Topband: Legality of Circumventing Commercial Maritime ISP Services??

Herbert Schonbohm herbert.schoenbohm at
Sun Mar 16 17:48:08 EDT 2014


The issue with "cruisers" using the ham bands is that so many are not 
even legally licensed or if they are have no permit to operate in the 
ports and harbors where they are visiting.  Most of the islands in the 
Eastern Caribbean do not permit third party traffic of any kind.  So the 
cruiser scofflaws falsely claim they are "Micky Mouse" to avoid 
suspicion.  Across the Caribbean island you can leave the territorial 
waters of one country and cross into the territorial waters of another.  
When you hear amateurs in the states running a marine radio service on 
any band you normally hear a litany of illegal practices.  Just listen 
to the content of the phone patches and you will quickly see this is true.

When you follow the narrative on the link below you see that EL0BF is 
not a valid amateur license but rather a pirate call.  This raises 
another issue as the sale boat "Fiesty Lady" is a U.S. Registered vessel 
under the flag and laws of the U.S.  The mere idea of just self 
assigning an amateur sounding call for your sailing experiences is 
wrong.  But in this case we have someone who is not by his own admission 
in immediate danger but rather chooses to use amateur radio as his 
communications for a trans-Atlantic crossing.  This not only places him 
in peril for not having the proper communications equipment for such a 
journey but deprives him of a vast world wide system of marine 
communications on frequencies that are monitor by other boats that may 
be only a hour away.  IMHO amateur respecting their hobby must not be 
enablers of this nonsense.


Herb Schoenbohm, KV4FZ

On 3/16/2014 12:13 PM, Michael St. Angelo wrote:
> Dan,
> 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
> Services??
> 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.
> 73,
> Dan
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