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Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

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JustinMoon205
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Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby JustinMoon205 » Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:39 pm

Our church group is going to be going on a cruise at the end of this month. We use UHF 4 watt portables at the church and we would like to use them while on the cruise to keep up with each other and organize group activities while on the cruise.

Couple questions:

1. Will the radios even work on the ship? I mean, I know they will function...however I am unsure if they will be able to penetrate the metal construction of the ship for more than a few hundred feet to communicate between decks, etc.

2. Will the cruise line even allow us to use them on the ship?

3. We are licensed to a couple of UHF business band simplex frequencies. Would it be legal for us to use those freqs on the ship in international waters?

I will, of course, be in touch with our group contact at the cruise line to clarify some of this. Just wondering if anyone on the board any experience in this area.

Thanks!

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Postby kb0nly » Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:53 pm

I know hams that have gone on cruises with their radios, however they left America in the process, so a lot of licensing and what not was necessary.

I do know that in all cases, ham or commercial, permission of the cruise line and/or captain of the ship will be necessary.

The crew on these ships routinely use radios on board but i would bet that there is places of the ship where you just won't get out.
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Cruise Ship

Postby Jason » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:09 pm

And for the most part, you wont get it.

Generally any radio communications other than "consumer" radios i.e. FRS/GMRS bubble pack, is frowned upon. While not illegal in any way, you are under authority of the Captain, and most cruise lines prohibit it. Most cruise ships use UHF for shipboard comm's.

Of course while in foreign port or within a foreign countries waters, use of any radio could be illegal or infringing upon a licensed service there.

I would think you would be safe with the bubble pack radios, anything else would be risky.

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Postby HLA » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:32 pm

you would be best calling the cruise line first and see about asking the captain. international law of the sea says the captain rules over everything. but i had also heard that cruise lines are starting to take after airports and you might not even get that thing on board. risk vs. reward, i'd leave them at home instead of risk them being confenscated. especially if you have to deal with customs. and as far as your license, it's for your local area, if you leave the perimiter of your license then that frequency belongs to somebody else there. now if you do get everything ok'd, i've had to install several repeaters on ships with remote recievers because the portables can't penetrate the walls. if you are on a 800 foot ship you probablly wouldn't get from one end to the other below decks.
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Re: Cruise Ship

Postby boomboy64 » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:35 pm

Jason wrote:I would think you would be safe with the bubble pack radios, anything else would be risky.


Even then I'd do a bit of research. Many countries don't have an FRS equivalent and thus they would be illegal to operate w/o a license. We've had a lot of trouble when deploying people to other countries when they'd bring their own FRS radios for personal use. We've had to ban them outright as we had a few run-ins with local regulators and we have an interest in keeping on the good side of the locals.

International waters, check with the captain. In another country's waters or ports, be careful.

Cheers and good travels...

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Postby JustinMoon205 » Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:51 pm

This trip will take us thru the gulf of Mexico and to three ports in Mexico. If that makes any difference in any information. The frequencies we are licensed to are for our local area. We are also licensed to 464.550 and I believe that allows for itenerant use nationwide.....I would have to check the license and see.

I have been on a cruise before, with another cruise line however, but the crews on board used UHF portable radios on a repeater system. When I inquired about their system I learned that they employed a repeater system with multiple repeaters and an antenna combiner system and they also utilized "leaky" coax or hardline for the system to allow coverage throughout the ship.

I am going to get in contact with our representative from the cruise line tomorrow and see what they have to say about this. I'm sure they have had the request before. Lots of groups use radios to keep in touch during conventions, conferences, etc, etc and I know the cruise lines host these types of events on board.

I'll update the group following this thread with what I find out. And certianly if anyone else has any further info or has had experience with this, please let me know.

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Postby MTS2000des » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:34 pm

You should not have a problem so long as you contact the CL and confirm with the captain. as the other poster said, the captains' order is the LAW.

