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Cruisin' for a Bruisin'
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Discussion Starter #1
Two quick questions for hams. If you are FCC licensed, do you use your ham call sign, or the ship's station call sign?

If you are FCC licensed, do you even need the ship station license?

Thanks,

CS
 

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1. You use the call sign that matches the band you are using. So if you are transmitting on a Ham band, you use your Ham call sign and if you are on a Marine band, use the ship call sign.

2. You must be licensed for the band you want to use. So if you want to operate on the Marine SSB bands, you will need a station license and a restricted radio operators license from the FCC. If all you are doing is the VHF portion of the Marine bands, in the US, there is no license required for domestic use.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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You need appropriate licensing for the service in which you operate.

On the marine bands you need a ship station license (for the boat), which conveys a call sign and a Federal MMSI. The ship station license is good for 10 years between renewals. At least one person aboard should have a restricted radio operators permit (RP) for the operator. The RP is good for life. You can use your ship station license and RP anywhere in the world (consider the mind-boggling international agreements it took to make that happen!).

On the ham bands you need a ham license. Ham licenses are both a station license and an operator license in one document. You can use your ham license ON THE HAM BANDS anywhere in US territory, international waters, or in accordance with reciprocity agreements in some other countries. See International Operating

In an emergency you can use any service. An emergency means someone is at risk of dying. It does not include running short on Grey Poupon, making marina reservations, asking for weather information (unless you are in the midst of a hurricane or cyclone), or anything else that a reasonable person would consider a convenience.

The FCC licenses are issued for specific services and any given license is only good for operation in that service: marine, air, ham, GMRS, broadcast radio, broadcast TV, cell, WiFi, etc. In the US there are blanket waivers for many services including ship's radar and WiFi and the client side of cell.
 

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Beyond The Pale
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Let's get a few terms straight, before getting to the Answers:

"Hams"- Amateur Radio Operators. Certain RF Frequency _Ranges_ were set aside from the beginning for Experimentation and "Rag Chewing". When using those Frequency Ranges and Licensed as a Ham, the assigned Callsign must be used. Anonymity or encryption was never part of the Ham Culture, and Commercial activity is forbidden. Individuals are licensed based on passing an Exam, and may operate anywhere. Ham Gear is usually very adjustable, and because of the Experimental roots, all sorts of odd Modes like "SSTV", (Slow Scan Television), are permitted.

"SSB"- Single SideBand (Suppressed Carrier). A Modulation Technique that offers better range and efficiency than Amplitude or Frequency Modulation. Most commonly used on the HF Band- ~1.8 to ~30 MHz, and increasingly popular after WWII.

"Marine SSB"- As above, but on _specific_ Frequencies set aside for _Commercial_ Marine purposes. Boats are licensed; Marine SSB gear can only be used on Land under specific circumstances. Experimentation and "Rag Chewing" are discouraged. To use Marine SSB gear, one must obtain a "Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit", good for life, that doesn't require any testing, or indeed any knowledge. Marine SSB gear is simplified to the extreme, so that minimal knowledge is needed to use it, _especially_ in Emergencies.

These terms are confused and interchangeable these days. When Hams use the term "SSB", they are referring to the Technique; when Boaters use the term "SSB", they are usually referring to the Frequencies and gear set aside for Marine purposes.

Now let's get to the bits that mostly apply to the US:
The FCC keeps a loose eye on who uses what and where. They issue a "Type Acceptance" for a Transmitter or Transceiver that acknowledges that the Gear operates Legally on permitted frequencies, and that will not bother others too much off-frequency. The Reception parts aren't "Type Accepted" because simple Listening, with certain obscure exceptions, doesn't require Licensing.
There are no Transceivers that are "Type Accepted" for both Marine and Ham usage in the US. This is quite deliberate and is not likely to change anytime soon, because the FCC wishes to maintain the distinction between the two types of Services.
That doesn't mean that Ham gear can't be modified, often trivially these days, to operate anywhere in the HF Range in any Mode. It happens all the time, and one has to be really obnoxious for the FCC to take any interest. "Really Obnoxious" is becoming more common as well.
(There is a valid reason for ease of modification; it's just too complicated for a Manufacturer to customize their gear for all of the various Regulations in all of the various Countries. So the right kind of Technician with the right kind of Test Gear shouldn't find it too difficult to do it legally, and expensively.)

