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Author Topic: Cruise ship operation  (Read 4169 times)

Posts: 17

« on: July 06, 2008, 12:50:04 PM »

Any Elmers with experience? requests to operate?  ship's ground? power?

Posts: 149

« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2008, 01:56:32 PM »

You will need to check with the cruise line and ask about HF operation.  If you get a positive answer it will then be entirely up to the ship's Captain, with advice from the Radio Officer (if one is aboard).  I've operated MM from various ships and each has its own issues.  I've been fortunate in that I've always been de-facto crew and had access to the decision makers. A cruise ship may be the toughest example, however, as the company probably doesn't want any problems with other pax on board and/or never heard of amateur radio. If you simply want to carry on a 2m HT, I'd do so and then ask permission after you're underway.  

Posts: 21764

« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008, 02:51:56 PM »

I've operated from cruise ships four times, with permission and with proper licenses.

In U.S. waters and also the high seas (not in any country's waters), your U.S. license is all you need if the ship is of American registry, like the Norwegian Cruise Line ships and some others are (but not many).  That, plus permission!

But in ports of call that are not American territories, you need a local license or permit to operate from most of them.  Even including Mexico.  (Not including Canada, though.)

I've operated from Mexico, the Bahamas, Aruba, Venezuala, Brazil, etc. all after obtaining the "local" license in advance.  Most have a fee associated with them.  Mexico's is a tough one, it's about $100 and good for only 1 year (but easy to obtain if you don't mind the fee).

A lot of ships have Bahamian registry, and it's pretty easy to get a license if you plan in advance for it.  Some ships have Liberian registry, and I've never given that a shot.

Carnival specifically states no radio transmitters allowed right on their website, but I found there are exceptions to this.  In fact, I obtained written permission months in advance to operated from the Elation when it was new, and then received Captain's approval as soon as I could find him (couldn't find him for several hours, but he showed up in the main dining room around dinner hour)...I showed him my license and letter, and he introduced himself as "I2..." something, an Italian ham.

He knew quite a lot about ham radio but said he's rarely on the air.  He also promised me a tour of their "radio room" (which is mostly GPS/computer stuff nowadays, but they still had some HF gear and large antennas up top), but I never actually got that.  Turns out at each port of call the Captain went golfing and was nowhere to be found.



Posts: 17

« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 09:52:10 PM »

Much appreciated -- good info.  Will be on Celebrity's Millennium in October from Honolulu to Auckland with a 3 day stop in French Polynesia.  73 and aloha.

Posts: 17

« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 09:54:26 PM »

Thanks.  II plan to take a 2m HT and HF (Argo V).

Posts: 2080

« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2008, 11:04:02 AM »

I was lucky enough to hunt down both the Captain and the Radio Officer of a cruise ship I was on.  I had written in advance for permission to bring ham equipment on board but never received a reply.

Turned out that both the Captain and Radio Officer were licensed hams from Norway.  They were very helpful in getting me set up to operate.  I also got an individual tour of the bridge and radio room.  Have some nice photos taken of me at the radio console (almost all satellite stuff) where there was still a CW key plugged into some unidentifiable piece of gear.  I didn't touch a thing!

Try to find anyone on the ship's crew that has a ham license.  Ask around and the word will get out.  Chances are there is one on nearly every ship and mine were anxious to accomodate me.


Terry, WØFM

Posts: 21764

« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 12:02:23 PM »

>RE: Cruise ship operation       Reply
by AH6ZZ on July 6, 2008    Mail this to a friend!
Much appreciated -- good info. Will be on Celebrity's Millennium in October from Honolulu to Auckland with a 3 day stop in French Polynesia. 73 and aloha.<

::Find out what the Millenium's registry is.  A quick search of the Celebrity website only revealed their ships are "of Bahamas, Ecuador and Malta registry," but it doesn't say which one is which.

Licensing is very different for all these places:

For Bahamas:
To apply for a new Bahamian amateur reciprocal license, send a copy of your valid US license, a copy of identification (passport photo page, birth certificate), a letter of request, and an International Money Order for $25. Allow one to three months for processing and mailing.
You may only renew by mail or in person in Nassau; there are no PUC offices in the family islands.
The Nassau PUC office is at Agape House, fourth terrace east off Collins Avenue on the south side of the ridge, south of Doctors Hospital,
tel 242-322-4437/9;
fax 242-323-7288.
Ask for the Radio Licensing Department. The mailing address is:

Executive Director and Secretary
Public Utilities Commission
P O Box N.4860
ATTN: Chizelle A. Whymms, Senior clerk/Technical

