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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 10-31-2013
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MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Hi all,

I'm confused, which at my age doesn't take much, about entering my MMSI into my VHF. Our boat came with the radio, therefore, I don't know how many different MMSI numbers have been added. The manual says that, "This code programming can be performed only twice." After that it can be changed only by a dealer or distributor. So if I have entered a MMSI issued by BoatUS and then get one issued by the feds if we decide to sail out of the country does that mean I could be hung up for a period of time if for instance we are in the USVI?
Any opinions and/or advice?????

Thanks
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

An MMSI stays with the vessel when sold, so if you entered one from BoatUS, it should have been the first. If it already had one, that number should have been transferred, rather than getting a new one. (I admit that the BoatUS MMSIs are a little "different"; I teach the ROC(M) course for CPS, and in Canada only Industry Canada issues MMSIs, which are indeed permanent to the vessel.)

So, chances are the MMSI already in the radio is its first, unless the radio was purchased used (given the number of non-DSC VHF radios out there, and how long sailors tend to keep equipment, I'd say it's unlikely) for that vessel.

That means that you should be OK for one more change, unless the boat/radio came with an MMSI which you replaced with another, then intend to change one more time.

(end opinion)

(begin advice)

What you could do is take the radio to an ICOM dealer who can factory-reset the MMSI (thereby zero-ing out the "only twice" counter) now, then program in your BoatUS MMSI. That will be the "first entry", leaving you with one more available for if/when you get an FCC MMSI.

Or you could get an FCC MMSI right now, do what it takes to program it in (via a dealer reset if necessary), and not worry about it again.
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Thanks Redline for the input and great info. Can't for the life of me understand why there are two sources for MMSI but 'it is what it is.'
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

In the USA, Boat US took on the issuance of MMSI numbers for recreational boats. They did it as here in the USA, you don't have to have a radio license issued by the FCC to operate a VHF as long as you are staying in USA waters or you are not communicating with foreign flagged vessels. Hence the two numbering entities.

When I switched MMSI numbers, I was able to change the MMSI number on the radio (second entry) and canceled my Boat US number on line. It's pretty easy to do.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
In the USA, Boat US took on the issuance of MMSI numbers for recreational boats. They did it as here in the USA, you don't have to have a radio license issued by the FCC to operate a VHF as long as you are staying in USA waters or you are not communicating with foreign flagged vessels. Hence the two numbering entities....
I know this is an old message, but hoping someone will have the answer.

I'm aware that the BoatUS number can only be used for radios that will stay within US waters. However, I have never seen any indication that radios with the BoatUS (domestic US) MMSI cannot communicate with foreign flagged vessels. Could you please link a source for that information?

In the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay we get foreign flagged vessels all the time. Inability to communicate with them is a pretty serious safety deficiency.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

There are two different issues here.

The first is the MMSI number differences between a Boat U.S.-issued one and one issued by the FCC. The first type is not entered into the ITU international database and thus is not available to, e.g., foreign search-and-rescue entities.
I know of no specific prohibition to a boat with a Boat U.S. - issued MMSI communicating by voice with a foreign vessel.

HOWEVER, there is a prohibition of communicating with foreign vessels or in other countries without having two things:

1. a commercial radiotelephone Operator's Permit; and
3. a Station Lcense for the boat.

Both of these (the Permit and the License) are issued by the FCC upon application. Along with their issuance, you automatically are assigned a MMSI number, and this number should be used in your VHF, HF, AIS, etc.

So, strictly speaking, if you're off Cove Point in the Chesapeake and want to talk with a foreign-flagged LPG carrier via VHF you need to have the FCC-issued operators permit and station license.

At least that's the way I understand things.

Bill
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
There are two different issues here.

The first is the MMSI number differences between a Boat U.S.-issued one and one issued by the FCC. The first type is not entered into the ITU international database and thus is not available to, e.g., foreign search-and-rescue entities.
I know of no specific prohibition to a boat with a Boat U.S. - issued MMSI communicating by voice with a foreign vessel.

HOWEVER, there is a prohibition of communicating with foreign vessels or in other countries without having two things:

1. a commercial radiotelephone Operator's Permit; and
3. a Station Lcense for the boat.

Both of these (the Permit and the License) are issued by the FCC upon application. Along with their issuance, you automatically are assigned a MMSI number, and this number should be used in your VHF, HF, AIS, etc.

So, strictly speaking, if you're off Cove Point in the Chesapeake and want to talk with a foreign-flagged LPG carrier via VHF you need to have the FCC-issued operators permit and station license.

At least that's the way I understand things.

Bill
Bill has it correct, and you would find language about this on the application form for the radio license. However, as always, in an emergency, all bets are off and it is ok.

Having said this though, I know that US flagged boats frequently communicate with the commercial vessels, most of whom are foreign flagged, and with the occassional visitor migrating south. It hasn't been enforced.
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
...So, strictly speaking, if you're off Cove Point in the Chesapeake and want to talk with a foreign-flagged LPG carrier via VHF you need to have the FCC-issued operators permit and station license...
Let me make sure I have this straight. In the US on a voluntary recreational vessel you're allowed to have a VHF radio without a license, and register a free MMSI number from BoatUS. But with this unlicensed radio, if you see a large tanker off in the distance, you need to somehow figure out what country it is flagged in before you're allowed to make radio contact.

Can you post a link to this regulation?
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
Bill has it correct, and you would find language about this on the application form for the radio license...
It seems to me that the license application is a strange place to put a rule that applies exclusively to people who have no plans of licensing their radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
...However, as always, in an emergency, all bets are off and it is ok...
Hmmm, I would think that if you're in an emergency, then maybe you waited too long to make contact. Shouldn't the goal be to avoid emergencies by prudently making contact?
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Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Take Five,

Don't overthink this. It is what is is. Either follow the law or don't.

BTW, in my judgment -- over 50 years of sailing on the Chesapeake, 100-ton license, etc., etc. -- there is absolutely no reason to call a tanker, anyway.

Stay the hell out of their way. You can see them even if they can't see you. And, you have plenty of time to make necessary course changes to stay clear.

Bill
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