Any Ham-Radio Cruisers?

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Not voo-doo...but what do YOU do?
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62 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Anyone ever bring their Ham radios on board (I'm not talking walkie-talkies, but HF or short-wave radios)? Any problems or issues? My BF is very excited about bringing his radios along for the trip.
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North Dakota
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Joined Jan 2008
You should call the cruise line and make sure that they are allowed. I know that RCCL does not allow HAM radios.
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What a pirate pays for corn

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Sahuarita, Arizona
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Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by kttest
Thanks for the info, I'll definitely call to check.

Not too long ago all the ships had HF gear and antennas for navigational and emergency communications. That has all disappeared due to the superior capabilities of the satellite communications. So if you were to operate QRP, you would probably not have much liklihood of causing any QRM.

Of course you will have an uphill battle finding someone who has approval authority who will be able to understand what you plan to do.

In any case, let us know if you do get such permission.

alan, W7AKR
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No never have taken one. Too many other things to occupy my time.
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I'm a ham but have never tx'ed from a ship.
But I remember taking a portable shortwave radio once and a short length of wire. The theory was that the metal hull and the salt water would act as a good ground. Also (and I think this is hinted in your question), local noise and physical obstructions out at sea are never a problem!
Anyway, I grounded the receiver to the metal ship - the reception was incredible! I was hearing stuff I'd no chance of hearing at home on land.
Give it a try.
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Originally posted by cruiseloverandagent
You should call the cruise line and make sure that they are allowed. I know that RCCL does not allow HAM radios.
I have some ham buddies who sailed on the Radiance of the Seas (RCCL) in January and operated on the HF bands from the ship.
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Heart of Dixie
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Joined Apr 2008
Took my VX-5R HT to Alaska 4 years ago.
Got permission from the Captian. He sent the Communications Engineer to my cabin to check out the radio.
He said 2 meter and 6 meter was fine but asked that I not use 70cm since it was close to the staff's FRS frequencies.
Made contacts on both 2m and 6m. Matter of fact, that has been my only 6m contacts on FM.
We are doing this cruise again at the end of next month.
I need to see if there are any D-STAR repeaters on the inside passage...
North Dakota
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Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by satxdiver
I have some ham buddies who sailed on the Radiance of the Seas (RCCL) in January and operated on the HF bands from the ship.
I'm just reiterating what RCCL policy says.
Their policy is found here

"Aside from the obvious (and illegal) items not allowed onboard, there are other items we cannot accommodate onboard."

Prohibited items:
Coffee Makers
Electrical Transformers
Flammable Liquids and Explosives (such as fireworks)
HAM radio equipment
Hockey sticks
Illegal Drugs
Personal Alcohol
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During our Transatlantic cruise on the Emerald Princess, we were coming back onto the ship (I think it was in Lisbon). Before security, there was a huge sign listing all the stuff you were not permitted to bring onto the ship.

Number One on the list was Amateur Radio Equipment!

I've not brought ham equipment on cruises, but I never saw this prohibition in any other place, and have not dug through the passsenger contract to see if it is in there in fine print.

Bill, W4WNT
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what about police scanners ?. I have a small hand held portable scanner which ofcourse is only a receiver. I take it on every vacation I go on. Interesting to see what I hear on a boat.
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Joined Aug 2008
Cool, im nosey and love that kinda stuff, especially since here where I live they must have scrambled the frequencies, I cant much cept sometimes late at night on a weekend I might hear a few calls, mostly nothing
Quincy, Mass
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Take it, sit back and enjoy the fun. It might be boring one minute and then you have a medical or a USCG Helo doing a Hoist.

Originally posted by charleecrat
Cool, im nosey and love that kinda stuff, especially since here where I live they must have scrambled the frequencies, I cant much cept sometimes late at night on a weekend I might hear a few calls, mostly nothing
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I toured the Queen Mary in Long Beach CA last week. Spent quite a bit of time in the radio room. It's open and staffed by a local amateur radio club. Very interesting-----they showed me the original ship equipment as well as the new HAM equipment they use. Their call sign is W6RO.
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3 Posts
Joined May 2012
Just wondered if any hams have operated their home ham radio stations REMOTELY from aboard ship using the internet as a link?
I have the equipment necessary and plan to do so on our next cruise on 11/4/2012.

156 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Just saw this thread and wanted to put in my 2 cents worth. My dad is a ham (K6CUK/W2BAE) in the Los Angeles area. On a recent cruise to Hawaii he took radio equipment with him, though I know there was a lot of red-tape to go through. If you have CQ magazine, he had an article published in there in the May 2012 issue. Hope it works out for you. He was on the Golden Princess.
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1 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
I just returned from 30 days in the south pacific onboard the m.s. westerdam
I did a lot of operating from our cabin.The first thing that I had to do was to get
permission from the cruise line to bring my equipment on board.Just send a request to the e-mail address on their web site, that went fine. When you pack your gear don't forget to put the letter from them in the same bag as your gear. Next, you will need a letter to the Master {Captain] of the ship asking his permission to operate along with a copy of your license, copy of your rig & specs. I used a Yaesu ft747 running 100 watts on ssb on 10 meters. I tried 20 and 40 but I had bad swr on 20 and 40 never opened. I was able to work a number of vk &zl anb south american stations. If more information is needed about antenna etc. Ill be happy to help. C U on the water-Ken k6GOA