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Old 08-06-2012, 20:08   #1
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FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

I am the new owner of a used 44' sailing catamaran with VHF and SSB radios. There is also an EPIRB. The seller had a radio call sign and MMSI number which he gave to me but he also said that I have to apply to the FCC to get my own call sign and perhaps a new MMSI, although he was uncertain about the MMSI.

I am new to this. I am using the boat next week, will the radios still work? What is relationship between the FCC call sign and MMSI and the two radios.

When I go to the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at FCC: Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and apply for a new license the application asks me

**************
Has this ship already been assigned a four (4) letter call sign (e.g. WXYZ) by the FCC"
**************

It seems the answer is yes but the call sign I was given by the seller is WDC3276, not 4 letters. So I said no.

It then asks me after several pages:

**************
Check each box that applies.

I have Radiotelegraph (2000-27500KHz) on my vessel and the FCC has not yet assigned a Morse working series to my vessel.

Note: SA licensees do not have the option to be issued a working series.

I have Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipment and /or Radiotelegraph NB-DP and need a new 9 digit Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI). Do not check this box if you already have been assigned a 9 digit MMSI by the FCC or have received a 9 digit MMSI by commissioning an INMARSAT B, C, or M terminals through COMSAT/Lockheed Martin.

Note: The single MMSI assigned by the FCC or issued by COMSAT/Lockheed Martin or Stratos should be used with all DSC radio equipment and INMARSAT B, C, or M terminals on board your vessel.


MMSI Number (if already assigned)

**************

I am unclear what to answer to the first question if I have an SSB and for the second question I am unclear if I have already been assigned an MMSI number because the previous owner had one.

I am most worried about doing something or not doing something so the radios won't work when I am on the boat next week!

Thanks for any help!
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Old 08-06-2012, 20:34   #2
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Well first off, rest assured that the radios will work no matter. It just won't be legal for you to use them. On a sinking vessel this would be well below the last of the things I would worry about.

Yes, you want to enter the previous MMSI. 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.

I dunno the answer to you first question, and I am facing the same dilemma. FWIW I kind of decided to just enter what I had thinking maybe the form was out-dated, if it's wrong I figured they'd be able to figgure it out.
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Old 08-06-2012, 20:38   #3
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Actually you don't even need a license so long as you are not going into a foreign country. You can also not communicate with a foreign land station or vessel without the license.
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Old 08-06-2012, 20:45   #4
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

If you are in the USA, go to

http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov/

to get the EPIRB registration updated.

If you got the previous owner's password, then you could just edit the information.
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Old 08-06-2012, 21:16   #5
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

While you may not need license for the VHF when in US waters and not talking to a foreign vessel, you absolutely DO need one for the SSB. And, you need your own MMSI number.

When you apply for the ship station license, it will cover the SSB, the VHF, and other transmitting equipment on board. Be sure to check all the boxes, even if you don't now have the equipment.

It's good to have this license anyway because if you go abroad...like to the Bahamas or Mexico...your VHF will require a valid license just as will the SSB.

In addition to the ship station license, you need a personal operators permit...the easiest to get is the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit.

Both the ship station license and the operator's permit can be applied for simultaneously, as well as the new MMSI number.

The FCC website is a real mess to navigate. A very easy way to do it all is to let Gary Jensen at Dockside Radio do all the paperwork for you. He charges a small fee, and for many folks this is the painless way to do it. Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies.

When you get the new MMSI number it will have to be entered into the VHF and, possibly the SSB if you have the Icom M802. Be very careful when doing this, as most radios allow this entry only two times before the radio has to go back to the manufacturer for programming.

Finally, as noted, the EPIRB must be registered separately with NOAA. Just follow the instructions at the website given in post #4 above.

Bill
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:43   #6
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

This is all very helpful. Thank you.

I think I will go the Dockside Radio route and let them handle it. Will Dockside handle BOTH permits, the ship station license and the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit?

I am still confused on the relationship of the VHF and SSB. Do I need a separate permit for each or, is the ship station license for one and the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit for the other?
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:56   #7
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Your ship's station license should have both the VHF & SSB listed on it. One is not related to the other, they are both commonly found aboard vessels. Your restricted RO permit will allow you to use both.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:57   #8
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyEM View Post
This is all very helpful. Thank you.

I think I will go the Dockside Radio route and let them handle it. Will Dockside handle BOTH permits, the ship station license and the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit?

I am still confused on the relationship of the VHF and SSB. Do I need a separate permit for each or, is the ship station license for one and the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit for the other?
Ricky,

Good choice! Just give Gary a call: all will be revealed :-)

Re: VHF and SSB, it's the same license. The Ship Station License covers all transmitting equipment aboard....just like I said above, be sure to check all the boxes. They've changed things a bit, but it used to be that if you only checked, e.g., SSB and VHF and wanted to add satellite comms later on, you needed to re-apply....and pay the $180 fee (I think that's what it is now) again. Just check all the boxes and apply only once!

The station license is good for 10 years.

The Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit covers both SSB and VHF, and it is good for life.

Bill
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:00   #9
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

In the "old days" the licensing for each type of radio was complicated and separate. But these days the FCC has "simplified" things (a little bit) and now your FCC Ship's "Radio Station Authorization" (i.e., Radio License) covers ALL of the transmitting radios on board your boat.

Navigating the FCC website is do-able but highly frustrating unless you are a wonder with bureaucratic mazes. If Dockside will do it for you, it is probably well worth his cost. Contact him for specific information.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:19   #10
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

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...
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:22   #11
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

I'm glad you brought up satellite and AIS as I forgot to include them. There are two satellite phone systems on the boat (Irridium and Globalstar). Then there is an AIS receiver.

My understanding is that I still need just the two licenses from FCC for VHF, SSB and satellite and AIS. Ship station license and Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit. Correct?
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:26   #12
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Actually you don't even need a license so long as you are not going into a foreign country. You can also not communicate with a foreign land station or vessel without the license.
Franz... Doesn't that only apply to the VHF radio?

I though you needed a Marine SSB License reguardless of your location?
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:55   #13
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Quote:
While you may not need license for the VHF when in US waters and not talking to a foreign vessel, you absolutely DO need one for the SSB.
Thanks for the clarification on that Bill.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:48   #14
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

So here's a question. We have a VHF on board but not an SSB as we are still debating SSB vs. Sat Phone. We've also yet to purchase our EPIRB. If I go ahead and get my licenses now, while I be able to update with add on equipment, add MMSI or will I have to go through the whole process again, with the exception of the operators license which I understand goes with the person, not the boat?
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:43   #15
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Re: FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about

Mimsy-
I think the Ship's Station License actually has an MMSI assigned with it. But the easiest answer is...

Rickey-
Just call the FCC's licensing division, toll-free on the phone. 1-800-322-1117
The licensing division is used to helping out confused folks and calling them helps ensure full employment. If you call while you are on the computer, you can pull up the web pages and applications while you talk to them. And they're usually really nice folks.
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