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Old 21-05-2013, 07:39   #31
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

My boat has one of those US only MMSI numbers. What will happen if I show up in Canada with it? Mexico? If I have my restricted ro license will I be OK? Or forbidden to use my VHF?
Can I convert it to a station license or start over?
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Old 21-05-2013, 08:55   #32
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
My boat has one of those US only MMSI numbers. What will happen if I show up in Canada with it? Mexico? If I have my restricted ro license will I be OK? Or forbidden to use my VHF?
Can I convert it to a station license or start over?
It is confusing. Here's the deal, as I understand it.

These "US only" MMSI numbers were a misguided attempt to help out U.S. boaters who only intended to use their VHF radios inside the U.S., so they wouldn't have to pay the fee and go thru the process of applying for an FCC MMSI number, etc. It has caused endless confusion

However, it's not your "US MMSI" number which would be the problem in Canada.

The problem is, to use a VHF (or many other transmitting devices like SSB) outside the U.S., you MUST have:

a. a station license for your vessel; and
b. a commercial radio operators permit for those who use the radio.


These are easy enough to get, by application to the FCC and payment of the fee. There is no test for the station license or for the lowest level operators permit, the "Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit".

The FCC will issue you an MMSI upon application for these documents. This is the MMSI number which should be programmed into your radio(s). Caution: many radios only allow the MMSI number to be entered twice. After that, the radio needs to be returned to the dealer or service center, so be careful when keying in the new MMSI number.

When you apply to the FCC for the station license, be sure to check all the boxes for equipment (SSB, radar, EPIRB, etc.) even if you don't have the equipment. This will save you having to reapply -- and pay the considerable fee again -- when/if you add these items to the boat later on.

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Old 21-05-2013, 08:56   #33
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
My boat has one of those US only MMSI numbers. What will happen if I show up in Canada with it? Mexico? If I have my restricted ro license will I be OK? Or forbidden to use my VHF?
Can I convert it to a station license or start over?
Besides the fact it illegal to operate a VHF radio Internationally without a Ship's Station License...

The BoatUS MMSI number is not accessible to emergency services (Coast Guard/Navy). If you have an emergency and try using your BoatUS MMSI number, they will not have your information available, which may waste valuable rescue time.
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Old 22-05-2013, 08:40   #34
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

I appreciate you guys being patient with me. So the MMSI number I got in the US is not a ship stations license. OK fair enough. Now you mention a commercial radio operators license. How hard is this to get, if I want to be above reproach when I land in France, for example? Or even talk to the commerical ships running the Straits of De Fuca?
Is there online training so I don't make a fool out of myself?
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Old 22-05-2013, 08:51   #35
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I appreciate you guys being patient with me. So the MMSI number I got in the US is not a ship stations license. OK fair enough. Now you mention a commercial radio operators license. How hard is this to get, if I want to be above reproach when I land in France, for example? Or even talk to the commerical ships running the Straits of De Fuca?
Is there online training so I don't make a fool out of myself?
Correct, the MMSI number is just an ID...like a social security number. It is assigned to your boat, but is NOT a permit or license to operate a radio. It is used to identify your boat in VHF-DSC, SSB-DSC, AIS transmissions, etc.

As I noted above, the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit requires no exam...just an application. Do it at the same time you apply for the Station License and FCC-issued MMSI number. If you want someone to do this for you, and avoid the FCC website morass, get in touch with Gary Jensen at Dockside Radio (Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies.), and he'll do all the paperwork and submission for a nominal fee.

There are lots of online resources for VHF use. Here's a good one to begin with: Radio Information For Boaters

Bill
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Old 30-07-2014, 10:09   #36
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

What about a guy who sold his boat and moved inland. He renewed his former ship's license and is transmitting on cruiser nets. Isn't that wrong??
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Old 30-07-2014, 11:28   #37
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Starwatcher-
If he's using a ship's license, but he's ashore and the ship is gone?
The FCC's general policy is "no harm no foul" and if no one complains, he'll get away with it. But except for "special" licenses, i.e. granted to marina shore stations so they can speak to incoming boats, it is illegal to use a marine radio with a marine license unless there's water under you.
If you're certain he's doing this with the wrong license, a discrete phone call might save him a rather steep fine somewhere down the road. At least, suggest he check it out with the nice folks at the FCC's Licensing Division, toll-free.
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Old 30-07-2014, 11:28   #38
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
The MMSI goes with the boat and may be very difficult to change in the radio, so you definitely want to keep it if possible.
Incorrect. The MMSI goes with the licensee. When the boat is sold the ship station license is cancelled.

Changing the MMSI in your radio is problematic. It generally requires sending the radio back to the factory unless you can find someone like me with the licenses, expertise, hardware, and software to do it (I can do Raymarine, Icom, Simrad, and Standard-Horizon VHF, SSB, and AIS radios).

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Since the FCC does not allow you to program or reprogram a Type B AIS transponder, the logical thing for them to do is let the MMSI stay with the boat when it changes hands. Of course, I'm inside the beltway right now and logic does not seem to apply here...
Logical but not yet the case. I sit on the USCG GMDSS Task Force (we actually meet tomorrow) and this issue has been on our plate for some time. Expect a change over the next couple of years. That won't help if you have a current or older radio of course.

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
Every operator on board needs their own RR license.
I don't think that is the case. My understanding is that someone aboard must have the RR license. I'll check with the FCC rep to our meeting tomorrow to make sure I'm on track.

I gave my partner an RR license for Valentine's Day many years ago. She wasn't amused. Fortunately I had other offerings. *grin*

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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
I use the call sign Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Me Too I Ate One Sour Too, but feel free to make up your own.
Please don't make up phonetics. The reason for the standard phonetics are that they are easy to pronounce and understand regardless of one's native language.

