Topband: Legality of Circumventing Commercial Maritime ISP Services??

Michael St. Angelo mstangelo at
Sun Mar 16 12:13:03 EDT 2014


If the traffic is limited to health and welfare informational messages to
family and friends I don't see any issue with cruisers using the ham bands.

It also depends on your interpretion of FCC Part 97.113. 

Since we now have online buy and sell and trade services does this mean that
these activities are prohibited on the Ham Bands?

The same goes with mobile operation. Is this now prohibited since we can
communicate with cellphones?

I believe it is a carryover for the days of Maritime Coastal Stations
lobbying but those stations are gone.

Mike N2MS

-----Original Message-----
From: Topband [mailto:topband-bounces at] On Behalf Of Dan White
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:49 PM
To: topband at
Subject: Topband: Legality of Circumventing Commercial Maritime ISP

Yachtsmen may be using amateur radio in order to avoid paying the fees for
more expensive maritime email systems, perhaps such as , which charges an annual vessel fee of $250. 
This is most certainly a "radio service".

Winlink on the other hand, operates under Part 97 of FCC Regulations. 
They market themselves to boat owners for maritime use. See for details.

My question is simple and legitimate. After reading FCC Part 97.113 which
deals with Prohibited Amateur Communications, the rules specifically state
routine communications are prohibited in cases where other radio services
are available. Are the yachtsmen using email servers operating within our
amateur spectrum in compliance with FCC Part 97.113?

FCC Part 97.113 a:  No amateur station shall transmit, (5)Communications, on
a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through
other radio services.

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