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brokesailor 01-07-2012 07:45 AM

SSB License
"1. Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (RR) permits an individual to communicate on marine MF/HF (SSB) and internationally on marine VHF frequencies."

Would this be a Technician or a General license? If General then what does a Technician License allow you to do? I am studying for my Technician License using Ham Test On line and it seems a lot harder than I would have thought it would be. (Due to poor memory retention). Plus it seems like a lot of useless info, nothing about actually operating the radio.

btrayfors 01-07-2012 09:04 AM

"Would this be a Technician or a General license?"

Neither. The Restricted Radiotelephone Operators License is for marine SSB only, i.e., for use of a type-accepted marine SSB or VHF radio on the marine bands only. It does NOT allow you to operate on the ham bands.

To operate on the ham bands you need an amateur radio license. And, to be really useful, you need at least a General Class amateur radio license, because that will allow you to operate voice on the ham bands.

Hope you keep studying and get the ham license. Go for the General, not just the Technician (you can take both exams same day). There are lots of good resources to help you, including: books and study materials from and elsewhere, online courses, training sessions by local ham clubs, etc.

You're right about not much info on actually operating a radio. This you need to get by listening and experimenting, and maybe by a helpful ham who can give you hands-on experience. But, you do need the license first before you can transmit.

Good luck,


VetMike 01-07-2012 09:25 AM

I would also suggest the practice exams on eham ( Home - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community Site) and on the ARRL site. I agree with btrayfors; the General opens up more frequencies and modes to you and is well worth the trouble.

Minnewaska 01-07-2012 09:33 AM

As a minor technical clarification, the RR license is not strictly for marine SSB operations. It is also the license required to operate an aviation comm radio outside the USA. Within our boarders, an FAA issued pilots license permits transmission over these bands, as the training includes and tests the use of the radio.

hellosailor 01-07-2012 01:11 PM

Broke, i think you've got the radios mixed up. HAM radio and MARINE radio both use VHF and HF frequencies but they are separately licensed radio services, with totally separate rules and licenses.

If you are studying the ham online program, that's for a HAM RADIO license which has nothing to do with MARINE radios or licenses. Ham radio operators have more privileges and flexibility, because they are expected to be experimenting with gear and modifying it.

If in doubt, check the BOATSAFE.COM web site for information about marine radios and licenses, or call the FCC's licensing division toll-free to ask them what you need for your plans.

btrayfors 01-07-2012 01:49 PM


Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 814189)
As a minor technical clarification, the RR license is not strictly for marine SSB operations. It is also the license required to operate an aviation comm radio outside the USA. ....

Yes, absolutely correct. I was trying to simplify the answer and not further confuse the OP, but probably should have mentioned the aviation service as well (including both planes and aeronautical ground stations).


brokesailor 01-07-2012 02:06 PM

Boy I am really confused now. Ok here is what's on the boat:
Icom IC-M700PRO SSB radio with AT-130 automatic tuner
PACTOR modem

I just want whatever license is needed to legally use it. Is a Ham technician/general license not required?

Zanshin 01-07-2012 02:48 PM

No, a HAM license is not required. Your restricted operator's license in the USA or the LRC (long-range certificate) in much of the rest of the world is sufficient to allow transmission on these bands; then to be really legal you will also need a station license.

btrayfors 01-07-2012 03:15 PM


As Zanshin said, no, you don't need a ham license to operate this radio UNLESS you're intending to operate it on the ham bands, in which case you WOULD need one.

Be very happy that you have an excellent radio (the M700Pro/AT130 tuner). Hopefully, it's installed correctly and will give you good service for years to come. This is a marine SSB transceiver.

To use this radio on the marine bands, i.e., to transmit, you need two things:

1. a Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit (RR) -- good for life; and
2. a Station License for the boat -- good for 10 years.

Both of these can be obtained by applying to the FCC. Neither requires an exam. The present cost, I believe, is $160.

When you apply for the station license, be sure you check ALL THE BOXES, i.e., as if you had all the transmitting equipment mentioned therein (satellite, radar, EPIRB, SSB, VHF, etc.). This way, you won't have to re-apply and pay the $160 all over again when you get a new piece of gear.

Application details can be found on the FCC website, It's all a bit confusing, though, and if you want to just get these licenses and avoid the hassle, I'd get in touch with Gary at Dockside Radio (Pactor-II/III Radio Modem sales, FCC License filing, Marine SSB & HAM Radio Net schedules &amp frequencies.) and he'll do it for you for a small fee. Well worth it, in my opinion.

Finally, don't forget to study for the ham license, because when you get it you can then use the M700Pro on the ham bands as well as the marine bands. There's a lot more activity on those bands, and they're a lot of fun!


brokesailor 01-08-2012 06:34 AM

Bill: Thanks for the clarification. So I have an SSB that can also transmit on the Ham bands. I'll continue to ursue the HAM quals.

One more question: The Boat already has a Station License, I do not know if it has expired. If not, can I still use it or do I have to reapply?

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