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Old 14-05-2012, 20:07   #1
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Ham and common com systems

How many of you have short wave or ssb? I do believe I've read about these and how its extremely hard to get a license. So... input?

Also, what is your primary method of communications? Vhf? Sat phone? Or whatever else is out there?
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Old 14-05-2012, 20:18   #2
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Re: Ham and common com systems

License is easy... depends on situation... vhf, ham, ssb respectively .
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Old 14-05-2012, 20:58   #3
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See, I thought there were different type of licenses. Amature, or hobby, which are easy, and then like, commercial or professional? Also, are there licences required for Vhf? I know there are for ssb & ham.
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Old 14-05-2012, 21:20   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt.
How many of you have short wave or ssb? I do believe I've read about these and how its extremely hard to get a license. So... input?

Also, what is your primary method of communications? Vhf? Sat phone? Or whatever else is out there?
Since there is NO MORE morse code requirement for obtaining your Ham-radio license, is very easy, buy a app for general class license and study, look for your local Voluntary examiner and take the test, your FCC fee is $6.00 for a 10 year license, at expiration date NO test is to be taken but a $6.00 fee is require.
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Old 14-05-2012, 21:44   #5
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Wow, ok, so that answers my license questions. Now what about the other stuff?
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Old 14-05-2012, 23:13   #6
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Re: Ham and common com systems

We carry two fixed VHF radios, a bag full of hand-held VhFs, one Single Side Band and an Iridium satellite phone.

It depends on what type of sailing you plan to do. If you're day sailing or coastal cruising, a fixed VHF and a cell phone might be all you need. As you go further off shore, you might want to stay in touch with boats that are more than 25 miles away (the theoretical distance for a fix VHF) or you may want to be able to send and receive email messages in which case a SSB radio might be of interest. We are very happy with the convenience that the satellite phone provides though it is expensive to use.

I am a ham radio operator with a General Class license and my SSB has been modified to access the amateur frequencies (I got my license when I was tested for my proficiency of Morse Code - 13 words per minute - which is no longer required), although we rarely participate in any of the ham maritime nets anymore. The license for a SSB requires no testing and there is no license requirement for VHF.

On a final note, as part of your com system, please consider installing AIS. I think it's a valuable safety feature.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 15-05-2012, 00:16   #7
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Re: Ham and common com systems

For high-seas communications, the typical choices are Ham Radio, Marine SSB, and Satphone (usually Iridium). Each of these have their unique advantages, which have been extensively discussed here on Cruiser's Forum (do a search).

Ham Radio requires that you pass a test covering the rules and regulations, as well as some technical aspects. There are a lot of training resources on the net, in books, and there are classes available. There is no longer a Morse code requirement. For this to be useful on the water you will need a General Class license (or better). The cost to get the license is nominal. Look at the American Radio Relay League website for all the information you will ever need on Ham radio.

An alternative to Ham radio is Marine Sideband (often just called SSB). In the U.S. there is no test, you just need to fill out the forms for an Operator's License, and Ships Station License, and send a check to the FCC. You can find all this on the FCC website, but the site is a little difficult to navigate. Gordon West and Dockside Radio are two resources who can guide you through the FCC license process. You can do it on your own, if you have the patience. The cost is less than $200 as I recall.

Satphones need no license.
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Old 15-05-2012, 05:50   #8
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Re: Ham and common com systems

There is no FCC fee for applying for an amateur radio license unless you are obtaining a vanity call sign which is currently $14.20

The current fee for a marine station license is $160 and the required operator permit is $60

If you have a marine SSB transceiver, you are required to have the station license and operator permit.

If you only have a marine VHF you are also required to have the station license and operator permit ONLY if you are required to have the VHF or if you travel to a foreign port or communicate with a foreign station.
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Old 15-05-2012, 06:04   #9
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Re: Ham and common com systems

I just recently acquired a ship's station license and my operator's license from the fcc.gov website. $220 fee for both and it took less than 24 hours to get them electronically - 3 days in the mail. I couldn't believe it. I have a ICOM 700PRO SSB setup and VHF, of course. HAM bands are enabled on, mine as well.
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