How to register a marine VHF radio

How to Register a Marine VHF Radio

Marine VHF radio is a global system of two-way wireless radio system, on ships and watercraft used for bidirectional voice communication. Using FM channels in the very high frequency (VHF) radio band. Its frequency range is between 156 and 174 MHz. You can use Marine VHF radio on all large ships and most seagoing small craft. You can also utilize it with a slightly different directive, on rivers and lakes.

Extremely high rotation (VHF) is the ITU nomenclature for the range of radiofrequency electromagnetic vibration (radio ripple) from 30 to 300 MHz (MHz) combined with a length of ten meters to one meter.

Broadcasting power ranges are between 1 and 25 watts, giving an utmost range of up to about 60 nautical miles (111 km) between aerials mounted on tall ships and hills, and 5 nautical miles (9 km; 6 mi) between antennae mounted on small boats at sea level.

What is DSC?

DSC's principal aim is distress warning. Pressing a button, users can transmit a pre-configured distress message to emergency personnel and other DSC-equipped boats in range.

The digital signal is sent over channel 70 and contains relevant information about the ship, its Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, owner details, and essential contact information. When a DSC radio is linked to a GPS, the Mayday involves the boat's location.

The communication takes about one-third of a second and is mechanically repeated until a rescue authority answers. Since the signal is digital, it has a better chance of getting through in rough conditions than a voice call.

A DSC communication includes the priority of the call (distress, urgency, safety, routine), who the request is being sent to (all ships or a specific ship/station), and the transmitting boat's identity, location, and nature of distress.

DSC also permits sailors to employ their VHF radios like a cell phone for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore connections, without trespassing with VHF hailing traffic and without the margins and cost of cell coverage.

What is an MMSI number?

All boats plying on the high seas are assigned one nine-digit MMSI for all onboard apparatus capable of transmitting and receiving digital signals. It includes EPIRBs, AIS transponders, DSC-capable VHFs, all INMARSAT satellite terminals, etc.-and that number acts as an identifier for the boat.

Once a boat owner registers the vessel with the proper agency (the Federal Communications Commission in the US), the boat's emergency contact information is connected to the MMSI number, which is then planned into the onboard electronics.

When a distress call is transmitted, the MMSI is integrated into the message, giving release and emergency personnel exact details of the boat.

How to Register a Marine VHF Radio

How do I get an MMSI number?

For exciting boat sailing in US waters, boat owners can gain an MMSI through the FCC (888-225-5322, www.fcc.gov) or another approved agency. It includes as Boat US (800/563-1536, www.boatus.com/mmsi/), or the US Power Squadrons www.usps.org/php/mmsi_new/), radios registered through Sea Tow can still manage throughout its website (Sea Tow (800-4SEATOW, www.seatow.com/tools-and-education/mmsi).

However, all US-flagged commercial boats and recreational boats operating in international waters must acquire their MMSI license directly from the FCC. You can start the process online by filing FCC Forms 159 (www.fcc.gov/formpage.html#159) and 605 (www.fcc.gov/formpage.html#605).

VHF Radio License Basics (US)

If you are leaving US waters (including Canada and Mexico), you will require several FCC licenses, which are no longer necessary till you reside in US territorial waters. Those licenses cover VHF marine radio transmitting tools onboard your vessel as well as the operators of that equipment.

It is easier to attain these licenses online at www.fcc.gov. Be careful; mistakes can affect in denial of the permit without returning the fee, and the forms and prices are subject to change.

You know that there are usually two types of Marine VHF radios used. Registration is required for both types of radios. You can install any type of radio as per your requirement.

Follow these steps:

Step 01

Go to www.fcc.gov and gain an FRN number by registering through the CORES system. You will get notification of the amount by e-mail and perhaps in the mail.

Make sure to maintain track of this number as you will require it for any extra licenses, renovations, and changes of address in the future. It's very tricky to get a new number as it is fixed to your social security number.

Step 02

Find FORM 605 and think all the 100 plus entries sincerely. Attach the accomplished form for a Ship's Station License (SSL) with the fees ($150 in 2003). This license allows a call sign for the vessel and covers VHF, radar, EPIRB, and miscellaneous other radio apparatus.

While filing, check off every piece of equipment you have, and you are thinking of buying. This will avoid additional fees and paperwork later. It stays with the vessel unless the vessel is sold. Don't forget to request your MMSI number for the GMDSS emergency systems now available on VHF radios.

Marine VHF Radio

Step 03

Please return the FORM 605 to fulfill it again for the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit (RROP) ($50 in 2003). You need to file two separate forms for the SSL and RRP.

The RRP remains with the operator (that's you) and employ you to use the equipment enclosed by the Ship's Station License, including and especially the SSB. Use your FRN number, if you contain it. Everyone on board your ship should have their RROP (and consequently their FRN number). 

Radio License Basics (US)

If you are leaving US waters (including Canada and Mexico), you will require several FCC licenses, which are no longer necessary till you reside in US territorial waters. Those licenses cover marine radio transmitting tools onboard your vessel as well as the operators of that equipment.

It is easier to attain these licenses online at www.fcc.gov. Be careful; mistakes can affect in denial of the permit without returning the fee, and the forms and prices are subject to change.

Other considerations

If you possess a ham radio or your SSB covers ham frequencies, you may listen without a license, but you may not broadcast without a permit except in an urgent situation. This license is also inside the authority of the FCC but is a bit more challenging to receive.

To transmit on the universal bands where the marine nets and free e-mail survive, you will require a General Class Ham License. You may need you to pass two written 35 question multiple-choice tests (Technician and General Class) and Morse code at a minimum speed of 5 words per minute.

Although it is necessary to study, it's not so hard if you use Gordon West's system accessible at Radio Shack.

Besides, you can take classes that will help you get the General License through classroom instruction and testing. Many local and regional HAM radio clubs present examination as well.

For extra information and testing locations near you, check www.arrl.org. And for this, you will have to file FCC Form 605 once again, but the fee was only $12 in 2003.

Your call sign will be an identifiable symbol of achievement, and it will permit you to help in emergencies such as hurricane disasters. It will also open up a whole new globe of cruiser's services like weather routing, free e-mail and phone patches, and much more. You'll even be able to appeal for a vanity call sign once you possess one.

When you get your licenses, keep in mind that everyone aboard will utilize the ship's station call sign while sending on VHF or SSB frequencies. Only the bearer of the ham radio license can apply his/her call sign, and that has to be used only on the ham radio frequencies.

Final word

From the above discussion, we can come to the view that Marine VHF radio is an essential device for those who are interested in traveling on a ship, boat, or different types of vessels. Besides, bidirectional voice communication from ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and in certain situations, ship-to-aircraft is obligatory.

These types of communication can assist us in various hazardous conditions. So, people who frequently visit or travel on ship or boat or vessels are significantly in need of Marine VHF radio for their safety and security.

There are various types of VHF radios. Among them, Amateur Radio Service (Ham Radio), Aviation Service (Air Band), Citizen's Band Radio Service (CB), Family Radio Service (FRS), General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), Marine Radio Service (Marine Band) and so on.

Each device has its individuality depending on price and quality. Some radio possesses high frequency, which can transmit information very rapidly without any hindrance. In some situations, that means, if you use the receiver within the boundary of your country, you may not need a license. But provided you want to use your device out of the border of your country, you must possess a license.

FAQ


What is a marine VHF radio?

Marine VHF radio is a global system of two-way radio sistem use on ships and watercraft. For unidirectional voice communication from ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and in certain situations ship-to-aircraft.

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