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
If you want someone to do this for you, and avoid the FCC website morass, get in touch with Gary Jensen at Dockside Radio (Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies.), and he'll do all the paperwork and submission for a nominal fee.
+1 for Gary Jensen at Dockside Radio. If you want to do it yourself you certainly can. The process is threefold - 1. Apply for and receive your FRN (just an FCC number that ties all your licenses together), 2. apply for and receive your ship station license, and 3. apply for and receive your restricted radio operators permit. You can do it all online, pay for it by credit card, and be done in 20 or 30 minutes.

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Originally Posted by StarWatcher View Post
What about a guy who sold his boat and moved inland. He renewed his former ship's license and is transmitting on cruiser nets. Isn't that wrong??
It is wrong. Ship station licenses are only good on the ship. Private coast licenses are much harder to come by.
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Old 30-07-2014, 12:36   #39
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Thank you for the replies. Doesn't the FCC make you provide proof that you still own the boat? In reality, he owns a ship station licence to someone else's boat, and uses that callsign on the cruiser nets.

He also has a ham licence, but that's not for marine frequencies, is it?

I'm not especially radio savvy, so please forgive any ignorance on my part.

Why do I care? Because he's become a disruptive personality on the air.
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Old 30-07-2014, 12:39   #40
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Incorrect. The MMSI goes with the licensee. When the boat is sold the ship station license is cancelled.

Changing the MMSI in your radio is problematic. It generally requires sending the radio back to the factory unless you can find someone like me with the licenses, expertise, hardware, and software to do it (I can do Raymarine, Icom, Simrad, and Standard-Horizon VHF, SSB, and AIS radios).



Logical but not yet the case. I sit on the USCG GMDSS Task Force (we actually meet tomorrow) and this issue has been on our plate for some time. Expect a change over the next couple of years. That won't help if you have a current or older radio of course.



I don't think that is the case. My understanding is that someone aboard must have the RR license. I'll check with the FCC rep to our meeting tomorrow to make sure I'm on track.

I gave my partner an RR license for Valentine's Day many years ago. She wasn't amused. Fortunately I had other offerings. *grin*



Please don't make up phonetics. The reason for the standard phonetics are that they are easy to pronounce and understand regardless of one's native language.



+1 for Gary Jensen at Dockside Radio. If you want to do it yourself you certainly can. The process is threefold - 1. Apply for and receive your FRN (just an FCC number that ties all your licenses together), 2. apply for and receive your ship station license, and 3. apply for and receive your restricted radio operators permit. You can do it all online, pay for it by credit card, and be done in 20 or 30 minutes.



It is wrong. Ship station licenses are only good on the ship. Private coast licenses are much harder to come by.
+1. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to decipher made up phonetics.

The standard phonetic alphabet was developed to improve clarity and be relatively independent of accent and linguistic traits.

It is a safety tool that needs no improvement.

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Old 30-07-2014, 12:47   #41
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by StarWatcher View Post
Doesn't the FCC make you provide proof that you still own the boat? In reality, he owns a ship station licence to someone else's boat, and uses that callsign on the cruiser nets.
No proof is required. If you file a complaint with the FCC someone will eventually respond.

You might also engage with the net control stations of the marine nets you are describing. Peer pressure can accomplish a lot.

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Originally Posted by StarWatcher View Post
He also has a ham licence, but that's not for marine frequencies, is it?
It is not for marine frequencies. If you choose to file with the FCC note the ham license and ALL of the transgressors licenses will be at risk.
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Old 30-07-2014, 12:53   #42
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Having just gone through this when I purchased my boat, perhaps I can clarify this process. I had the previous owner cancel the ship's station license which released the MMSI. When I then applied for the new ship's station license in my name, I noted that the MMSI had already been assigned and filled it in. The new license was issued with the current MMSI instead of getting a new one assigned. So no need to change the MMSI's in the radios.
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Old 30-07-2014, 13:42   #43
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Originally Posted by rbauman View Post
Having just gone through this when I purchased my boat, perhaps I can clarify this process. I had the previous owner cancel the ship's station license which released the MMSI. When I then applied for the new ship's station license in my name, I noted that the MMSI had already been assigned and filled it in. The new license was issued with the current MMSI instead of getting a new one assigned. So no need to change the MMSI's in the radios.
That is outstanding news. I'll talk to the FCC rep at my GMDSS meeting tomorrow on the subject. Would you be kind enough to PM me a phone number where I can reach you to get details? I'd like to understand what you did so I can write up a specific "how-to" for others.
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Old 30-07-2014, 13:50   #44
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Auspicious-

If the MMSI is transferred to another owner, that presumably would mean anyone trying to reach the original owner by DSC radio, would still be "dialing" the same MMSI number, and reaching the new owner instead, correct?

Just asking, because folks tend not to update directories, so it could become a nuisance matter. "Dave's not here man." and all that fine stuff.

Starwatcher-

"Why do I care? Because he's become a disruptive personality on the air. " In such case, by all means notify the network moderators. If the disrupter is definitely on land and operating illegally, they're also forbidden to work his station. (As is everyone on the network.) And the FCC responds in proportion to the number of complaints they get. Multiple complaints, especially from network moderators (control operators) will bring an inquiry from them, followed by a notice of violation and some usually very slow enforcement action.
Again, they have folks who answer the toll-free phones and are paid to explain the details and procedures you can use. They often take any excuse to just slap on the wrist, but they sometimes slap with a stick.
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Old 30-07-2014, 13:56   #45
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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Why do I care? Because he's become a disruptive personality on the air.
Care to share which nets?
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