March 31, 2023
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NRE : Who Needs A License?

For Radio Operations - You need a commercial radio operator license to operate the following:

  • Ship radio stations if:
    • the vessel carries more than six passengers for hire; or
    • the radio operates on medium or high frequencies; or
    • the ship sails to foreign ports; or
    • the ship is larger than 300 gross tons and is required to carry a radio station for safety purposes.
  • Coast stations which operate on medium or high frequencies, or operate with more than 1,500 watts of peak envelope power.
  • Aircraft radio stations, except those that use only VHF frequencies on domestic flights.
  • International fixed public radiotelephone and radiotelegraph stations.
  • Coast and ship stations transmitting radiotelegraphy.

You do NOT need a commercial radio operator license to operate the following:

  • Coast stations operating on VHF frequencies with 250 watts or less of carrier power.
  • Ship stations operating only on VHF frequencies while sailing on domestic voyages.
  • Aircraft stations which operate only on VHF frequencies and do not make foreign flights.

For Radio Maintenance and Repair - You need a commercial radio operator license to repair and maintain the following:

  • All ship radio and radar stations.
  • All coast stations.
  • All hand carried units used to communicate with ships and coast stations on marine frequencies.
  • All aircraft stations and aeronautical ground stations
  • including hand-carried portable units) used to communicate with aircraft.
  • International fixed public radiotelephone and radiotelegraph stations.

You do NOT need a commercial radio operator license to operate, repair, or maintain any of the following types of stations:

  • Two-way land mobile radio equipment, such as that used by police and fire departments, taxicabs and truckers, businesses and industries, ambulances and rescue squads, local, state, and federal government agencies.
  • Personal radio equipment used in the Citizens Band, Radio Control, and General Mobile radio services.
  • Auxiliary broadcast stations, such as remote pickup stations.
  • Domestic public fixed and mobile radio systems, such as mobile telephone systems, cellular systems, rural radio systems, point-to-point microwave systems, multipoint distribution systems, etc.
  • Stations that operate in the Cable Television Relay Service.
  • Satellite stations, both uplink and downlink of all types.

NOTE: Possession of a commercial radio operator license or permit does not authorize an individual to operate amateur radio stations. Only a person holding an amateur radio operator license may operate an amateur radio station.

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