Marine Radio Monitoring On The High Seas

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JASII

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My family and I will be going on a cruise in March 2017. We will leave the United States and have several ports of call in the Caribbean. I know that there will be marine radio communications while in or near port. However, I am just wondering if there is likely to be any VHF marine radio traffic while we are at sea?
 

mmckenna

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Likely. Since that's pretty popular territory, you'll hear something.

Back in the 90's I spent some time at sea and we'd often hear the fishing boats talking amongst each other. 16 was pretty popular for that since we were well away from anyone else. Most ships are required to monitor 16, so it becomes a common calling channel.
 

PACNWDude

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Much of my time on the water was spent monitoring radio communications. VHF Marine Channel 16 will be commonly used. Others may be specific to each port or marina. I usually carry a Standard Horizon HX370 now, which has some LMR channels for business use and is a full fledged marine CHF handheld radio.

There is always something going on during fishing season. Cruise ships will have to use marine channels, but may also have their own gear for the "hotel" portion of the vessel. The last cruise I went on, they used MotoTrbo handhelds for the hotel, casino and hospitality staff. These were UHF versions.
 

JASII

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The ship we will be going on is the Carnival Vista. I gather from looking around on-line that there is a very good chance that they are using ship board repeaters with outputs in the 457 regions, as well as others. Can anybody suggest a good way to find the actual FCC license for the ship that we will be sailing on? I have tried searching the FCC website, but I can't find the Carnival licenses for ships. I did find licenses for land based operations.

Is it possible that they are operating on the authority of the country that they are registered to? Also, is it likely that they will be using MOTO TRBO, since this is a pretty new ship?

EDIT: I just read Cruise Ship & Maritime Monitoring, Part 1 & 2, by Bill Dunn, in the Scanner Digest Newsletter. I know now that looking for an FCC license is an exercise in futility!
http://www.scannerdigest.com/files/SD-60-Newsletter.pdf http://www.scannerdigest.com/files/SD-63-Newsletter.pdf
 
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toastycookies

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The ship we will be going on is the Carnival Vista. I gather from looking around on-line that there is a very good chance that they are using ship board repeaters with outputs in the 457 regions, as well as others. Can anybody suggest a good way to find the actual FCC license for the ship that we will be sailing on? I have tried searching the FCC website, but I can't find the Carnival licenses for ships. I did find licenses for land based operations.

Is it possible that they are operating on the authority of the country that they are registered to? Also, is it likely that they will be using MOTO TRBO, since this is a pretty new ship?
Why would Carnival Vista have an FCC license?

Their port of registry is Panama.

You are wasting your time looking for FCC licenses for ships.
 

captainmax1

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According to some of my friends who use cruise ships a lot, you are not allowed to bring Amateur Radio or Scanner equipment aboard these ships. I think bringing your radio equipment aboard cruise ships would be one of the best features about taking a cruise.
 

mmckenna

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The ship we will be going on is the Carnival Vista. I gather from looking around on-line that there is a very good chance that they are using ship board repeaters with outputs in the 457 regions, as well as others. Can anybody suggest a good way to find the actual FCC license for the ship that we will be sailing on? I have tried searching the FCC website, but I can't find the Carnival licenses for ships. I did find licenses for land based operations.
Here's a place to start:
http://www.cept.org/files/1051/Topics/Maritime/UHF table/Table - UHF Onboard communications frequencies.pdf

There is more detailed PDF's on the ITU website, but you'll have to dig for them.

There is an existing UHF bandplan for shipboard use that common world wide. Not all channels are used in every country. You may notice that some of the channels listed on the PDF I linked to above match up with the 467MHz USA based GMRS repeater input frequencies. It's not uncommon for GMRS repeaters near major ports to get interference from the UHF marine channels, even though those individual UHF marine channels are not supposed to be used as such in this country.

As to what emission type it will be, you'll need to figure that out. Could be any number of options. Some systems are still 25KHz channels, they are pushing ship owners to go to 12.5 or 6.25KHz as a longer term solution. DMR will work under 12.5KHz channels, but you'd need NXDN to do true 6.25 (not 6.25 "equivalent", as Motorola likes to tell their customers).

Particulars of Ship stations
Carnival Vista's call sign is: 3EMB9
Vessel is registered in Panama.