There have been post 9/11 horror stories of ham radio operators getting the Osama Bin Laden treatment (well in all fairness, Bin Laden himself is a ham after all right?) and having radios confiscated, interviewed by US Customs, etc...basically a vacation ruined because someone wanted to "Bring Hamsexy Back". There are some places you shouldn't take your FT817 and ATAS. A cruise ship on international waters is one of them, at least without checking with the captain and CL first.
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Postby Bruce1807 » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:28 am

You will need an import license from most countries just to bring the equipment in. Next the Captain may be the law in international waters but he is just an immigrant when in territorial waters.

Buy some bubble packs. You could interfere with something critical and that doesn't sound reponsible for a church group.

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Postby N4KVE » Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:13 am

Years ago on a 1 day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas we all used UHF ham freqs on the ship. They worked everywhere & the staff said nothing. We hung out at the rear pool which was very overcrowded with college students from Detroit. When 1 of them asked us why we had all the HT's we said were here with Don Johnson's security team & that Don was at the other end of the ship. We had the pool to ourselves the rest of the day. LOL That was then. This is now. Enjoy the cruise. GARY N4KVE

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Postby wa2zdy » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:04 am

A guy on qrz.com asked a similar question. He wrote to the cruise line who told him using ham radios on the ship was not permitted. Strike one.

If you're speaking strictly from a legal standpoint, your radios need to be licensed in the country of ship's registry for use on board. A ship at sea is sovereign territory. The laws of the nation of registry are in effect. And of course you need the master's approval. Once you get to your destination, you'd need to be legal with that country too.

All in all it's not so easy to do and be legal. I understand ships crews don't care about FRS radios. But as stated by others, you'll have a lot of dead spots on the ship. And yes, the crews use UHF radios but they have repeaters (yes, they really do) aboard.

Take 'em if you wish and hope they pass for FRS. Otherwise . . . and in any case, they won't be in compliance with the law.
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Postby 440roadrunner » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:24 am

While not illegal in any way



Of course it is illegal. Your (US) license ends when you put to sea. The US FCC only authorizes you for US use. Foreign countries have their own laws, and this includes amateur radio. In international waters, I'm not sure. You most certainly are at the disposal of the captain of the ship.

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Postby JustinMoon205 » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:52 am

There seems to be some confusion as to the service being used. These are business band UHF radios. They are not FRS, GMRS, or amateur radios or using those services frequencies. I am a ham, but these are business band radios being used for business use.

Also, the radios would be used while on the ship only. We would have no use for them while in port anyway, and I am quite sure that using them in another country would not be permissable......I'd worry about interferance with a licensed user on the same freq. there.

I should hear back from the cruise line today or Monday. I'll update with what I find for you guys who are following or who are also curious.

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Postby 440roadrunner » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:55 am

These are business band UHF radios. They are not FRS, GMRS, or amateur radios



None of that matters. Every single service you mentioned is licensed, authorized, approved, and regulated, by the US FCC. Once you leave this country, you are no longer authorized. Even FRS, which is license free, has to be approved in the country you will be in. England, for example, uses completely different radios for FRS. They (English) actually operate in the lower end of the US 432 UHF band, and so of course are not legal "over here" for FRS, and will not communicate with other US FRS radios.

Additionally, the "business band" is not even the same frequency band in other parts of the world. I understand that the 450 band arena, at least part of it, is sort of a CB in Australia

The only exceptions to this offhand, would be such as Canada, which has special provisions for AMATEUR operators. Your business radios are NOT authorised for Canada, for example.


Many, many countries, for example, will not allow US ham operators unless they get licensed in the countries in which they intend to operate. This can, by the way, be a huge hassle. Many countries do not follow the same frequency guidelines for the various frequencies as the US does. This is even true of cellphone services as well as amateur and the various business bands.

You might find yourself off the coast of Timbucktoo with your US business band radios, and be smack on the "war command" frequency of some dimestore dictator.

Your proposal will NOT BE LEGAL outside the US borders

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Postby HLA » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:26 pm

the only other suggestion i have is get yourself some vhf radios and program them to some marine frequencies, those frequencies are worldwide and you won't need a license.
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Postby 440roadrunner » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:58 pm

the only other suggestion i have is get yourself some vhf radios and program them to some marine frequencies, those frequencies are worldwide and you won't need a license.



I'm not up on the "worldwide" marine frequency rules, but I can assure you that using the VHF marine frequencies for the purposes that is suggested here is definately a US FCC rules violation.

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Postby escomm » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:00 pm

Ayup, marine freqs are not for on-board ship communications. Also realize that the ship's Radio Operator will have your rear in a sling if he finds out about marine freqs being used because he is the one on the ship ultimately responsible for compliance with laws & rules.

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Postby HLA » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:16 pm

it would depend on the frequency, there are general talk around frequencies in the marine band. i'm not saying use the emergency channel or port ops channels.
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Postby 440roadrunner » Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:11 pm

it would depend on the frequency, there are general talk around frequencies in the marine band. i'm not saying use the emergency channel or port ops channels



No, it does NOT depend on the frequency/ channel. While there are fequencies in the marine band intended for "general use", they are intended for "general use" in relation to MARINE use. They are intended for boat to boat and boat to shore. I can assure you that this thype of use is a violation within US jursisdiction, at least.


"PART 80--STATIONS IN THE MARITIME SERVICES--Table of Contents

Subpart C--Operating Requirements and Procedures

Sec. 80.89 Unauthorized transmissions.

Stations must not:
(a) Engage in superfluous radiocommunication."


http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin ... &TYPE=TEXT


http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/wais ... 80_00.html


Additionally, from here:


http://wireless.fcc.gov/marine/fctsht14.html#SEC5


Sailing in international waters is permitted, so long as the previous conditions are met. If you travel to a foreign port (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands) a license is required. Additionally, if you travel to a foreign port, you are required to have an operator permit as described in Section III.


I'm not absolutely sure, but I believe that statement sums up the requirements for "out of US" operation as far as license goes.


I haven't got time to search the whole google world, but I found this:

http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/20.htm


Regulations require radio conversations to be for "operational" purposes, which is interpreted liberally by most pleasure boat operators. Sharing weather information, confirming a rendezvous, even obtaining a recipe for fish stew are defensible uses, but social chit-chat-say, talk about sports, movies, or shoreside activities-is not.

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Postby Larry Page » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:30 pm

Operation on all VHF frequencies requires a marine station license. These frequencies are coordinated worldwide (well, almost worldwide) by international treaty. Further, you will find that the marine channels are self-policed in an even stronger fashion than the amateur channels. Coast Guard radio operators are well-known for aggressively enforcing usage rules. Communication on marine channels also tends to be extremely procedurally oriented, very similar to VHF aircraft communication. A casual or inexperienced user will stick out like the proverbial "sore thumb."

UHF operation does vary drastically from country to country. And outside the US, UHF is much more heavily used for public safety communication. Unless you are licensed for itinerant operation, your license only provides for use in a clearly specified location. On UHF bands, even itinerant operation is usually not allowed or not protected north of Line A (which is generally 70 miles south of the Canadian border) and in other specified areas.

All this is further complicated by money. Cruise lines are increasingly finding that renting radios onboard is very lucrative business. A very good way to promote the rentals is to prohibit use of your radios. And even two years ago when we took our last cruise, onboard security rivaled that for commercial passenger air transport at the time.

In summary, it is on the surface a good idea. But it will probably get you in trouble on board ship, and it will certainly get you in big trouble within a foreign jurisdiction. None of them are as tolerant to violations as the US. It is very likely that your equipment would be seized and not returned if you are caught with it, operating or not.

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Postby spareparts » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:32 am

Larry Page wrote:All this is further complicated by money. Cruise lines are increasingly finding that renting radios onboard is very lucrative business. A very good way to promote the rentals is to prohibit use of your radios.

