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Author Topic: Marine Radio on Ham Band  (Read 5457 times)
WA9SVD
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« on: December 09, 2003, 10:08:31 PM »

A question came up on another forum.  IS it legal for a properly licensed AMATEUR Operator to use a Marine Band Radio aboard a ship, (sail boat, whatever) provided it will function on the Amateur Frequencies???

    FCC rules §97.11(b) states "The (Amateur) station must be separate and independent of all other radio apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft, except a common antenna may be shared..."

    Am I missing something in the rules?  (Which don't always seem reasonable or logical.)
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NOLICENSEASOFYET
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2003, 12:08:24 PM »

I am not sure of the answer to your question, but I had two Ranger hand held Marine radios given to me. They are functional but remain in my desk drawer. Can these radios be modified to function on ham bands once I get my scheduled test over with.
 You know its a shame that I have to type that so I don't have the typical, "do you have a license, are you a freebander, are you a cber..."
  Anyway, any true ham operator that has any information please reply.
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2003, 02:22:55 PM »

Dear "NO..."
    I'm afraid I can't answer the question about the Marine H-T's you have.  It MAY be possible to convert them to Amateur use, but remember, they would no longer be usable (legally) on Marine Band.  If others more familiar with the radios (you didn't provide model numbers, so it's difficult to answer that anyway) say they can not be converted, you might want to sell them and get an Amateur H-T or other Amateur Radio when you get your license.  Good luck on the exam.
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NOLICENSEASOFYET
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2003, 02:27:56 PM »

Thank you for your advice. I am currently at work and can't get the model numbers so I will have to try to get them later. I have a new 2 meter radio that is still in the box. Deciding on antenna now and soon will be talking. I would imagine that I will add to my radios as the bands become available with license upgrade.

73
        Mark
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K8WV
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2003, 10:23:54 PM »

WA9SVD implies the correct answer - You may be able to convert the marine HT's. If so, you can use them on amateur frequencies, assuming the conversion results in a reasonably clean signal. Hams convert equipment all of the time. But you can't go the other way. Once the radio has been converted, it's no longer acceptable for non-amateur use.

Dan, K8WV
 
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2003, 07:29:14 PM »

Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the comment.  
    My original question is a bit different, though.  I was assuming that e.g., an HF Marine radio (not modified) that covers Amateur frequencies as well as the Marine HF bands.    WOULD it be legal for am Amateur to also use that radio on the Amateur Bands, given the FCC regulation that a shipboard Amateur station be "separate and independant" of any ship's radio equipment, except that a common antenna may be used.
    Now obviously, an Amateur could use a Marine radio on the Amateur bands (only!) on land, or anywhere else for that matter; it's the "separate and independant" part of the regulation for shipboard operation that's puzzling.
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LNXAUTHOR
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2003, 09:49:47 PM »

for answers regarding marine and commercial radio telephone licensing, browse to:

http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/

you can read through some more information (not definitive, as in the case of the FCC) here:

http://www.w5yi.org/CommRad.htm

if your marine radio is capable of operating on amateur radio frequencies (unmodified), then i would assume it is legal to do so... however, AFAIK, most marine radios are 'channelized,' and not meant for use on freqs in the ham bands...

getting a General Radiotelephone Operators License should not be difficult... you'll need to pass the Elements 1 and 3 at a commercial exam site, then send the FCC a license application, along with a fee...
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K9FV
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2003, 09:56:28 AM »

WA9SVD, as you can see, ask a question and many times you get an answer to every question in the book execpt the one you asked!

I agree with your concern - and it's always seemed to me the two radios (marine and ham) must be in seperate units....  BUT ICOM has a 700 series marine radio that does the ham freqs for transmit - it is a bit more awkward to use.  You program the "channels" or freqs in and can go to them easy.  It's more expensive than the normal marine ICOM radio.  BUT, based on the quote from the rule book, it doesn't seem to be legal, but since ICOM does selll them I expect they are legal - perhaps with an agreement worked with the FCC?

Good luck with your quest.

