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Old 24-03-2007, 07:44   #1
cnj
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Question Radio Licensing

Well, we're working on making our dream of a world cruise a reality. I've been looking at different things we need and have some questions on Radio Licenses. Many of the countries we want to visit require a Ship License an a Radio Operator's Certificate of Competence. Some one was also telling me that if we get a SB Radio (and we plan to), that we also need a license for that. Can anyone give me info on where to get more info and requirements, etc.



Thanks
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Old 24-03-2007, 09:22   #2
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In Canada you get a Restricted Operators Certificate (Maritime) which allows you to use your VHF and SSB on maritime frequencies. Then you get a radio licence call sign. The most important aspect of this is it allows you to get a Sailmail account if you want. Now you can communicate on maritime SSB and receive and send email and weather info via Sailmail. If your SSB has Ham frequencies. Then you can also get a amatuer certificate which requires some effort depending on your background knowledge. You probably want to get a rating that allows use of HAM equipment below 30MHz. In Canada not all qualifications allow this. Once you get that you can set up a Winlink account (free) and send receive email and weather info via Ham shoresations. There are also many commercially available options to do this. Fact is there are too many options. I recently went through the same thing and have found it very confusing trying to make a decision on what to do. I ended up setting up both Sailmail and Winlink accounts. Winlink is free but is HAM and therefore any business dealings are considered naughty-naughty. i.e. can't properly deal with renting out the house. Both Winlink and Sailmail run under the same Airmail software so switching back and forth is painless. Sailmail costs $250 /yr and is non-profit and a great organization from what I can see. Besides a radio and computer you will need a modem. I installed the SCS PTC-IIusb. An amazing device, I can't believe how well it works even with the worst possible signals. All in all my overall impressions so far (I've only dock tested my equipment) are very good. If you like radio you'll really enjoy using the equipment. Check out the ARRL.org website, Just about everything you want to know is there. Have fun,

Peter
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Old 24-03-2007, 10:06   #3
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Thanks, I'll check out the website, I guess that's the problem, too many choices!
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Old 24-03-2007, 11:31   #4
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Your marine single sideband will need a station license in the US and you need a Restricted Radio/Telephone Operators license. Both are just a matter of filling out forms and sending in a small fee. The station license will cover all transmitting equipment on the boat including VHF, EPIRB, etc.

Ham is another matter requiring passing a tests although now that the code requirement has been eliminated, it is less hassle.

There have been other threads on ths forum that go into this in some detail. Spend a little time searching.

George
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Old 24-03-2007, 16:50   #5
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IN the US you start at Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Home Page since the FCC administers all radio matters here. You'll also find toll-free numbers to call and ask them directly.
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Old 24-03-2007, 17:04   #6
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Yes, you need a license for you and your boat plus registration for the VHF, SSB and EPIRB.

See my recent post in Communications.

FCC New On line processing System

The FCC has a revised form 605 and you you can complete it all on line. Took me less than a week and I have a call sign as of yesterday. It took less than one week. This really is the US Government, I'm sure it was a mistake.

The good news is an FCC license/registration will cover most every country but there can be local rules that are a bit different and do apply. Note this also includes the VHF as well as SSB. If you get an EPIRB that needs to be registered. You can also get an MMSI number at the same time. You need a new MMSI for international travel if you got it from Boat US. It all can be done with one on line form and a couple hundred bucks with a credit card on line. Good for 10 years.

You may want to complete the HAM certification exam and add that to your SSB too. Many can be modified to use HAM frequencies. Might as well be legal at the same time.
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Old 24-03-2007, 17:38   #7
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Thanks everyone, you've given me a starting place, and alot of clarification of thngs I've read.
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Old 04-04-2007, 15:33   #8
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Industry Canada has the ham tests online so you can practice and find out what your grades are before taking the test. I have a copy of the questions and answers, which I memorised, tried the online tests, highlighted my weak points on my copies ,tried again ,again highlighted my weak points read them over and over, then did the test, and got 98% right.
It's a childish hazing ritual , like a bunch of 6 year olds choosing who gets to play in their tree house. 90% of the stuff you will forget in a month or two, but do what it takes to get in the tree house, then give the childish bureaucrats the finger. Ham radio also attracts people who want to play cop. Get you license and ignore them.
Brent
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Old 04-04-2007, 18:17   #9
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Paul,

A couple hundred bucks??!!

I have a HAM license and our old boat had a ship's station license for the radar, epirb and VHF, but I don't have one for my current boat, as VHF licenses aren't required in the USA.

Canada requires a VHF license, but after being out of the USA for several years while cruising Mexico, I guess I don't want to sail to Canada again.
At least not TWO HUNDRED BUCKS WORTH!!


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Old 04-04-2007, 18:33   #10
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Steve,

I think Paul was talking about the US not Canada. You don't neede any special licence in Canada either, the only reason I could see getting a call sign is to be able to sign up to Sailmail.

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Old 04-04-2007, 18:45   #11
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Actually you don't need it in the US either for VHF, but if you travel internationally you need one. In the US you need it for EPIRB and SSB. You would get the VHF as part of the Ships Station license so you are good internationally.
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Old 04-04-2007, 20:10   #12
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Re Canada license requirements, maybe I was taking things too literally.
A friend from a cruising club which I used to belong to (and who is a stickler for protocol) says otherwise.
Further comments, especially from someone who's been to B.C. Canada recently are appreciated.

Steve B.
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Old 05-04-2007, 09:53   #13
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Steve, my impression from BC was that folks are of a more practical bent, i.e. don't abuse it, don't make a fuss, and no one worries about the occassional gringo coming over the border. Still, the laws are on the books.

You're dead right about the US VHF fees being asstronomical (sad pun intended). It was bad enough when I paid $75/10 years but when they asked $200 to renew, I said I don't think so. User fees and licenses since the Reagan Administration are supposed to be set based on operating costs, not on what the market will bear.

The way I see it, if "free" is good enough for domestic use, there are no extra costs associated with international use so "free" must be applied regardless of where the radio is used. Or, a more equitable fee charged on a more rational basis.

Of course when I asked the FCC how that fee was determined, no one could figure out who could answer the question. If you know any cranky federal judges, one of them could issue a writ of mandamus (compelling performance according to the laws) and get the fee revised. Or, at least compel the FCC to substantiate a reason for charging $200 to some and nothing to others.
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Old 06-04-2007, 00:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
The way I see it, if "free" is good enough for domestic use, there are no extra costs associated with international use so "free" must be applied regardless of where the radio is used. Or, a more equitable fee charged on a more rational basis.
You don't get a "free license" for domestic use. You do not get a license at all -- you operate without one, just like CB.

When you apply for a license, the FCC actually issues you a call sign and a license document. Presumably, the fee is intended to cover the cost of issuing the license.

If the act if issuing the license is as hard as applying for it is, I can easily see that it could cost the FCC $200 to process the paperwork.
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:36   #15
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Don’t US Federal documents/forms still have a “time to process” statement, on the bottom?
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