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Old 16-02-2010, 16:27   #31
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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Well, thanks, but that doesn't make sense at all. I am a U.S. citizen who lives in another country, and has no plans to live in the U.S.

So, I definitely do not see how I need a U.S. license to operate a radio outside the U.S. The FCC doesn't have any control over radios outside the US as far as I know.

Or am I misinterpreting this?

I would recommend getting a license, from some country... I did recently. It really doesn't take much effort. First of all you will get a call sign which is necessary for communication on the HF bands.

Secondly you will learn the real basics about etiquette and rules of operation which is critical otherwise you will undoubtedly be breaking the basic conventions and possibly stepping on an emergency call. (e.g. use the minimum power necessary to make you communication)

Thirdly you will learn about propagation, terminology and the basics of rigs.

It is all really essential if you want to run a HAM radio IMHO.
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Old 16-02-2010, 16:35   #32
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I'm currently cruising the Bahamas and find my basic grundig receiver very useful for picking up Chris Parker's weather reports when/where I can't get VHF of internet reports. It provides a lot, simply at a low price.

For island cruising, In the last 2 months of cruising I've never wished I had 2-2 way SSB/Ham, but that is obviously situational/personal. (Personally, I'd spend that money on a sat phone first)
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Old 16-02-2010, 17:16   #33
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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
That doesn't sound too scary. And having a radio setup here could be handy, anyhow. I had learned Morse Code waaaaaaay back in my Boy Scout days for some merit badge or other, but glad it's no longer needed.

Still a question, though. How can I get a US license if I don't live in the US? If I don't have a US license, then there is no license to reciprocate. hmmm...

update; I just found out there is a licensing group here, and no reciprocity with anyone else. Basically, to me it looks like a way for a few local ham operators to fund their party kitty by selling renewals every year.
Hello Canibal,

1) What you need is an American Address in the USA.
2) If your "Licensing group" has at least 2 accredited examiners, then they
should be holding test sessions on specified dates.
3) Once you pass the exam, you will be issued with an USA callsign eg KZ9 -XYZ
4) Then if you take up residence in another country which has a reciprocity agreement with USA - you may then apply to that country for a reciprocal callsign which you add to your US callsign eg : DXZABC/KZ9XYZ.
5) At intervals you will be required to renew your Amateur License (Callsign) this you do from your American Address - see 1) above

NB: Local Ham operators do NOT sell renewals nor do they issue callsigns.
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Old 16-02-2010, 17:20   #34
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For a simple Shortwave receiver the Sony ICF SW7600GR seems to have the best reviews and can be had from $75 (used on ebay) to $150 new.

Just make sure that whatever unit you choose can receive SSB (single side band). You can make a simple connection to your laptop and receive weather reports on ssb.

I have a Grundig / Eton SD-300 SWR (no SSB) that is somewhat dissapointing in quality and reception but have never been dissapointed with any Sony product I have owned.

I'm in the process on installing my recently acquired Icom M700pro SSB tranceiver and still looking for a deal on an antenna tuner (hint to anyone that has an extra AT-130 laying about). I'm still going to pick up the Sony ICF SW7600GR as a backup receiver.
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Old 16-02-2010, 22:20   #35
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Ham Radio license required.

Canabul,

An Amateur Radio (Ham) license is required to operate on Amateur Radio frequencies. If you do not have a callsign issued by some country, no one will talk to you and being a US citizen will get you a hefty fine from the FCC regardless of where you reside. From what I have seen, the US Amateur Radio license gives more operating priviliges than most other countries regarding authorized frequencies. However, when planning to operate in other than US territories or the USA, you need to have a license issued by the country in which you plan to be operating or a reciprical license from that country. Think of it this way, If your boat is registered in the USA and you are in international waters, the FCC has jurisdiction over your radio operations.

Ham Radio is not CB radio. Of course, you could always fly the Skull and Crossbones and hope no one sinks your boat!

Hal
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Old 17-02-2010, 04:50   #36
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Actually I don't mind the idea of getting the license, I remember growing up and sitting there listening to a friend of my fathers who was active in Ham. I was fascintated. I was maybe 12 years old and still to this day remember his callsign...W5DLQ. We talked to people all over the place. I heard my first Australian accent and talked about kangaroos. It made an impression on me.

