When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

A place to discuss all aspects of amateur radio operation.
stinkybob
New User
New User
Posts: 4
Joined: 20 Mar 2021, 02:13

When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by stinkybob »

I don't have a boat, probably will never have one, but I am interested in SAR and Raynet type things. I have a ham radio license and the ship's radio portable license with an MMSI number and all the rest of it.

My question is, why couldn't I use a simple VHF radio as opposed to a marine radio, if the HT was programmed with the marine channels and restricted to the appropriate power?

It says in the licensing waffle that "the radio equipment used shall only be used on ship frequencies and to the maximum powers and classes of emission allocated in accordance with the relevant International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations and ITU-R Recommendations within the frequency bands".

Can I assume then that I could for instance get a cheap 16 channel VHF radio without a keyboard and program the marine channels into it and that would be OK? It's impossible to change the frequency on these radios on the fly without a keyboard so I don't see why this wouldn't be acceptable.
User avatar
Metradio
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 507
Joined: 28 Apr 2016, 19:10
Call Sign: G7HID
Location: Box 500, Slough UK

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by Metradio »

Does it have the same water resistant features as a marine radio ?
Can it be operated with a gloved hand ?

Mike
Connect Systems CS750 and CS800, Hytera PD-365, Motorola DP4600.
Raspberry Pi 2 and DV4Mini HotSpot.
AOR AR-DV1 Digital Voice Receiver / eSPY on ARD V1.

Whistler WS1088 / TRX-1 / Whistler Q / UBCD3600XLT / WTR Browser.
26TM5890
Super Member
Super Member
Posts: 151
Joined: 21 Feb 2011, 22:20
Call Sign: 26TM5890

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by 26TM5890 »

Are you want to transmit? Or just RX

If RX you can use every receiver or HT with the correct frequencies

If you want to TX you will have to be on the water or in the marina with a approved HT as that's where the marine bands are for; communications between boats / marina's / coastguard and not land to land communication
President Lincoln 1st gen / Taiwan
President Grant II Premium
26mb04
Super Member
Super Member
Posts: 189
Joined: 23 Nov 2017, 20:14
Call Sign: 26DG04
Location: Democratic Peoples Republic of Devon

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by 26mb04 »

I've seen loads of Icom IC2020's re-purposed as marine VHF radios. The main problem is that marine channels are often split frequencies, so you'd need to enter the correct TX and RX for each channel. I think Marine is also wide deviation (5 kHz), although I could be wrong. As far as build quality is concerned, ex-PMR gear can be equally well made. Probably not waterproof, but no different if it's used in a cabin or something. I think if it comes to it, the coastguard would rather you have a radio of some kind than one with the correct stickers on it. There are some other technical issues to consider:

A non-marine radio won't have the all the markings that insurance companies like to see (the Wheel logo, etc). This probably won't be an issue, but worth looking into.

It probably won't have DCS, dual watch, etc.
Sent from my GP300 using DTMF
26TM5890
Super Member
Super Member
Posts: 151
Joined: 21 Feb 2011, 22:20
Call Sign: 26TM5890

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by 26TM5890 »

If used on salt water don't under estimate the salt corrosion effect on electronics not designed for it
President Lincoln 1st gen / Taiwan
President Grant II Premium
User avatar
Metradio
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 507
Joined: 28 Apr 2016, 19:10
Call Sign: G7HID
Location: Box 500, Slough UK

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by Metradio »

Forgot about the Marine Band FM deviation, it is 25Khz RX spec with 5Khz TX..

Mike
Connect Systems CS750 and CS800, Hytera PD-365, Motorola DP4600.
Raspberry Pi 2 and DV4Mini HotSpot.
AOR AR-DV1 Digital Voice Receiver / eSPY on ARD V1.

