Q. Is it OK to use a club station call sign on a cruise?
I have been informed that an amateur station on a cruise must ID by the control operator’s primary
station call sign.
That may be correct when the amateur station apparatus is located aboard a non-U.S.-flag vessel. Check out the regulatory
and station identification transmission necessities with the appropriate foreign government regulatory authorities. Most
cruise ships seem to be registered in either the Bahamas, Panama, Italy, Malta, or the Netherlands. Where the ship will be within the territorial limits of still other countries, multiple
transmitting permissions/compliances will probably be required. Don’t assume that that the rules of every foreign regulator
are identical to our FCC’s Part 97. You must be competent to perform properly the duties of an amateur
service licensee as required by the hosting country.
Otherwise - except from those places where our amateur service is regulated by some other country
- a Section 97.5(b)(2) club station is authorized by Section 97.301 to transmit Section 97.109 amateur service communications from a master-of-the-ship-approved Section 97.11 ship installation located anywhere in the World.
Q. Are there any cruise ships registered in the United States?
A. For one, reportedly, the Pride of America is an ocean-going U.S.-flagged vessel staffed by American officers and crew.
Do we need permission from our club station licensee trustee to use our club call sign?
A. Of course. Your Section 97.5(b)(2) club station licensee trustee is your club’s designated station manager. Section 97.103(a) says in pertinent excerpt: The station licensee is responsible for the proper operation of the station in accordance
with the FCC Rules. Read W3BE Checklists for Domestic and Foreign Amateur Service Licensees in Places Where
the U.S. FCC Is Our Regulator BE Informed No. 1.0.
Q. When our cruise ship is visiting
a foreign port, what call sign do we use?
In accordance with the station identification regulations for the hosting country, send the call
sign assigned to the station as shown on your transmitting permission document. If you don’t have an amateur service
license from that country, you might be eligible for some sort of reciprocal operating permission.
In some countries, the regulator assigns to an amateur station engaged
in reciprocal operation a call sign consisting of the host country’s nationality prefix appended with the FCC-issued
call sign. Even so, the rules of the host country are applicable. Show respect to your hosts and your host country’s
Q. Can our club
station license trustee enter into some sort of arrangement with the host country so as to bypass the need for each of our
members having to obtain individual reciprocal operator permission?
That is something for the regulators within the visited countries to determine. Routine reciprocal operating authority is
usually a permission granted to an individual amateur operator. As U.S. hams should know, a Section 97.5(b)(2) club station license grant carries no operator privileges.
FYI: Here are some Q/A reports that may be helpful to understanding
this topic from the U.S. perspective.
Hams at Sea BE Informed 1.6;
Reciprocal Privileges in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.8.0;
Reciprocal Privileges for Canadian Hams in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service
BE Informed No. 1.8.1;
Station Identification Announcements by Reciprocal Privileged Stations in Places Where the
FCC Regulates Our Amateur Service BE Informed No. 1.8.2;
More Q/A About Reciprocal Privileged Stations in Places Where the FCC Regulates Our Amateur
Service BE Informed No. 1.8.3;
These are dangerous times - Hear Something – Say Something BE Informed No. 1.8.4;
Appending a Self-Assigned Indicator to Your Station Call Sign BE Informed No. 4.1; and
Non-Appended Self-Assigned Indicator BE Informed No. 4.7.
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