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Old 01-27-2015, 11:58 PM   #61
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I know this is an old thread. I am getting an AIS and they need my MMSI number. I got mine through BoatUs. So I am looking through my iCom M504A owner manual and it states I can only enter an MMSI number once, then after that it has to be sent back to iCom. WTF?

The reason I was going through the FCC is becuase next year I will be going to BC canada. So TF experts what now?
I'm not certain what the questions is. If you haven't already programmed the number then I'd suggest waiting until you get the FCC issues MMSI. If you already programmed it then it will require a trip back to a servicing dealer. I just had this done recently for a VHF that I bought then discovered it's AIS function was conflicting with some other stuff, so I sold the VHF. But before selling it, I took it to a dealer who cleared the MMSI for the new owner. I also had them update the firmware in another radio, and the combined bill was $50.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:48 AM   #62
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Getting an mmsi programmed into your ais unit is not too hard. You either have it programmed when you order it, or ship the unit back to be programmed, or in my case it was even easier. I bought a second hand em-trak b100 ais transponder on eBay. I contacted customer service by email with the mmsi, boat specs, name, call sign, etc. They relayed it to West Marine (original retailer). West Marine emailed me a tiny computer file to save to an SD card, I loaded the SD card into the ais unit, done.
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:16 AM   #63
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Just to be clear, as you can tell by my signature I already have a MMSI through BoatUs. I was going to get a new number from the FCC so I could use it in Canada, but I would have to get the current number cleared out of my two radios.

So how big of a deal is it to have a FCC number if I am cruising BC Canada?
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:59 PM   #64
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You can use your existing MMSI in Canada. I used my Australian MMSI in both USA and Canada.
Wikipedia article isn't great but it should clarify a few things for you.
Maritime Mobile Service Identity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:11 AM   #65
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You can use your existing MMSI in Canada. I used my Australian MMSI in both USA and Canada.
Wikipedia article isn't great but it should clarify a few things for you.
Maritime Mobile Service Identity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It's a little different here. BoatUS issues MMSI numbers for free, but they are meant for use only in US waters, and the boat owner contact info does not get placed in the international database that is used world wide. I believe this is unique to the US, and was meant to streamline the process for getting an MMSI to encourage people to use DSC and AIS. It also goes hand in hand with not requiring a Ships Station license or Operator license for use in US waters.

If you get in trouble with your BoatUS MMSI, your distress call won't be ignored. But the people responding won't know what kind of boat they are looking for, won't know your name and contact info, and won't know your emergency contacts. That puts you and them at a disadvantage.

If you can find a servicing dealer for your VHF, then can reset the MMSI. It doesn't have to be shipped back to the mfg. I had mine done locally here in Seattle and had the radio back within 48hrs.

For an AIS, it's actually pretty easy to change the MMSI. There is a program called ProAIS that every AIS device I've encountered so far uses to program it. You connect the 0183 interface to a serial port on your computer, or on some you just use a USB cable. The AIS can be configured from there. I think all the AISs that I've bought came with it on a CD.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:37 AM   #66
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It's a little different here. BoatUS issues MMSI numbers for free, but they are meant for use only in US waters, and the boat owner contact info does not get placed in the international database that is used world wide. I believe this is unique to the US, and was meant to streamline the process for getting an MMSI to encourage people to use DSC and AIS. It also goes hand in hand with not requiring a Ships Station license or Operator license for use in US waters.

If you get in trouble with your BoatUS MMSI, your distress call won't be ignored. But the people responding won't know what kind of boat they are looking for, won't know your name and contact info, and won't know your emergency contacts. That puts you and them at a disadvantage.

If you can find a servicing dealer for your VHF, then can reset the MMSI. It doesn't have to be shipped back to the mfg. I had mine done locally here in Seattle and had the radio back within 48hrs.

For an AIS, it's actually pretty easy to change the MMSI. There is a program called ProAIS that every AIS device I've encountered so far uses to program it. You connect the 0183 interface to a serial port on your computer, or on some you just use a USB cable. The AIS can be configured from there. I think all the AISs that I've bought came with it on a CD.
Ah, gotcha!

It's definitely worth the trouble to use a 'proper' MMSI rather than the crippled version.