Whistler WS1088 / TRX-1 / Whistler Q / UBCD3600XLT / WTR Browser.
User avatar
LeakyFeeder
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 1990
Joined: 07 Feb 2011, 23:00
Location: In the BedWreck Cafe

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by LeakyFeeder »

Ive used alsorts of radios on marine freqs... tbh once programmed up the average commercial set is no diff to a dedicated marine radio for basic comms..save the instant 16 button... i use either an Entel or Standard Horizon set wen im in the tender...both marine sets n waterproof although they still reside in waterproof radio bags....and yes both modded to do ch0 and the 6 RNLI 'Y' boat channels.(im nosey)
User avatar
Werthers
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 718
Joined: 01 Sep 2019, 20:19
Location: Essex

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by Werthers »

I'll have to get out my old Seavoice RT 550 transceivers sometime and have a listen. The only active channel I ever received was 156.700 MHz Thames barrier in London.

I have two RT Seavoice transceivers, one wasn't working at all "salt water damage" but I got it going again by resoldering damaged tracks and replacing some components on the damaged areas of the board and its all working well now.

The other Seavoice RT 550 is in very good condition and works well.
paulears
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 893
Joined: 10 Jun 2007, 22:41
Call Sign: G4RMT
Location: North East Suffolk
Contact:

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by paulears »

In practice, marine performance varies wildly - there are still a few using ancient kit on the 50KHz spacing with very loud and distorted results - but most operators just drifted into the hold the mic a long way away mode. Business radio withe 12.5KHz/2.5KHz deviation just sounds a bit quiet, and older ham kit is pretty much the same as marine. Most business and modern ham kit fits in - and the UK standard, for example just requires equipment to meet EMC standards, so not go over the deviation standard or interfere with adjacent channels. It's common for users who do not need multiple frequencies - like the marinas and offices to use business radio.

I sell one very tough business radio to marine users. It's a little low in deviation but has plenty of receive audio volume. It's IP67 and very tough - but price wise - it offers a lot for the money. Most marine users just want simplicity so BIG LEDs chunky knobs are the thing. Ham gear with mega functions are unwanted. Most importantly - marine users have NO idea about frequencies, so they get asked to go to channel 10, and they want to see 10 in a display. 156.500MHz is useless information. Some marine radios also allow access to both of the duplex channels - so you might get a display of 37, 37A and 37B (although B is rarer) 37 probably won't be in all marine radios. It's a UK marina channel and unused in many parts - but if you need it, you need it. Another channel that causes grief is M1 - another marina channel but it is not ch1, M1 is different and non-marine radios may not be able to display the M.

The other thing is the requirement to be able to listen on 16, but you might want to listen on 14 too - so dual watch and triple watch facilities are useful - but these are not on non-marine radios.

You mentioned MMSI - handhelds with GPS, the ability to float and a big red emergency button can be got for less than 150 GBP. I sell lots to leisure boaters simply because of the safety thing. You can press the button and help will arrive. I happily use my Icom IC-32 that I bought in the 80s on marine.
stinkybob
New User
New User
Posts: 4
Joined: 20 Mar 2021, 02:13

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by stinkybob »

After looking into it a bit further I think the lowly Baofeng UV-3R might be the way to go, programmed with marine channels for mainly monitoring in a disaster or rescue situation and only ever transmitting if it's in an emergency. I'm interested in getting into SAR and Raynet and things of that sort but I'm not likely to be on boats, however I might want to know what they're up to. I've already got two perfectly good dual band handhelds for proper ham radio use so maybe a little UV3R on marine channels and PMR "just in case" might be what I'm after.

They are cheap radios, about 2 watts, no keypad, minimal complication, I think something like 99 memories and apparently even have a dedicated go-to channel which could be programmed as marine channel 16 with the rest of the memory channels programmed to correspond to whatever number they are called on a marine radio so basically I'd have a cheap marine/PMR scanner that wasn't waterproof and could still be used as a ham radio in a pinch if need be.
User avatar
Metradio
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 507
Joined: 28 Apr 2016, 19:10
Call Sign: G7HID
Location: Box 500, Slough UK

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by Metradio »

SAR and Raynet use a fair bit of DMR, though a fair bit is encrypted..

Mike
Connect Systems CS750 and CS800, Hytera PD-365, Motorola DP4600.
Raspberry Pi 2 and DV4Mini HotSpot.
AOR AR-DV1 Digital Voice Receiver / eSPY on ARD V1.

