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  #1  
Old 05-06-2014
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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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  #2  
Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Check out ARRL, and other ham organizations (local if possible), they will give you excellent information about a cheap starter base station.
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Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Congrats on passing tech. I operated a mars station on the USS Carl Vinson Cvan 70. Back in the 80 's and yes there is always someone somewhere monitering ham radio

http://ac6v.com/nets.htm
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Last edited by newhaul; 05-07-2014 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Congratulations.

If you have your RROP get you licenses consolidated under a single FCC FRN. When you do get a boat use the same FRN for your ship station license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
So I just passed my Tech exam and should get my call sign in a few days.
For meaningful utility you should get your General class license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
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.
All correct with one caveat. Unlocking a marine radio that does not result in any change to the type-accepted radio (like the front panel unlock code for an Icom M802) is not, to my knowledge, even technically against the rules.

Modifying a ham radio for use on marine frequencies is indeed illegal and as you say means using a radio that does not mean the standards for marine operation. I'm not aware of fines or confiscations although such are possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
There is all kind of info about nets, packet radio, email, weather, position locating etc that I'm just learning about.
For nets both ham and marine see Gary Jensen's list: SSB Nets & Frequencies

Note that there is a lot of technology overlap. For example packet radio, especially APRS, and AIS have a lot in common. Ham radiofax and weather fax are the same technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
It would be great of someone could recommend a book or write a FAQ.
It is a big subject.
You might check your local library for copies of the ARRL Operating Manual and the ARRL Radio Handbook. Check with your local radio club (probably where you took your exam) for loaner copies and advice. There is a long history of outreach and support in the ham community. Some clubs even have loaner radios for new licensees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
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.
There are lots of good radios on the used market. See the forum and reviews of radios on eHam.net Home - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community Site . eBay is a good place to start shopping.

73 es sail fast de dave KO4MI
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
All correct with one caveat. Unlocking a marine radio that does not result in any change to the type-accepted radio (like the front panel unlock code for an Icom M802) is not, to my knowledge, even technically against the rules.
That makes sense but I can't find anything definitive about that.
Apparently their is still the issue that the marine radio is dummed down enough that as a ham you may not be able to do what you want.
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Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
You can listen on any frequency you want to. YES
Anyone can transmit on marine vhf PRETTY MUCH

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. PRETTY MUCH


Some boats carry both a marine ssb radio and a ham radio. A "ham" radio can include a lot of things not related to marine SSB as well as an HF SSB 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. NO - this is totally legal. I used to sell marine SSBs and some needed unlocking and some were that way stock. This is NOT illegal.

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. MAYBE - it is technically illegal, but you would have to do something dumb to attract attention. Back in the day a certain shore station was so used to sailors using ham radios and ham radio PK-232 TNCs to connect to their SITOR service they new the right offsets for them Still, with the flexibility of modern marine SSBs no reason to take the chance anymore.

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. TRUE



Marine ssb radios are more likely to survive the salt air. The Ham radios will probably rust out after a few years. MAYBE My Kendwood TS-440 has survived a decade of marine use. It is however, not waterproof at all. Direct salt water would kill it.

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.
Look for a local ham radio club. Look at ham radio websites like QRZ and EHAM.
73 de N3HGB M/M
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Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Unlocking a marine radio that does not result in any change to the type-accepted radio (like the front panel unlock code for an Icom M802) is not, to my knowledge, even technically against the rules.
This is my understanding also. Some of the older marine HF sets could only be unlocked by opening them up and making internal modifications. That would void their type acceptance. Some of the newer radios (the 802 being the obvious example) can be unlocked with simple software setting modifications, which does not affect the type acceptance.
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Since you said you got a tech license I assume you are a US Citizen. You can not operate a marine VHF radio outside the US (e.g. Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas) without a ship station license (the same one you need for a marine SSB radio.) You also need a radiotelephone operators permit. Go to the FCC site - wireless telecommuications bureau - FCC: Wireless Services: Maritime Mobile Service: Maritime Mobile Home read... It is a well written description.

Also you should be aware - your ham license is portable - wherever you are you can operate with the permission of the host country. A marine radio license belongs to the ship - you can not get one - only the ship can get one. So it is more than just pay the fee. Your radiotelephone operators permit is also portable - it goes with you permitting you to operate a marine radio in accordance with the law.

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Last edited by svzephyr44; 05-08-2014 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 05-08-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Station license goes with the boat/airplane.
Radiotelephone operators permit goes with the person.
I can't say anyone ever looked for any of these things in all the times I have been to the Bahamas and Bermuda, but that is a small sample size.
Speaking of the Bahamas, I was impressed by their good mannered sharing of radio spectrum. They use marine VHF for *everything* and no one gets on the taxi channel to explain why some regulation means it isn't really for taxis and they can very well read War and Peace on it if they want to.
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Old 05-08-2014
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Re: The bottom line on Ham radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by svzephyr44 View Post
your ham license is portable - wherever you are you can operate.
This is not true. The United States has agreements with a goodly number of countries that allow you to operate with just your U.S. license. There are, however, countries that do not have such an agreement, and transmitting on the ham bands from inside their jurisdiction, without first getting a reciprocal operating permit from them, would be illegal. A nearby example would be the Bahamas.

Here is an ARRL web page with more information...
Reciprocal Permit FAQs

Of course, in international waters you are not in anyone's jurisdiction. In that case your U.S. license is all you need.
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