Do I Need A License To Operate A VHF Radio?

Do I Need A License To Operate A VHF Radio?

The FCC has eliminated the individual licensing requirement for voluntary ships operating domestically which are not required by law to carry a radio.

If you are a power driven vessel over 19.96 meters (about 60 feet) or if you hire your boat for charter or any other commercial activity you need a license. Or if you plan on traveling to foreign ports you also need the license and must pay the fee.

Any payment to the FCC must be accompanied by FCC Form 159, for more information on the fee, and other payment related questions go to the FCC’s FAQ page.

If you don’t want to file online you can download a hard copy here.

Even if you are not required to have a license it is a good idea and easy to get.

Obtaining a license is a two-step process easily done online.

1. Click here to the FCC E-File website.

2. Register with The Commission Registration System (CORES)

a. CORES will assign a unique 10-digit FCC Registration Number (FRN) which can be obtained both on-line and manually. CORES is a registration system for entities filing applications or making payments with the Commission. Display the current listing of forms and filings requiring a CORES registration number. Effective December 3, 2001 an FRN must be submitted by anyone doing business with the Commission. The FRN will be used by all Commission systems that handle financial, authorization of service, and enforcement activities. An Alternate Linkis now available.

3. Next scroll down to the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and choose “ONLINE Filing”. Enter your newly acquired FRN number and password and continue. Be sure to have your vessel’s documentation or registration number at hand.

Which manufacturer’s equipment should I buy?

Here at Alcom Marine, we believe there is no single manufacturer that builds the best of all electronics. The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) has a standard format to which all marine electronics manufacturers build their equipment in order to interface consistently. Therefore, we pick the best and most appropriate piece of gear from some or all manufacturers depending on its function.