For Ecuador, not quite as straightforward:
I am the President of the Guayaquil Radio Club,glad to receive your email. The first thing you have to do is to get a certificate from your radio club sayng that your equipment will go in such a certain time and will go back with you.If you dont do that Inmigation will get the radio and you dont see it any more.
With that paper you have to legalized in an Ecuadorian Consulate or Embassy or any other office that will justify the uses of that radio. Them send 4 phothos passport type, a letter asking the President of the club to give you a permission to operate,a copy of your passport and $8.00 to obteing thruout the local FCC the permit to operate.
If you have any question please writte about I be glad to help you.
The IARU member society intervenes between the applicant and the licensing administration. The society's address is:
Guayaquil Radio Club (GRC)

For Malta:
Intro: You can easily get a visitor's license in Malta in 24 hours. Malta does not implement yet CEPT Recommendation TR 61-01 and a separate license is needed. See Email below and ERO implementation list.

Director of Wireless Telegraphy
Wireless Telegraphy Office (WTO)
fao. Mr. David Jones.
Office of the Prime Minister
Evans Building
Merchants Street
tel. +356-247 224/5/6/7/8, 234 404, 2599 3614
fax. +356-247 229

Paperwork needed:
1) a photocopy of his current ham license
2) indicate the dates of arrival and departure
3) passport number
The best way to get a license:
The prospective visiting radio ham should apply in writing to WTO and include the above papers. Alternatively, if the visiting ham knows any local ham, the latter has so far been more than pleased to help along. Normally the Wireless Telegraphy Office is very efficient in the issue of such licenses - I have helped many friends coming over - and never did it take me more than 24 hours to obtain the license.
The license costs Lm5 and is valid for three months. (In MALTA 1 USD = .3840 LIRI: Apr 1, 1997)
Check currency conversion for any changes.
Special calls:
9H3* or 9H3**
How long before you can operate?
Immediate (once formalities are finalized)
License restrictions:
same as for locals
If the proper application is made to WTO via mail/fax in advance, this will allow reasonable time for WTO to inform the Customs Authorities of applicant's arrival and equipment being brought along. On arrival, once applicant's name and other detail are already known and approved, Custom's final clearance will be greatly facilitated thereby saving precious time!

In any case, know what you are doing well in advance of going!  I've obtained a C6 (Bahamas) permit fast and easily, but never dealt with Ecuador or Malta personally.  Each agency has its own quirks and restrictions.



Posts: 39

« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2008, 10:14:18 AM »

I brought my HT on a cruise and initially monitored for traffic. We were in the Gulf of Mexico and I expected some interesting stuff. I figured I'd ask for permission to operate after I discovered if it was worthwhile. Alas, there was nothing.
We were sailing on an NCL ship and I was still interested in the radio situation. The radio officer was all of about 25 or so and had no interest whatsoever in conversation about this. Said everything was via satellite, and was in a bug hurry to get rid of me. No tours of anything - "security concerns" cited as the reason.
The ship had obvious radio antennas, wire and whip, so I can't believe there were not any radios on board.
In all, NCL was a big turnoff. It was a crappy ship, and a low-end crappy cruise.
Our future cruises will be aboard smaller ships better known for service and quality and I'll try again.

Posts: 26

« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 08:45:52 PM »

A group of us are taking a cruise on the Carnival Victory on 13 October 2008. The ship leaves Norfolk, VA for the Bahamas. has more information and there is still time to join us.

The group has permission to operate on board. There will be two public stations set up as and a number of us will be running stations from our balcony rooms.

Posts: 2

« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 02:26:23 PM »

Have just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Ruby Princess.

On this cruise, thought I would try setting up a ham station to operate /MM.

After obtaining approval from Princess, and a reciprocal license from Bermuda
(ship's registry), I borrowed an old FT-100D, and cleaned up an original version Buddipole that
I once used for portable operations years ago.

Set up the gear in my driveway, just to checkout everything, including remembering
how to tune the Buddipole, using the new Ten Tec FG-01 antenna analyzer.

Once on board, I assembled the antenna on our balcony. We had just a basic balcony class cabin,
but all of the balconies are large on this class of Princess ships. More than enough antenna room.

Determined that I had to add one turn to each of the loading coils. Other than that,
the antenna tuned easily to 50 Ohms at 21.030 MHz. Perfect. No stray RF problems.

Because of ship's activities, and shore excursions, I didn't have a lot of time for operating,
but worked all over Europe, and North and South America. Worked a container ship off
the coast of West Africa. Ship-to-ship CW! Not much of that happening these days....
Worked 3B9FR, Rodrigues Island, for best DX.

Most Q's on 15m CW, with good RST reports, typically with one call.

Will be back on the air from the Royal Princess this spring....



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