Most Nations have similar Regulations, but they often differ in the details. Why this is has to do with one man, and one International event.
The Man was Guglielmo Marconi, the first Ham, and the first Marine Operator, on the SS Philadelphia. The event was the sinking of the Titanic a few years later; Marconi's gear meant that there were Survivors.
Back then, Commercial and Amateur Operators walked all over each other, and it was then seen that there was a need to separate the two. Any Reception was to be encouraged, but Transmission was to be restricted. Thus the "Radio Act Of 1912" in the US, and the "International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea" in 1914, which never actually went into effect because of what happened in August of that year. WWI saw the introduction and growing importance of a third kind of Radio Operations- Military.



Now, with all of that out of the way, let's answer the questions:

"If you are FCC licensed, do you use your ham call sign, or the ship's station call sign?"
If you are using Ham Gear on the Ham Bands, you use the Ham Call sign. With direct supervision, others may use the rig. If you are using Marine Gear on the Marine Frequencies, you use the Ship's Station Call Sign. Note that during Emergencies, these distinctions melt away, on purpose. The Lessons of the Titanic were learned.

"If you are FCC licensed, do you even need the ship station license?"
Again, there are different kinds of Licenses for different purposes. The Ship's Station License is needed for the communications gear on the Marine Frequencies, on Type Accepted equipment. An Operator's Permit is required to use it. Only one Permit is required; anybody on board can share it.

If you are doing it right, you have your Ham and Marine gear separate, with the required Licenses for both. You can always use Ham Gear for listening to Marine communications, but Transmitting is prohibited.




Now I will Rant a little.
What is usually missing in these kinds of discussions is the Driving Force behind all of these distinctions for over a Century: Courtesy.
Courtesy is pretty much forgotten all too commonly. (Listen to the various Marine Nets, especially on 20 Meters.):

•Use only as much power as needed.
•Don't Hog a Frequency.
•Listen for a bit, before Transmitting.
•Don't Operate in such a way as to offend others, and this doesn't involve just use of Speech, but use of Gear as well. Don't Splatter.
•During Emergencies, stay the Hell out of the way, unless you can materially contribute.
•During "Contests", stay away from them as well, unless actively participating. "Contests" exist for reasons, especially the QRP ones. (Very Low Power.)
•Learn and abide by the applicable FCC Regulations, and when in Foreign Waters, learn those Regulations as well.
•When using Marine Gear, stay out of the Guts, unless you are a qualified and FCC certified technician. (The Rules have changed recently here.)

All of this applies, and more, if using modified Ham Gear on Marine Frequencies. This is Illegal, but common. There is only one valid reason for this- Emergencies. Having the capability, but not using it unless absolutely needed, is somewhat OK.

¬Erindipity
 

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Erindipity,

Excellent post, with clear explanations.

Thomas
KK4UHH
 

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Boat Hunter
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Erindipity just answered half a dozen questions I had in a manner that was both informative and respectful instead of the typical "go look it up" rant. Thanks for that. It is what makes forums like these valuable across a wide range of experience levels.
 
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SV Skalliwag #141
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A little off subject since the original post has been answered. If I want to request a weather map (i.e. 24 hr surface forecast) from Saildocs, which is free, using Sailmail via SSB offshore do I have to become a member of Sailmail, i.e. pay the $250.?
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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A number of good points, most duplicating my own, and some misleading statements.

Certain RF Frequency _Ranges_
Since we are dealing with vocabulary (and I love vocabulary) ranges of frequencies are called bands. Thus "the ham bands," "the marine bands," "the air bands," etc.

"Hams"- Amateur Radio Operators. Certain RF Frequency _Ranges_ were set aside from the beginning for Experimentation and "Rag Chewing".
Rag chewing (chatting) came along late in the game. The impetus and continued support for protecting radio allocations for Amateur Radio was experimentation and expanding the state of the art. There are a lot of really cool things we take for granted that came from or were supported by Amateur Radio including SSB, Pactor, even cell phones. Not every ham is pushing the edge of the envelope. There are many who simply provide a market for those who do. Stan Honey, SK Vic Poor, Jim Corenman, and Rick Muething are examples of those who have contributed to the technology that cruisers now take for granted.

