Waiver Request for Maritime Radio Draws Support

A waiver request submitted by Icom America, Inc., that would permit the manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of a medium frequency/high frequency digital selective calling (DSC) radio has drawn supportive comments. Such devices “are used by ship stations to communicate with other ship stations or coast stations for safety, navigation, and weather information,” the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau observed in a recent public notice (TR Daily, May 9). “A waiver is required because the M802 does not comply with the relevant technical standard now incorporated by reference in the Commission’s rules. … Icom now requests a waiver to permit manufacture, importation, sale, and installation of the M802 until 2020, by which time it expects to have available an MF/HF DSC radio that complies with the current standard.”

In comments filed in WT docket 17-122, a number of parties expressed support for the waiver, saying the radio is affordable and easy to install.

The Safety at Sea Subcommittee of the United States Sailing Association said it “recommends that the FCC grant the waiver sought by ICOM to allow them to continue to sell the M802 until they are able to introduce a new radio that meets current FCC regulations. The M802 is the only currently-marketed SSB radio that is reasonably affordable and straightforward to install on a recreational sailing vessel such as is used by many cruising sailors and offshore racing sailors.  The M802 implements DSC (digital selective calling) which is a critical safety tool now that the US Coast Guard (and most international rescue authorities) no longer monitor voice channels.  DSC is the best (and often only) way to summon help via radio in an emergency while at sea.”

A number of individuals also filed comments supporting the waiver.

For example, Timothy Johnson of Oxnard, Calif., said, “The M802 is the only remaining marine SSB that is affordable and reasonable to install on a recreational vessel.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily