHAK-AM19608601,000Canadian Broadcasting Corp.


Public service broadcasts such as church services aired over CHAK 1230, the station operated by the Canadian Army. The transmiter was built with parts from a dismantled ham set and was augmented by a low-power shortwave transmitter. Whitehorse, had a similar station – CFWH – powered with 30 watts and aslo army operated. The original opening date for CHAK is not known.


CHAK was airing CBC school programs at the request of the Department of Mines and Resources. The programs were transcribed and then shipped by air express to Aklavik, early in the school year. CHAK, run by the Canadian Army, was Canada’s most northerly radio station


CHAK received federal approval to change frequency from 1230 to 1490 kHz.


The CBC was now officially in the North with the takeover of CFWH and CFYT. Two 40 watt relay transmitters were to be installed at Watson Lake in the southern Yukon and Fort Nelson in northern B.C. CBC was also taking over stations at Fort Smith on the N.W.T. – Alberta border; Hay River on the south shore of Great Slave Lake; Inuvik, the new Aklavik town site on the Mackenzie River Delta; and Goose Bay, Labrador. Within a year, the CBC hoped to link Fort Nelson, Watson Lake, Whitehorse and possibly Dawson City to the Trans-Canada network. The stations would get about 50 hours a week of program tapes delivered by plane for rebroadcast about a week after the original airing. Special daily newscasts would be sent by wireless to stations not connected by landline to the network. CBC was also planning a shortwave transmitter at Vancouver.


The CBC’s CHAK Inuvik – the first Canadian broadcasting station north of the Arctic Circle was expected to begin broadcasting in November. The community was located 1,230 miles north of Edmonton. CHAK would operate with 1,000 watts of power. Studios would be in the centre of town and the transmitter and 190 foot mast would be one and a half miles away, on the road to the airport. Equipment from Canadian General Electric travelled 3,500 miles by truck, train and barge to get to the station. CHAK would be the first radio station to broadcast regularly in the “Eskimo” language. 

CHAK signed on the air on November 22. 


CHAK was operating on a frequency of 860 kHz with a power of 1,000 watts.

CBDW Norman Wells began broadcasting on October 18.


On December 24, CHAK was authorized to change the location of its main studio.


CBQI Fort Norman was launched on September 28.


CBQE Fort Good Hope was authorized to produce local programming.


CBQM Fort McPherson began broadcasting on November 8.


CBIN-FM Cambridge Bay and CBIO-FM Coppermine signed on the air on  October 31.


By this time, CHAK has the following transmitters: CBIN-FM Cambridge Bay, CBIO-FM Coppermine, CBQO Fort Franklin, CBQE Fort Good Hope, CBQM Fort McPherson, CBQI Fort Norman and CBDW Norman Wells. CHAK provided programming in the English (approximately 80%) and native (approximately 20%) languages.  


On September 18, approval was granted for the CBC’s application for an AM station at Aklavik, operating on the frequency 540 kHz, with a transmitter power of 40 watts. It would rebroadcast the programs of CHAK Inuvik. This application replaced one from 1984 for an FM station at Aklavik.


CBAK Aklavik was launched on April 21.


By this time, CHAK is noted as being a part of the Eastern Arctic Regional Service which broadcasts to the Central Arctic, including the Beaufort Coast, the Mackenzie Delta and the Sahtu region. The station originated 40 hours and 20 minutes weekly of locally-produced programming, of which 15 hours was in the Loucheux and Inuvialuktun languages.  


CHAK 860 was listed as operating with 1,000 watts with a single directional pattern.


CHAK operated transmitters at these locations: CBAK Aklavik, CBDW Norman Wells, CBQE Fort Good Hope, CBQI Fort Norman, CBQM Fort McPherson, CBQO Deline (formerly Fort Franklin), CBIN-FM Cambridge Bay, and CBIO-FM Coppermine. 

On March 31, CHAK transmitter CBQM Fort McPherson was authorized to change frequency from 680 kHz to 690 kHz.  

On April 21, CHAK was authorized to add a transmitter at Deline (formerly Fort Franklin), operating on frequency 105.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 166 watts.  It would replace CBQO-AM. According to the CBC, the community of Deline would benefit from a higher quality signal and night-time reception free of interference as a result of the change. 

On August 10, CHAK received approval to add an FM transmitter at Fort Good Hope to replace CBQE-AM. The new transmitter would operate on a frequency of 105.1 MHz with an effective radiated power of 177 watts.  The switch to an FM transmitter was necessary due to interference problems with the existing AM transmitter. The new FM would provide an extended service to the travelling public, as well as a better quality signal and interference-free reception within the coverage area.  

CBQE-FM Fort Good Hope and CBQO-FM Deline (Fort Franklin) were launched on December 12.


