Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 156 Times in 153 Posts
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"Bill, are you saying that it is technically not legal to release/unlock/transmit on the ham bands on an SSB radio? "
That depends on who you are. For a civilian, with no other status, to tamper with any certified ("type approved") radio, takes that radio OUT OF APPROVAL and it then becomes illegal to use that radio in the approved service.
This is not the same thing as a ham radio operator, who is sanctioned to experiment and build and kludge together anything they please--if they use it only in the amateur radio service, and they personally become responsible for all technical compliance issues.
Unless hams have gotten especially stupid of late, they all know very well that it is illegal to modify equipment and use it willy nilly. They all know that using a modified marine radio as a ham radio, and vice versa, violates FCC regulations, which mirror international accords. We also all know that as a practical matter, the USCG has no authority to regulate these matters, only the FCC does. And since the FCC has no high seas patrol vessels, as a practical matter the FCC will ignore the matter unless a complaint is filed.
In which case they can and will attempt to find the offending vessel and start issuing fines in the four and five figure range while confiscating equipment.
Has this ever been known to happen? Probably not, but it is the law. In the 70's many commercial fishermen used Drake radios, made for the State Department and government services and sold to hams as well. They were milspec radios in every way and a real steal compared to marine gear.
And anyone who had a shortwave set could tell you which radio a fisherman was using, because the audio quality is so very different, partly because the bandwidth is different, which is partly why it was and is illegal to use the equipment in the wrong band. That creates splatter and adjacent 'channel' interference and degrades radio communications for everyone.
But with more modern equipment? "Everyone knows" that if you don't create interference, the FCC is not going to send anyone offshore looking for you. If you're in the harbor or inside territorial waters...a great deal more discretion is advised.
Somehow, you missed the memo. Memorizing the question pool and passing the exam does not qualify you for good operating practice, it only opens the door. There's lots more reading and exploring to do.
And like Bill says, this (expletive) has been discussed to death online for at least 20 years and the answers haven't changed. It is really TOO EASY to just RTFM. The regs are all published, all online, all actually written in something very close to Ynglitch.
The FCC sends out notifications of violation every week, every month, for every service. Often for four figures and even six figures. Sometimes to stores that have been openly selling modified CBs, or illegal wireless phones, or sometimes...just to ham radio operators who have been breaking the rules. They are pretty damn close to the IRS, in terms of saying "Pay up, or else."
Last edited by hellosailor; 03-18-2014 at 09:05 PM.