Doing an FCC Ship Inspection

About 30 years ago, I got my FCC Commercial Second-Class Radiotelephone Operator’s License.  A few years later, the FCC consolidated the licenses, and it became the General Radiotelephone Operator’s License (GROL), and I was suddenly on equal footing with those who held the First Class license, for which I never got around to taking the test.  Other than the slight bragging rights associated with having such a license, I never made use of it until yesterday.

Last fall, I decided to post on my website the fact that I was duly licensed and qualified to conduct inspections of certain vessels on the Great Lakes.  I thought it might be an interesting diversion.  I guessed that if anyone called, it would be the owner of a small passenger vessel.

Last week, I got a call, but it wasn’t from the owner of a small vessel.  Instead, it was from the Captain of the Schooner Denis Sullivan, a 98-foot re-creation of a typical 19th century 3-masted Great Lakes schooner, owned and operated by Discovery World, a Milwaukee science museum.  So yesterday, I drove to Milwaukee and tested and signed off the vessel’s radio installation.  It did pass with flying colors, and I can personally attest to the safety of the radio installation.

My inspection was mostly limited to the VHF radio, power supply, and a visual inspection of the EPIRB.  I wasn’t able to do a full inspection of the MF-HF radio and other equipment, so my inspection is valid only for the Great Lakes.  If the ship is taken into international waters, which it has been in the past, it will need a more complete inspection, which is more readily done at a major port.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the ship, but I encourage you to visit the website of Wisconsin’s official flagship to see this majestic ship.

I had to scrounge together some of the equipment I needed for the inspection, and would like to thank N0AIS and K0NY for graciously supplying some of the required gear.

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