Which call sign to use

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by KM4JYB, Sep 17, 2016.

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  1. KM4JYB

    KM4JYB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I work on a ship and have thought about making use of the ship's radio to try and make some contacts while we're offshore. Two questions. Is it legal? If so, do I use the ship's call sign or my call sign? Cheers.
  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What rules are you operating under?

    If you are operating on the ham bands under part 97 rules, you need to use your ham call sign (or perhaps a ham club call sign, if that would apply, but it probably doesn't). Be aware of the rules involving operating from ships at sea. I'm not super-familiar, but I believe you've got to have permission of the captain, and if you're not in US or international waters, you should check and see if you need some sort of reciprocal permit or other paperwork with the country you'll be operating from.

    A ship's call sign gives you no privileges on the ham bands. The ham bands are not to be used for commercial purposes.

    If you are operating under any other Part of the FCC regulations, on any frequencies outside of the ham bands, then your ham call sign gives you no privileges. You need to use a call sign appropriate for the operation and frequency. I believe the ship's call sign would sometimes be appropriate for this kind of thing, but you'll need to learn and follow the applicable rules. I don't know them.
  3. KM4JYB

    KM4JYB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the information. My intention is to operate in the ham bands appropriate for my license and only within US waters, specifically the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks again. Cheers.
  4. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    FCC and international regulations state that amateurs may not use ships 'required radios and antennas' for ham ops. You must use a separate non-permanent radio. If there is an auxiliary antenna you can connect to that.

    You must comply with amateur regulations of the country the ship is registered in, AND the regulations of the country whose territorial waters it is in, if any. If in international waters, then the later does not apply. ARRL has info on ops under foreign countries.

    You must have the captains permission.

    For amateur operations under US regulations, you would always use your FCC callsign.

    Read the FCC regulations.

    Note: many hams have broken the regs and gotten away with it. That doesn't excuse breaking the rules. A vast number of hams aren't even aware of the rules for marine operations.
  5. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Example which can show the level of complexity:

    You an American ham, aboard a ship registered in Panama, in Costa Rican waters.

    You would need to comply with Panama law for obtaining reciprocal privileges or perhaps temporary license (as well as their operating regs and restrictions for frequencies, power, modes etc) AND then the exact same things for Costa Rica.

    In international waters, it is simpler since you would only have the ships' country to deal with. Sometimes it is just easier to skip operating in a third countries waters and wait till you are at sea again.
  6. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Super. Final example of applying the regs:

    -Boat is required to have 1 HF radio. It has 2 radios, with the second as a spare. In this case you may use the second radio for hamming, since it is in excess to legal requirements.
  7. N1EN

    N1EN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For whatever it's worth, the best example of operating on a DX-registered ship in different DX-territorial waters I have in my log was a contact that was signing "HP/AI5P/C6/MM" (American ham, Panamanian-registered vessel, Bahamian waters.)

    It took a little while to copy that call in CW.
    KM4SII and WU8Y like this.
  8. KM4JYB

    KM4JYB Ham Member QRZ Page

    N1EN: Although I've yet to learn the art of CW I can imagine that was quite a lot to get down on paper.
    KB4QAA: We've only have the one radio so based on everything I've read here I think it best to just save up for a good portable HF and bring it and my Buddi-Stick along with me when I come to work.

    Thanks for the information folks. 73
  9. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just curious,... will you be working on a 'Push-Boat' operating the Inter-Coastal waterways ?

    Steve / W5BIB
  10. KM4JYB

    KM4JYB Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, I've
    No, I work on offshore supply/support vessels in the gulf.

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