There are cruise ships that have cell sites on board, and backhaul traffic to the PSTN via satellite. If they can force more passengers to use their services, they are going to.

BTW, My sister in law received a suprise bill from her cell carrier upon return from her 1 week cruise. She was chatting up a storm with her friends on land, since her cellphone worked, why not. Suprise!

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Postby wa2zdy » Sat Sep 09, 2006 6:34 am

JustinMoon205 wrote:Also, the radios would be used while on the ship only. We would have no use for them while in port anyway, and I am quite sure that using them in another country would not be permissable...


As I said, aboard ship your operation would be subject to the laws of the ship's nation of registry. I doubt the ship is registered in the US. So your radio operation aboard ship would be illegal no matter what unless you were properly licensed by the nation where the ship is registered, probably Panama, Liberia, etc.

And the suggestion to use marine frequencies, along with all the other problems already mentioned, would still run afoul of the laws of the nation of registry. In the US, marine radios are licensed by rule if on a registered vessel. That means as long as you have a boat registered with your state authorities, you need not get a license from FCC. If you have a handheld you wish to use on different boats, you do need a license. And of course this would not apply to a foreign flag vessel as FCC has no juristiction. So no, the marine radio idea is an especially bad one.

Leave the radios home.
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Update

Postby JustinMoon205 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:08 am

Update on this thread.

I spoke with a representative from the cruise line yesterday, and recieved an e-mail from them. It is permissible to use 2-way radio equipment on board the ship. She said that both license-free FRS radios and business band radios could be used on board the ship. She said that families often use the FRS radios on-board and that many groups either bring their own radios or rent radios for use while on board to coordinate activities and she even offered to put me in touch with a rental vendor. She must be rather knowledgeable about this as she went on to say that UHF would work better than VHF if we were bringing our own radios and that business radios would work farther in the ship than FRS radios would as the output power was greater.

She did say that we would not be allowed to take them with us off the ship when we were in foreign ports, but that they could be used while on board the ship at any time. Seems that rules and regulations regarding two-way radio use and, well, pretty well everything else is at the discretion of the captian of the ship. So looks like we will have no problems.

Thanks for everyone's input and ideas and the lively discussion following this thread. Keep in mind that the experience I am writing about here above is only directed at this one particular cruise line. I would not think this would exactly hold true to any cruise line.....so would advise checking if this is something you plan to do also.

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Postby alex » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:20 am

I've heard stories of people actually getting a room with a balcony - just to setup a repeater for use on the ship... I don't know if it's been done recently, but apparently it has been done, and works rather well (both on and off ship.)

You could also look at some of those new DTR radios - 900 spread spectrum. I was playing with a few of those with Humhead the other day, and was actually pretty impressed by how they work. He says they get better coverage than the UHF simplex stuff where he works.

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Postby 440roadrunner » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:40 am

It is permissible to use 2-way radio equipment on board the ship. She said that both license-free FRS radios and business band radios could be used on board the ship.



All that may be true so far as "the ship" is concerned, but the permissions of the ship has nothing to do with the laws of a foreign country while in a foreign port or in their jurisdiction--territorial waters.

Your US license is going to have no weight in foreign ports, and as I said before, if your radios happen to land on the favorite frequency of some dime store dictator, he may not be amused.

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Postby JustinMoon205 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:01 pm

The representative from the cruise line said that they have groups do this quite often with business radio frequencies and also families with FRS radios. For whatever reason they will not allow them off the ship while in port, I assume to prevent them being used in another country. This is the rule of the authorities in the ports, not the cruise line.

According to the representative from the cruise line radio transmissions on board the cruise ship or anywhere in international waters fall under the control of the regulating authority in the country where the vessel is registered and use of a transmitter on board the ship is at the discression of the captian.

I figure the cruise line is quite knowledgeable about this and the representative has told me that groups and families often use 2-way equipment while on board. She also told me that amateur radio operators often request to use radios while on board to make contacts while "maritime mobile", and that they allow this also. Interesting, and sounds fun, although not something I think I'd even have time for.