Anonymity or encryption was never part of the Ham Culture, and Commercial activity is forbidden.
As I pointed out above, you must use the identification issued to you by your national government (the FCC in the US) for the service you are in which you are operating. You have to abide by the rules of the service. As Erindipity notes Amateur Radio prohibits communication in which you have a fiduciary interest. For cruisers that leads to some interesting dichotomies. You may order a pizza over a local VHF repeater or call ahead on HF for parts to repair your boat (the FCC has determined these do not constitute a fiduciary interest to you) but not call your stock broker.

"Marine SSB"- As above, but on _specific_ Frequencies set aside for _Commercial_ Marine purposes. Boats are licensed; Marine SSB gear can only be used on Land under specific circumstances. Experimentation and "Rag Chewing" are discouraged. To use Marine SSB gear, one must obtain a "Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit", good for life, that doesn't require any testing, or indeed any knowledge. Marine SSB gear is simplified to the extreme, so that minimal knowledge is needed to use it, _especially_ in Emergencies.
Vocabulary is important. In the case of marine SSB (granted the misnomer) "commercial" doesn't mean you have to be in a for-profit venture. It is a convenient label. There is no proscription on chatting or "rag chewing." There are a number of social radio nets on the marine SSB bands. I happen to think that the marine-oriented nets in the ham bands are better but the ones on the marine bands are perfectly legal.

These terms are confused and interchangeable these days. When Hams use the term "SSB", they are referring to the Technique; when Boaters use the term "SSB", they are usually referring to the Frequencies and gear set aside for Marine purposes.
Absolutely correct. Too late to fix it.

Now let's get to the bits that mostly apply to the US:
Not quite. See below.

The FCC keeps a loose eye on who uses what and where. They issue a "Type Acceptance" for a Transmitter or Transceiver that acknowledges that the Gear operates Legally on permitted frequencies, and that will not bother others too much off-frequency. The Reception parts aren't "Type Accepted" because simple Listening, with certain obscure exceptions, doesn't require Licensing.
No.

In most countries receiving is legal anywhere. In the US there are limitations on receiving cell phone communications. In the UK there are taxes on certain radio reception. In other countries there are outright proscriptions.

In the US there are also specific requirements on electronics including receivers that are tantamount to type acceptance. Look for the little label on the back or bottom of your radio, TV, etc to that effect. For most of us it makes little difference since we are so used to simply buying things off the shelf. Although must hams also buy equipment off the shelf Amateur Radio is the only service to my knowledge (outside of minor ISM applications) that allow you to build and operate your own equipment from scratch without inspection. This freedom is one of the reasons the ham bands are harmonically related.

There are no Transceivers that are "Type Accepted" for both Marine and Ham usage in the US.
This is disingenuous. There are marine MF/HF SSB(/CW/FSK/AM) type accepted radios that can be "opened" for use on the ham bands without subverting the type acceptance on the marine bands. The Icom IC-M802 is a good example.

This is quite deliberate and is not likely to change anytime soon, because the FCC wishes to maintain the distinction between the two types of Services.
Not at all. The FCC wants to ensure that all radios used in any service meet the requirements for operation in that service. Vertex for example makes a number of multi-service radios.

That doesn't mean that Ham gear can't be modified, often trivially these days, to operate anywhere in the HF Range in any Mode. It happens all the time, and one has to be really obnoxious for the FCC to take any interest. "Really Obnoxious" is becoming more common as well.
Absolutely correct. Unfortunately, while using marine, air, or military radios in the ham bands is legal using ham radios in other services is not. This is not some bureaucracy run wild. Issues of adjacent channel interference from frequency stability and signal purity on a life safety service (like marine radio) is simply not acceptable.

Your historical perspective on Marconi is a bit off the mark. Selectivity at the time was a real issue (it didn't exist) and the wideband characteristics of spark gap transmitters (remember everything was CW (Morse Code) at the time) were extreme.

"If you are FCC licensed, do you use your ham call sign, or the ship's station call sign?"
Please see my post above.

An individual may have many FCC licenses and each applies only to the relevant service: amateur, marine, air, etc.

An Operator's Permit is required to use it. Only one Permit is required; anybody on board can share it.
Also not strictly true. The RP license is not shared. The presumption is that the license holder is supervising operation. This is exactly analogous to the situation with supervised use of an Amateur Radio station.

