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Old 09-09-2011, 10:12   #1
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HF SSB Ham Radio Option

Hi,

I just wondered how many people have considered getting a Ham Radio licence to get HF SSB connectivity?

It seems there are plenty of places to help you get a licence for a lot less than the Regular long range marine license and the services available are quite extensive now with position reporting, ssb net's and email.

Has anyone done it and found it successful or need some help?

What's your experience?.

Maybe I can help

Vic
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:23   #2
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

Vic, You don't need a Ham license to use a marine SSB radio. You will only be able to use the SSB frequencies and not the Ham bands. Chuck
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:29   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterwayguy
Vic, You don't need a Ham license to use a marine SSB radio. You will only be able to use the SSB frequencies and not the Ham bands. Chuck
I'm sure he knows that, but wrt getting a ham license, I did just that last year and love it. I'm restricted to 20 meters right now -- homemade dipole -- but use it everyday, mostly to check into the MMSN. I also do a bit of relaying for them, particularly mm's.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:31   #4
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
Vic, You don't need a Ham license to use a marine SSB radio. You will only be able to use the SSB frequencies and not the Ham bands. Chuck
Hello first post from me

I'm quite interested in this answer can you explain as I'm an uninitiated to all that. I just don't get what is the SSB Frequencies, does that mean we can fetch the weather fax without any license also does that mean we can use the sailmail system or any other free services without the license. Cause it's not like I'm gonna talk that much on the air if you know that I mean !!!

Regard
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:54   #5
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

To be marine SSB legal, you need a ships license and an operators license. The ships license is good for 10 years and the cost is either $60 or $160, I forget. An operators license is no cost and good for life. No tests just apply online. FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS): ULS Home

Getting a ham license is easier than in days gone by, no code tests now, but you still have to pass a test. It seems like I see more activity on the marine cruiser SSB nets these days than I do on the cruiser nets on the ham bands. I could be wrong about that.

I've had a ham license for a loooong time and would not be without one.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:10   #6
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

There is no code for a general ham license now? I heard it had gone away but then got the impression it was just for some of the bands and not for the ones you need on a boat... ???
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:17   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunodyssey

Hello first post from me

I'm quite interested in this answer can you explain as I'm an uninitiated to all that. I just don't get what is the SSB Frequencies, does that mean we can fetch the weather fax without any license also does that mean we can use the sailmail system or any other free services without the license. Cause it's not like I'm gonna talk that much on the air if you know that I mean !!!

Regard
Ham bands include SSB, which is just a mode and stands for single side band, and since it's amateur radio, it's non-commercial and all free once you get your license.

When mariners say SSB, they mean both the radio and a particular set of HF frequencies set aside for marine use, often duplex, which is used commercially, e.g., Sailmail is marine ssb, and is a subscription service, whereas winlink is ham only, free, and restricted to non-commercial use.

I'm sure there's a good wiki write-up you could easily find via goggle -- which, although commercial, is also free to use... ;-)
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:21   #8
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

Code requirement was dropped in 2007 for all US licenses. You still need a General class or higher license to operate on the HF frequencies, those of most use to cruisers.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:11   #9
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

Just to clarify folk, The OP is in the UK. There to qualify to use a Marine HF set, you must do as a minimum a LRC ( long range certificate). These courses can be quite expensive and they now cover full HF DSC etc ( mind you an LRC doubles as a VHF cert as well of course)

You are right OP, given a choice I'd get the Ham qualification, as little goes on on Marine HF any more. ( and you can at least listen without a license). Ham classes are often free at your local friendly anorak wearing ham club, and the exam is cheap as chips.

Dave ( ham & LRC)
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Old 10-09-2011, 13:33   #10
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio Option

Hi,

thanks for all the replies, Dave is correct I am in the UK and the long range licence is expensive here, I hope I may be able to help people like sunodyssey who may be un aware of the options available.

Ham Radio Licencing is different in each country, so you may want to contact a local ham radio clun your local FCC may be able to help or your country may have a radio society for Amateurs, let me know if you need help in locating this information as I may be able to help.

There is an examination that you have to take, but they are usually run by Ham Radio Clubs and is not expensive, and the club will be keen for you to pass and join the community.

Essentially Ham operators have access to many HF (shortwave) frequencies, within these frequencies the SSB mode along with Data modes of transmission are possible.

These HF frequencies can allow communications over distances of 1000's of miles, and this is where the system can be useful, especialy when you are mid Atlantc.

