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GMDSS and Amateur Radio?

We’ve been asked if there is any crossover with amateur radio and the “GMDSS General Operators Certificate”

GMDSS stands for Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, and anyone who will have radio communication duties onboard vessels fitted with GMDSS equipment are required to hold a GMDSS Certificate.

From a quick look at the syllabus, there are some topics that crossover nicely with amateur radio. including:

  • Radio installation
  • Antennas
  • Power sources
  • communication procedures for VHF, MF and HF
  • Practical and theoretical knowledge of radiotelephony procedures
  • Regulations, obligatory procedures and practices

If you’ve completed a GMDSS exam, this will certainly stand you in good stead for getting an amateur radio licence.

There are 3 licence levels in the UK – Foundation, Intermediate and Full. The first two allow you to operate in UK inland waters only – you’d need a “UK Full” to operate from a vessel outside of UK territorial waters.

Can you use a GMDSS with amateur radio?

We found this answer on the AMERC website’s FAQ:

“I am a licensed radio amateur. Can I use a marine transceiver with this licence? No. Your amateur licence does not cover you on the maritime frequencies. Nor does the marine certificate allow you to use the amateur bands for transmitting.”

Want to get an amateur radio licence?

If you decide to start with Foundation, then note that the free HamTrain Foundation Online Course can be a great help. You can also try a mock exam and see how much of the material you already know: https://www.hamhub.uk/foundation-mock/

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