HAM RADIO FOR CRUISING YACHTS

Ham radio is the realm of a world-wide group of radio enthusiasts. Operators have been involved in many life saving efforts with sailors, but regrettably radio operators and the system have been badly abused by some yachtsmen. The Ham-Radio is a major communication source in the cruising world.

In the US, about 70% of cruisers sail with ham, while UK and Australia it is probably around 10%. There are a number of important factors to consider with respect to hamp-radio operation.

HAM RADIO OPERATOR LICENSING

It is the operator not the station that is licensed. There are a number of levels that give either partial or full access to frequencies.

Levels require examination in Morse, radio theory, rules and regulations with respect to operations. It is this fear of technical matters and theory as well as the morse that frightens many would be amateurs.

A ham radio general class license will be required for access to Maritime Mobile Nets in the 15, 20 and 40 metre bands.

HAM-RADIO PENALTIES

You must be licensed for the country of operation, and beware in some third world countries were communications are controlled, jail and vessel loss can occur if it is used in port and without authorisation. In many cases you will not be acknowledged on ham radio bands unless you are licensed and have a call sign.

SSB VS HAM-RADIO

This argument is never ending. Both systems have a place, well actually SSB is virtually gone so argument is essentially over. In an ideal world carry both systems. SSB Radio sets are generally easier to operate for non technical people, and with automatic tuning it is simple to punch in a channel number and talk. Additionally radios have automatic emergency channel selection.

Radios are also type approved for marine communications. Only a Restricted Radio Telephone Operators Permit is required. It is allowable to operate a SSB radio on amatuer frequencies if you have a ham radio licence. One of the disadvantages of SSB on ham radio frequencies is that synthesizers are programmed in 0.10kHz steps. As is often the case, ham communications may be at frequencies outside of that so that SSB sets can be marginally off frequency.

Most SSB sets operate on Upper Side band (USB) while most ham frequencies below 40 metres are Lower Side Band (LSB). The ham operator must have a license appropriate to the frequency band being worked. Access to GMDSS emergency frequencies is illegal except in emergencies. It is illegal to operate non type approved radios such as ham radios on marine frequencies. Ham allows the use of casual conversation and chit-chat which marine SSB does not. Ham allows full access to information packed nets, and a worldwide communications network. Ham radio does not readily allow access to telephone networks, although some stations offer phone patches.

These days with the near absence of SSB shore stations ham is the only way to go when cruising

MOBILE MARITIME HAM-RADIO NETS

This is a very good and useful selection of Ham Radio Nets extracted from the listings in the Marine Electrical & Electronics Bible. If you are not a licensed operator, invest in a receiver only and listen in to the nets, the information can be invaluable.

Times in UTC followed by frequency in MHz and Net Name

0025 - 14.232 - Mobile Maritime Net

0100 - 21.407 - Pacific Indian Ocean Net

0200 - 14.313 - Pacific Seafarers Net

0400 - 14.340 - MARITIME EMERGENCY NET

0500 - 14.303 - Tony's Net (Red Sea & Indian Ocean)

0500 - 8.297 - Peri-Peri Radio East Africa

0530 - 14.316 - Peri-Peri Radio East Africa (after wx)

0630 - 14.316 - South African Maritime Mobile Net

0700 - 14.118 - Le Reseau Du Capitaine Net

0700 - 14.303 - International Net

0700 - 7.085 - Mediterranean Maritime Mobile Net

0800 - 7.238 - PST Baja California Maritime Mobile Net

0800 - 14.303 - UK Maritime Mobile Net

0800 - 14.315 - Pacific Inter-island Net

0830 - 12.359 - Russell Radio (Pacific/NZ)

0830 - 8.152 - Cruiseheimers Net

0900 - 14.313 - Mediterranean M/M Net

1000 - 14.315 - Robby’s Net

1030 - 7.080 - Caribbean Weather Net

1030 - 14.265 - Caribbean Weather Net

1100 - 7.230-7.240 - Caribbean Maritime Mobile Net

1115 - 14.320 - Roy’s Net

1130 - 14.320 - South African Maritime Mobile Net

1200 - 14.340 - Manana M/M Net (Hawaii, West Coast US)

1230 - 7.237 - Caribbean Net

1245 - 14.121 - Mississauga Net (Atlantic, Med, Caribbean)

1300 - 21.400 - Transatlantic Net

1330 - 8.107 - Panama Canal Connection Net

1400 - 8.188 - NW Caribbean Cruisers Net

1400 - 7.292 - Florida Coast Net

1400 - 8.188 - Northwest Caribbean Cruisers Net

1530 - 7.294 - Chubasco Net

1545 - 14.340 - Marquesas Net

1600 - 14.331 - US Coast Guard Net

1630 - 14.313 - German Maritime Mobile Net

1630 - 12.359 - Russell radio (Pacific/NZ)

1700 - 14.300 - Maritime Mobile Service net

1700 - 14.329 - Skippers Net

1700 - 14.340 - California Hawaii Net

1800 - 14.340 - MARITIME EMERGENCY NET

1800 - 14.303 - UK Maritime Mobile Net

1800 - 14.282 - South Pacific Net

1800 - 7.076 - South Pacific Cruising Net

1900 - 14.305 - Confusion Net (Pacific)

2000 - 12.359 - Herb Hilgenbergs Southbound Net (SSB)

2000 - 14.297 - Italian Maritime Mobile Net

2030 - 14.303 - Swedish Maritime Net

2040 - 7.087 - Comedy Net (Pacific/Australia)

2100 - 14.316 - Tony’s Net (South Pacific, Aust & NZ)

2130 - 14.290 - East Coast Waterways Net

2200 - 21.412 - Pacific Maritime Mobile Net

2300 - 14.315 - Robby’s Net

2400 - 14.320 - SE Asia M/M Net


All about Marine Ham Radio