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Old 21-08-2011, 21:16   #16
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Much as I expected, just groping around for the boundaries.

What about one contact to insure it works?

Chase
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Old 21-08-2011, 21:29   #17
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

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Originally Posted by csh View Post
So what constitutes an emergency? ....
This should cover it:
Grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance; pretty much means the vessel is about to lost and death will occur very shortly unless you get some outside help.
It is about timing, the key words are "grave" & "imminent"
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Old 21-08-2011, 21:47   #18
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

This is turning into an interesting thread - thank you everyone for the input. Like chs, I'm starting to become familiar with all of this and never really understood the differences between marine SSB and amateur/ham radio.

It sounds like a very bad idea to use a ham radio (non-marine SSB) on the marine SSB frequencies. As Bill mentioned, the ham radios are not up to the FCC specs for marine SSB. I'd imagine that if someone used a ham radio on the marine SSB, their signal (power, noise,....) might create problems and lead to potential penalties and fines.

It seems to me that the options for using the radio for two-way communications are to install a marine SSB that is unlocked for ham frequencies. This gives access to both the marine SSB and other ham radio frequencies. Obtain the Radiotelephone Operator's permit at $220, use the specific marine frequencies as intended. Add email capabilities and weather info, etc. and this may be sufficient for most cruisers.

Obtain the FCC General Class license, to extend the use of the Marine SSB to more frequencies. I've seen refereces to the Marine SSB channels are specific, limited numbers and often crowded. The General Class license opens more bands and frequencies for two-way communications. I also believe this allows more option for data transfer, possible Internet and email capabilities which might be useful. With the widespread use of amateur radio, there's more options available and might be an interesting hobby.

I saw several references that the Technical class is not sufficient for marine use and need the General Class license. I believe this has to do with the frequencies available under the Technical Class vs. those used by Marine SSB. If you are planning on taking the ham radio exams, the Technician Class is pretty easy - 35 questions, mostly common sense. It is a good idea to read a book and spin through the question pool. The General Class is a bit more involved and the question pool extends into radio and antenna theory, power usage, etc. I spent 3 or 4 days studying this before I felt comfortable with the material. I wrongly assumed that I could use the General Class license to use Marine SSB frequencies.

As a final note, you can always use the radio to "listen" on other frequencies without transmitting. In this case, it doesn't really matter what radio or license you have. This might be an interesting way to get started.

In general, do most people stick with the Marine SSB and Radiotelephone Operator's permit or jump into ham radio with the General Class license? Is the Marine SSB sufficient or do you quickly find that you need more frequencies? What other benefits does the ham radio/General Class license provide?

I'm starting to understand this. I'll do a bit more digging on this regarding radios, etc. I also suspect some of this is dependent on one's location with different countries having different requirements.

Thanks for the info,
Don
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Old 22-08-2011, 00:11   #19
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

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In general, do most people stick with the Marine SSB and Radiotelephone Operator's permit or jump into ham radio with the General Class license? Is the Marine SSB sufficient or do you quickly find that you need more frequencies? What other benefits does the ham radio/General Class license provide?
I've had my ham license for over 35 years now, and when I was commissioning VALIS I installed the Icom 710 and got the marine permits (ship and operator's.) I use Sailmail (marine SSB) for email and weather data (GRIBs mostly, via email as well). I have found Sailmail to be more reliable than amateur Winlink, but others are very satisfied with Winlink.

To be honest, I now use satphone email (Iridium / XGate) almost exclusively, but I still send the occasional test message via Sailmail and Winlink. The satphone costs are another discussion entirely.

I occasionally participate in the amateur "Pacific Seafarer's Net", and have recently been the net control vessel during the Pacific Cup races (this on marine SSB.)

If you've got your ham license and the expense of a Sailmail membership is an issue, you could try your luck with amateur Winlink. Do be aware that you aren't allowed to conduct any business via ham radio. If Winlink doesn't meet your needs, you can sign up with Sailmail (or one of the other marine-band email services.)

This is all going to depend on your communications needs. Other than the Pacific Cup net control job, I don't spend that much time on the radio.

Also be aware that many marine SSB radios (such as mine) don't make great ham radios. They are designed for channelized communications, and hams tend to pick frequencies almost at random. Ham radios also typically have many more knobs that you can tweak -- filters, split-frequency options, etc. Ham nets and email services do use pre-arranged frequencies, so this isn't a big issue for that type of operation. For more general ham use it might be better to use a real ham radio. The newer Icom marine SSB seems to be more convenient for ham operation than my older one.
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Old 22-08-2011, 01:32   #20
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

To be clear about using a ham radio on the marine band, it is covered under FCC part 80.311:

Quote:
A mobile station in distress may use any means at its disposal to attract attention, make known its position, and obtain help. A distress call and message, however, must be transmitted only on the authority of the master or person responsible for the mobile station. No person shall knowingly transmit, or cause to be transmitted, any false or fraudulent signal of distress or related communication.
Distress=MAYDAY=grave and imminent danger that requires immediate assistance

I know of no other case where using a ham radio on the marine bands is authorized. It is rare, but not unheard of, for people to be caught in violation by the (US) FCC; the fines are in the thousands (e.g. $8000 in one case). It makes buying a marine radio seem a bargain...
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Old 22-08-2011, 05:18   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX
To be clear about using a ham radio on the marine band, it is covered under FCC part 80.311:

