Radio Facilities

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Radio facilities have specific technical requirements that must be met in order to be accepted as federal emitters. This page provides some topics to assist members with radio facility issues.

It is always a problem in the Auxiliary that members use past information and not current policy requirements. All radio facility owners are urged to read (carefully) Annex 4 and other sections of the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual.

IMPORTANT:

Read this notice from the Chief Director on the Telecommunications Operator qualification and the phase-out of AUXCOM as an operating or ownership requirement (AUXCOM completions prior to August 1, 2008 are grandfathered):

AUXILIARY TELECOMMUNICATIONS PQS

Photogragh of a D1NR Auxiliary Fixed Land Radio facility  Stock photograph of a Coast Guard radio watchstander

Authorized radio facility inspectors are current Communications staff officers who have passed either the AUXCOM specialty course or are qualified as Telecommunications Operators (not all CM staff officers meet the requirements). A list of D1NR inspectors as of March 2009 can be found here. You will find their telephone numbers and postal addresses in the printed District Directory, and can lookup their current email addresses at the Auxiliary online directory.

Owners (and any operators) of radio facilities must have either taken (and passed) the AUXCOM specialty course, be Telecommunications Operator qualified (TCO), or be qualified radio watchstanders (have been qualified according to COMDTINST M16120.7A) at a Coast Guard unit. Owners of radio facilities must also have taken Incident Command System 100 and National Incident Management System 700 courses.

As of August 1, 2008, facilities being inspected and offered for use for the first time must either have taken AUXCOM prior to August 1, 2008 or hold the Telecommunications Operator qualification.

(If you have qualified as a watchstander at a Coast Guard unit, make sure that the unit commanding officer or officer-in-charge sends a letter stating that to the D1NR Cape Cod office so that AUXDATA can reflect this qualification.)

Contact the DSO-CM for any questions on Auxiliary frequencies or equipment not related to facility acceptance by the Director of Auxiliary.

Other questions? Email the D1NR DIRAUX volunteer handling radio facilities:


Quicklinks to topics on this page:


Some information for Auxiliarists (radio operators, facility owners of all types) is considered operationally sensitive, or includes information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974. Documents containing this information require a basic level of protection, including some level of encryption if being sent by internet email.

Other information, particularly information about frequency assignments to the USCG Auxiliary, is generally considered "For Official Use Only". Documents with this information should not be allowed to appear on the internet, including internet email.

USCG documents that are NOT authorized for internet release may NOT be distributed via internet email.

See the Department of Homeland Security directive regarding "For Official Use Only" (FOUO): Management Directive MD11042.1.


Radio Equipment Policy

In addition to meeting Auxiliary Operations Policy requirements [Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual COMDTINST 16798.3(series)], Auxiliary radio equipment must meet Coast Guard Spectrum Management policy, which in turn is driven by federal government requirements set by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Aviation facilities are more complex as they also involve airframe and FAA requirements, and are not covered here.

Questions about radio equipment requirements should be directed to the DSO-CM.

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Acceptable VHF Marine Radios

Most facilities have at least one FCC “Part 80” marine VHF radio (47 CFR 80 type accepted).

However, according to USCG policy, certain other FCC “Part 90” radios may be used on Auxiliary marine frequencies if they meet technical standards for emission, frequency, and power (starting with 47 CFR 90 type acceptance). In particular, policy requires limiting output power on marine frequencies to a maximum of 25 watts. Many “Part 90” radios have excess power capability: it is the responsibility of the equipment programmer/facility owner/facility operator to adhere to policy.

Facilities might choose to have a valid “Part 90” radio for marine VHF frequencies because the same radio would include coverage for non-marine VHF frequencies, allowing a single radio to meet many needs. Note that marine and non-marine frequencies are far enough apart in the spectrum to make a single efficient antenna difficult.

Amateur radio 2 meter VHF radios are not acceptable for use on Auxiliary-authorized marine or non-marine VHF frequencies, regardless of technical capabilities. Facilities will no longer be accepted where amateur radio 2 meter VHF radios are used for Auxiliary-authorized marine or non-marine VHF frequencies.

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Maritime Mobile Service Identities (MMSI)

Marine VHF radios with Digital Selective Calling and GMDSS features aboard surface facilities should have a civilian-requested Maritime Mobile Service Identity number. These are available without license (free) from BOAT/US and other sources, or with license ($$) from the FCC (form 605 with payment forms). One number applies to all radios aboard a vessel.

Marine VHF radios on unit-owned vessels, on aircraft, at fixed land radio facilities, or in land mobile radio facilities are not authorized to have civilian MMSI numbers. Contact the national DVC-OT through the DSO-CM for current information on MMSI assignment to these other types of facilities. Land mobile facilities will not be assigned MMSI numbers.

