What is Maritime Mobile?

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If you are just now exploring the amazing world of amateur radio and marveling at all the different types of signal that you can intercept, then you might find yourself hungry for yet more exciting opportunities. One such fascinating option is maritime mobile.

Maritime Mobile – An Introduction

Maritime mobile is a form of amateur ham radio that of course has a link with maritime activities.

Specifically, this is the result of most amateur radio licenses allowing licensed operators to transmit from radio equipment such as a two-way radio while at sea. These operations are referred to as maritime mobile amateur radio, or maritime mobile. Maritime mobile channels used by amateurs and hobbyists will require the prefix /MM and will be considered a form of portable radio operations.

Maritime mobile service meanwhile is an international radio service that is intended to provide safety of life and property at sea and on inland waterways. This allows vessels using a Marine VHF Radio to gain information about docks and ports, about weather, or about what is going on on land.

VHF radio equipment is usually installed on large ships and small crafts and is crucial for rescue services, as well as commercial cruisers. Most use SSB – which is single band radio – a mode similar to AM or FM that is particularly efficient when it comes to imposing the voice onto the radio wave. In some cases, a well designed SSB radio can enjoy a range of over 4,000 miles!

Marine VHF radio occurs on the spectrum of frequencies between 156-174MHz, where VHF refers to ‘very high frequency’. Hobbyists might find that they are able to use their digital police scanners and two-way radio equipment in order to listen in on these communications.

Getting Involved

Of course the best tool for listening in on marine radio is to use a marine VHF radio. This set is a combined transmitter and receiver that will operate only on the standard frequencies used for marine mobile.

Better yet, is to own a vessel with a Marine VHF Antenna. In fact, it is highly recommended that you do this, if you intend on any form of seafaring.

But with that said, listening in on marine mobile I also a very fun option for hobbyists. Just as many people will use a digital police scanner in order to listen out for police communications, listening to information about boats can be similarly exciting – especially for enthusiasts. And there’s the simple fact that marine radio has a long range, making it a great option for listening to transmissions over distance.

There is also an element of challenge involved in receiving these messages. Being on a VHF band, this means these are very short frequency broadcasts, which in turn means that they will only travel in straight lines, rather than following the curvature of the earth as longwave does.

That means that you need to get creative if you want to try and intercept signals from a distance, which may mean reaching a higher altitude for instance, or increasing the sensitivity of your receiver.

If you want to get started, then the easiest option is to invest in a product from Icom, which makes high quality marine SSBs that are used by a large number of sailors and others. Whether you intend on heading out onto the sea and need some information about weather and conditions, or whether you just want to listen out for more interesting transmissions, you should get involved.