CBC Radio added overnight programming to its schedule on May 1, with “CBC Radio Overnight”. The programming started out on certain CBC stations and was expanded to all of its stations by September. The program aired between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m. (local time) and offered reports from public broadcasters in 25 countries, with Canadian news on the hour. The program service was provided by the World Radio Network in London, England.


The CBC Radio network (CBC Radio) was renamed “CBC Radio One” on September 1.


On December 2, CHAK was authorized to increase the transmitter power of CBQI Tulita from 40 watts to 99 watts. The increase in power together with improvements to the antenna would provide better service throughout CBQI’s coverage area.  

On the same date, CBAK Aklavik was given permission to change frequency from 540 kHz to 1210 kHz. The transmitter power would remain at 40 watts. The higher frequency would improve service to the community.


On June 21, approval was given to amend the licences for CHAK Inuvik and CFYK Yellowknife, by changing the programming source of the transmitter CBQO-FM Deline from CHAK Inuvik to CFYK Yellowknife.

As of 2001, CHAK operated the following transmitters: CBAK Aklavik, CBQE-FM Fort Good Hope, CBQM Fort McPherson, CBDW Norman Wells, CBQI Tulita (Fort Norman), CBIN-FM Cambridge Bay, Nunavut and CBIO-FM Kugluktuk (Coppermine), Nunavut. CHAK broadcasts approximately 5 hours of local programming each week from Inuvik.


On August 16, the CBC was given approval to add a transmitter for CHAK at Tuktoyaktuk, operating on 1150 kHz with a transmitter power of 40 watts. The new licence was required because Tuktoyaktuk Broadcasting Society’s licence for CFCT-AM expired. In order to maintain CBC’s Radio One service to Tuktoyaktuk, the CBC applied to operate a transmitter at Tuktoyaktuk to rebroadcast CHAK.  CFCT had been on the air since 1970-71.

The Tuktoyaktuk call sign would change to CBAC.


The CRTC renewed the licence for CHAK and its rebroadcast transmitters on May 12. The rebroadcasters were: CBAK Aklavik, CBDW Norman Wells, CBQI Tulita, CBQM Fort McPherson, CBQE-FM Fort Good Hope, and CBAC Tuktoyaktuk, NT. Also: CBIN-FM Cambridge Bay and CBIO-FM Kugluktuk (Coppermine), NU.


On August 9, the CRTC administatively renewed the licence of CHAK (and its transmitters) to August 31, 2011.


On August 25, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CHAK and its transmitters to March 1, 2013.


On February 22, the CRTC administratively renewed the licences for CHAK Inuvik and its transmitters to August 31, 2013.

On May 8 the CRTC approved the application by the CBC to amend the licence for CHAK Inuvik in order to operate a low-power FM transmitter in Tulita to replace the existing AM transmitter CBQI Tulita. The CBC also requested authorization to simulcast the programming of CHAK on CBQI for a period of three months to ensure proper coverage during the transition. The new transmitter would operate at 100.9 MHz (channel 265LP) with an effective radiated power of 50 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of -85.1 metres).

On May 28, the CRTC renewed the licence of CHAK Inuvik and its transmitters CBIN-FM Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, CBQE-FM Fort Good Hope, CBIO-FM Kugluktuk (Coppermine), Nunavut, CBAC Tuktoyaktuk, CBAK Aklavik, CBDW Norman Wells, CBQI Tulita, CBQM Fort McPherson and CBQO Deline (Fort Franklin), for a five year term to August 31, 2018.

On September 19, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to operate a low power FM transmitter at Fort McPherson to replace CBQM-AM. It would operate at 99.9 MHz with an average ERP of 50 watts. 


On September 11, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to operate an FM transmitter at Tuktoyaktuk to replace CBAC-AM, operating on 99.9 MHz with average ERP of 261 watts (non-directional).


In late February, the CBC received CRTC approval to reduce the effective radiated power of CBAC Tuktoyaktuk from 261 to 250 watts. Antenna height would be raised from 21.1 to 36.8 metres (EHAAT).

CBAC Tuktoyaktuk moved from 1150 kHz to 99.9 MHz with power of 250 watts.


On June 23, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to operate an FM transmitter in Norman Wells to replace CBDW-AM. The new transmitter would operate at 99.9 MHz (channel 260LP) with an ERP of 50 watts and an EHAAT of 6 metres.

In October, CBDW Norman Wells moved from AM 990 to FM 99.9 with power of 50 watts.


On May 14, the CRTC approved the CBC’s application to convert CBAK Aklavik from 1210 AM to 97.7 FM. It would operate with a power of 50 watts.

The story continues elsewhere…
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