The radios will be used only on board the ship. According to my findings, the business radio frequencies that we use are also used for business use in Mexico. I would not imagine that our low power use would cause any problems for a licensed user there. We use DPL, but I do plan to keep my radio in CSQ mode to monitor for any other activity to prevent this.

In any event, we are cruising to Mexico, not the middle east. Besides, I hardly think that the Mexican government is going to storm the cruise ship to control the use of some handheld radio equipment.

I'll update this thread when we return to let anyone following know if we have any issue. Also, maybe I'll be able to update with some of the 2-way technology used on board. I plan to find the radio operator and have him give me the grand tour at some point while on board.

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Postby HLA » Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:48 pm

I figure the cruise line is quite knowledgeable about this and the representative has told me that groups and families often use 2-way equipment while on board. She also told me that amateur radio operators often request to use radios while on board to make contacts while "maritime mobile", and that they allow this also. Interesting, and sounds fun, although not something I think I'd even have time for.




thank you very much, like I said, the marine frequencies ARE used aboard ships, I spent 6 years on an aircraft carrier, I know they are used.[/quote]
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Postby phrawg » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:27 pm

Yes the are used on a ship, but again, the key phrase is for OPERATIONAL USE concerning maters of the ships operation.
you stll MAY NOT use them for casual cnversation between passengers
or for that mater, employees of the ship not on duty. Of course
aboard a carrier all bets are off being that it is a military vessel.
The marine asignment of channels is probably one of the best policed
and usage enforced of any except maybe the aviation vhf band.
Also note that marine radio licenses are issued to a vessel or a
coast station such as a marina and any radio used on or around the
vessel falls under the umbrella of that license. Individuals do not
get marine licenses. Phrawg
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Postby mr.syntrx » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:45 pm

440roadrunner wrote:Additionally, the "business band" is not even the same frequency band in other parts of the world. I understand that the 450 band arena, at least part of it, is sort of a CB in Australia


Not 450, that would be 40 channels from 476.425 to 477.400.

In any case, watch out where you use bubble pack radios, too. Most of the FRS frequencies happen to be public safety frequencies in Australia, for example.

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Postby wkr518 » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:49 pm

alex wrote:I've heard stories of people actually getting a room with a balcony - just to setup a repeater for use on the ship... I don't know if it's been done recently, but apparently it has been done, and works rather well (both on and off ship.)

You could also look at some of those new DTR radios - 900 spread spectrum. I was playing with a few of those with Humhead the other day, and was actually pretty impressed by how they work. He says they get better coverage than the UHF simplex stuff where he works.

-Alex


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Postby Larry Page » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:47 pm

Justin--

Please keep us posted on how this works out for you. Your cruise line appears to be much more liberal than most. I am especially interested in operation aboard ship while in port. Normally those operations would be covered by the host country's rules, due to the likelihood of interference with licensed services in teh immediate area.

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Postby 440roadrunner » Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:06 pm

I am especially interested in operation aboard ship while in port. Normally those operations would be covered by the host country's rules, due to the likelihood of interference with licensed services in teh immediate area.



That is exactly what I've been trying to get across. Whatever permissions you get on the ship have nothing to do with permissions of the host country, only in international waters.

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Postby silverbk » Tue Sep 19, 2006 7:29 pm

I recently took a cruise with Carnival. I brought my VX-5 with me, as well as a Bearcat Scanner.

I did not bother to ask permission.

I used the VX-5 when we were close to land and made a few contacts.
With the scanner I quickly had the ships freqs scanned out, and monitored the operations of the ship, which was cool.

There must have been at least 100 pairs of FRS radios on board, as the 14 freqs were all pretty congested, they seemed to work as far as two decks or so. All kinds of traffic, mothers keeping track of their kids, people checking what the buffet had, and people seeing how karaoke was going.

