Friday, April 25, 2014

C6/W0EA/MM???


As many of you probably know, I am an avid cruiser.  We've gone on 7 now and won't be stopping any time soon.  This fall we're planning on going on the Norwegian Getaway which sails to Nassau, St. Thomas, and Sint Maarten.  I've always toyed with the idea of bringing gear along, but my investigations have always lead to dead ends and prohibited items lists.  

Still, again and again, I would see reports of QRPers taking their gear to far away places without much trouble so I finally decided I was drawing a line in the sand and this cruise was going to be the one.

I have had my application for a C6 license filled out for quite a while but I've never finished scanning the documentation to send off.  You need a photocopy of your passport, a copy of your license, the form, and $35 and the process is supposed to take a few months.  Really, there's not much to lose.

The difficult part though, is getting permission from the cruise line.  As I mentioned earlier, most cruise lines have a list of prohibited items, and at least on Carnival and Royal Caribbean, "HAM RADIOS" are listed explicitly.  I couldn't find such a list on Norwegian's site, but I'm sure there is one.  So with a fair bit of hope in my heart, I fired off an email to NCL's "Guests with Special Needs" contact.

The email I sent is here:
Hi, I am writing to inquire about bringing and operating amateur radio equipment aboard the Getaway.  My wife and I are planning a vacation in the Fall and our decision to sail with NCL is somewhat dependent on whether I will be able to bring my equipment with me.  I am an FCC licensed operator and will abide by all FCC Part 90 and Part 97 regulations while aboard the ship.  My equipment would be limited to the following:
Yaesu FT-817 High Frequency, low power transceiver (http://goo.gl/IMqYm9)
Buddistick portable HF antenna (http://www.buddipole.com/buddistick.html)
Batteries
Any allowed operation would be unobtrusive to other cruisers and will not cause any interference to the ship's communication or navigation equipment.  I will also contact the ship's Master to get permission to operate and will abide by any limits provided by him and his crew.
I know many other amateur operators have been granted the ability to bring their equipment on board and operate, I am hoping I am granted the same.
Thanks, I look forward to hearing back.
As you can see, it is brief and detailed enough to get the point across: I don't plan on being a pain, and nobody will probably even notice me.  Unobtrusive as possible is the goal.  Heck, I may not even operate ON the ship and instead focus operating efforts in the ports of call.

Well it only took a little over a day to hear back, and things are at least neutral at this point:
 
Thank you for your e-mal.
 
We have forwarded your inquiry to the staff aboard the MS Norwegian Getaway for their review and response. Once a response is received we will respond to your inquiry.
 
Thank you
It isn't a flat out no!  Based on what I've seen from others who have been successful on other lines, the captain almost always approves the operation.  The officers and staff should know that amateur stuff will have no impact to their operation and a fair number of the captains are hams themselves!

So we will see what happens with that....  stay posted!