FCC Now Offering VHF Vessel Handheld MMSI Registration

VHF Marine Band radios, protocol, radio communication theory, practical advice; AIS; DSC; MMSI; EPIRB.
jimh
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FCC Now Offering VHF Vessel Handheld MMSI Registration

Postby jimh » Tue Feb 28, 2023 8:29 am

From c.2019 and perhaps earlier, VHF Marine Band DSC handheld radio was supposed to use a special category of maritime mobile service identity (MMSI) as detailed by the ITU in the document linked below.

Recommendation ITU-R M.585-8 (10/2019)
Assignment and use of identities in the maritime mobile service

https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/re ... !PDF-E.pdf

The above document provided the following recommendation for VHF handheld DSC radios:

    Section 1

    Assignment of identities for handheld VHF transceivers with digital selective calling and global navigation satellite system
    1. A handheld VHF transceiver with DSC and GNSS may require a unique identification showing that this device has restricted battery capacity and restricted coverage area. This may give additional information in an emergency case.

    2. The handheld VHF transceiver with DSC and GNSS should be used exclusively in the maritime mobile service.
    3. Handheld VHF transceiver with DSC and GNSS participating in the maritime mobile service should be assigned a unique 9-digit number in the format 81M2I3D4X5X6X7X8X9 where digits 2, 3 and 4 represents the MID and X is any figure from 0 to 9.

      The MID represents the administration assigning the identity to the handheld transceiver.
        81M2I3D4X5X6X7X8X9
    4. The procedure and criteria for assignment and registration of these identities should be left
      to the administration concerned....

For vessels in the U.S.A. the ship station license authority is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Until recently the FCC did not have a method to implement the use of unique ship handheld MMSI identities. The FCC now has implemented the use of these NHF handheld MMSI registrations. For more information on how to obtain a proper MMSI for a VHF handheld DSC radio for use aboard a ship, visit the FCC website at

VHF Handheld Stations
https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/maritime-mobile/vhf-handheld-stations

From that page, choose the TAB with the heading "Handheld Vessel VHF" to get details of how to apply for an FCC license and MMSI for a VHF DSC handheld radio.

The important information is emphasized below:

In order to apply for a Handheld VHF Marine Radio license with a properly formatted MMSI...you must file an FCC Form 605 along with the required Schedule B, and an attachment specifically requesting a VHF Handheld-Formatted MMSI. Without an attachment, a standard Vessel-Formatted MMSI will be issued in its place.

jimh
Posts: 11869
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: FCC Now Offering VHF Vessel Handheld MMSI Registration

Postby jimh » Tue Feb 28, 2023 8:35 am

For more background in MMSI licensing for VHF Handheld radios see earlier discussions at

Handheld DSC Radio in USA: Use; MMSI Assignment
https://continuouswave.com/forum/viewto ... =13&t=2646

and

MMSI Number Scheme
https://continuouswave.com/forum/viewto ... =13&t=1951

jimh
Posts: 11869
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: FCC Now Offering VHF Vessel Handheld MMSI Registration

Postby jimh » Tue Feb 28, 2023 8:40 am

Using the recommended MMSI numbering scheme, for a particular MID identity, there are only five digits 0 to 9 available in the MMSI. This suggests the maximum number of such MMSI identities for a particular MID prefix will be 100,000.