But given there are limited MMSI numbers available to be allocated it would be smarter to have some means of upgrading the BoatUS one to an international standard.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:32 AM   #67
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...For an AIS, it's actually pretty easy to change the MMSI. There is a program called ProAIS that every AIS device I've encountered so far ...uses to program it. You connect the 0183 interface to a serial port on your computer, or on some you just use a USB cable. The AIS can be configured from there. I think all the AISs that I've bought came with it on a CD.
Huh. I use ProAIS myself too, great program, connected to my laptop with a usb cable (em-trak b100 AIS unit). I can change a number of things but the MMSI is grayed out, I can't change that one. Maybe I have a different software version. I had to the change the mmsi by loading a file I got from em-trak on an SD card.

I also use a program called AISdispatcher to upload my position when I have an internet connection through my laptop when there's no VHF-based receiver in range (which is almost always the case in South Dakota, but then I'm gearing up the boat and my skills for later trips elsewhere, I don't really need any nav electronics where we are now).
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:58 PM   #68
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Huh. I use ProAIS myself too, great program, connected to my laptop with a usb cable (em-trak b100 AIS unit). I can change a number of things but the MMSI is grayed out, I can't change that one. Maybe I have a different software version.
Sorry, I left out an important detail. There are two versions of ProAIS kicking around. One is for the US and the other is for everywhere else in the world where people are considered adults. Only the non-us version will let you change the MMSI. I think the first Raymarine AIS I had came with both versions. I'll bet if you google around you can find the one that works completely.
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:05 AM   #69
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Ah, yep, that would make sense.
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Old 04-19-2020, 10:25 PM   #70
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Getting an MMSI from the FCC

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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
Just to be clear, as you can tell by my signature I already have a MMSI through BoatUs. I was going to get a new number from the FCC so I could use it in Canada, but I would have to get the current number cleared out of my two radios.

So how big of a deal is it to have a FCC number if I am cruising BC Canada?
1) Go to: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do
2) Request an FRN.
3) Go to the license form and request a new ship station license.
4) Enter the information.
5) Make sure you request an MMSI number.
6) Submit the request.
7) Pay the fee ($65 last time I did it).
8) Wait until your request is approved, which only takes about a week for a US citizen or Green Card holder.
9) Install your MMSI number into your system, which may require a trip to a factory tech if it's already been programmed.
10) The advantage of having a ship station license is that you need one to use a VHF transceiver outside US waters, to contact foreign-flagged vessels, or to contact non-US shore stations. You will also require at least a restricted radio operator's license. This is also required for using an MF/HF marine transceiver at any time. The FCC won't send its black helicopters or Predator Drones after you if you break these rules, but you may incur a hefty fine and/or be denied the right to apply for a license if you get caught.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:06 PM   #71
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Getting an MMSI from the FCC

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Follow these instructions and you will have a MMSI in a few days. I filed online on Friday and had a number by Monday.


Steps to Filing an Application for a new Ship Station license:

Log in to https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and Password

If you do not know the password, click on the Contact Tech Support link, and then click the Reset Password button to follow the prompts for resetting the password.

If you do not have an FRN, you will need to register for one here: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/regEntityType.do

Note: If you are taken to the My Applications page after logging in, click My Licenses to begin the steps below
Please refer to the online ?Help files or Common Questions if you need assistance with the application.

1. On the left side of the screen, click Apply for a New License
2. From the drop down box, select the Radio Service for the new license - Choose SA or SB- Ship
3. Click Continue to navigate through the application
4. Sign your application and click Submit Application by typing your first and last name in the name fields you have signed
your application
5. ULS will calculate the fees. Fees for online filing MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing.
6. Click the Continue For Payment Options button to choose the method of payment.

Further information regarding Ship Station licenses can be found at http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=ship_stations

If you have any further questions, or need additional information, submit a request through http://esupport.fcc.gov or call the FCC Licensing Support Center at 877-480-3201.

Sincerely,

FCC Licensing Support Center

If you are going to operate a VHF transceiver outside US Waters, contact a foreign-flagged vessel, or communicate with non-US shore stations, you're also required to have at least a Restricted Radiotelephone operator's license.
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