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Old 13-02-2015, 10:59   #16
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by sowwaninii View Post
A slightly different twist- have always sailed locally in US waters so only obtained MMSI. Now planning trip to Bahamas. Do I need to be assigned a new MMSI in addition to license, or is it transferable?
I was reading some stuff on this yesterday. It seam as if the USA runs a simplified database and can assign MMSI numbers for territorial waters only. You may need to be on the international database if you want the system to work outside the US. This may be a new number or they may transfer the existing number. Seams a very odd way to do it and the problem will be that some equipment needs to be returned the manufacturer to have an MSI no changed. (this is a useful idea, means if your boat is stolen you can poll your radio and it will send you its location, the thief cant reprogram it. I may have this completely wrong (Canadian not US) so if anyone knows better by all means clarify for us!
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Old 13-02-2015, 11:04   #17
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by Subway Sailor View Post
Do u need a RR license for everyone aboard to use the radio? Or is ONE enough for all?


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Operators licence. Only one person needs to be licenced but should be on board when the radio is used. A licenced operator can supervise and unlicensed one

Radio licence. Applies to the equipment and licences the vessel to transmit.
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Old 13-02-2015, 11:10   #18
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by jkindredpdx View Post
My understanding was that I would need to get a new MMSI if I got the free one online then later got the one from FCC for out of country... so I paid somewhere around $265 and filed through FCC. I felt confused during the application since the process seems to be aimed at commercial ships, airplanes, and radio stations, but stuck with it and got call letters and MMSI in the mail after about a week. I can't remember the detail type, but since one of my radios is a handheld, I got a license that can be used on other boats too. I'm gonna say it is an "SA".
Referring to my earlier post, I think this clarifies what's going on. The free one is US territorial waters only and is a CC database (should work up to 30miles offshore). The paid one from the FCC is internationally registered under the SOLAS scheme.
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Old 13-02-2015, 11:20   #19
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by Subway Sailor View Post
What is considered HF?




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It is the top half of the SSB frequencies (high frequency) 3Mhz - 30Mhz. The bottom half is MF (medium frequency) 300kz -3Mhz. Much bigger set required but able to transmit globally
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Old 13-02-2015, 11:39   #20
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
You won't need a license to have a VHF radio on board.

You won't need a license to listen to the VHF radio.

American boats in American waters do not need a license to transmit on VHF.

Canadian boats in Canadian waters need an operators permit to transmit on VHF.

American boats in Canadian waters need to spend almost 300 dollars to get two pieces of paper to legally transmit on the VHF.

My off the wall estimate--less than 10% spend the money.
An interesting thread. Looking at some of the queries that have come up I wonder if the real value of the way Canada and Europe licences radios and operators is that you have to do a 2 day course to get one. Makes sure every one has the basic info they need to use a radio safely and gives them the confidence to use it. Not difficult and you can do it yourself from the book but I wonder how many people do? Would be interesting to see if the commercial guys sailing internationally find more problems with radio communication in USA.
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Old 13-02-2015, 11:58   #21
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

I think if you check you do not need a Ship Station license to use a VHF in Canadian waters. You don't need a MMSI either unless you need it for Digital Selective Calling on some VHF's (for emergency calling or private DSC ship to ship calling). You need it for an EPIRB as well. If you have an AIS transponder (but not just a receiver) you also need a MMSI. If you don't have an EPIRB, or a DSC radio, or an AIS transponder you don't need a MMSI.

A Ship Station license is required for any other international (except Canada) radio operations. If you do get a Ship Station license you automatically get a MMSI for the same fee. I just did it last week - $215 and good for ten years.

I don't think you need a license in the US for VHF at all (except certain commercial ships). HF (high frequency) radio is for Ham/Amateur or Marine band/SSB's. You do need licenses for those and it can be complicated for Ham/Amateur. Each has specific radio frequencies that you use which don't overlap. It doesn't sound like you have that so don't bother if you don't need to.

A Restricted Radio Operator is required for marine/SSB HF but not for Amateur HF radio. But you do need an Ham Amateur license for those frequencies. But that is a separate deal. Only go there if you want to get close to the mysteries of Ham. Both are popular if going international and both are used in US waters. Ham is used on land or water. Marine SSB is used only on water.