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Acceptable VHF Non-Marine Radios

Most manufacturers of “commercial mobile” or “Part 90” (47 CFR 90) VHF radios meet technical requirements. Make sure these radios are certified by the manufacturer to be operated below 150MHz, as all Auxiliary non-marine VHF frequencies are below 150MHz (some are below 144MHz). Radios with more than 50 watts of output power require formal Coast Guard Spectrum Management location coordination.

Note that any “Part 90” type accepted radio must be programmed in advance: by FCC regulation they cannot be changed in the field beyond their pre-programmed frequencies. Most manufacturers, to meet their FCC obligations, will not sell programming software and programming cables to individuals.

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Non-Marine VHF Frequencies

As of January 1, 2008, the multi-year nationwide transition to federal narrowband VHF frequencies will be finished. Only narrowband (12.5 KHz bandwidth) FM emissions may be used, and only FCC narrowband Type Accepted “Part 90” radios may be used on the non-marine VHF frequencies (47 CFR 90). The Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual has a list of authorized frequencies. As of January 1, 2008, the former 143.28MHz frequency is no longer authorized for any usage.

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HF Operation

High Frequency (HF) stations are solicited and welcome! However, acceptance by the DIRAUX of a facility with HF equipment is not itself an authorization of frequency use. Contact the DSO-CM for information on current HF programs and requirements.

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Handheld Radios for Radio Facilities

The D1NR DIRAUX will only accept handheld radios as the primary radio for any land mobile facility if a means to be powered from a vehicle power system is available (in addition to properly maintained internal batteries). It is encouraged that vehicle-based land mobile radio facility equipment include a 25 watt fixed mount marine band VHF radio with an external antenna. [Not all land mobile facilities are vehicle-based.]

Handheld radios will not be accepted as the primary radio for fixed land facilities (which includes transportable facilities).

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How Radio Facility VHF Callsigns are Assigned

Annex 4 and other sections of the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual provide basic guidance to the D1NR DIRAUX on how VHF callsigns can be assigned to Auxiliary radio facilities. One key concept is that Auxiliary radio facility callsigns should not be confused with active duty station callsigns, unless the Auxiliary radio facility is co-located at the active duty station.

D1NR DIRAUX has established guidelines on how radio facility callsigns are assigned. See this document for the details.

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How Radio Facility Identification Codes are Assigned

AUXDATA uses a nationally-unique code to identify facilities. This code is not used as a callsign for VHF operation. For those interested, this document describes how this code is generated in D1NR.

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Contacting the DSO-CM with Questions

You can identify the current DSO-CM (District Staff Officer - Communications) by using the Auxiliary eDirectory; just select the "My District Officers" page, or in manually searching select district 013, then DSO-CM. You will find the DSO-CM listed in the annual printed District Directory as well.

Finally, the D1NR Web Site has a list (names only) of the district staff, which of course includes the DSO-CM.

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Online PDF Facility Inspection Form

Use the current inspection form from the USCG Auxiliary national site forms page (click here for the most recent electronic inspection form, ANSC 7004).

When the ANSC 7004 form is updated on the national web site, ONLY the current version of the form may be used (this is why they print at the bottom of the form: PREVIOUS EDITION IS OBSOLETE).

Read and follow the form instructions carefully (you'll find additional section-by section help on this web page in the paragraphs that follow).

Why use the fill-in electronic form if you can? Many of the fields on the form require specialized entry from a list of allowable values. The fill-in electronic form will automatically only allow you to select one of the valid entries. If you fill in a paper form by hand, you must only enter the allowable values, and you must check your selection by hand from the instructions.

When using the fill-in electronic form, save the document on your computer and print out the final version (with all of your input). Regardless of how the form was prepared, all owners must sign and initial in several places. The Inspector must sign in the appropriate location.

Sections I, II, and IV are completed by the facility owner. Section III is the responsibility of the Radio Facility Inspector. The DIRAUX is responsible for Section V.

Because the Radio Facility Inspection and Offer For Use is a legal document, you need to physically send an original (with "live" signatures and initials) to the D1NR DIRAUX office. See the Submission paragraph on this page.

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Section I Owner Data

Check the boxes in the upper right hand corner as appropriate (New, Reinspection, Change). "New" means a facility never before inspected (or expired); "Reinspection" means a facility doing the 3-year reinspection; "Change" means something changed at the facility (equipment, something else) and a reinspection/reacceptance is needed.

For a facility owned by just one Auxiliarist, this section is simple. However, if there are multiple owners of the facility careful attention must be paid to the facility offer-of-use. If there is more than one owner, you will need to use an additional form to list the owners (see Multiple Owner Assent section on this page).

If this is a unit-owned radio facility, make sure you read the relevant sections on unit-owned facilities in the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual before filling out the offer-for-use form.

All owners must sign Section IV on the form.

If this Inspection and Offer-for-use is for an existing radio facility, fill in the FACILITY IDENTIFICATION and FACILITY INSPECTION DATE (this is the PREVIOUS inspection date, not THIS inspection date). If you don't have that information, leave these boxes blank.