Distress=MAYDAY=grave and imminent danger that requires immediate assistance

I know of no other case where using a ham radio on the marine bands is authorized. It is rare, but not unheard of, for people to be caught in violation by the (US) FCC; the fines are in the thousands (e.g. $8000 in one case). It makes buying a marine radio seem a bargain...
Yes it does...…
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Old 28-11-2011, 17:45   #22
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

I have recently purchased a sailing vessel with intention to operate maritime mobile in Intenrational Waters, Bahamas, and British Virgin Islands. Over next year this will extend to Central America including Panama and Costa Rica as we take our boat from Mystic, CT to Seattle, WA. Can anyone clarify Amateur Radio operations in these foreign countries. I have a General Class (W4BCN) and a ship FCC license for marine HF, using Icom IC-M802. Thanks! s/v Dunvegan
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Old 29-11-2011, 07:35   #23
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

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What about one contact to insure it works?
Nope. Emergency means emergency. Even one contact in a non-emergency would be illegal. Of course, your odds of getting caught are very small, which some people seem to think makes it okay, but it is still illegal.
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:22   #24
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

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I have recently purchased a sailing vessel with intention to operate maritime mobile in Intenrational Waters, Bahamas, and British Virgin Islands. Over next year this will extend to Central America including Panama and Costa Rica as we take our boat from Mystic, CT to Seattle, WA. Can anyone clarify Amateur Radio operations in these foreign countries. I have a General Class (W4BCN) and a ship FCC license for marine HF, using Icom IC-M802. Thanks! s/v Dunvegan
Just about all Central and South American countries have an active ham radio population. Many of them have agreements with the U.S. whereby "automatic" reciprocal licenses are issued, I believe. The keyword to look up is "reciprocal licensing", and a good place to begin would be American Radio Relay League | ARRL - The national association for AMATEUR RADIO

The Bahamas and the BVI definitely have ham radio, but you have to apply in advance. I have had licenses in both countries over the years.

You didn't mention a marine operator's license. You definitely need at least the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit to operate a marine radio on the marine bands. Application to the FCC. It's good for life, unlike the station license which is good for 10 years only.

The ham license allows you to operate ANY radio on the HAM BANDS ONLY. This includes on the high seas and, with appropriate local licensing or agreement, in the territorial waters of a foreign country.

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Old 30-11-2011, 10:06   #25
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

Reciprocals for the Bahamas and BVI can be a time-consuming thing to get if you write. Walk in to the office in Nassau or Roadtown and you can walk out with your license.
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Old 01-12-2011, 00:30   #26
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

FYI, Cheoah. The following happens occasionally when a non licensed amateur radio operator attempts to contact the Pacific Seafarers Net on 14300 at 0300 Zulu. The non licensed amateur radio operator tries to contact the net using their boat name. If the non licensed amateur radio operator radio is transmitting and can be heard by the net controller, the net controller will ask for the amateur call sign of the operator (who does not necessarily have to be the one taking on the radio). If no licensed amateur radio operator is aboard the vesse with a vailid amateur callsign, the net controller will advise the operator that they can no longer communicate with the vessel and politely ask the operator, if no emergency exists, to no longer transmit on the frequency. This should answer your question on one contact. Cheers.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:40   #27
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There's no debate here.
There is an argument about releasing under-utilised spectrum. ( mind you I doubt if amateurs would get it ) outside of that theres no argument. Why would amateurs want the space it's not crowded on HF

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Old 01-12-2011, 11:38   #28
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

CarinaPDX wrote:
Quote:
They sell the M801, which is identical but has no ham capability.
The specific button method described for the M802 is working identicaly for the M801E.
Wilhelm
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Old 24-08-2013, 05:22   #29
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

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Correct!

Most ham radios could not pass the more stringent specs requirements for FCC certification of marine SSBs. These include not only suppression of spurious emissions, but certain other requirements like the need to operate on lower voltages. Many ham rigs will pack up if the voltage drops much below 12.6, whereas marine radios will carry on down to 10.5 volts or so.

Unfortunately, however, the fact that it is illegal to use a ham radio on the marine bands doesn't stop a lot of folks from doing it.

Bill
Does this really explain the wild price differential betwen "ham" SSB radios and "marine" SSB radios? I'm new to all of this, but note that you can buy a new Uniden SSB ham radio for $200, while a new Icom marine SSB costs $2,000.

Why doesn't Uniden design a version of its $200 radio that meets marine requirements and uses the marine channels, sell it for $400, and put Icom out of the SSB business?
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Old 24-08-2013, 06:07   #30
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Re: Marine SSB Radios Used for Ham Radio

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Does this really explain the wild price differential betwen "ham" SSB radios and "marine" SSB radios? I'm new to all of this, but note that you can buy a new Uniden SSB ham radio for $200, while a new Icom marine SSB costs $2,000.

Why doesn't Uniden design a version of its $200 radio that meets marine requirements and uses the marine channels, sell it for $400, and put Icom out of the SSB business?
The uniden radio to which you refer is a CB (Citizens Band) radio not capable of operating on either marine or ham band spectrum. It is essentially useless, hence the price disparity.

Parenthetically, most of the modern high-end ham radio transceivers do meet the spectrum purity requirements established for marine HF requirements making most of this discussion, like many here, academic and misleading but this is the Internet so...
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