Ken H>
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2003, 05:47:37 PM »

K9FV,
    Thanks, Ken for the reply.  It's more of an academic topic, but the regulation seems to be a bit illogical.  I'm sure any radio that's type accepted for Marine Band is legal, whether or not it covers the Amateur bands.  And perhaps the FCC rules apply to commercial ships, (where a separate and independant radio might make more sense) although it does NOT state that in the rules.  I don't know if there's anywhere in Federal Law that defines "ship" as used in the FCC regulation.
    As for myself, the only "ship" I own is a kayak, and any radio used there would get a good dunking in quick order.
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K4FAU
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2003, 11:12:27 PM »

The rules are complex and even complicated for us in the Coast Guard.... it depends on international boundaries, ship - shore protocols, docked / undocked, etc etc... but to answer your question -- the basic answer is NO ... you require a FCC Radiotelephone license which is totally differnet then the Amateur license you hold ...

if the radio is between 144-148 then you can operate in that band if your license permits ... but marine band radios operate from 156.0500 - Channel # 1 - Port Operations to 156.9750 - Channel #79 - Commercial (inter). So you see that it is completely outside of the 2 m freq...

and please keep this in mind... unlike the FCC .. we strongly enforce these freqs... we bust 100's of people every year that think that they can go and buy these radios and use them as HTs... nd so far the courtts has held up every complaint we have filed in Fla....

call your local Coast Guard station -- they are extremley freindly nd will answer any question you have...

thx

Brian
US Coast Guard
Miami
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K4FAU
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2003, 11:14:35 PM »

I forgot to mention that the main difference i wattage -- up to a certain wattage (depending on situation) you do not need a license -- that is totally different then the amateur band requirements... so with HT of a low wattage you do not need a license... what we go after is these guys that stick a TPL 100 watt amp on these HTs to talk -- for the most part these are the drug dealers....
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2003, 11:28:51 AM »

Hi Brian,

    I'm not asking about Coast Guard regulations.  I am assuming a legal, "type accepted" HF Marine Radio installed on a ship.  (And is there a specific definition of "ship" as used by the Coast Guard?)  So I'll also assume something such as a sailboat.  My question is if that radio can also operate on the Amateur frequencies, can it legally be used my an Amateur Operator?  The FCC reg. says an Amateur station must be "separate and independant" from all other shipboard radios, except for sharing a common antenna.
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KA0MR
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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2004, 07:18:39 AM »

As stated under Part 97 an Amamteur Station must be a complete seperate radio from the shipboard radio.

Under Part 80 it there must be a type accepted radio for marine shipboard exclusive use and available every single moment so operating in the ham bands by a guest operator on this Part 80 radio is not allowed.

The ships radio operator may use the shipboard radio to talk on any frequency deemed necessary for the safety of equipment and lives.

Bob KAØMR
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N1EA
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2004, 06:48:46 AM »

The above answer is the EXACT answer.  Please note - just to amplify what the last message said - that during an DISTRESS (either yours or someone else's) you can operate you marine radio on any frequency that it is capable of being used - including Amateur.  I've done this several times and used a ship transmitter on 14,313 after being notified by US Coast Guard that there was a fishing boat using that frequency who was sinking about 75 miles from my ship.  I went on the ham bands, using the ships call sign and name.  I also sent a Mayday Relay on 2182 kHz, and a SOS Relay (DDD SOS) on 500 kHz morse.  The ship was able to use pumps and correct the cargo shift that was causing the problem and proceeded to port and cancelled the Distress.

One radio for Marine - one Radio for Ham.  Better is TWO antennas if you can swing it - for safety's sake.  During distress situations often driving rain can produce a high SWR, so two antennas give you a better chance of survival.  (Also I recommend a layer of tape then "liquid tape" then another layer of tape be applied to protect feedline connections.)

73

David J. Ring, Jr., N1EA
Radio Officer United States Merchant Marine
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N1EA
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2004, 07:00:41 AM »

Separate - not part of.  Independant - able to be used without any dependancy on the other radio.  You can't use a separate amateur transmitter with the boat's receiver - or vice versa. You can't use the marine radio microphone (any part except the antenna) or power supply (if needed) for the ham equipment - or vice versa.   It seems very straight forward to me!  I think you just don't want to believe it because of the cost - but the price of the separate radio pales beside the cost of your life.  Amateur Radios are NOT permitted on the marine bands because marine radios have to be type accepted under 47 USC Part 80.  (When the USCG or FCC comes out to the boat to do a marine inspection, you will be surprised to know that some violations can cost you $30,000 a DAY.)

Also, both FCC and USCG have jurdistiction over radio equipment in vessels.  

Also, if the boat is registered in a foreign country, you cannot operate with your USA license - even if you own the boat.  You must have a license under the authority of the country of the ship's registery.

The stories about some ham signing W1ABC/MM from a Dutch passenger ship is absolutely WRONG.  If he had the correct license he would have to identify PA/W1ABC/MM - the country comes first (except for Canada).  If the ship was British the call would be: G/W1ABC/MM.

73

David Ring, N1EA
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