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VHF recording

Old 07-22-2011, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
. 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."
I feel that this is the most relevant section. Ship to ship communications seem fall under such topics as may be considered relating to the use of the general public. My opinion is of course irrelevant The relevant opinions would come from the agency that enforces those rules. I am always hesitant to take the advice of internet posters on topics like this. I enjoy the debate, but administrative law is complicated and difficult to understand. Simple "boat trash" like myself don't attempt to understand administrative law. It is nearly impossible to understand the law as a layman, Citing the law directly without case law is nearly useless because interpretation is everything, but you can find comfort in the inefficiency of the agencies. The do not have the resources to minot the behavior of 1% of the individuals they supervise.

On the topic, i guess my best bet would be to hook up a low range system to the hard drive to record all coms. I must only be concerned with cutting out the dead spots to reduce what i have to record.
Old 07-23-2011, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by tiaramisu View Post
In the U.S. it is never illegal to record when there is no copyright or expectation of privacy. The VHF environment has neither.
There are laws governing this and some have been posted above. Never say never!
Old 07-25-2011, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt_Andrew View Post
I am going to need a cite for that. I have a hard time swallowing that when the USCG publishes has published radio recordings on the net. Before you say that the USCG can do what they want when they write the rules, the FCC is the agency which writes the rules relevant to radio communications.
Sited for you above. And the USCG had to get permission and special permits (which took them YEARS to get by the way) from the FCC to do so and have very specific "special" circumstances outlined. And those recordings released are screened and edited for privacy.... And the same goes for the FAA when they try to release radio communications from aircraft. Cockpit voice recorders have been fought over in courts for the last 30 years. Lots of folks want them made public, nobody has EVER won that one, they are still kept private to the FAA and airline officials with clearance.


Originally Posted by tiaramisu View Post
In the U.S. it is never illegal to record when there is no copyright or expectation of privacy. The VHF environment has neither.
Actually, the VHF has both. And both are in the law books as partially quoted.

Originally Posted by GTBecker View Post
Rewinding a 3 second clip and replaying it on a speaker is MUCH different than "recording" and offering for re-broadcast. And, permits and approvals where needed, and granted by the FCC for this feature.

Originally Posted by GTBecker View Post
And rebroadcasting is exactly what SeaTow does with their automatic radio check services, isn't it? http://www.seatow.com/boating_safety/ARC.asp
Again, it took Seatow YEARS and "lobbying" to both the FCC and USCG to get approval and permits for this feature. Not only did Seatow in general need to get this approved, but EACH and every site that puts the system up, needs special permits and approval for it. And it was approved mainly because it is a safety feature. It clears up Ch. 16 radio checks, and gets boaters to check and get their VHF's working. It's amazing to me how many boats either don't have them, or don't have them working.


Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
There are laws governing this and some have been posted above. Never say never!



Laslty, let me add one more thing. I said it was illeagal to record and re-broadcast the VHf comm's.... I did not say that if you did, anybody would care of come after you.
Old 07-25-2011, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
... Lastly, let me add one more thing. I said it was illegal to record and re-broadcast...
Well, actually, no you did not. Since completeness and accuracy is important to you, what you said was:

Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
... just an FYI, I'm pretty sure it is illegal to record, or re-broadcast any VHF transmission...
The Cobra feature is for 20 seconds and, you're right, it does not rebroadcast. Nevertheless, it is every bit a recording and can be stored for later replay, no different - except, perhaps, in the eyes of an attorney - from a hobbyist's cassette deck or computer.
Old 07-25-2011, 04:04 PM
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And like I said, Cobra and others with a record/playback feature needed to get FCC appooval for the feature.
Old 07-25-2011, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
... Cobra and others with a record/playback feature needed to get FCC approval for the feature...
Can you point to the FCC action that authorizes Cobra to produce and market this feature, please? It looks like it should have been in late 2008 or early 2009. My search of the Commission documents finds nothing pertinent.
Old 07-25-2011, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
.... And the same goes for the FAA when they try to release radio communications from aircraft. Cockpit voice recorders have been fought over in courts for the last 30 years. Lots of folks want them made public, nobody has EVER won that one, they are still kept private to the FAA and airline officials with clearance.
Radio communications from aircraft are freely available online. try http://www.liveatc.net/

