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Old 14-10-2008, 07:38   #1
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VHF questions I should already know

Couple of questions I should already know but will embarrass myself by asking:

1) VHF licenses, I know for US use I don't need a license but for International use (Bahamas) what do I need? I assume it's the ship's station license. Also, the FCC site is very cryptic and it's hard even to find a price schedule. Where's the easy way or phone number to apply by phone?


2)22A, periodically I hear the USCG on 16 announce a message being aired on 22A. When I go to 22 there's nothing there. I know that the "A" means it is half of a duplex signal but I'm not sure why I don't hear anything. BTW: West Marine VHF550 is the radio and I don't have the MMSI programmed in yet.
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Old 14-10-2008, 07:53   #2
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Amytom,

You'll need a Ship Station License for the boat and a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's license for yourself. If you persevere a bit, you can get through the FCC licensing online.

Start here: FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS): ULS Home

You need to register and get a FCC Federal Registration Number first. Then you can start working your way through the Universal Licensing System (ULS). FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS): About ULS: Getting Started

You're right about it being a difficult site--one of the worst!

If all else fails, call the Support Desk at 877-480-3201.

p.s. you probably don't hear anything on VHF 22A because it's not being used at the time. It's only active when the Coast Guard has got something going on with a boat on the water.
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Old 14-10-2008, 08:10   #3
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RE: channel 22A problem...

Your radio may be set to "International" instead of "US".

The international channel 22 is a duplex setup: 157.1 ship transmit and 161.7 ship receive.

The U.S. channel 22A is simplex only: both transmit and receive on 157.1mHz.

If your radio is set to "International", you'll be receiving on 161.7 mHz when you choose channel 22, so you wouldn't hear the USCG transmitting on 157.1 mHz (22A simplex).

Bill
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Old 14-10-2008, 08:53   #4
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Hi guys and gals... I'm looking through the FCC site right now myself... I already have one license (I used to hold several others though, but those are expired over the years through lack of use).... and I'm seeing, through the application portion of the site, the following...

"CO - Offshore Radiotelephone"
"MA - Marine Auxiliary"

You kind of have to dig around on the site to get to information about maritime mobile radio stations and licenses.
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Old 14-10-2008, 09:02   #5
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RickD,

The FCC site is absolutely one of the worst I've ever run across. It's very hard to find what you're looking for.

What you want for the ships license is "SA" . Here's a place to find it:
FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing

For the operators permit, you need at least the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit. You can find it on the above page.

Sure wish they'd simplify this site...it's a mess.

Bill
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Old 14-10-2008, 09:05   #6
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Yes, I agree. However, it's a GOVERNMENT SITE, therefore, it's actually not the worst I've seen. haha.

You should see what *I* see being on the inside and the "intranet". sigh.... I'm glad I don't have to maintain any pages on our stuff. Things are buried deeply and sometimes difficult to find, if not impossible.

When they have a "mandatory" training thing, it's a MESS trying to get it done usually because it's frustrating and 50% or more can't do it on time. So, it's their own fault (the maintainers).

But, the FCC needs some serious help! LOL

Doing ham stuff is simple, it's easy. But for everyone else, I feel sorry.
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Old 14-10-2008, 09:22   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
RickD,

The FCC site is absolutely one of the worst I've ever run across. It's very hard to find what you're looking for.

What you want for the ships license is "SA" . Here's a place to find it:
FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing

For the operators permit, you need at least the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit. You can find it on the above page.

Sure wish they'd simplify this site...it's a mess.

Bill

Note that I was not on the main FCC site - rather in the FRN electronic filing areas. I have a current amateur radio license and file my "paperwork" electronically, both my wife and I do this.


So - if you go to that part of the site (I have a user id and password, etc to do this) then you get the stuff I listed above... there's nothing talking about restricted operators permit (which is apparently a life-long assigned license you need to operate... in the old days, there was a test for that and it was called a "3rd Class Radiotelephone Operators Permit", there were also a 2nd class and a 1st class. I've held all of those at one time or another in the past based on my work on radio systems).

Anyway - so here I am in the FRN area, and trying to file electronically, and they call this one "RR - Restricted Operator" and that's all it says.