There was also a film crew on board filming a commercial for Carnival. The crew had Motorola 4 watt uhf radios that operated on at least 2 FRS freqs! They used a DPL instead of PL. I was able to speak with them with my vx-5 and found out cool stuff like when they would be done shooting at the water slide, and the real passengers could return to using it.

When we reached the USVI I was able to get on the local repeater (2 meters) and get the local info.

When we hit the British Virgin Islands I took my radio and my license to the ministry of communications and for $10 they gave me a reciprocol license. Then I was able to use the repeaters there as well, legally. Although, after talking to the locals they stated that it was unnecessary and US hams are routinely welcomed on the repeater, without a license. They are happy to get any activity whatsoever.

I don't think the Cruise line cares about you using radios, as long as you are happy and spending your money. If they were smart they would sell FRS packs on board, and teach people how to use the "privacy codes".

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Postby USPSS » Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:35 am

I went on 2 cruises last year and and 1 this year so far with another on Dec. 2. I took my P25 UHF radios with me and never got a second look. I also took my Panasonic AJ-SDX-900 video camera which got a lot of attention from the passengers but never from the crew, except for the onboard video guy who was drooling. I plan on taking 6 radios this year since we are travelling with 3 couples. Princess is great.
REPEATER, thanks for the idea, I have a large balcony and might just try it.
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Cruise Lines

Postby Jason » Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:40 am

Most of the major lines, including Carnival do sell FRS bubble packs on board, they usually sell out quick.

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Postby MT2000 man » Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:29 pm

I went on a Royal Carribean cruise about 3 years ago and I asked the very same question here then. I ended up taking my SP50 UHF with stubby antenna and Sport 7 FRS on board. Between the two radios they coverd the ENTIRE ship. The sport 7 only put out .5 watts the sp50 was on the full 4 watts. I was able to hear throughout the entire ship. The ship was, at that time the biggest on the ocean (the Voyager at 1100 feet long). So most should not have a problem with FRS communication on a cruise ship.
Just my .02 Cents

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Postby wiscomm » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:45 am

My family used Spirit GT portables (1w/uhf dot freqs) throughout the ships and in all ports, worked incredible. In St Maarten worked from our cabin to in town (~2 miles?), was quite impressed.

Frankly all of you are overthinking this, the captain or the crew on these monsters could give two rips what you do, just don't fall off or bring liquor on board, honestly this was the most concern I felt then showed. As for asking the captain for permission, good luck, he has 3800 dopey Americans to deal with, do you really think he cares of you use a radio???

As for foreign countries, unless you are talking on the PD or FD channels I really do not think they could care less. Most cruise ports are simply a conduit from seperating you from your american dollars.

From a fan of cruises, and a frequent cruiser. My $.02

Craig

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Postby JustinMoon205 » Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:52 pm

Now that is some of the radio performance and coverage information that I was looking for. We have 4 watt UHF portables.......so I think we will be doing just fine. We leave Saturday, so when we return I'll post with my $0.02 as well.

Thanks guys for posting the info on the coverages you have experienced using your equipment and what you were using. And thank you to the other posters as well. This has become quite a well followed thread!

73

-Justin Moon
Archbishop, Church of /\/\otorola.

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Postby bellersley » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:07 pm

It sounds like some people are making too big of a deal out of nothing.

Just bring your radio and use it. What's the worst that's going to happen? You MIGHT get asked to stop using it.

Besides, it's easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.

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Postby 440roadrunner » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:33 pm

It sounds like some people are making too big of a deal out of nothing



I'm a little more than disturbed by the cavalier attitude some of you seem to have for the law (of our and other countries)

As a person who has worked some in this field, I have been personally envolved in a few interferance issues, and I can assure you of two things---

A four watt handheld can do a lot of damage to a voted system or repeater if it happens to "land" on the system input frequency, and especially if it is a busy or emergency system

Using any radio in a foreign country has nothing at all to do with what the Captain of the ship may or may not say while in the territory of the country in question.

It makes me wonder where some of your ethics are.

