VHF Radio License - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-12-2003 Thread Starter
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VHF Radio License

I received notice from the FCC that I need to renew with instructions for renewing on line (Only the federal government can make it this complicated!). After finally completing the application, they want $200! I''ve heard since from sailor friends that a license is no longer needed. Help!
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-12-2003
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VHF Radio License

A license to send messages via a VHF radio has not been required for several years. However, one is required for to send messages via an SSB (HAM) radio.

The following is from the FCC website.

"On October 26, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82, FCC 96-421 (text, WordPerfect), eliminating the individual licensing requirement for voluntary ships operating domestically which are not required by law to carry a radio. The paragraphs below describe how the rules affect the maritime public.

WHO NEEDS A SHIP STATION LICENSE?

You do not need a license to operate a marine VHF radio, radar, or EPIRBs aboard voluntary ships operating domestically. The terms "voluntary" and "domestic" are defined below. Although a license is no longer required for these ships, you may still obtain a license (and call sign) by following the procedures outlined in Section IV.

WHICH SHIPS ARE VOLUNTARY?

The term "voluntary ships" refers to ships that are not required by law to carry a radio. Generally, this term applies to recreation or pleasure craft.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC OPERATION?

Ships are considered as operating domestically when they do not travel to foreign ports or do not transmit radio communications to foreign stations. Sailing in international waters is permitted, so long as the previous conditions are met. If you travel to a foreign port (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands) a license is required. Additionally, if you travel to a foreign port, you are required to have an operator permit as described in Section III."

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-28-2003
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VHF Radio License

I just received a letter advising me to renew my registration for my boat VHF license. At the end of a lengthy e-registration, the $200 bill came up. After researching the fee, I also discovered that registration is not needed, for voluntary use of VHF on a boat. If you do register, however, the fee is indeed $200. I just won''t register!
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-29-2003
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VHF Radio License

Ahhh, but if you have one of the fancy DSC enabled radio''s, with the GPS interface (like my ICOM M502) and wish to use that nifty distress reporting feature, you MUST have a licence.

So not only do you pay more for the radio, but it costs more in fees too!

I think DSC will be a good thing once the coverage is more universal, and I hope I never have to use the DSC feature, but I like having it all the same. Like my insurance policy... it''s a good thing to have, just another expense I could do without, but feel better with.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-30-2003
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VHF Radio License

I installed a new VHF w/DSC, interfaced with my GPS, and registered it online to obtain the ID number. Silmaril''s post is the first I''ve heard that DSC incorporation required licensing. This doesn''t make sense to me--can anyone out there confirm or deny this assertion?

Mike
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-31-2003
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VHF Radio License

You need an MMSI to use the DSC feature of your VHF. Here is a link that has a rundown of DSC. In the past year, it seems that the FCC made an exemption for vessels under 65 feet.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/WestAdvisorDisplayView?advisor=wa_dsc.inc
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-11-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quinlanmw
I installed a new VHF w/DSC, interfaced with my GPS, and registered it online to obtain the ID number. Silmaril''s post is the first I''ve heard that DSC incorporation required licensing. This doesn''t make sense to me--can anyone out there confirm or deny this assertion?

Mike
You can get a free MMSI number from Boat US: http://www.boatus.com/mmsi/

However - if you plan to navigate to international waters or communicate with international stations, then you have to be registered with the FCC. I just went through the process and it cost $155 and its good for 10 years. This covered both my MMSI registration as well as my SSB radio. Cheap insurance policy if you ask me.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-11-2006
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The FCC licensing and registration is NOT required for a recreational vessel, carrying a VHF radio, even a DSC-capable one, in domestic waters. If you plan on contacting foreign ports with a VHF or using an SSB, then a Ship Station license and Restricted Radio Operator's license are both required.

One other clarification.... non-recreational vessels, carrying fewer than SIX passengers are classified as voluntary vessels as well IIRC.

The MMSI is required, but can be provided by BoatUS, as jgeltz has pointed out. One thing... if you do later decide that you need to get FCC-licensed, you will need to request a new MMSI number, as the BoatUS ones are not re-used by the FCC.

The Ship Station License is good for ten years, as jgeltz has pointed out. The restricted radio operator's license DOES NOT expire. It is good for your lifetime.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-11-2006
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Where do you go to register, get the license, etc?
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-12-2006
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You can register on-line, at < https://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do >

Which is their online registration site, and allows you to apply for the various licenses.
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