Cockpit voice recordings include conversations inside the cockpit which is much more than than just ATC communications that go out over VHF.
Old 07-26-2011, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by GTBecker View Post
Can you point to the FCC action that authorizes Cobra to produce and market this feature, please? It looks like it should have been in late 2008 or early 2009. My search of the Commission documents finds nothing pertinent.
The FCC license # and approval info is rignt on the sticker of the unit itself.
Old 07-26-2011, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
The FCC license # and approval info is rignt on the sticker of the unit itself.
Great. Can you relay that info? I don't have one and can't find an image of the label online. Thanks.
Old 07-27-2011, 05:57 AM
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Disregard; I found the two Cobra marine radios with the Rewind-Say-Again feature in the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology database. https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/...ericSearch.cfm

FCC ID BBOMRF80:
https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/...%27BBOMRF80%27

FCC ID BBOMRHH425:
https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/...7BBOMRHH425%27

In these filings, there is no mention of recording except in the supplied user manuals. It appears that your assertion that Cobra obtained special FCC approval for the feature is not correct, Birdman; in any event, the radio's FCC ID is not related to it. Still, I've asked Cobra but have not yet received a response.

I'll go out on a short limb: I do not believe Cobra thought it was necessary to obtain any exemption from any rule for these radios and, thus, that the recording feature is not a violation. Perhaps you can demonstrate otherwise.
Old 07-27-2011, 03:38 PM
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Birdman also said:
Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
... it took Seatow YEARS and "lobbying" to both the FCC and USCG to get approval and permits for this feature. Not only did Seatow in general need to get this approved, but EACH and every site that puts the system up, needs special permits and approval for it...
None of that is apparently correct. In fact, Seatow does not operate the Automated Radio Check services, I have learned; MariTel does. The channels are commercial and are not subject to the rules that govern use of other marine channels.

I asked Seatow:
"Was/is it necessary for you to obtain an exception to a no-rebroadcasting rule to operate [the Automated Radio Check] stations?"

SeaTow and, in turn, MariTel, responded:
“No. While the ability to repeat transmissions on most marine VHF channels does not exist (or may require special permission), the channels acquired by MariTEL at FCC auction operate under a much different framework. Major differences are a) geographic area licensing, b) commercial, for-profit use, c) support for fixed, mobile or hybrid services, and d) duplex (two frequencies per channel) channels instead of simplex (single frequency).”

This also suggests that transmission from land is permitted on these channels.


Last edited by GTBecker; 07-27-2011 at 03:52 PM.
Old 07-30-2011, 03:09 PM
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Do you currently believe that there are no special licenses required to record VHF communications without any intent to rebroadcast?
Old 07-30-2011, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt_Andrew View Post
Do you currently believe that there are no special licenses required to record VHF communications without any intent to rebroadcast?
If you want to be certain, contact the FCC and ask. If you need a summary of the thread above, here is my take.

My opinion is that you needn't be concerned - but I am not a communications attorney and I've never played one. I did some research on your behalf, though, which leads me to believe that there is no requirement for FCC consent to record marine channel traffic.

Others in this thread have shown what they believe is applicable law prohibiting recording, and others have made unsubstantiated - and, I think, demonstrably incorrect - claims that it is illegal.

But at least three big corporate names in the business offer products and services that appear to support the notion of legal recording, at least in their opinions. They are much more likely to be exposed to liability if they are wrong, and have much more to lose than you or I do, I suspect. Their attorneys and engineers are surely in regular contact with the FCC and they would have taken actions to assure compliance with applicable rules if they determined it was necessary. It appears that they have not done that so following in their propwash is probably legally safe, recording as they do.

Last edited by GTBecker; 07-30-2011 at 06:15 PM. Reason: two to three
Old 08-01-2011, 01:55 PM
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GTBecker,
The FCC License number on the back of the radio is an APPROVAL from the FCC, the manufacturer of the radio (in this case Cobra) for ALL of the features on the radio. They don't have to list them all, on the license certificate. The certificate simply states in so many legal words, the radio has passed FCC inspection/audits/rules and regulation.

Lastly, the fact they have done it, does NOT have anything to do with whether or not it is legal. The garbage truck that picks up garbage in front of my house twice a week pulls up with 2 guys hanging on the back of the truck. The sticker on the CAB of the truck states: "No person shall ride outside of the cab of this vehicle while the vehicle is in motion". I don't see the cops pulling them over, I don't see anyone caring, and they are still doing it.