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Postby bellersley » Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:12 pm

I must have left them at home today, sorry!

But seriously. I'm certainly NOT advocating the attitude of "just pick a frequency and go with it". Obviously you have an obligation to ensure you won't interfere with anybody. However, marine frequencies are international, so are some amateur frequencies. There is absolutely nothing wrong - interference wise - to using these on a ship, anywhere in the world, licensing notwithstanding.

Sure, the VHF marine channels are intended only for ship operations and safety, but realistically, is there anything WRONG with using them? No. I'd like to think a government's version of the FCC would rather you use a marine channel and not interfere with someone than just picking a frequency at random and possibly causing a lot of interference.

Same deal with Amateur frequencies. Sure, maybe you aren't technically licensed in whatever country you're in, but as long as you stick to amateur bands that are valid for that area, you can be sure you won't interefere with anybody.

That's what my "do it anyway" position was. It wasn't a "do whatever you want", although I probably could have worded it differently.

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UPDATE / Follow-Up

Postby JustinMoon205 » Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:03 pm

OK guys and gals. Back from the cruise, had a blast, ate too much, gained 5 pounds, got some sun, and did some great scuba diving. And now for an update to this thread, what I found, lessons learned, etc.

We went on a cruise on a Carnival ship, and traveled to 2 ports in Mexico. We use Kenwood Tk-2100 2 channel UHF radios at our church. These are 2 watt 2 channel radios. The radios use 464.500 and 464.550 Mhz simplex and utilize DPL tones. We use stubby antennas on the radios. We also have 2 TK-360 radios that are 4 channel and 4 watt and they have the longer whip antenna on them. I also took three MTS2000 radios as well programmed to work with the other radios, those are of course 4 watt and I used the standard JEDI whip antenna and the stubby antennas to swap out and evaluate coverage issues.

We had 10 people in the group using radios. Majority using the 2100 Kenwoods. The majority of our group were on levels 6 or 7 of the ship in our cabins. The majority of the activities were taking place on decks 9, 10, and 11. We were able to communicate between cabins and the lower decks of the ship easily with all the radios. We were also able to communicate on the upper decks of the ship easily with all the radios. When communicating from the lower decks to the upper decks the radios with the longer whip type antennas communicated between each other more easily, as expected, and the 4 watt radios also had more range than the 2 watt radios. Range was definately limited and communications betwween the 2 watt units with stubby antennas was sporatic when communicating across many decks.

Basically if you are going to attempt to use radios on a ship you can achieve reasonable results and range with UHF. Using 4 watt radios and whip type antennas will yield better performance, of course. On our next cruise all radios will be 4 watt and whip antennas to allow full range of communications throughout the ship. Also, the ship we were on has limited 110vAC outlets in the staterooms, but has multiple 220vAC outlets......so if you have a 220vAC charger or access to one that might be of help.

I saw several different families, groups, etc on the ship using FRS "bubble pack" radios with fairly good success on the upper decks. However the FRS radios would not communicate between the upper decks and the lower decks at all. The ship did have FRS bubble packs available for purchase onboard the ship. There was heavy use of the US FRS and GRMS frequencies and radios at both ports I visited in Mexico.

The ship communications were by telephone, one-way numeric paging, and 2-way radio. The majority of the communications took place by telephone system within the ship and they made heavy use of a UHF numeric paging system on board. The 2-way communications were on UHF in the 466-469 range. Both simplex and a trunking system were used on board. I believe the trunking system was LTR trunking. According to one of the radio operators on board both the trunk system and the paging system use topside mounted antennas with a downtilt as well as "leaky hardline" routed throughout the ship. The crew were using PRO 1550, PRO 5150, PRO 7150, and P1225LS portable radios. The crew also used both ICOM and Kenwood VHF Marine band portable radios while we were in ports to communicate with pilot boats, the boats that ferried passengers to and from shore, etc. They used marine channel 67 heavily and marine channel 13 a bit.