•Don't Operate in such a way as to offend others, and this doesn't involve just use of Speech, but use of Gear as well.
Courtesy is very important, not only while operating radios but operating our boats. In that respect "gear" is quite inclusive.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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A little off subject since the original post has been answered. If I want to request a weather map (i.e. 24 hr surface forecast) from Saildocs, which is free, using Sailmail via SSB offshore do I have to become a member of Sailmail, i.e. pay the $250.?
Yes.

The Saildocs service is free. You can reach it through Winlink (free for licensed hams), Sailmail ($250US/yr), Cruisemail (about the same), and others as well as the Internet using cell phones or WiFi or cable, etc.
 

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Cruisin' for a Bruisin'
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Discussion Starter #10
Now, with all of that out of the way, let's answer the questions:

"If you are FCC licensed, do you use your ham call sign, or the ship's station call sign?"
If you are using Ham Gear on the Ham Bands, you use the Ham Call sign. With direct supervision, others may use the rig. If you are using Marine Gear on the Marine Frequencies, you use the Ship's Station Call Sign. Note that during Emergencies, these distinctions melt away, on purpose. The Lessons of the Titanic were learned.

"If you are FCC licensed, do you even need the ship station license?"
Again, there are different kinds of Licenses for different purposes. The Ship's Station License is needed for the communications gear on the Marine Frequencies, on Type Accepted equipment. An Operator's Permit is required to use it. Only one Permit is required; anybody on board can share it.


¬Erindipity
Thanks, this is how I thought it worked. I was confused by a frequency chart that seemed to imply the marine bands were included in the amateur bands. I see this is not the case.

So if I wanted to use an SSB radio to keep in contact with an onshore location, i.e., home, I would need to use the amateur frequencies and both ends would need someone with a General class license present (to use the frequencies with good DX).

I would also need a rig that was dedicated to non-marine bands since a marine SSB isn't legal to transmit on amateur HF even if it had that capability.

Is that correct?

Thanks,

CS
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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So if I wanted to use an SSB radio to keep in contact with an onshore location, i.e., home, I would need to use the amateur frequencies and both ends would need someone with a General class license present (to use the frequencies with good DX).
Weeelllll. You don't need to, but getting a marine shore station license just for staying in touch would be hard. From a practical point of view an Amateur Radio license at each end is going to be a lot easier.

On your side, other than some minor regulatory matters there is nothing in the ham exams you should not know anyway to be a self-sufficient cruiser. In addition, many of the maritime-related ham nets (Maritime Mobile Service Net for example) can hook you up with a phone patch to connect you to people at home who don't have a ham radio license.
 

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...

So if I wanted to use an SSB radio to keep in contact with an onshore location, i.e., home, I would need to use the amateur frequencies and both ends would need someone with a General class license present ...

CS
Exactly why I'm bribing my young niece to get her Extra Class license. She took the first step and has her Technician license. Neither of my U.S.-purchased, land-based HF radios will transmit over marine frequencies.

If you're planning on sailing outside the U.S.you'll want an Extra license to use the amateur bands with full reciprocity in most other countries.
 
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Beyond The Pale
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The problem with being concise, is the assumption that the same words mean the same things between speaker and listener. I chose not to be overly technical because the original questions were general in nature. Where terms are ambiguous, I gave general definitions. Maybe I should simply have written a book...
Somebody here, who I won't identify, chose to tear me apart on quibbles. Too bad that their quibbles are questionable...

••••••••••••
-...Certain RF Frequency _Ranges_...
"Since we are dealing with vocabulary (and I love vocabulary) ranges of frequencies are called bands. Thus "the ham bands," "the marine bands," "the air bands," etc."
••••••••••••
That was a doozy. The original wording in the the first documentation _was_ Ranges. Mainly everything above 200 Meters, near the top of what is _currently_ known as the "AM Broadcast Band". That limit got pushed up over time. Harmonically related "Ham Bands" came about much later than Marconi and his fixed frequency Commercial Stations, and no longer apply anyway; harmonically related RFI is no longer much of an issue in HF.



••••••••••••
-The FCC keeps a loose eye on who uses what and where. They issue a "Type Acceptance" for a Transmitter or Transceiver that acknowledges that the Gear operates Legally on permitted frequencies, and that will not bother others too much off-frequency. The Reception parts aren't "Type Accepted" because simple Listening, with certain obscure exceptions, doesn't require Licensing.
"No."

