About the licenses:
Commercial Radio Operator License Program
FCC rules require that licensees of ship and aircraft stations permit only persons holding the appropriate FCC-issued commercial operator license to perform specified transmitter operation, maintenance and repair duties.
Who Needs A Commercial Operator License?
You need a commercial operator license to operate, and/or to repair and maintain, specified ship, and aircraft radio communication stations. The licensing requirements for operating such radio stations and the licensing requirements for repairing and maintaining such radio stations are discussed separately below.
CAUTION:These listings only describe when a commercial operator license is necessary. A commercial operator license does not constitute or imply FCC authorization to transmit radio signals. Before you operate any radio station, make certain that the station is licensed as required by the FCC.
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 frequencies (MF) or high frequencies (HF); or
the ship sails to foreign ports; or
the ship station transmits radiotelegraphy; or
the ship is larger than 300 gross tons and is required by law to carry a radio station for safety purposes.
Aircraft radio stations, except those which operate only on very high frequencies (VHF) and do not make foreign flights.
You do NOT need a commercial operator license to operate the following:
Ship stations operating only on VHF frequencies that do not travel to foreign ports or make international communications (unless the vessel carries more than six passengers for hire, or the ship is larger than 300 gross tons and is required by law to carry a radio station for safety purposes).
Shore radar, shore radiolocation, maritime support or shore radionavigation stations.
Survival craft stations or EPIRBs.
Ship radar stations, if (a) the radar frequency is determined by a nontunable, pulse type magnetron or other fixed tune device, and (b) the radar is capable of being operated exclusively by external controls.
Aircraft stations which operate only on VHF frequencies and do not make foreign flights.
Aircraft radar sets, radio altimeters, transponders or other aircraft automatic radionavigation transmitters.
ELTs or aviation survival craft stations used solely for survival purposes.
Radio Maintenance and Repair
You need a commercial 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.
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, and local, state, and federal government agencies.
Personal radio equipment used in the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS), Radio Control Radio Service (RCRS), and General Mobile Radio Services (GMRS).
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.
Federal Communications Commision Licenses
Credentials are highly important! Obtain an FCC license and get hired or promoted to the job you want. We hold regularly scheduled classes for the following licenses or endorsements:
Element 1: Basic radio law and operating practice with which every maritime radio operator should be familiar. MPs are required to operate radiotelephone stations aboard certain vessels that sail the Great Lakes. They are also required to operate radiotelephone stations aboard vessels of more than 300 gross tons and vessels which carry more than six passengers for hire in the open sea or any tidewater area of the United States. They are also required to operate certain aviation radiotelephone stations and certain coast radiotelephone stations.
Element 3: General Radiotelephone. Electronic fundamentals and techniques required to adjust, repair, and maintain radio transmitters and receivers:
radio wave propagation
signals and emissions
antennas and feed lines
A PG is required to adjust, maintain, or internally repair FCC licensed radiotelephone transmitters in the aviation, maritime, and international fixed public radio services. It conveys all of the operating authority of the MP. It is also required to operate the following:
any compulsorily equipped ship radiotelephone station operating with more than 1500 watts of peak envelope power.
voluntarily equipped ship and aeronautical (including aircraft) stations with more than 1000 watts of peak envelope power.
Element 7: GMDSS Radio Operating Practices. GMDSS radio operating procedures and practices sufficient to show detailed practical knowledge of the operation of all GMDSS sub-systems and equipment. The exam consists of questions from the following categories: general information, narrow-band direct-printing, INMARSAT, NAVTEX, digital selective calling, and survival craft. The DO qualifies the holder to operate, and make some basic equipment adjustments to, Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio installations. It also confers the operating authority of the MP.
Element 8: Ship Radar Techniques. Specialized theory and practice applicable to the proper installation, servicing, and maintenance of ship radar equipment in general use for marine navigation purposes. Only persons whose commercial radio operator license bears this endorsement may repair, maintain, or internally adjust ship radar equipment.
Element 9: GMDSS Radio Maintenance Practices and Procedures. Requirements set forth in IMO Assembly on Training for Radio Personnel (GMDSS), Annex 5 and IMO Assembly on Radio Maintenance Guidelines for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System related to Sea Areas A3 and A4. The exam consists of questions from the following categories: radio system theory, amplifiers, power sources, troubleshooting, digital theory, and GMDSS equipment and regulations. The DM qualifies personnel as GMDSS radio maintainers to perform at sea repair and maintenance of GMDSS equipment. It also confers the operating authority of the PG and MP.
NOTE: Possession of a commercial radio operator license or permit does not authorize an individual to operate amateur or GMRS radio stations. Only a person holding an amateur or GMRS radio operator license may operate an amateur or GMRS radio station.
Operating While Application is Pending
A person who has filed an application for a commercial operator license with the FCC, and who holds a Proof of Passing Certificate(s) indicating that he or she has passed the necessary examination(s) within the previous 365 days, is authorized to exercise the rights and privileges of the applied-for operator license during the period before the FCC acts on the application, but only for a period of 90 days from the date the application was filed, provided that the applicant has not had a commercial radio operator license revoked or suspended in the past, and is not the subject of an ongoing suspension proceeding.
Question Pools and Study Guides:
Examination question pools, with answers, are available for downloading below.
[Note: From time to time, the Commission may change the number of questions to be included in the examination for a particular element and/or the number of answers needed to pass the examination. The Commission will issue a public notice or take other actions to inform the public of any such change.
Element 1 (pdf) To pass, must correctly answer at least 18 out of 24 questions.
Element 3 (pdf) To pass, an examinee must correctly answer 75 out of 100 questions
Element 7 (pdf) To pass, must correctly answer at least 75 out of 100 questions.
Element 8 (pdf) To pass, must correctly answer at least 38 out of 50 questions.
Element 9 (pdf) To pass, must correctly answer at least 38 out of 50 questions.
Ready to take the Test? Click here: FCC Online Program
*NOTE: All information is obtained directly from the FCC public website.