Ham Radio on a Cruise

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by W7ZAA, Sep 30, 2010.

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  1. W7ZAA

    W7ZAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great find! This is exactly what I was looking for, an official ruling on what the requirements are (hence my prior email to the FCC).

    I'll get to contacting the cruise line. I do feel that that is more written to mobile/base radios (especially with the reference of adding an antenna).

    I'll let you know what I hear.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    BTW, I'm neither an expert nor a lawyer, but I've brought ham gear (and used it) on every cruise I've ever taken.:)

    Carnival did not specifically grant permission, but we took the Elation from San Pedro down the Mexican coast (8 days/7 nights -- they still run this deal) and I brought a 2m hand held as well as a small HF rig with a gel-cell battery to run it, and a clamp-on multi-band HF portable antenna (and even a keyer and paddles, headphones, etc).

    I did apply for a Mexican permit, via mail months in advance, and did receive it so I could operate while in ports there. It cost the equivalent of $90 USD and is valid for one year.

    I "found" the ship's captain after several hours (these guys can hide well) and started to ask him about approval to operate on board. He spotted my 2m hand held and introduced himself with his Italian ham call (an I3 or I4, I forgot -- it's been about five years). He knew all about ham radio and said he's active about 6-8 weeks a year when he's home -- about 40 weeks a year he's at sea, and then they vacation in Switzerland during the winters. He readily granted me permission, warning me only to stay out of everybody's way and not let wires be on the floor where someone could trip over them.

    Having the 2m hand held on every cruise as I have, I've met other hams a couple of times this way (who were on the same cruise and also had an HT).

    If you have a Mexican permit, you can use XE repeaters while you're down there. Otherwise you can only use them in international waters or once you cross into U.S. territory off the coast of San Diego.

    There's a lot more to this issue including the requirement to have a license or permit from the country of the ship's registry (since very few are actually American registry): Many are Panamanian, Bahamian or Liberian. Some are British or Norwegian. They can be anything, but it's easy to find out.

    Good luck!
  3. KF5CGM

    KF5CGM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah the flag at the end of the ship will tell you.
  4. W7ZAA

    W7ZAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I appreciate the answer, information, and personal experience.

    Since we are only in Mexico for a day, I'm not going to go through the trouble of getting a ham radio license in Mexico.

    Maybe its time to go out and buy some FRS radios...on second thought...maybe not! :eek:
  5. W7ZAA

    W7ZAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Apparently it flies the Panama flag. Yet another wrench thrown into this machine! lol
  6. W7ZAA

    W7ZAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I received a response back from Carnival. This is clearly something that they deal with a lot.

    The email states:

    "Ham radios like the picture below are not allowed. Handheld Motorola like radio's are allowed. Once you get on board the ship, you just need to check with guest services to see which frequency to use while you're on board."

    The picture they have attached below is a screenshot of hamradio.com :D with a Kenwood TS-590 (base station) radio.

    So, I guess I'm good bringing my FT-60s (as I thought I'd be). I'm interested to hear what guest services says about the frequencies I can use. :D
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    They might actually have a list. If you stick with a simplex frequency they recommend, you might find other hams aboard using the same frequency. If so, meet them for dinner and have a mini-hamfest.
  8. W7ZAA

    W7ZAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    That would be awesome! I'd be encouraged to hold nets as well. LOL :D
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Net control gets to use the upper deck, to have full ship coverage.

    Except those upper decks usually have a track and a volleyball court, so you have to be prepared to duck.
  10. WD9GYF

    WD9GYF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Seems to me, that you are going to need 3 licenses, if I read this correctly.

    If the ship is of Liberiean Registry, then you need a Liberian license, plus the Mexican one and your U.S. one.

    Seems like a big hassle , just to use it for a week.

    Just my opinion though.

    Enjoy the cruise
    Jim WD9GYF/5
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