MARINE RADIO USE ON LAND

The question:
I am looking for a radio to use hunting. Marine Radios are cheap and powerful. Can't I just use one of those when hunting?

The answer:
NO! It is VERY illegal.

Why:
From the FCC website:

Prohibited Communications YOU MUST NOT TRANSMIT --
False distress or emergency messages.
Messages containing obscene, indecent, or profane words or meaning.
General calls, signals, or messages on channel 16, except in an emergency
or if you are testing your radio (these are messages not addressed to a particular station), or


When your ship is on land (for example, while the ship is on a trailer).

Reasoning:


(1) OK let's reason this thing out...if you have a marine radio mounted in your truck, it IS NOT in a "ship".
If your truck was designed to be driven on land, not water, so it is "on land".
Therefore, having a marine radio mounted in your truck is ILLEGAL!

(2) If you are carrying a marine handie talkie, and you are not in a boat that is in the water, and not walking on water, then you are "on land".
Therefore, having the marine handie talkie is ILLEGAL!

(3) No one will ever know...really? Get on the right frequency, and the COAST GUARD WILL KNOW and they do have ways to pinpoint where your transmission comes from.

And last but not least:
(4) But what if I am duck hunting from my boat? Then it's legal, right? Well, depends on what the communications are. If you are having valid marine related communications with another boater, boat dock, lock master, Coast Guard, etc, yep, you're legal. But...if you are telling your buddy up stream "The ducks are a comin' your way!" then YOU ARE ILLEGALLY USING A MARINE RADIO!


What can I do?

MURS... Multi User Radio Service

MURS radios operate on 5 specific channels:
151.820 MHz
151.880 MHz
151.940 MHz
154.570 MHz
154.600 MHz

MURS handie talkies put out about the same power, and have the same operating characteristics that a marine radio handie talkie would on land.

MURS does not require an FCC license to use the radios.

MURS stations are prohibited from operating as a repeater station or as a signal booster.

The highest point of any MURS antenna must no be more than 18.3 meters (60 feet) above the ground or 6.10 meters (20 feet) above the highest point of the structure on which it is mounted.

MURS radios will cost about the same as marine radios, and even used commercial radios off eBay can be programmed to use in the MURS service.

As ham radio operators, we know that a good antenna, and good height do more for communications than extra power (aka "power boosters" or "linears"). Why not setup one unit with a deployable antenna of good gain and height to communicate with your other fellow hunters? You are allowed 60 feet above ground to the top of the antenna, and a good quality high gain antenna can be had for under $100. You can even let your wife be "Hunt Central Control"! A little coordination and cooperation can ensure good reliable communications for your next hunt!


FRS... Family Radio Service
Well, they are cheap, and the orignal true 14 channels assigned to FRS are license free. BUT... buyer beware! The radios that have GMRS frequencies or channels in them DO require a license, $75 from the FCC. And the range of FRS...maybe 1/4 mile is lucky.


CB... Citizens Band
A dime a dozen. Noisy, range is 3-5 miles (if you're lucky). No license required. Illegal to use linear amplifiers (boosters, "pill" boxes, etc).

Why not operate LEGALLY while hunting and not run the risk of getting huge fines, possibly jail time, and interfering with bona fide marine communications?

By the way, did you know that most of  the states that DO allow "hunting" radios (yep, some states DON'T allow them) DO NOT allow you to use them for "spotting" or "chasing" animals? KNOW THE LAWS!

To report violations of Marine Radio Spectrum use, see the FCC Investigations and Hearings Division web page at http://www.fcc.gov/eb/ihd/ or
the FCC Technical and Public Safety Division web page at http://www.fcc.gov/eb/tpsd/.
.
And, if you think this page is just a rant against hunters, please take time to read http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=maritime
.

Also see http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2005/DA-05-1597A1.html.

This link http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=7748 details all the marine channels assigned for a VHF Marine Radio. NOTE: there are NO "hunting" channels.


Need advice? Contact the MCARC at kg4fzr@yahoo.com .