Seatow, is the OWNER of the Seatow Automated Radio check system. Maritel is the OPERATOR of the system. And BOTH have FCC approval for it, and every single station. Apparently, one of the issues with rolling it out on LI, was the approval process as the FCC found several of the proposed stations too close together.

Originally Posted by GTBecker
The channels are commercial and are not subject to the rules that govern use of other marine channels.
Correct. They are subject to COMMERCIAL rules and regulations. Which by the way are much more stringent.



Ps- I'd bet ya 10 to 1, in theory your re-broadcast of VHF over the internet (linked in your sig) is illegal. But since it does not harm anyone, and nobody complains (there would really be no reason to complain!), nobody cares. But I'd bet ya, it's not legal.
Old 08-01-2011, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
GTBecker,
The FCC License number on the back of the radio is an APPROVAL from the FCC, the manufacturer of the radio (in this case Cobra) for ALL of the features on the radio.
Only a certain few measurements to prove compliance with FCC technical standards are required to be granted part 80 equipment certification. These involve measurements of RF power output, modulation characteristics, occupied bandwidth, spurious emissions at antenna terminals, field strength of spurious radiation and frequency stability.

As far as recording over the air conversations, I would say that it is technically illegal, except for law enforcement officers, based on part 2.701 of the FCC Title 46 rules which state:

Prohibition against use of a radio device for eavesdropping.

(a) No person shall use, either directly or indirectly, a device
required to be licensed by section 301 of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, for the purpose of overhearing or recording the
private conversations of others unless such use is authorized by all of
the parties engaging in the conversation.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply to operations of any
law enforcement officers conducted under lawful authority.

As far as I'm concerned, recording of conversations for your own personal use is harmless unless you use it for some benefit to yourself or others, other than just being able to replay it to hear it again.

The FCC doesn't care if a certified marine VHF is capable of recording. Personal digital audio recorder's are a dime a dozen. It's what you do with that recording that matters. A bluetooth device must meet FCC part 15 rules, but the FCC doesn't give a hoot if the bluetooth device meet's the bluetooth protocol.


Eric

Last edited by fairbank56; 08-01-2011 at 03:43 PM.
Old 08-01-2011, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
... The FCC License number on the back of the radio is an APPROVAL from the FCC [] for ALL of the features on the radio.
Nonsense, Birdman.

EOT.
Old 08-01-2011, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by GTBecker View Post
Nonsense, Birdman.

EOT.
Oh, ok. So it's an approoval for only "parts of the radio" then, right?

In that case, I'm going to modify the crap out of my radio. I'll just say, "well, the FCC part I haven't touched!"
Old 08-01-2011, 06:38 PM
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That's right Birdman. Just make sure your mod's don't change any of the measurements that I mentioned before.

(b) Three classes of permissive changes may be made in certificated
equipment without requiring a new application for and grant of
certification. None of the classes of changes shall result in a change
in identification.

(1) A Class I permissive change includes those modifications in the
equipment which do not degrade the characteristics reported by the
manufacturer and accepted by the Commission when certification is
granted. No filing with the Commission is required for a Class I
permissive change.

I think you just make stuff up as you go along.

Eric
Old 08-02-2011, 09:58 AM
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The point your missing is, that fact you don't have to report it or get re-certified has nothing to do with whether your allowed to do it or not. Those statements in the cert are just saying in lay-mens terms: if you make small changes which are still within the rest of the regulations, you don't need to re-certify and notify us. in other words, "We don't have time to look at every little thing in your radio, or every revision and change you make, but you do need to continue to stay within the rules and guidelines, and are responsible for such. And if at a later date we find you are not compliant, we can and will drop the hammer".

Which again means, everything in the radio is certified and compliant. And you as a manufacturer are responsible for keeping it that way whether or not we check it. Just the same way a Delloitte & Touche audit works for a Corp. they don't look at every single invoice and payment you have made to ensure your reporting everything. They take a quick look at a few things they think are important, and certify you based on that small snapshot. YOU are then responsible for the rest of it being and staying compliant.

But all of this is really a mute point anyway. As I have said in the very beginning, they really don't care, and don't have the time or resources to do anything about it even if they did care. So who cares?
Old 08-02-2011, 10:26 AM
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Congratulations, Birdman, you are the first on my ignore list. I will sorely miss your expertise. [Read that with extreme sarcasm; you have abundantly demonstrated none in your high-volume BS.] Incidentally, the word is moot - and, ironically, you have been muted here.

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