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Old 19-07-2011, 13:17   #1
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VHF Operation in Transit

Hi all...first post...I'm scratching my head over this one a bit, hopefully someone can help me out.

I'm considering buying a boat in the US (Great Lakes) and sailing it back home (Lake St. Clair to Lake Ontario) sometime in the next month. Think I've got a decent handle on the customs and importation issues but I'm not so sure about the radio issues (the boat currently has one.)

In transit I would be going through the Welland Canal system and assume I need to be in radio contact with the lock master(s) as I go through...? (If the answer is "no" then I'm not too concerned about using the radio at all.) However, if the radio is essential for me to use I guess I would need my Canadian VHF Radio Operator's Certificate before I start my trip. (Which isn't easy since the only courses/exams I've found are only offered in the early spring.)

Do I also need to get any sort of "call letters" assigned to the boat/radio before starting the trip? If so...how?

Lastly...assuming I need to use the radio should I just bone up on the study book for the Operator's Certificate so that I'm competent using the radio and not worry about the actual certificate until I can get it when it's offered this winter or next spring?
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Old 19-07-2011, 13:24   #2
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Re: VHF Operation in transit

An operators cert is required in Canada. A station license is not. So if you do not have a station license you do not have a call sign. If you ever listen to the vhf on a weekend you will soon come to the conclusion that nobody has ever taken the vhf operators course.

I would not worry about a certificate till later but it would not hurt to be aware of the proper use of a vhf radio.

Remember channel 16 is a hailing and distress channel so you should take your idle chatter to a working channel. This is what the CG operator says when the crazies take over the airwaves.

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Old 19-07-2011, 13:35   #3
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Re: VHF Operation in transit

Practical advice...thanks
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Old 19-07-2011, 13:38   #4
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Re: VHF Operation in transit

You will need a Restricted Operators Certificate (maritime) to operate a VHF--you can listen in on broadcasts, but cannot legally transmit without it. To get a call sign, you need a Maritime Mobile Radio Station License; this is not required if you are only going to use the VHF in Canadian waters, but it is required if you go to the US or elsewhere.
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Old 19-07-2011, 14:08   #5
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Re: VHF Operation in transit

You may also need to get a new radio. It has be to Industry Canada, Spectrum Management approved; FCC approval is not adequate for Canada.

Contact your local Canadian Power Squadron; some may be able to test you. Get the manual and the CD for study.
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Old 19-07-2011, 15:14   #6
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Re: VHF Operation in Transit

Something to consider is that if the boat remains registered in the US until the boat is reregistered in a Canadian Province (when you get the boat to it's new home port), then it may be that the existing station license transfers to you as the new owner once the purchase agreement is signed, and does not become invalid until the registration moves to the Canadian Province. In which case you can continue operating the radio under the US station license for the trip home. I kind of doubt this will work but it in another avenue worth expoloring.
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Old 19-07-2011, 16:09   #7
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A US station license is not transferable to the new owner.
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Old 19-07-2011, 16:29   #8
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Re: VHF Operation in Transit

what license is required in the us for us res.?
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Old 19-07-2011, 16:29   #9
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One time pain in the neck...

Sounds like the Canadian system is similar to the Australian one.

I did the Radio Operators course here. Took a couple of days, and I paid for an online study course as well.

Big pain in the neck at the time but the course is done and that particular pain in the neck has gone.
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Old 19-07-2011, 16:49   #10
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Re: VHF Operation in Transit

There is no station license or operator license required within the USA. Just use the boat's name as your call sign and you are good to go.
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Old 19-07-2011, 18:54   #11
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Re: VHF Operation in Transit

If you are a US resident and go overseas you need the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators License to use the radio in many Commonwealth countries. The only thing you need to get one is $60 and an address. I got one to cruise the Caribbean but nobody checked or cared (or paid much attention to which channel was reserved for what use)
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Old 20-07-2011, 05:28   #12
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Re: VHF Operation in Transit

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Canadaler.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadaler View Post
... assuming I need to use the radio should I just bone up on the study book for the Operator's Certificate so that I'm competent using the radio and not worry about the actual certificate until I can get it when it's offered this winter or next spring?
Indeed.
You'll want/need the VHF to transit the Welland.
No one is likely to ask for your operator's certificate or ship's station license (call sign), especially if you operate the radio competently.
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