"In most countries receiving is legal anywhere. In the US there are limitations on receiving cell phone communications. In the UK there are taxes on certain radio reception. In other countries there are outright proscriptions."
•••••••••••
Yes, dammit. _Read_ what I said, especially that bit about "...with certain obscure exceptions...". Intercepting Cell Phone Communications _is_ obscure. I was giving historical context. There were reasons _why_ things are the way they are. Understanding those reasons makes understanding the underlying Regulations easier. As for what happens in other Countries... I will quote myself:
-•Learn and abide by the applicable FCC Regulations, and when in Foreign Waters, learn those Regulations as well.


•••••••••••
-There are no Transceivers that are "Type Accepted" for both Marine and Ham usage in the US.
"This is disingenuous. There are marine MF/HF SSB(/CW/FSK/AM) type accepted radios that can be "opened" for use on the ham bands without subverting the type acceptance on the marine bands. The Icom IC-M802 is a good example."
••••••••••
This is _not_ disingenuous and again, taken out of Context. You are _not_ permitted to "open" up for Ham use. An FCC Licensed Technician _is_ permitted, as I implied elsewhere, but the process is more involved than snipping a Diode. To maintain "Type Acceptance", the Technician must _prove_ that the original specifications aren't degraded; his professional reputation depends on it. And this makes it Expensive. It is cheaper to buy a used Ham transceiver.
I really like ICOM gear; I have three of their Transceivers. The M802 is a ducky Rig, for Marine Frequency usage. For Ham Band usage, it's a turtle, limited in ability. I just don't get this "one box" attitude; these Rigs are now smaller than a Toaster. Have both. Horses for courses.


•••••••••••
-An Operator's Permit is required to use it. Only one Permit is required; anybody on board can share it.
"Also not strictly true. The RP license is not shared. The presumption is that the license holder is supervising operation. This is exactly analogous to the situation with supervised use of an Amateur Radio station."
•••••••••••
Yup, strictly true. A good example is Ham Radio Clubs, where newbies are allowed to Operate under Direct Supervision. In Commercial Operations, say on the Marine Frequencies, (There are other Operations on other Frequencies...), there needs to be a Station License, and an Operator's Permit. The two are distinct, for a reason. Note that the Operator's Permit can cover an unlimited number of Installations, at an unlimited number of locations. Direct Supervision is _not_ required here. (I once held an Operator's Permit for a few dozen Transceivers; my main responsibilities were making sure that the Installations were done correctly, and that Maintenance was done on a regular basis, and that the paperwork was in order. I was not required to be a Nanny.)


•••••••••••
"Your historical perspective on Marconi is a bit off the mark. Selectivity at the time was a real issue (it didn't exist) and the wideband characteristics of spark gap transmitters (remember everything was CW (Morse Code) at the time) were extreme."
•••••••••••
Whoooo boy...
CW didn't stand for Morse Code, (Which wasn't Morse's Code anyway...), but for "Continuous Wave". With CW, you don't hear buzz-bi-buzz-buzz, but perhaps boop-bip-boop-boop. Most, but not all of the early Spark stations... buzzed. Quite good Selectivity existed pre-WWI, but the hash created by Spark Stations made it _relatively_ unimportant. Moderate Selectivity in a TRF Receiver sufficed. In any event, hundreds of Stations could operate at the same time in the range of frequencies then available, and experimental Voice Broadcasts by "Doc" Herrold started in 1912, using a variation of the Poulsen Arc _CW_ Transmitter, which was "Clean".
What made thousands, and then tens of thousands, simultaneous communications possible was Fleming's _Electron_ Valve, and the incredibly rapid advances in the new field of _Electronics_ that followed.


That is quite enough for now. As Fortune Cookie says: "Those who don't learn from History are doomed to repeat it, in Summer School."

The OP has since chimed in again, and they are actually paying attention.

¬Erindipity
 

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Beyond The Pale
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Thanks, this is how I thought it worked. I was confused by a frequency chart that seemed to imply the marine bands were included in the amateur bands. I see this is not the case.

So if I wanted to use an SSB radio to keep in contact with an onshore location, i.e., home, I would need to use the amateur frequencies and both ends would need someone with a General class license present (to use the frequencies with good DX).

