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Old 02-14-2018, 05:02 PM   #1
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fcc radio licenses

Right now, the only radio on my boat is an old VHF. I have a "restricted radiotelephone operator" license. I also still have my fcc "amateur radio license" from my sailboat days, but I have no plans to add an HF radio to my trawler. I do plan on visiting Canada in my boat.

I was in the process of applying for a "ship radio station authorization" when I noticed it came with an fcc $220 price tag. I can envision eventually adding stuff like AIS transceiver, EPIRB, and possibly MMSI/DSC. My question is, would I save fcc registration fee money by applying for several of these licenses at once? Is is better to get these licenses from BoatUS or the fcc?
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:14 PM   #2
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Get it from the FCC if you are going to Canada. Put everything that you may ever put on your boat so you donít have to reapply.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:34 PM   #3
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You could always wait until you are headed to Canada to get it. As long as you are in US waters I don't believe you need a license for VHF, AIS or Epirb.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:59 PM   #4
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There’s no fee for your amateur radio license which is separate and for you. The ships radio license covers the boat is good for 10 years. Why not get the MMSI and get the license? If you get an an EPIRB later, you have the MMSI number. The EPIRB and is registered through NOAA with no additional fee.

Edit: To be clear, the EPIRB “needs” to be registered with “NOAA” and renewed every 2 years and is free.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:39 PM   #5
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Some of your questions should be answered here: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafet...-faqs-1489.htm
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:50 PM   #6
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We just went through the same process & I wrote a blog post documenting it so I'd remember if we ever do this again. The post was for Great Loopers, but it's applicable to most all. If the old VHF already has an MMSI number programmed, the transition becomes more difficult since you cannot change an MMSI number .... we were lucky....

FCC Radio Licenses for Great Loopers


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Old 02-15-2018, 08:10 AM   #7
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We just went through the same process & I wrote a blog post documenting it...
Outstanding! Thanks very much.
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Old 02-15-2018, 12:45 PM   #8
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I do not have an FCC license or did I get my MMSI through the FCC. I have used my VHF in Canada and have heard distress calls over DSC while in Canada. No issues with contacting Canadian CG. Most folks that cruise western coast don't have an FCC license. Don't waste your money.


OK I am ready for the attacks.....
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by seattleboatguy View Post
Right now, the only radio on my boat is an old VHF. I have a "restricted radiotelephone operator" license. I also still have my fcc "amateur radio license" from my sailboat days, but I have no plans to add an HF radio to my trawler. I do plan on visiting Canada in my boat.

I was in the process of applying for a "ship radio station authorization" when I noticed it came with an fcc $220 price tag. I can envision eventually adding stuff like AIS transceiver, EPIRB, and possibly MMSI/DSC. My question is, would I save fcc registration fee money by applying for several of these licenses at once? Is is better to get these licenses from BoatUS or the fcc?
I just went through this. The standard license covers AIS and gets you an MMSI # that you can use internationally. The MMSI # you get from Boatus is not usable with AIS.

Ken
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:42 PM   #10
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I do not have an FCC license or did I get my MMSI through the FCC.
You didn't pay your fee and get your piece of paper??? Oh my God, they are probably loading Sea-Duction's coordinates into the cruise missile as we speak.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
I do not have an FCC license or did I get my MMSI through the FCC. I have used my VHF in Canada and have heard distress calls over DSC while in Canada. No issues with contacting Canadian CG. Most folks that cruise western coast don't have an FCC license. Don't waste your money.


OK I am ready for the attacks.....
There's some confusion over this. Here's the distinction:

1. Your American VHF works fine in Canada. Your DSC feature works fine in Canada. Your AIS works fine in Canada.

2. The FCC does not require (they used to) a license for marine VHF radiotelephone use in the United States. Most Americans these days don't have such a license because it's no longer needed in US waters.

3. Canada does require licensure. Through a reciprocity agreement under the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), marine VHF licenses from one country are recognized in another. If you have a US license, it's automatically recognized in Canada. Of course, if you don't have a US license, you're technically in violation if you transmit on your VHF in Canada.

4. Realistically, it's not an issue. Canadian Coast Guard and border authorities are more concerned about other legal issues than the status of your radio license. Can they enforce it? Certainly. Will they? Likely not.

5. HERE'S THE BIG DIFFERENCE: the MMSI number granted by the official FCC license is entered into the international search and rescue database. The domestic-only MMSI number, such as from BoatUS, is not. What this means is that, if you push the red DISTRESS button in Canada (or anywhere outside the USA) with a US domestic MMSI number programmed into the radio, your signal will be picked up, but authorities won't know who you are until they search an American database. Nearby vessels will get your location, etc., but it just means that official SAR agencies will have to do a bit of digging to find out who you are.

6. Another very small difference is that you can't generate a valid group MMSI number using a domestic-only MMSI. This is likely of interest only to groups such as yacht clubs or power squadron units who do group outings in Canadian waters.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:03 PM   #12
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You didn't pay your fee and get your piece of paper??? Oh my God, they are probably loading Sea-Duction's coordinates into the cruise missile as we speak.
I know right! jezzz some stuff just is way over blown......
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:09 PM   #13
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3. Canada does require licensure. Through a reciprocity agreement under the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), marine VHF licenses from one country are recognized in another. If you have a US license, it's automatically recognized in Canada. Of course, if you don't have a US license, you're technically in violation if you transmit on your VHF in Canada.
There you go... I see no way of enforcement just due to the amount of boats at least in B.C.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:55 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Sabre602;636652]There's some confusion over this.

3. Canada does require licensure. Through a reciprocity agreement under the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), marine VHF licenses from one country are recognized in another. If you have a US license, it's automatically recognized in Canada. Of course, if you don't have a US license, you're technically in violation if you transmit on your VHF in Canada.

4. Realistically, it's not an issue. Canadian Coast Guard and border authorities are more concerned about other legal issues than the status of your radio license. Can they enforce it? Certainly. Will they? Likely not."

Not any longer. Several years ago, I received a letter from Transport Canada, informing me that the radio license I had, and for which I paid an annual fee, was no longer required. I haven't heard from them again, nor have I paid again.

I do PCSC (Pleasure Craft Safety Checks). The forms no longer have a check box for radio licenses. There is still a check box for Personal ROC-M (Radio Operator's Certificate - Marine). So no chance you will get checked for your radio station license, but you may be checked for your ROC-M.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:30 AM   #15
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This thread raised my curiosity. I discovered that in Australia, you can get 2 years jail for using a VHF without a license. I`m saying nothing, but I don`t know of anyone who holds one. In fairness, I haven`t asked anyone. And as they could be "sent upriver" for 2 years, in fairness I won`t.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:40 AM   #16
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Gee whiz. Operating a VHF radio can be criminal when a cell phone is not? That's ridiculous! and so out of date. Governments need to move.

If some authority questions, just have the VHF off and say it isn't used because it's not allowed without a license, and having a VHF radio isn't required. Would that cut it?

So, how does that square with the Colregs? Sense some conflict there. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. ... Sorry, didn't monitor your distress call because using an unlicensed radio/user would be illegal, subject to jail.
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