UHF marine vessel traffic can be simplex or use onboard repeaters. Pretty common to have an onboard repeater system to cover these floating cities.
 

mmckenna

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oh and btw, Carnival does not allow Amateur Radio equipment on their ships as well.
Likely, but it would be worth checking. 3 or 4 years ago I was on a Royal Caribbean ship and took a 2 meter hand held on. They confiscated it at first so it could be check by the radioman, but I got it back about an hour later. Probably due to me trying to bring it on in carry on bag instead of just checking it. Still, ultimate authority is up to the ships master. He/She gets to make and enforce the rules and you do have to abide by it.
 

ecps92

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Correct on the FCC, IT is generally a No Go.
I think the last license I found for a ship was when Disney ran an 800 TRS on-board :cool:

But as pointed out in those two articles, just search
456-458 and 467-468 Mhz and you will likely find MOST of the activity.

Working on recovering my PC from a HD failure, so limited in some of my notes, however I don't recall any info for the Vista, but based on info for some of the newer ships...do expect DMR vs Analog

The ship we will be going on is the Carnival Vista. I gather from looking around on-line that there is a very good chance that they are using ship board repeaters with outputs in the 457 regions, as well as others. Can anybody suggest a good way to find the actual FCC license for the ship that we will be sailing on? I have tried searching the FCC website, but I can't find the Carnival licenses for ships. I did find licenses for land based operations.

Is it possible that they are operating on the authority of the country that they are registered to? Also, is it likely that they will be using MOTO TRBO, since this is a pretty new ship?

EDIT: I just read Cruise Ship & Maritime Monitoring, Part 1 & 2, by Bill Dunn, in the Scanner Digest Newsletter. I know now that looking for an FCC license is an exercise in futility!
http://www.scannerdigest.com/files/SD-60-Newsletter.pdf http://www.scannerdigest.com/files/SD-63-Newsletter.pdf
 

ecps92

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Good to hear, others have cracked down tho, yet...it still varies by Port/Ship
and from Asia I'm hearing the ships are so full of CCR they gave up checking radios

I've found the smaller the better and mix it in with other electronics (Cameras, Laptops)

Carnival allows amateur equipment to be used now. https://help.carnival.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2261/~/carnival-cruise-line-additional-prohibited-items,-exemptions-and-other

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
 

Jimru

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Good to hear, others have cracked down tho, yet...it still varies by Port/Ship

and from Asia I'm hearing the ships are so full of CCR they gave up checking radios



I've found the smaller the better and mix it in with other electronics (Cameras, Laptops)

Forgive me, but what does CCR stand for (besides Creedence Clearwater Revival)?
Haha!
 

KK4JUG

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Forgive me, but what does CCR stand for (besides Creedence Clearwater Revival)?
Haha!
Believe it or not, that was also my first thought. I was a radio DJ while I was going to school at Auburn and I play in a band now so I'm kinda music oriented. It finally came to me after a few minutes, though.
 
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oh and btw, Carnival does not allow Amateur Radio equipment on their ships as well.
Ive taken handhelds on lots of times, keep the chargers in my checked bags and then carry the actual handhelds onboard in my computer bag. Never have had issues but I always keep a copy of my FCC license in each bag with the equipment if questions arise as to why I have the gear.
 

allend

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I have been scanning now for over 35 years now and I always hide my radios wherever I go not matter where I am or where I go. It's always been a given. I do whatever it takes to keep it on the down low and plan it out on how to hide the best way possible. Just pack it in all of your cloths in your checked luggage and never ask for permission or say a word.

Just go on with your business like you have no radio equipment on you. It's just basic common sense.

People tend to frown on it and think you are a weirdo or a spy anyways since this kind of equipment is not a normal thing people carry with them at all times.
 

majoco

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Ham radio was banned when I was a R/Officer in the 60's - because an uncontrolled receiver my be listening to private voice and CW messages which may be "commercially sensitive" and a transmitter could cause interference with the real HF radio station. Now that all distress and company traffic goes via satellite and GMDSS it's probably not so important but you still wouldn't want anyone telling someone on shore that there was a fire in the engine room, an outbreak of a stomach bug and the crew were thinking about mutiny...... :)
 

N7DKL

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Listen to 16 and 13

As a merchant marine officer I have spent many years on the high seas. I will tell you that it is pretty quiet on the radio out there. While at sea you should monitor VHF 16 (distress and calling) and 13 (bridge to bridge). You may hear ships talking to each other to make passing arrangements, typically saying they will pass port to port (or something else) and that they will "maintain a 1 mile CPA". CPA means closest point of approach and the distance can change.

As you pull into various ports you might listen to the port pilots channel (available from Google).
 
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