I would also need a rig that was dedicated to non-marine bands since a marine SSB isn't legal to transmit on amateur HF even if it had that capability.

Is that correct?

Thanks,

CS
You are very welcome.
The nuances are actually clearly defined, but in obscure language.

"So if I wanted to use an SSB radio to keep in contact with an onshore location, i.e., home, I would need to use the amateur frequencies and both ends would need someone with a General class license present (to use the frequencies with good DX)."

"Keeping In Touch" using Ham HF is permitted, and even encouraged on the Ham Bands. It's part of the original Public Service intent, and many Hams will bend over backwards to assist. There is no need for landlubbers to spend time in a danky Shack; Phone Patches are allowed. Having a Licensed Ham at either end does tend to make things go easier.

Frequencies with "good DX" actually can vary on a second by second basis. This area is Totally Cool, and fits in with the underlying Experimental intent. (I'm interested in the old techniques of Diversity Transmitting and Receiving. (And don't call me "Hedley"...))

But there are limits. Asking your Stockbroker for the latest Market trends is not permitted on the Ham Bands. Use the Commercial Marine SSB Frequencies, Cellular, or Satellite communications for that. The Commercial and Marine Services were set up with Profit in mind. This is something that I absolutely have no argument with, and the modern encroachment of CB style chit-chat there... this is something that I will have nothing to do with.



"I would also need a rig that was dedicated to non-marine bands since a marine SSB isn't legal to transmit on amateur HF even if it had that capability."
This is a huge Gray Area. It is entirely possible and expensive to have one Rig do all. Why bother? Get the two cheaper and dedicated Rigs. They won't take up too much room.

To put it in starkest terms:
Your Business Life belongs on the Commercial Bands. Pay the Freight.
Your Real Life perhaps dwells amongst the Hams.

Seventy Three and Eighty Eight;


¬Erindipity
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Somebody here, who I won't identify, chose to tear me apart on quibbles. Too bad that their quibbles are questionable...
Well I'm sorry to have offended you. Since you repeated many of the points I had previously made with some new inaccuracy I felt it was appropriate to weigh back in again. I didn't feel I was tearing you apart at all, in fact there were a number of your points that I explicitly supported.

••••••••••••
-...Certain RF Frequency _Ranges_...
"Since we are dealing with vocabulary (and I love vocabulary) ranges of frequencies are called bands. Thus "the ham bands," "the marine bands," "the air bands," etc."
••••••••••••
That was a doozy. The original wording in the the first documentation _was_ Ranges. Mainly everything above 200 Meters, near the top of what is _currently_ known as the "AM Broadcast Band". That limit got pushed up over time. Harmonically related "Ham Bands" came about much later than Marconi and his fixed frequency Commercial Stations, and no longer apply anyway; harmonically related RFI is no longer much of an issue in HF.
I would be grateful for a footnote or other reference on the official use of "Ranges" as other than a convenience. Perhaps the terminology was edited in my reference documents which date back only to 1932.

My reference to the harmonic relationship of pre-WARC ham bands was historical context for the tremendous freedom that hams have for construction and experimentation. I agree with you that harmonically related RFI is rarely an issue.

••••••••••••
-The FCC keeps a loose eye on who uses what and where. They issue a "Type Acceptance" for a Transmitter or Transceiver that acknowledges that the Gear operates Legally on permitted frequencies, and that will not bother others too much off-frequency. The Reception parts aren't "Type Accepted" because simple Listening, with certain obscure exceptions, doesn't require Licensing.
"No."

"In most countries receiving is legal anywhere. In the US there are limitations on receiving cell phone communications. In the UK there are taxes on certain radio reception. In other countries there are outright proscriptions."
•••••••••••
Yes, dammit. _Read_ what I said, especially that bit about "...with certain obscure exceptions...". Intercepting Cell Phone Communications _is_ obscure. I was giving historical context. There were reasons _why_ things are the way they are. Understanding those reasons makes understanding the underlying Regulations easier. As for what happens in other Countries... I will quote myself:
-•Learn and abide by the applicable FCC Regulations, and when in Foreign Waters, learn those Regulations as well.
Ignoring the transition from Type Acceptance to Certification or a Declaration of Conformity (hardly a quibble but I didn't poke a stick at that) I was attempting to make several points that I clearly failed to make. First the rules vary from country to country which is important to a community that while dominated by Americans is quite international and which has members who sail in many places.