Ham radio offers SSB voice net's arround trhe world that you can assess and they can assist you with weather and will log your position for safety and maybe able to forward messages to relatives. In addition to this the Data modes have been advanced to a level where email, weather, position reporting that anyone can access with internet access and a host of other services can be made available without spending a lot of money on equipment, there are PC programs that will allow the PC to be connected to a HAM Radio with some very simple adaptor cables and you won't have to spend lot's of $ on an adaptor to get access to Email.

Software such as jPSKMail can offer a reliable service, I am sure the usual search engines may help you find more information, but it is quite technical reading, so don't be put off, us hams may be able to make it all seem a lot easier if you are interested in trying this option.

In General you will need to buy the following :-

Commercial grade HF Radio
Commercial grade Pactor TNC
commercial Antenna Tuner
Antenna
Ground system for your boat

With the commercial Marine Long Range licence, these devices are usually quite expensive, anything with a Marine tag on it usually adds 1/3 or more, I am sure you know the feeling.

A Ham system may only require

Ham spec HF Radio
Ham spec Antenna tuner
Antenna, maybe home made
A ground system for your boat

With the Ham radio option, remove the Pactor TNC and reduce the cost of the other items by a 1/3 at least, with some advise, you may be able to reduce the costs further by using a home made Antenna, I see some people have been discussuing home made Antenna's in this forum.

So, I hope this has given you some information that may help, let me know if would like further information and I will try to help.

Vic
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Old 22-09-2011, 11:08   #11
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio Option

Question. I have read CFR 97.11 it reads as follows:
(a) The installation and operation of an amateur station on a ship or
aircraft must be approved by the master of the ship or pilot in command
of the aircraft.

(b) The station must be separate from and independent of all other
radio apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft, except a common
antenna may be shared with a voluntary ship radio installation. The
station's transmissions must not cause interference to any other
apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft.

(c) The station must not constitute a hazard to the safety of life or
property. For a station aboard an aircraft, the apparatus shall not be
operated while the aircraft is operating under Instrument Flight Rules,
as defined by the FAA, unless the station has been found to comply with
all applicable FAA Rules.
This seems to refer to a Ham setting up an amature station on a comerical vessel. Since I am the Master of my vessel and it is a recreational vessel and the ham rig is recreational and it is also my home why can't the ham and marine bands be on the same radio? Most of the recreational electronics are combined such as GPS and Chart Plotter. It would not interfear with the operationsor safty of the vessel as I am the Master.
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Old 22-09-2011, 11:29   #12
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio Option

I dont know about now, but in the 90's, SGC's radio was advertised as approved to do both Ham and Marine SSB. I guess that would imply that there were controls in the radio to avoid interference or mis use..... which didnt make a lot of sense when part of the point of the whole ham/amatuer thing is to modify your radio! I was not impressed with the digital radio at all, but loved their tuner and used it with my TS450s Kenwood extensively.
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Old 22-09-2011, 11:33   #13
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio option

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcapo View Post
Code requirement was dropped in 2007 for all US licenses. You still need a General class or higher license to operate on the HF frequencies, those of most use to cruisers.
Geez, that makes it easy.... not even worth a lot of discussion. There are sample multiple choice tests.... just go over and over them on your computer and you'll ace the test without even really knowing anything about electronics..... I know a bit about electronics, but really, when I did this, I had gone over the answers so many times I didnt even have to think. Code was the hard part!
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Old 22-09-2011, 12:36   #14
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio Option

I just went through this in the US. You don't need to take a class or spend big bucks. Using ARRL Technician Class book and computer generated exams, I studied a couple hours a day for about a week. Using an old ARRL General Class library book, I studied for a few hours over an additional 4 days. Took the exam at a local ham radio club testing day, ARRL scheduled tests in your area, paid $10. Took Technician and General exams, each 35 questions, I think 75% score to pass. Most of the questions were common sense and if you studied the question pool, you got into the question/answer pattern and knew what they were looking for. A few tricky questions, that if you misread, you pick the wrong answer. For the General class, there are several "which band do you use" type questions - takes route memorization. Overall, it was a useful exercise and something I've been wanting to do for years. Glad they dropped the Morse code requirement!
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Old 22-09-2011, 12:36   #15
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Re: HF SSB Ham Radio Option

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Originally Posted by DeborahLee View Post
why can't the ham and marine bands be on the same radio?
To transmit on the marine channels, you are required by FCC rules to use a radio that is certified under part 80 rules. Ham radio's do not have that certification. You can however, legally use a marine radio on the ham bands.

Eric
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