So, for anyone filing electronically using the FRN system, then you need to know that.
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Old 14-10-2008, 09:30   #8
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Oh - hey. I have a question to add to this...

Do both my wife and I need to have a radio operator's license? The license fee is currently $60.00 US
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Old 14-10-2008, 10:42   #9
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Finally! Took a while but I've submitted (and more importantly paid for) the SA and the RR. Now about the other members of the crew using the VHF under my RR? Also, do I have to update the SA when I get a Ham or SSB?
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Old 14-10-2008, 10:48   #10
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When you submit the application for the SA, it's best to check everything...even if you don't have it yet. That way, you don't need to re-apply and pay more money when you add, e.g., a marine SSB or satellite system.

Ham radio licensing HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MARINE LICENSING. It is for use of the ham bands ONLY.

Similarly, marine radio licensing (both operator's permits and station licenses) HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HAM RADIO. It is for marine band use ONLY.

Bill
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Old 14-10-2008, 10:57   #11
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Does anyone actually apply for a license when there's only VHF aboard? I know lots of folks with boats, and none have a ship's license.
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:06   #12
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Just spoke with a very pleasant advisor at the FCC who informed me that the SA license already covers the SSB etc... No need to update later.
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:07   #13
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Does anyone actually apply for a license when there's only VHF aboard? I know lots of folks with boats, and none have a ship's license.
This is only for international use. Domestic only you don't need the VHF license anymore.
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:13   #14
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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post

Ham radio licensing HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MARINE LICENSING. It is for use of the ham bands ONLY.

Similarly, marine radio licensing (both operator's permits and station licenses) HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HAM RADIO. It is for marine band use ONLY.

Bill
Amateur (ham) Radio general information (something I happen to be an EXPERT on! LOL!)

The amateur radio license has three classes. Technician, General and Amateur Extra. (I hold the latter).

You must take a technical test to hold these licenses. They are progressively more difficult, and give more frequency/band privileges. The Technician class basically allows you voice and data privs above 50 Mhz in the Amateur bands.

There are voice privileges in 10 meters only (28.3 - 28.5 Mhz). This band is good only occasionally, but is ok for short range communications over the water and over land any time (close range to 20 or so miles). But over the long haul, you want to use a band that is going to work better during the day time (or at night depending on requirements) - so see more information below.

Morse code is no longer a requirement to obtain a ham license.

Tests are NOT given by the FCC, you will need to locate a local (to you) Volunteer Examiner group and take the test when they give it.

IF you want to use voice on SSB in the ham bands, you really need to go for the General Class license.

The technical test is more difficult, and requires that you know some information about frequencies, operational aspects, bands of operation, radio systems and antennas. The test is NOT difficult for anyone to be able to pass, and there are several sites that give "pretests" so you can see what you're up against.

(For general information, the Extra license I hold gives you ALL privileges on all bands and some things no one else gets, but for normal, daily use of the ham bands GENERAL is best for most people. It's not as hard to learn the necessary information to get that license).

COST of taking the tests is insignificant - between 6 and 15 bucks depending on the area of the country and the VECs giving the tests (FCC grants them the right to charge a small fee to do this). The FCC does NOT charge you for the license either.

The ARRL has a lot of data on their web site to help you get started in ham radio - and as a representative of the ARRL myself (I'm a member in good standing, and a current "ARRL Technical Assistant" here in Colorado - I help people with technical issues on radio systems, getting up and running and in general point them in the right direction) I can certainly assist ANYONE who is interested in the ham radio aspect!

Just let me know in PM.

Here's a link for a PDF frequency chart for the Amateur Radio Bands. Be aware that it's kinda big, for those of you on dialup or slower connections!
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:45   #15
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Finally! Took a while but I've submitted (and more importantly paid for) the SA and the RR. Now about the other members of the crew using the VHF under my RR?...
"Last time I looked"... I say that because they are always changing things...

Here's my understanding. If you have a RRO license, anyone on the boat may used the VHF under your supervision. If they violate any laws or regs, you will be strung up from the yardarms and keel-hauled by the FCC, along with the perpetrator.
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