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Old 10-14-2013
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Vhf/ham

We want to start cruising but are confused about what is required for a radio aboard. We know we don't need a license for our VHF in US waters but one we leave the US we have to have a FCC license. If we get a HAM license does that cover us for our VHF???
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Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Vhf/ham

An amature liscense (Ham) entitles you you to use a wide spread of frequencies
, but puts the responsibility for proper and legal operation squarely on your shoulders.
Ham operators have access to many more vhf frequencies than a sailor does. As well as many transmission modes CW, voice, several digital modes including packet, and some
limited access to satalite frequencies (my info may be out of date).
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Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Vhf/ham

An amateur radio license entitles you to operate with designated bands VHF being one. Ham operators are not authorized to operate in the maritime portion of that band. With that said you are authorized to operate in the maritime band with a properly approved marine VHF radio on the specified maritime channels.

here is a link that can help with more specific questions:
U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center


Good Luck in your travels
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Re: Vhf/ham

Desert Rat,
Thanks for the reply but it doesn't quite answer my question.
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Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Vhf/ham

There are basically three radios, all with different licensing requirements:

Marine VHF Radio: 25-50 mile range.
HAM Radio: Long range
Marine HF Radio (often called a SSB radio by sailors): Long range

HAM and Marine HF radios are very similar in many ways, but use different, non-overlapping, frequencies and have different legal requirements.

Details on licensing here: Offshore Store - Marine Radio Licensing
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Re: Vhf/ham

Forgot to add: HAM license does not grant special priveledges to use your Marine VHF Frequencies overseas. Generally, it does not even grant the right to use HAM frequencies overseas, there are some exceptions.

For details on HAM use requlations by country see: Worldwide Information on Licensing for Radio Amateurs by OH2MCN
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Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Vhf/ham

As far as I understand the short story of this is (have had it explained many times but still don't really get it), if you are a ham operator you can't use marine band and if you're not a ham you have to use marine band.

So best is to be a ham operator because then you can say "Now I am" when you need to and "Now I'm not" when you need to.

I have an Icom SSB on my boat that is open on all frequencies. As long as I only broadcast on the marine ones, no-one will have anything to say. So then Joe Bloggs comes aboard with a ham registration (call sign) and he can use the same radio on any frequency he wants but not the ones I use (marine band).

Assuming the above statement is correct, how dumb is that?
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Re: Vhf/ham

Thanks for your input.

It seem that all things that come out of Washington are convoluted and, seemingly, intentionally, obtuse thereby creating jobs for overpaid, undereducated drones. O.K., so that's my political statement for today.

Again thanks for your input.
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Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Vhf/ham

If using a marine radio overseas, you need a ship station licence from the FCC. This does not require any testing but a fee. I believe you would also be required to apply for a radiotelephone operator license. These give you authorization to have and operate your maritime radio equipment outside the US. Very select on the frequencies you can operate. Having a ham licence allows you to operate on the ham bands only but gives you many more people to talk to while in the world. With a ham license in another country, you may be able to apply for a temporary permit while in that country. Either way, whether it is marine or ham, to operate in another country on those respective bands, a licence is needed.

I hope this helps answer your question.
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Re: Vhf/ham

Hi PAULCR1,

It is a confusing mess sometimes, but just remember, two different radio systems (Marine & Ham) with different requirements. And one license has no effect on the rights granted by the other license.

First the Marine side of it. To operate a VHF and SSB marine radios in international waters you need two licenses. First there is a Ship License. For this one, you can register your VHF, SSB, and obtain a MMSI number that will appear in the USCG database. This license will assign your call sign to your boat and is not transferable. Then, as an individual, you will also need a Restricted Radio Operators (RRO) license. Both licenses are obtained by just completing a form and paying a fee.

On the ham side, you must test to obtain the right to broadcast on the allotted bands. For the most part, if you are looking at a radio like an ICOM M802, you will need to obtain a general license, which means two tests. But with a little studying, neither is hard. If you have an 802, I would encourage you to get this license.
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