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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2008
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SD,

THX for clarifying.
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But with the proper license level you can use CB and SSB freqs with a ham rig.

Edit: in emergency only , thanks for the clarification btrayfors
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Last edited by Sapperwhite; 03-15-2008 at 08:42 PM.
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Sap,
just what I wanted to know - think I'll just stick with the bongos!
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  #14  
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Sapper-

I believe you'd need two licenses... one for the SSB frequencies and one for the Ham and CB usage.
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Originally Posted by Sapperwhite View Post
But with the proper license level you can use CB and SSB freqs with a ham rig.
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The subject of marine SSB vs. ham (amateur radio) has been covered exhaustively on other boards, including the SSCA board.

A few pertinent facts (not opinions):

1. you cannot legally use a ham radio on marine SSB frequencies or CB or anything other than ham-allocated frequencies for which you are licensed except in an extreme (life-threatening) emergency;

2. most modern ham rigs can be made to work on virtually any HF frequency, including marine SSB frequencies (but, as noted in #1 above) it is illegal to use them there unless in an extreme emergency;

3. ham radio transceivers are also SSB, that is, they use single sideband emissions just as do marine SSB transceivers. It's just that in the common parlance, "SSB" has come to mean "marine SSB";

4. a ham license authorizes you to operate on the allocated ham bands according to the class of license you have, and nowhere else;

5. a marine radio license (station license for the boat plus an operator's license for each person operating the radio) authorizes you to use a type-accepted marine radio (not a ham radio) on the authorized marine channels only, and nowhere else;

6. modern ham rigs are often more flexible than marine rigs, having much more frequency agility and many more controls including DSP, IF shift, noise blankers, bandpass adjustments, etc., etc.; and

7. VHF and HF radios transmit signals which can be heard by many stations, including nearby boats. Satphones can contact only the person(s) called, therefore limiting their effectiveness in many emergency situations.

Now for the opinions:

1. For the far-ranging cruising sailor, many experienced sailors believe firmly that an SSB -- marine or ham -- is an essential piece of equipment; and

2. A satellite phone is not an acceptable substitute, since you are limited to point-to-point communications as per #7 above.

Bill
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Last edited by btrayfors; 03-15-2008 at 06:07 PM.
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Btrayfors, correct me if I've got this wrong, but to clarify—If you have a Marine SSB license and a Ship's Station License and Restricted Radio Operator's License, as well as a Ham License, you can use the Marine SSB Radio to broadcast on Ham frequencies, as well as Marine SSB frequencies, since the SSB radio is type accepted for Marine SSB use, but you can't use a Ham Radio on Marine SSB frequencies, even if you have the appropriate licenses because the radio itself is not type accepted for Marine SSB use.
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Sat phone is to SSB/Ham radio as cell phones are to VHF radio. One is point to point telephone, the other is a true "radio".

If you have a Ham radio that can receive outside the Ham bands, provided you have a ham license, that is all you need. The radio will get all the wx stuff and you can call for help/send email/do phone patches etc on the Ham radio. One of the few advantages of an SSB would be for commercial traffic. In the Ham radio world there are always thousands of folks hovering over radios and listening, guaranteed.

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There are others here that probably have actual and good experience to answer this better than I (I am particularly interested in what Cam has to say). I have an SSB and use it, but mostly for fun.

I think that in relatively short order, satphones will become as prevalent as cell phones, and once that happens SSB will become antiquated (dare I say it). Sort of like Loran and GPS. One of the things you'll get with good reliable satphone service is Internet access. Once you have that, you have access to weather and obviously all the information you possibly can handle on any topic, not to mention actual videophone capability (it's there now with Skype). That's more than you ever can hope to have with SSB.

As to the point about "broadcasting," don't forget, with a satphone you can call 911 (literally), and the Coast Guard always answers the phone. Also, to the point someone made about there needing to be someone to answer the phone when you call, the same is true on SSB; someone needs to be listening to the channel you are broadcasting on. Granted, there are emergency channels, but users do not monitor these constantly just because they have an SSB onboard.

Another comparison to make too is VHF and cell phones. VHF still is used, but it's used a whole lot less because of cell phones. Indeed, radio the coast guard today, and the first question you get is whether you have a cell phone on board that can be used to call them or they you. That tells the whole story right there.

For the immediate time, however, satphone service all at the same time is (i) too unreliable, (ii) not fast enough for Internet, and (iii) too expensive to replace SSB just yet. But that day is coming, and with very few exceptions I bet just about everyone on this board will live to see it. Just my opinion.
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Ham general class license is now much easier to get - no code requirement. The questions are published - memorize the answers to about 300 questions and you are in. Although I have SSB on the boat, I rarely use it except for nets and communication during a rally. I use my Globalstar for e-mail and weather gribs when off-shore as it is much faster than Winlink. For safety, the SSB distress broadcast is good to use in addition to VHF DSC.
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Dog,

For marine SSB, there are only two licenses, not three. These are:

1. the ships station license; and
2. the operator's license (either restricted or higher).

The ships license is the same one used for all onboard transmitting equipment when you go foreign, or for commercial use.

The operators license comes in different flavors, from the lowest restricted license to the general license (GROL). There are several varieties, but for most people its just the Restricted License which is needed.

Yes, you can use a marine radio on the ham bands IF you have the proper ham license. The reverse is not true, however: you cannot legally use a ham radio on any band other than the ham bands even if you hold licenses for other services (marine, aircraft, etc.). Radios are "type-accepted" by the FCC for specific usage, and no ham radio is type-accepted for marine use.

The use of a non-ham radio (e.g., marine, commercial, military) on the ham bands is generally accepted practice because a licensed ham operator can build his own radio or modify other radios to work on the ham bands.

Note, however, that the reverse is not necessarily true. If you modify a type-accepted radio in most any way, it will nullify the type-acceptance for use on the originally intended band.

Plumper,

You can use a ham radio or any other radio to receive anywhere -- at least in the U.S.. But, you cannot use it to transmit anywhere except on the portions of the ham bands for which you hold a valid license.

What does this mean, in practice?

1. Anyone, licensed or not, can purchase and install a ham transceiver and can use it to listen on any band/frequency desired. This includes ham, marine, aircraft, weather fax, etc., etc.

2. You cannot use this radio to transmit, however, except on the portions of the ham bands for which you are licensed.

3. In an extreme emergency you can use any means to attract attention and call for help. You might have to fight with the FCC or other authority later on, but if it's a bonafide emergency and you have no other legitimate means of getting help, you'll likely be in a good position.

Bill
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