Moderated Discussion Areas
ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Intercept of Marine Radio Signals
|Author||Topic: Intercept of Marine Radio Signals|
posted 02-28-2013 11:12 AM ET (US)
Going back to the Communications Act of 1934, there is a general prohibition against intercepting radio signals which were not intended for you. The Communications Act of 1934 in Section 705 says:
(a) Except as authorized by chapter 119, title 18, UnitedStates Code,1 no person receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception, (1) to any person other than the addressee, his agent, or attorney, (2) to a person employed or authorized to forward such communication to its destination, (3) to proper accounting or distributing officers of the various communicating centers over which the communication may be passed, (4) to the master of a ship under whom he is serving, (5) in response to a subpoena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, or (6) on demand of other lawful authority. No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person. No person not being entitled thereto shall receive or assist in receiving any interstate or foreign communication by radio and use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. No person having received any intercepted radio communication or having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) or use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. This section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the contents of any radio communication which is transmitted by any station for the use of the general public, which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a citizens band radio operator.
Note that the act prohibits disclosure or publication of any intercepted communication. There are some exemptions.
As I read that, the phrase "which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress" means ships in distress, aircraft in distress, vehicles in distress, or persons in distress.
If you hear a distress call on Channel 16, it is okay to tell someone else about it. If you hear a commercial vessel in the course of communication with another station say something about the time they expect to be in a certain location, you are not supposed to disclose that or publish that informtion.
This act seems to permit intercept of any marine radio communication. The act says:
This newer regulation seems to say that it is OK to intercept marine communication, but I am not sure that it says it is OK to disclose it.
I am hoping for some informed opinions or comments on this. What is the present day prohibition regarding disclosure or publishing of radio communication I intercept on the VHF Marine Band radio service?
posted 02-28-2013 01:09 PM ET (US)
The FCC provides some guidance on this topic at
and mentions some of the same provisions I have cited (above).
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