We did use our UHF radios both while out at sea and while in port. I monitored in CSQ on my radio all the time and we did not hear a peep of traffic on either frequency the entire trip. We were never questioned by the port security, crew, or anyone else about the equipment. Although other passengers on board the boat assumed we were crew because we were carrying a radio and some of us did get questions about "when is the next buffet, when is the pool open, where is the lounge, etc".

There ya go, as promised, an overview of what we experienced while on the cruise as far as radios go. Maybe this info will be helpful to others. I know this was a well followed thread and was commented on numerous times before now....so obviously others can use the info. Any questions or comments, give me a shout.

-Justin Moon
Archbishop, Church of /\/\otorola.

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby MT2000 man » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:27 pm

I know I'm awakening a VERY old blast from the past thread, however, I plan on taking yet another cruise around late august into early September. Anyone here have any recent experience bringing two-ways on board ? Last time we took a cruise (back in 2002) I took my SP50, and a .5 watt FRS radio. We were able to hear each-other throughout the entire ship (including down in the infirmary, to the 16th deck).
Back then, we took the Voyager by Royal Caribbean, which was at that time the biggest ship on the water. Now, they are making the ships bigger.
So, any recent radio experiences on a cruise ship? What radios did you bring on board, and how did they work ?

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby 545 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:57 am

I've taken my GMRS portables with me on past cruises with no problems from the ships crew. I set my groups up with multiple channels (different frequencies with different DPL combinations for possible interferance) and had no problems on board the ship. In fact, the cruise line "rents" bubble pack radios! We only strayed when we were in Mexico and my buddy called me from his land cruise while I stayed on board the ship. He was 22 miles away, and were talking simplex! Water sure is a great ground plane!
Dave

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby KE7JFF » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:36 am

From what I have seen and heard, the stories of hams getting the treatment on cruise ships involve HF setups, not VHF/UHF handhelds. They think they could do HF from their balcony and no one would notice the random wire antenna outside.
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Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby Jim1348 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:51 pm

You could use some Nextels on off-network Direct Talk. They might look less conspicuous if you think that could be a problem. They probably are no more or less legal than GMRS outside of the US. The range is going to be less than a GMRS radio.

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby N4KVE » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:11 pm

What would work better on a ship? VHF, UHF, or 900 mhz? I'm not taking a cruise, just wondering what band would penetrate the best. 900? GARY N4KVE

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby HLA » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:29 am

the lower frequencies would penetrate better
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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby tvsjr » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:53 am

HLA wrote:the lower frequencies would penetrate better


I would have to disagree... I would compare a cruise ship's construction to a jail - and a lot of jails have gone UHF or 800 due to improved penetration among other reasons.

For the OP, you could always go on one of these: http://www.hamradiocruises.com/ They've even got the licensing figured out. A friend went on one and quite enjoyed it. On the downside, I've been to Dayton, and I've smelled the Hamfunk. I can only imagine what it would be like all bottled up inside a ship. Maybe they require a mandatory shower first? :lol:

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby N4KVE » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:43 am

N4KVE wrote:What would work better on a ship? VHF, UHF, or 900 mhz? I'm not taking a cruise, just wondering what band would penetrate the best. 900? GARY N4KVE

The reason I'm asking is that from time to time aircraft carriers come to town & berth at Port Everglades. Tours are offered & a bunch of us like to look around. We ask to see the radio room. Not the official radio room, but there is usually a ham radio room with a few hams & they put the personel in touch with their families while out at sea. I've been pretty deep into these ships, so I'm looking for the best penetration freq's. So the choice with Moto radios is VHF with 5 watts, UHF with 4 watts, or 900 MHZ with 3 watts. GARY N4KVE

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Re: Two-way radio use on cruise ship. Possible? Permissable?

Postby N9LLO » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:33 pm

900 for sure. Shorter wavelength's penetrate smaller openings like the vertical plenums aboard ship and portholes for ship to shore comms in port.

Chris
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