I suggest that the proscription on receiving cell phone transmissions is hardly obscure (although breaking that law has been difficult and expensive since the demise of AMPS). Now the National Radio Quiet Zone is obscure. *grin*

I was also taking exception to your statement that there is no certification of receivers and pointed to the labeling on many electronic devices including radio receivers, television sets, computers, microwave ovens (technically transmitters) and more.

•••••••••••
-There are no Transceivers that are "Type Accepted" for both Marine and Ham usage in the US.
"This is disingenuous. There are marine MF/HF SSB(/CW/FSK/AM) type accepted radios that can be "opened" for use on the ham bands without subverting the type acceptance on the marine bands. The Icom IC-M802 is a good example."
••••••••••
This is _not_ disingenuous and again, taken out of Context. You are _not_ permitted to "open" up for Ham use. An FCC Licensed Technician _is_ permitted, as I implied elsewhere, but the process is more involved than snipping a Diode. To maintain "Type Acceptance", the Technician must _prove_ that the original specifications aren't degraded; his professional reputation depends on it. And this makes it Expensive. It is cheaper to buy a used Ham transceiver.
I really like ICOM gear; I have three of their Transceivers. The M802 is a ducky Rig, for Marine Frequency usage. For Ham Band usage, it's a turtle, limited in ability. I just don't get this "one box" attitude; these Rigs are now smaller than a Toaster. Have both. Horses for courses.
With the advent of microprocessor controlled radios sold internationally with somewhat different functionality the "snip a diode" approach or--in the case of newer radios like the M802--front panel control greatly eased the standard of proof that operation to specification in the certified service was not affected by a modification. I can't lay my hands on the FCC position paper on the subject at the moment so we'll have to agree to disagree on the matter until I can put a footnote on the reference.

•••••••••••
-An Operator's Permit is required to use it. Only one Permit is required; anybody on board can share it.
"Also not strictly true. The RP license is not shared. The presumption is that the license holder is supervising operation. This is exactly analogous to the situation with supervised use of an Amateur Radio station."
•••••••••••
Yup, strictly true. A good example is Ham Radio Clubs, where newbies are allowed to Operate under Direct Supervision. In Commercial Operations, say on the Marine Frequencies, (There are other Operations on other Frequencies...), there needs to be a Station License, and an Operator's Permit. The two are distinct, for a reason. Note that the Operator's Permit can cover an unlimited number of Installations, at an unlimited number of locations. Direct Supervision is _not_ required here. (I once held an Operator's Permit for a few dozen Transceivers; my main responsibilities were making sure that the Installations were done correctly, and that Maintenance was done on a regular basis, and that the paperwork was in order. I was not required to be a Nanny.)
I infer your cited experience was in broadcast. I don't believe that applies in the marine service. The restricted radio operators permit (RP) is supposed to be held by a present operator. It is certainly not shared, it is entirely the authority for the licensee. Now that doesn't mean that other people can't use the radio. They can, just as they can in the amateur radio service, when supervised. I will also strongly agree that the application of a license with no exam is silly but there are many silly laws and regulations. They are what they are.

I will also agree that in practice the presence of the RP holder is not something that is likely to be enforced against a recreational boater. You will note however that in the Merchant Service (to which marine radio service law and regulations apply) all deck officers have an RP. There is a similar requirement in the aeronautical service.

I chose to get an RP for my wife for Valentine's Day one year. She wasn't amused. Fortunately there were flowers and chocolate as well.

I will say that I have never despite a great many entries and exits to a wide range of countries and a lot of operating been asked to see any radio license. I know people look up my ham license on QRZ.com but that is not enforcement related. I suspect that the chances of getting a speeding ticket for driving 2 mph over the speed limit are higher than an enforcement action (outside amateur radio service which is quite self regulating) for not having radio licenses for recreational boating in order.

