The ARRL DXCC rules are very specific:
[8) All stations contacted must be “land stations.” Contacts with ships and boats, anchored or under way, and airborne aircraft, cannot be counted.]
I guess you just can’t be any more clear than that.
Not that it matters even a tiny little smidgen of a bit, but I don’t like that rule.
Case in point. T31LP. They’ve been operating from the vessel Nai’a which is moored to what’s left of the SS Norwich City. They have a proper T31 license, and from their Website pictures (http://www.tighar.org), they are just a matter of feet from the island of Nikumaroro (Central Kiribati).
They are well within T31 “Territorial Waters”, so they don’t have to sign “Maritime Mobile” like stations operating in “International Waters” (see *footnote 1 below). T31LP is the proper callsign. No /MM required.
But even though they are there operating legally within the parameters of their license from T31, they do not count for ARRL DXCC (see rule above).
So if I’m on my buddy’s boat over here on Chatfield Reservoir in Colorado, I’m still N0UN but I don’t count for DXCC “United States”. If you’re pleasure boating on Lake Mead in Nevada you don’t count for DXCC United States. If you’re on a boat and you were to run coax to land where you’re antenna could be, it still doesn’t count. If you’re on a boat anywhere, you don’t count for DXCC anything.
Maybe the DXCC purists like that rule, but like I said above – I don’t like it. It’s my opinion it discounts legitimate Ham Radio operations from mariners. The ARRL is an organization that claims to promote Ham Radio, but in instances like this they seem to be off-target. Way off-target.
But for now, it is what it is. The good news is the ARRL DXCC program isn’t the only game in town, and hopefully there’s other Ham Radio contests and award programs that wish to differentiate themselves from DXCC and count ships/boats operating from territorial waters. And that’s good for Ham Radio, don’t cha’ think?
*footnote 1: from the ARRL Website:
When operating from the US, its territories or international waters, you must meet all three requirements in Section 97.11 of FCC rules: “(a) The installation and operation of the amateur station on a ship or aircraft must be approved by the master of the ship or pilot in command of the aircraft; (b) The station must be separate from and independent of all other radio apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft, except a common antenna may be shared with a voluntary ship radio installation. The station’s transmissions must not cause interference to any other apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft; (c) The station must not constitute a hazard to the safety of life or property. For a station aboard an aircraft, the apparatus shall not be operated while the aircraft is operating under Instrument Flight Rules, as defined by the FAA, unless the station has been found to comply with all applicable FAA rules.” When you’re in International waters, you operate under the auspices of your FCC license, but you must be mindful of the frequencies assigned to other ITU Regions. The world is divided into three “pieces of the pie.” You are bound by the privileges assigned to the ITU Region from which you’re operating and by the privileges as outlined by your FCC license. It’s a good idea to follow your call sign with the words “maritime mobile” or “aeronautical mobile” followed by the proper ITU Region number.
So my point is while operating in the US, its territories or international waters (and under the auspices of your FCC license) – it does not appear that a vessel radio operator must sign /MM either. Signing /MM in any environment is merely a “good idea“.
Now think of the ramifications to the hobby of Ham Radio if some award or contest program were to allow contacts with documented stations operating legally from somebody’s “territorial waters” for a moment. Maybe a CEPT licensing agreement operation, maybe a entity licensing operation like T31LP, but either way – a legal and documented operation.
You could operate from the territorial waters off Baker & Howland. Navassa. Desecheo. Scarborough Reef. Somalia, etc. The list goes on and on. The upside? Safety. Money. Participation (just to name a few). How many MILLIONS of dollars could be saved by counting legal territorial vessel operations just from any of those entities I listed above?
The possibilities are endless for this type of operation. Open your mind.