List the percentage of ownership represented by the single name listed in this secton (if there are other owners, their percentage will be listed on the Multiple Owner Assent form).

Describe the station location. For most fixed land radio facilities, this is probably the word "Residence". For land mobile facilities, this would be a description of the vehicle containing the equipment (year, make, model, color are good description elements), or perhaps the word "hand-carried" for a non-vehicle based land mobile facility. For a transportable facility (read the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual for the definition), enter TRANSPORTABLE FACILITY.

Enter the street address of the station location. For land mobile radio facilities, this is where the vehicle is usually located or where the radio is kept. For transportable facilities, this is where the facility is stored when not deployed under orders.

Sometimes stations are located in utility buildings or commercial buildings or other such locations. Enter the name and address of the property owner for these cases, or check the small box "same as above" where the property owner address is the same as the station address.

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Section II Radio Facility Data

Enter the Type of Station. Transportable facilities are Fixed Land stations.

Enter transmitter/transceiver information. Be explicit in models listed. List all power output settings if a transceiver has multiple output settings.

Check off the government frequencies available from this facility. Note that for most modern synthesized (e.g. non-crystal) VHF marine radios, just check the "ALL 156-158MHz" box, not individual boxes. For crystal controlled VHF marine radios, you will need to list the additional required frequencies for your area.

Fill in the emergency power box as appropriate. For fixed land stations with 12V bulk battery backup, list the ampere-hour capability of the battery bank. For land mobile handheld radios, you must have a 12V DC power adapter available - put "12V adapter" here.

If the station is an RDF station or includes RDF capability, read the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual for technical inspection and capability requirements, and fill in the RDF section.

Enter the antenna information for all antennas used by your listed equipment (the form says for fixed land only, but we wish to have that information for all facilities). We do expect fixed land radio facilities to be knowledgeable of the technical characteristics of their antennas. For land mobile facilities, this entry might be "mfr antenna" for handheld radios, "1/4 wave magmount", "marine whip", or some generic description.

For all facilities, we need the latitude and longitude of the station antenna or storage location. Legally, this is essential for federal authorization of fixed land stations (which is why the form says fixed land antenna). However, we use this information for contingency and asset planning for emergencies for land mobile facilities as well. Latitude/longitude needs to be specified to the nearest tenth of a minute - an example would be 41 42.3N, 70 23.1W. Please make sure the location is correct.

Under Auxiliary Radio Facility Callsign, you may request a specific callsign (or at least have it considered). For reinspections, you would normally place your existing radio callsign here. See the District Radio Facility Callsign Assignment Plan for more information (not yet online, but coming).

Finally, select the Facility Availability. You may select ONE of the choices. Yes, this is a little weak.

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Section III Inspector Endorsement

The facility owner or Flotilla Commander must make sure that the radio facility inspector performing the facility inspection is currently qualified for radio facility inspections.

Authorized radio facility inspectors are current Communications staff officers who have passed the AUXCOM specialty course or hold the Telecommunications Operator qualification. A list of D1NR inspectors as of March 2009 can be found here.

The Inspector verifies the owner information, completes the checklist as appropriate, and completes the rest of this section. Read the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual for technical inspection details.

Fill in the correct inspection date and the Inspector's member number and unit. The Inspector must print their name and sign this section.

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Section IV Owner Statement

All owners must sign here, with the date of signature. Enter the Auxiliary unit information for the primary owner (the name listed at the top).

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Section V Acceptance

This section is completed by the D1NR DIRAUX office.

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Submitting the Inspection Form

Only a paper, signed original of the inspection form can be processed. Faxed or emailed forms do not provide original signatures, needed to insure that the owner receives all available legal protection after the DIRAUX accepts the facility. You are encouraged to use the electronic version of the inspection form (this only allows specific entries which greatly reduces errors): enter the data, print the nearly complete form out, apply the necessary signatures/initials, photocopy the form for your own records, and send the original to the D1NR DIRAUX office.

[Follow local (flotilla or division) procedure if your inspection form is provided to the D1NR DIRAUX office via a staff officer.]

A copy of the processed inspection form will be returned to the facility owner (or first listed facility owner, if there are multiple owners).

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Multiple Owner Assent

Some radio facilities are formally owned by multiple owners, usually husband and wife or other pair of related people. Often, only one spouse or person is a member of the USCG Auxiliary.

When such a set of radios is offered for use as a facility, ALL owners must signal approval of the offer-for-use. There is only provision for one (primary) owner name on the ANSC-7004. For all other cases of additional owners (whether they are also Auxiliarists or not), Appendix B of the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual ("Multiple Owners") has a sample form to be signed by all owners.

For your convenience, an Adobe Acrobat fill-in version of that sample form is available here.

Because this form requires written signatures, fill out the form (non-signature items), print it, have all parties sign it, and submit an original with the facility inspection paperwork (e.g. the form cannot be submitted electronically.)

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Overall List of Radio-Related Documents

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