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post #21 of 34 Old 04-19-2011
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Thanks for your help. In addition to the Marine SSB License, I also have a General Class Ham license- Just keeping track of all the expiration dates give me a hard time.

After figuring out what license you need, then try to figure out what channel is legal as even Canada and US have different freq allocations on VHF.
Industry Canada has 'dumbed down' VHF in the maritime service so that we do not need to worry [much] about frequency allocations. All radios legally able to be used in Canada have an International / USA / Canada switch on them that automatically makes sure the proper frequencies are used in each location. The only thing left as an exercise for the operator is to consult the table (RIC-13) to find a suitable channel to use for the purpose of the communication. I suspect you have the same thing for VHF in the USA.

You bring up an interesting question though... the HAM licence is way more in-depth and more difficult to obtain; However, I'm not sure if a local or foreign licence qualifies an operator to use the Maritime (or avionics) service in Canada. I'll go look it up and let you know.
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post #22 of 34 Old 04-19-2011
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Industry Canada has 'dumbed down' VHF in the maritime service so that we do not need to worry [much] about frequency allocations. All radios legally able to be used in Canada have an International / USA / Canada switch on them that automatically makes sure the proper frequencies are used in each location. The only thing left as an exercise for the operator is to consult the table (RIC-13) to find a suitable channel to use for the purpose of the communication. I suspect you have the same thing for VHF in the USA.

You bring up an interesting question though... the HAM licence is way more in-depth and more difficult to obtain; However, I'm not sure if a local or foreign licence qualifies an operator to use the Maritime (or avionics) service in Canada. I'll go look it up and let you know.
Here in US Ham and Marine SSB are totally separate. It is illegal to use a ham type radio on marine bands (I have a ham radio that can transmit on all freq 1.8-30 Mghz. To use Marine SSB I have an Icom Marine radio that is legally unlocked to also transmit on Ham bands (that way I use the one boat SSB for both marine and Ham). The marine SSB license is a matter of filling out a form and paying money. The Ham license you need to take a theory test.
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post #23 of 34 Old 04-19-2011
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It would appear that the Canadian HAM licence does not cover marine VHF frequencies and therefore would not cover usage of the marine service. This would also apply to foreign users as well, since your HAM radio licence
A quick look at the FCC frequencies for 2M and 1.25M bands and they also do not cover the marine VHF frequencies, so your HAM licence will not suffice.

You will definitely need whatever FCC offers to cover the marine VHF bands.
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post #24 of 34 Old 04-19-2011
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I don't know whether Canada has the same access to a free MMSI number as the US, but be careful, as i do not believe the free US number is valid outside US waters. You have to pay to get an internationally recognized number, which I have. AFAIK, you can only program a MMSI number once, so you can't change your mind.


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post #25 of 34 Old 04-19-2011
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In Canada, we have free MMSI numbers. They are internationally designated;
Canadian MMSI's begin with 316 followed by 6 digits.
Fleet vessels have a preceding 0, so Canadian fleet vessels are 0316 followed by 5 digits.
Coast Guard vessels are preceded by 00, so Canadian CG vessels are 00316 followed by 4 digits.

My book was last revised in 2007, and it lists USA codes as 303, 338, 366, 367, 368, 369 and should follow the same convention.

As for reprogramming, that is dependent on the radio. The Icom IC-M302 allows the MMSI to be entered twice. However, I believe (I recall it being mentioned in my course years ago) that you can contact the manufacturer to have it reset.
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post #26 of 34 Old 04-19-2011
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Re: do we need it.
I would say, the bigger is the body of water, the less we need VHF.
Around here (Big NY harbour, NJ and NY coast) you kinda need it. A lot of traffic plus in some cases, opening bridges, tugs and barges with different schedules etc.
And, I believe, the state of NJ requires it. And all the local cops can give you a ticket regardless the CG requirements (towing, passengers for hire or big cargo) if their state and or city requires VHF.
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post #27 of 34 Old 04-20-2011 Thread Starter
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Well I took the exam last night and passed so I now have my VHF DSC Restricted Operators License Marine. Exam consisted of 60 multiple choice questions and 3 oral questions ie. give example of a safety call and sound out the phonetics for a few words. Cost to take the 3 day course is $95. This is in Canada. My VHF radio is not DSC so I will likely be hunting around for a Class D DSC radio in the near future and will get a station license.
Thanks all for the comments
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post #28 of 34 Old 04-20-2011
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Congratulations weephee.
My wife is taking her exam tonight in Toronto for $75cad and with fingers crossed she'll have the same result.

We turn to Radioworld : Amateur & Ham Radio GPS Chartplotters Fishfinders VHF Marine SSB radios Shortwave Radio Scanners CB GMRS Toronto Ontario Canada for our radio needs. It's located nearby so it's easy for us, I don't know if they ship, but their prices seem to be pretty good. Their staff seem to be all HAM radio operators which means lots of good knowledge if you need to call them up. I have no affiliation with them of any kind but can recommend them as a customer.

Also, if you are a Canadian Power Squadron member, which I think you are if you just finished your ROC-M, then you get discounts on Icom equipment. Sometimes to the tune of $50+ off.
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post #29 of 34 Old 04-20-2011
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In Canada, we have free MMSI numbers. They are internationally designated;.....
That just makes sense for safety sake. I'm sure some greedy bureaucrat in the US got us started down the road to paying for these.

On the other hand, we can get free chart downloads, which is also a safety issue. Just no consistency.


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post #30 of 34 Old 04-20-2011 Thread Starter
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VHF Radio License

Thanks Jordan. For a small price I can give your wife all the questions LOL I come to Toronto all the time so I'll pop in and see what they have. Good luck to your wife
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