But, from a legal standpoint, I don't see how what you are saying could be right. I know the USA THINKS it runs the rest of the world, but it doesnt. The US government doesn't have the right to fine me for anything that I know of. My boat would not be registered in the USA in any case. I live outside the USA full time, and have no intention of ever living there again.

Think of it this way....where would they mail the fine to?
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Old 17-02-2010, 05:21   #37
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CAnibal, Your question was " How can I get a US license if I don't live in the US? "
It was answered, lots of cruisers all over the world use the procedure suggested.
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Old 17-02-2010, 07:39   #38
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yeah, that was one question. Are we allowed more than one, or have you decided the maximum acceptable number for us?
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Old 17-02-2010, 08:33   #39
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Go talk to whichever authority issues amateur radio licenses in the country in which you reside. Its possible there will be a way to issue you a license in that country without having citizenship, but I guess its entirely up to them.

If you are operating maritime mobile, e.g. outside territorial waters of any country, then you are apparently under the jurisdiction of the country(s) of which you are a citizen. I imagine this is defined by international treaty.
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Old 17-02-2010, 09:43   #40
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Thanks for the info. I have an email waiting for one of the local Ham people, asking just this question. And to synopsize what I've learned here..

The FCC has no real teeth in third world countries, so its basically a self-policing group of radio operators. The concept of using a fake US address to get a license would be fraud, I think. Illegal in the US, as far as the Feds are concerned, I am sure. In any case, it would put your name on their radar. Never a good thing, these days.

Going through the licensing's study and test proceedures exposes one to valuable info that one well may need to get the best use from the radio, and

Getting the license is not a particularly onerous process, if there is a convenient means of doing so where one is located.

The "enforcement" of the convention is basically that no one will respond to a call from someone without a valid call sign. While I suspect there are 'renegade' or 'pirate groups' using these radios without license, they would be limited to comms within their own group.

Bottom line, it make sense to get the license when you can figure out a way to do so.

And yeah, it took, more than one question to learn all this, and it's valuable info to me, and I thank you. Well, most of you.
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Old 17-02-2010, 09:44   #41
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The point is that you have to have a license from somewhere. If you have a long-stay visa for the country you are in now, they MIGHT be willing to issue you a license even though you are not a citizen. You would have to check with them. In general, though, your license is issued by the country of your citizenship. Think of your license as your passport to use the airwaves--part of what it does is identify your citizenship.
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Old 17-02-2010, 09:53   #42
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Originally Posted by Canibul
The "enforcement" of the convention is basically that no one will respond to a call from someone without a valid call sign.
No, there is more to it than that. In the U.S., for example, the FCC has an enforcement division that will search out "pirate" signals and people using the airwaves without a license. Get caught and you can face stiff fines as well as confiscation of your equipment. Other countries have similar enforcement operations. They might even consider it a jail-time offense. I don't know.

Now, practically speaking, the odds of getting caught are pretty small, even for someone operating illegally in the U.S. from their home. Put a small radio, used intermittently, on a moving boat, and the odds probably approach zero. But they only APPROACH zero, they are not quite absolutely zero.
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Old 17-02-2010, 13:39   #43
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Yes, I see that. And in a place like this, where I live, I can guarantee you that there is NO as in absolutely not a shred, of equipment, personnel, or incentive to worry about who is pressing a mike switch to talk to someone on a radio they own.

We have a Marine VHF radio in the office in our home. The local marine Police like knowing we can hear signals from 20 miles away, as my antenna is 70 ft. ASL Theirs is 30 ft. They asked us to let them know if we hear anything they should know about.

And thats kinda the way I like it, come to think of it. Part of the reason I left the USA.
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Old 17-02-2010, 20:37   #44
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Ham radio

Canibul,

Sounds as if you should have had a Ham license long ago. The present holder of W5DLQ is Kenneth Gibbs. He lives in Ingleside, TX. Probably not the same guy.

What is the name of your boat? I'll see what I can do to find you a way to take the test. You can study on line. It has become a very easy exam and no reason you couldn't get an Extra Class (top grade) after you get used to how things work. a General Class license will do for starters.
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