This is a good link to the FCC licensing requirements: FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing

You never need a license for any bona fide emergency calling on any type of radio.

Welcome to the mysterious and arcane world of radios. Don't be put off by the radioheads out there. It is not as intimidating as some may make it sound. For VHF you are probably good to go unless you go outside of US/Canada.
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Old 13-02-2015, 13:04   #22
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Operators licence. Only one person needs to be licenced but should be on board when the radio is used. A licenced operator can supervise and unlicensed one

Radio licence. Applies to the equipment and licences the vessel to transmit.
Are you sure? That wasn't what I was taught and the CPS site says : The ROC(M) is required by anyone using a marine VHF radio or other marine radios (each person on the boat who will use the radio needs their own certificate/card) CPS Course Calendar - Calendrier des cours des ECP
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Old 13-02-2015, 13:35   #23
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

Good questions, good answers. I have a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit first issued in 1966, reissued in in 1976 for, I believe, free. I needed a Ship License (maybe $20) for my first boat (and my first airplane) and call signs were required but neither of the licenses or call sign use is required now for domestic ops. RROP's
and Ship Licenses are no longer required for private aircraft ops within the US. Internationally I would have the Full Monty, some foreign countries get really upset about unlicensed radio transmitters, or they pretend to in order to extort money out of you. What!! You have an unlicensed screw driver, that will be an extra $50 please and don't try to import any more weapons.
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Old 13-02-2015, 22:12   #24
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Are you sure? That wasn't what I was taught and the CPS site says : The ROC(M) is required by anyone using a marine VHF radio or other marine radios (each person on the boat who will use the radio needs their own certificate/card) CPS Course Calendar - Calendrier des cours des ECP
My apologies, you are quite correct, in Canada all opperators DO need a licence. I had not realised that this regulation is different in Canada. It was true in UK where my boat was registered previously. Need to get the crew to change their operators cert' as well!
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Old 14-02-2015, 06:03   #25
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

In Canada, it is free and valid wordlwide.
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Old 14-02-2015, 13:06   #26
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
An interesting thread. Looking at some of the queries that have come up I wonder if the real value of the way Canada and Europe licences radios and operators is that you have to do a 2 day course to get one. Makes sure every one has the basic info they need to use a radio safely and gives them the confidence to use it. Not difficult and you can do it yourself from the book but I wonder how many people do? Would be interesting to see if the commercial guys sailing internationally find more problems with radio communication in USA.
Agreed. It would be nice if boaters were directed to clear instructions for radio use: which channels to monitor, how to request bridge openings, etc. For me it's been reading, crewing on boats, listening to barge and cargo ships, and just doing it. I've heard a very kind bridge operator school a recreational boater on channel and protocol, especially interesting since the boater didn't know where he was and was asking for the wrong R/R bridge to be opened.
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Old 14-02-2015, 13:23   #27
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

I go to Canada in British Columbia waters every year for a few weeks and have never been asked for any radio documentation which I do not have. In the past few years they have made entering easy as all that is necessary is to go to one of the entrance docks and call the 800 phone number in Ottawa which clears all boats in for the country.
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Old 23-02-2015, 23:23   #28
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

Hi Guys , The above thread seems to deal with a station license in the States / North America . What is the position with a yacht registered on the British Small Ships register ( Jersey Islands ) . I understand that the radio station ( Yacht ) needs to have a registered address ( This has implications for search and rescue etc. ) - how and to whom does one apply to for the license / address and how long is it valid for and the cost - Garth
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Old 24-02-2015, 01:05   #29
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
I think if you check you do not need a Ship Station license to use a VHF in Canadian waters.
I guess it depends on your definition of "need". According to the FCC (FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing) "If you travel to a foreign port (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands), a license is required. Additionally, if you travel to a foreign port, you are required to have an operator permit. " The Canadians may or may not enforce this requirement.
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Old 24-02-2015, 01:08   #30
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Re: ship radio license - call sign

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apart from my cruising permit and my radio licenses. will i need anything else to enter and return from canada to the US? I have customs experience in the caribbean but not us/canada wise. i'm curious about checking out and checking in..

the idea being nyc to halifax!
You will also need a U.S. Customs and Border Protection decal (https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov/).
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