Topband: Legality of Circumventing Commercial Maritime ISP Services??

Herb Schoenbohm herbs at
Mon Mar 17 10:26:02 EDT 2014

Mike,  That is correct about shutting down your radio in foreign ports 
where permission to operate has not be granted.  In some countries they 
will cease the boat and thrown you in jail.  Also you may wish to 
address the proliferation of bogus call signs on sailboats such as this 
case EL0 and the ham bands are full of ZB2, ZD9, VS6, ZC4 VP2E calls 
signs used on U.S. flag vessels. Unless international maritime law has 
change recently, such usage is clearly in violation of International 
Law.  Doesn't the law on the vessel follow the flag?  Most amateur 
should know this rather than being enablers for the MM scofflaws.


Herb Schoenbohm, KV4FZ

On 3/17/2014 10:09 AM, mstangelo at wrote:
> Herb,
> I agree that one should obey the rules but you should not chastize all users because of the offenses of some.
> I used to cruise in the Bahamas in the late 1980's. The incidence of illegial opertion witnessed by me was rather low. You infer that "so many are not even legally licensed". Maybe the percentage went up but I am suprised this is so with the advent of satellite services.
> The subject of the original post concerned the Legality of Circumventing Commercial Maritime ISP Services by using Amamteur radio. The offenses you mention are in territorial waters. You cannot use Amateur radio in territorial waters unless you have a reciprocal license from that country. Is it legal to use Commerical Maritime ISP Services in territorial waters? I believe you have to use local land or cellular based services for communications from thes waters.
> Mike N2MS
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Herbert Schonbohm <herbert.schoenbohm at>
> To: topband at
> Sent: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 21:48:08 -0000 (UTC)
> Subject: Re: Topband: Legality of Circumventing Commercial Maritime ISP	Services??
> Mike,
> 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.
> Regards,
> Herb Schoenbohm, KV4FZ
> _________________
> Topband Reflector Archives -

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