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"Your historical perspective on Marconi is a bit off the mark. Selectivity at the time was a real issue (it didn't exist) and the wideband characteristics of spark gap transmitters (remember everything was CW (Morse Code) at the time) were extreme."
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Whoooo boy...
CW didn't stand for Morse Code, (Which wasn't Morse's Code anyway...), but for "Continuous Wave". With CW, you don't hear buzz-bi-buzz-buzz, but perhaps boop-bip-boop-boop. Most, but not all of the early Spark stations... buzzed. Quite good Selectivity existed pre-WWI, but the hash created by Spark Stations made it _relatively_ unimportant. Moderate Selectivity in a TRF Receiver sufficed. In any event, hundreds of Stations could operate at the same time in the range of frequencies then available, and experimental Voice Broadcasts by "Doc" Herrold started in 1912, using a variation of the Poulsen Arc _CW_ Transmitter, which was "Clean".
What made thousands, and then tens of thousands, simultaneous communications possible was Fleming's _Electron_ Valve, and the incredibly rapid advances in the new field of _Electronics_ that followed.
Of course CW isn't Morse Code. I was taking a short cut for those in the cheap seats. *grin* Equating them is like the inappropriate equating of the term "SSB" for marine MF/HF bands, even when using CW or FSK on those bands. "Please fax this manifest to the home office on the SSB." Ha!

I suspect however that you have a better grip on some of the historical details of radio than I. I detect some usage patterns that make me think of RTTY using Model 33 teletypes (I had one but I was 15) and perhaps a license history that includes license exams that required drawing circuits (did that) and short essays (heard about that).

I don't think we are actually that far apart. Ultimately we both intend to help others, and I believe we both want to have our facts straight. We all take shortcuts in communication and which are "okay" and which are "wrong" is a judgment call.

I ask you to take on faith that I bear no personal animus and am only motivated to get good information out to the cruising community. I know I have a tendency to be pedantic. Ask me what time it is and before I tell you how to build a watch I will talk about mining the ore and machining an appropriate timing crystal.

Once again I meant no offense and apologize for that taken.

Now if you would like to open a summer school we could work together on that. *grin*
 

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Beyond The Pale
Joined
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300 Posts
What's your ham call Erindipidy?

In my Youth, I operated as WB6VXS. That License has since been reassigned, long ago.
I'm just getting back in again. Things have changed since the era of used Heathkit SB101's, and EICO 753's...

This doesn't mean that I was out of touch for all of that time, as far as concerning the Evolved Technology... I spent three decades working on that Evolution- It was part of my Jobs.
I know more about using RCA/Eimac 4648s and Varian Ku Band Klystrons in Accelerator Service, than is reasonable for a sane person to be concerned with.
Now, it is simply again- A Hobby.


If I wanted to post my current Callsign, I wouldn't go by "Erindipity" here.
Sorry, no offense meant... but why do you ask?

¬Erindipity
 

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Mermaid Hunter
Joined
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5,689 Posts
The restricted radio operators permit (RP) is supposed to be held by a present operator. It is certainly not shared, it is entirely the authority for the licensee. Now that doesn't mean that other people can't use the radio. They can, just as they can in the amateur radio service, when supervised. I will also strongly agree that the application of a license with no exam is silly but there are many silly laws and regulations. They are what they are.
I came across substantiation for my statement in Part 80 of the FCC Rules:

“WHO NEEDS A RESTRICTED RADIOTELEPHONE OPERATOR PERMIT? At least one person holding a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit is required aboard stations in the maritime and aviation services when: 1) Making international flights, voyages, or communications; 2) using frequencies under 30 MHz; 3) using a satellite ship earth station, or 4) operating a vessel subject to the Bridge to Bridge Act (including domestic operation).”
Please note the requirement for a licensed person to be *aboard* in the maritime and aviation services. This is different than in broadcast and land mobile services.

I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for the FCC position paper on what constitutes a modification that subverts certification or a declaration of conformance. I have a copy somewhere.
 

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Registered
Joined
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52 Posts
Originally Posted by brokesailor
A little off subject since the original post has been answered. If I want to request a weather map (i.e. 24 hr surface forecast) from Saildocs, which is free, using Sailmail via SSB offshore do I have to become a member of Sailmail, i.e. pay the $250.?
Yes.

The Saildocs service is free. You can reach it through Winlink (free for licensed hams), Sailmail ($250US/yr), Cruisemail (about the same), and others as well as the Internet using cell phones or WiFi or cable, etc.
To clarify, no, you don't need to become a member of Sailmail to use Saildocs. As SVAuspicious said, you can access Saildocs in many ways, and the service is free.
 
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