Join Date: May 2004
Location: Long Is.
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My hard-won experience, spanning about 10 years of cruising and radio use on both marine and ham bands, would be this advice.
Stick to the marine bands.
Unless you are willing to learn and follow the rules ham bands will be useless to you, generate a lot of antagonism and maybe even prosecution.
Get a Marine only SSB transceiver and read the book that will come with it. That should be sufficient.