Whistler WS1088 / TRX-1 / Whistler Q / UBCD3600XLT / WTR Browser.
paulears
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 893
Joined: 10 Jun 2007, 22:41
Call Sign: G4RMT
Location: North East Suffolk
Contact:

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by paulears »

If you can stick the marine numbers into a radio so they pop up on the display, it should work fine. even better, Baofengs usually have pretty wide filters so you should not get any snags with over deviated calls. I have an old Icom H16 and it's useless on marine. Overdeviated signals just cut-out and vanish. 12.5KHz radio is fine.

I was on a boat today, using my ham radio as a check receiver and while the maths is easy on the low channels - as in 156.3 is channel 6 and 156.7 is channel 14, it gets complicated once you go above a certain channel and start using the interleaved ones - so your memory number sounds a good thing to do.
User avatar
bigpimp347
Legend
Legend
Posts: 8722
Joined: 08 Aug 2009, 10:23
Location: J26 Nottingham

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by bigpimp347 »

Marine radio is Marine radio until Werthers tells everyone to use it as CB..

but seriously, if you own a boat your advised to get a Marine licence.
if you don't own a boat you shouldn't be able to get a marine licence, like you can't have a UK general licence unless you have a reason to use UK general..

BUT if you're an Amateur you don't actually need a specific licence to use Marine or UK general......check your terms and conditions, you can use them as long as there is a genuine reason to..
Last edited by bigpimp347 on 22 Jul 2021, 12:32, edited 1 time in total.
I want to Die Asleep like my Grandad did,
Unlike his Passengers, Screaming and Shouting.!
paulears
Radio Addict
Radio Addict
Posts: 893
Joined: 10 Jun 2007, 22:41
Call Sign: G4RMT
Location: North East Suffolk
Contact:

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by paulears »

No that’s not true. Anyone, under worldwide laws can use ANY radio system without fear of prosecution in a genuine emergency, usually categorised by real or potential danger of loss of life to humans. Note this does not cover animals or property, in essence, examples where mayday would be used in marine or aviation.

I have had a marine personal licence in the uk for 20 years and a testing and demonstration marine licence for 15 years. I’ve had a ham licence since 1979. Last year I renewed my marine licence online but had a query so called OFCOM. Ah she said you need to enter the date of your exam. What exam? I had to go on a one day marine course with a visiting examiner and do the practical test. That is the rule here. Free licence, paid for test.

Oddly, Marine is a strange band. The professional mariners operate very differently, and the leisure boaters have in general no operating procedures and a superior attitude. Some behave very badly, and others simply should not be at sea. Fisherman use radio for chat, to their friends. They are very non technical and yesterday I spent the morning fixing things on a fishing vessel. I fixed the dodgy antenna, I sorted the accidental switch to US channels and hopefully fixed the low audio volume from other vessel reports. He was holding the mic down near the steering wheel so he could steer and talk with one hand. Only revealed when we went out of the harbour as in port it seemed fine.

Amateur operation in the US, as far as I can see has NO special privileges i can find. The emergency use is not something that lets you use marine band as a normal user. You need a licence. US seems the same as UK. Not sure about your exam though?
stinkybob
New User
New User
Posts: 4
Joined: 20 Mar 2021, 02:13

Re: When is a marine radio not a marine radio?

Post by stinkybob »

As far as I can tell, there's no reason why I can't just get a cheap Baofeng or even the better TYT UV-3R (both have the same model number) and program it with marine channels. I don't have a boat and I doubt if I'm ever going fishing on one either, so it's literally going to be for mostly scanner purposes unless I find any other use like going on boating holiday or something, which is fairly unlikely. Mainly it's all just to get me more acquainted with SAR and things in case I decide to move into that field in the future. As they say, there's nothing preventing me from listening.

Yes I do intend to go on the short marine radio course when I can ever find one open. A lot of them around here aren't operating at the moment so I either have to wait until they are or travel to Wales or somewhere for a couple of days to do a course. Sounds like a good reason for a holiday anyway so I don't mind.
Post Reply