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Publication Number: 553680 Rule Parts: 80 Publication Date: 04/04/2014
Keyword: Part 80 Marine HF Radio Frequencies

First Category: Licensed Service Rules and Procedures
Second Category: Part 80 Marine & 87 Aviation (lic)

Question:   Explain Part 80 marine VHF (156-162 MHz band) ship radio frequency allocations with regards to domestic and international regulations.


A marine VHF radio certified under Part 80 must comply with the following:

    1. Transmitting frequencies must be limited to those described in the table in 47 CFR 80.871(d), i.e., using the ship station frequencies in the table in the simplex and semi-duplex modes (as applicable)
    2. To the extent that the unit and manual provide channel numbers, they must be consistent with the table in 47 CFR 80.871(d).
    3. To the extent that the unit and manual provide a domestic mode (e.g., US, USA, domestic use), the frequencies in the domestic mode may consist only of those listed in 47 CFR 80.371(c) and 80.373(f), except for the following case. EXCEPTION: The domestic mode may contain marine VHF channel numbers 3, 21, 23, 61, 64, 81, 82, or 83, so long as either the unit or the manual make clear that these frequencies are not for use by the general public in US waters (a user would require special authorization under a private land mobile license or from the Coast Guard). The domestic mode may not contain marine VHF channel numbers 2, 4, 60, and 62 (these are slightly offset from private land mobile frequencies and there is no means to legally use these as carrier frequencies in US waters). Note that the rules do not provide authority to require specific warning labels or place additional burdens on manufacturers that meet these requirements.
    4. To the extent that the unit and manual provide an international mode (e.g., international, ITU, Appendix 18, foreign) or a mode specific to a particular administration (e.g., Canada, Japan, UK), the unit and manual need only comply with item #1 listed above.

The following are additional requirements for Digital Selective Calling (DSC): Section 80.225(a)(4) of the FCC rules prohibits, as of March 25th, 2011, the manufacture, importation, sale and installation of fixed mounted (non-portable) digital selective calling (DSC) equipped marine radios that do not meet the following Standards:

    1. International Telecommunications Union (ITU-R) Recommendation M.493-13
    2. Class D VHF DSC equipment only, International (IEC) International Standard 62238.

Channel Switching, now requires 2 receivers for DSC. See the USCG Special Notice.

In order to comply with the requirements all equipment authorization applications for devices subject to this requirement must include the following information in filings:
        1. Letter Exhibit stating which applicable standards were used to determine compliance.
        2. Full ITU 439-13/IEC 62238 test report(s)


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