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Old 05-07-2014
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The bottom line on Ham radio

So I just passed my Tech exam and should get my call sign in a few days.

I now know that passing that exam means I know approximately nothing and it will take some time of actually using a radio to even get close to knowing anything useful.

My purpose in getting the license was because I know many boats have ham setups and I want to be knowledgeable in any piece of equipment that might be on board as I do a lot of deliveries.

I've been reading up on the deal and this is what I think I know based on internet research.
Please read this over and correct me where I'm wrong so it doesn't take me 30 years to get to the bottom of this.

You can listen on any frequency you want to.
Anyone can transmit on marine vhf
The ham license (three levels) gives you transmit privileges on ham frequencies and modes. You have to take a test.
The marine ssb license gives you transmit privileges on marine frequencies on ssb, you have to pay money.

Some boats carry both a marine ssb radio and a ham radio.

Some boats have a marine ssb radio that has been unlocked so it can transmit on ham frequencies. This is technically against the rules but it is almost impossible for anyone to know.

Some boats have a ham radio that can transmit on marine frequencies but they may be caught as the marine radios are built to a higher standard and some crusers have been fined and have had their radios confiscated.

Marine SSB radios are much easier to use than HAM.
Ham radios are much more flexible.

There is almost always a Ham operator monitoring frequencies.
Most cruisers turn their Marine radio on only when they are going to use it as it uses a lot of power. So their may be no one to hear you.

Marine ssb radios are more likely to survive the salt air. The Ham radios will probably rust out after a few years.

Did I get this all about right?
I know I left a whole lot out.
There is all kind of info about nets, packet radio, email, weather, position locating etc that I'm just learning about.

It would be great of someone could recommend a book or write a FAQ.
It is a big subject.

If I'm going to do anything with my license I need to buy a radio. I don't plan on getting a boat that I would even consider putting a radio in for a couple years I don't know what to buy to learn how to use one.
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