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Discussion Starter #1
My boat is rigged with VHF, Marine SSB, and Ham Radio (have general class license).

I want wife to be able to communicate when far off shore, but do not want to use sat phone due to cost. Are there any options? Does not look to be legal in any way to have a fixed VHF or Marine SSB to be used from your house. The only option I see is to get my wife to get a ham license ( I have a ham rig at my house) so that she can legally operate and talk with me on the boat.

Is this the only option?
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Mermaid Hunter
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ShipCom (nee AT&T high seas radio) provides ship to shore radio service at about .99/minute. Setting up an account is free. Works great.

You can also call the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300 (ham) and hope that someone on frequency with good propagation to you has a phone patch.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ShipCom (nee AT&T high seas radio) provides ship to shore radio service at about .99/minute. Setting up an account is free. Works great.

You can also call the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300 (ham) and hope that someone on frequency with good propagation to you has a phone patch.
Those are options, but what I wanted is for her to be able to just use a radio so that we can set up a sked to have routine communication. Would rather not pay .99/min or need to rely on someone to run a phone patch. Wife obtaining General Class license is only way I can see to do this. Would be nice if Marine SSB could be used, but what I read, that would not be legal.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Getting a marine radio shore station license is hard. Unlikely to happen.

Your wife getting a license would be cheapest and most flexible. Finding a local ham club and recruiting someone your wife could visit to talk to you over their radio (or the ham coming to your house) would work also.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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If you don't need to hear a voice, you can use Sailmail or Winlink with your Ham license. All I have is an SSB with a Pactor modem and use Sailmail which seems to work quite well. The price of satellite comm is way out of my sailing budget range so I make-do with the HF radio which serves to get weatherfax maps as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you don't need to hear a voice, you can use Sailmail or Winlink with your Ham license. All I have is an SSB with a Pactor modem and use Sailmail which seems to work quite well. The price of satellite comm is way out of my sailing budget range so I make-do with the HF radio which serves to get weatherfax maps as well.
I do have a pactor modem (came with the SSB) but do not currently have it hooked up. That could be an option, but then I need to use a computer on the boat- not somthing I really want to do. Plus I would miss the sound of her lovely voice when I am out on the lonely sea!
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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I do have a pactor modem (came with the SSB) but do not currently have it hooked up. That could be an option, but then I need to use a computer on the boat- not somthing I really want to do. Plus I would miss the sound of her lovely voice when I am out on the lonely sea!
It surely would be nice to be able to talk to people when out of cell phone range. The main benefit I see in having the SSB is to download weatherfax maps right to the computer. That's something I do on a set schedule every day but does require a computer. I picked up a refurbed Panasonic Toughbook for the boat. It's a power hungry bugger so I have to really watch the use time with the SSB (which is also a power hog) but it does survive well in a salt water environment, being "splashproof". It also has a "sunlight viewable" screen. I use it with C-Maps/Sailcruiser as well, mounted right up under the dodger. Don't know what I ever did before all this electronic stuff.
 

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Casey, do you have friends in a marina that is near your wife? If she does not want to get her HAM lic. then maybe she can visit your friend's boat with an SSB and use that?

If she doesn't want to leave the comfort of your own house, then a HAM lic. is the way to go.

In Canada, we need our ROC(M) to use the Maritime SSB, so in either case she'd need a lic.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Casey, do you have friends in a marina that is near your wife? If she does not want to get her HAM lic. then maybe she can visit your friend's boat with an SSB and use that?

If she doesn't want to leave the comfort of your own house, then a HAM lic. is the way to go.

In Canada, we need our ROC(M) to use the Maritime SSB, so in either case she'd need a lic.
That could be an option, but the long run maybe I will try to get her to obtain the general class Ham license. Having the rig at home would be a lot more convenient.

Here in US we also need a Marine SSB license. But it is just a matter of paying the fee and filling out some forms (operator license and boat license required for the radio). No test requred, so it is very easy to obtain. Ham radio requires a practical knowledge test and a little more difficult to obtain.
 

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You would probably be the one locked up! More than likely, though, they would seize the offending equipment, fine you into boatlessness and then cancel every FCC license you hold with extreme prejudice.

Normally, they just tell you to stop first. If you don't stop, well, what happens then is more like what I suggested above.
 

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Free amateur radio practice tests: eHam.net Ham Radio Practice Exams
Free amateur radio study guides: Study Guides

You only have to pass each test once and to get the general, there are two tests and if you can pass them both at the same exam session, you only pay one exam fee.

If you only learn enough to pass the test, you will know more than most pleasure boat radio operators and you get access to the ham bands where there is always someone listening. Maybe not where you are transmitting ;=) but there is someone listening.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Free amateur radio practice tests: eHam.net Ham Radio Practice Exams
Free amateur radio study guides: Study Guides

You only have to pass each test once and to get the general, there are two tests and if you can pass them both at the same exam session, you only pay one exam fee.

If you only learn enough to pass the test, you will know more than most pleasure boat radio operators and you get access to the ham bands where there is always someone listening. Maybe not where you are transmitting ;=) but there is someone listening.
Hey thanks for the link. I was going to do a search to see what I could find, this is it. Now to convince my wife to take and pass the exams. I took my General Class exam back in 1979 when 13 words per minute morse code was required.
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No pesky Morse code requirement anymore. I could copy 20 words a minute but I could not write that fast at the same time. I had to wait for the code speed to drop so I could get my extra. Now the code is completely gone as a requirement but still useful if you know it.

Good luck!
O'
 

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Discussion Starter #16
No pesky Morse code requirement anymore. I could copy 20 words a minute but I could not write that fast at the same time. I had to wait for the code speed to drop so I could get my extra. Now the code is completely gone as a requirement but still useful if you know it.

Good luck!
O'
Yea, I was up to the 20 wpm extra requirement and could have passed the exam with a little study, but that was in high school and my interest soon turned to girls and the ham thing went to the weigh side.

Where do you go to take the exam now? I am located an hour away from Honolulu.

BTW- just took the practice exam and only got a 67%- FAILED. A lot of the frequency alocations have changed since I got my license.
 

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Sorta funny. Although I have my ham license, I don't "use" it.

I have a couple of handhelds for my marine use. One a Yaesu FT-270, the other a Icom M72.

The Icom is easy to use for novices, the Yaesu is easy to use for me, has been hard modded and receives and transmits on any HAM frequency, marine frequency, commercial frequency, weather channels, etc. None of that is illegal BTW and all programed in for quick use.

As a plus, a HAM handheld is usually cheaper than a marine hand held. The Yaesu, I think I paid $150, the Icom $200. Both are waterproof BTW. You can easily mod them yourself or pay about $80 (or less) to have it done. The benefit, IMO, is I can tx and rx on a much wider range than holding just the ICOM. The mod was done with a solder gun and a magnifying glass cause I can't see shiet and took about five minutes.

FWIW, I had a CB license as a kid (no longer needed) and as I said have my HAM license. I'm sure that one is going the way of the CB license too (as referenced by the elimination of the Morse requirement). As a Libertarian, I'm not a big fan of Gov't regulations/requirements. Just FYI. Take if for what it's worth...
 

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Anyone know what the arrest and conviction rate if for an "illegal" use of a radio is?

The punishment?

I sure don't, be interested to know though.

BTW, for a Marine VHF, it's illegal to use it on "land". Wonder if you are standing in a foot of water, is that considered land? The dock?
 
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