Communicator Research Operators intercept and analyze electronic transmissions, including foreign communications. They also operate computer-assisted radio direction-finding equipment in support of search-and-rescue operations.
A Communications Research Operator has the following responsibilities:
- Collect, process, analyze and report on electromagnetic activity on radio frequencies, using highly sophisticated equipment
- Manage a computer network environment
- Apply security and communications knowledge in the information technology field
- Use and maintain records and publications
The starting salary for a fully-trained Communicator Research Operator is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Communicator Research Operators who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Soldier Qualification course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:
- Army Physical Fitness
- Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
- Reconnaissance Patrolling
- Advanced Weapons Handling
- Individual Field Craft
Communicator Research Operators attend the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario, for 45 weeks. Using a combination of theory instruction, demonstrations, practical work and simulation exercises, it covers the following:
- Signals Intelligence mathematics
- Communications rules and procedures
- Radio direction-finding
- Communications data systems
- Operation of auxiliary equipment
Communicator Research Operators may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- High-Frequency Direction-Finding Operator
- Mobile Research Operator
- Satellite communications
- Foreign languages
- Computer network support
- System administration
As they progress in their career, Communicator Research Operators who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Signals Development Operator
- Linguistic Operator
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.