The kind lady at the FCC help desk sent the following, to me, and confirmed the fee for $160 for a 10 year licence. It is a bit long but answers the question of how a US VHF radio operator gets a call sign that can be used outside the US waters, if ever asked.
In accordance with the provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC eliminated the individual radio station licensing requirement for certain ships operating domestically.
Ships operating domestically that are not required by law or treaty to carry a radio on the vessel, do not travel to foreign ports (i.e. Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and British Virgin Islands), and do not use marine radio equipment on board the vessel other than Marine VHF radios EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or radar, are not required to renew their current license.
To determine if you require an FCC Ship Radio Station License, answer the following questions:
1) Are you required by law or treaty to carry a radio on your vessel?
2) Does your vessel travel to foreign ports?
3) Do you have marine radio equipment on board your vessel other than marine VHF radios, EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), or radar?
If you answered 'Yes' to any of these questions, you must apply for an FCC Ship Radio Station License. If you answered 'No' to all of these questions, then you do not require a license.
You will first need to register and receive an FCC Registration Number if you have not done so.
To register for your FCC Federal Registration Number (FRN) please follow the instructions below:
1. Go to web site http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls
2. Click on Register in the New Users Section.
3. Click on Register in the Register Section.
4. Click on appropriate selections for Registration Type.
5. Click Continue
6. Enter data in fields, required fields are marked with (*).
7. Enter FRN password.
8. Select a Personal Security Question.
9. Type in the PQS Answer.
10. Click submit.
For a manual filing the FCC 605 (main form), Schedule B and 159 (fee remittance) are required. If you currently do not have an FCC Registration Number (FRN) form 160 would also be needed for a manual filing. These forms can be obtained via web site: www.fcc.gov/formpage.html
Electronic filers would utilize website: http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls
. Click Register, if you do not have an FCC Registration Number (FRN). Continue through the steps until you receive a FRN then proceed to ULS online filing.
1) Click Log In under the Online Filing heading.
2) Enter your FRN and password. If you do not have your password or have forgotten it and have set a Personal Security Question (PSQ) go to web site http://esupport.fcc.gov/password.htm
and select Reset Password, enter your FRN and answer the PSQ allowing you to reset your password. If you have not set the PSQ go to web site http://esupport.fcc.gov/index.htm
and submit a reset password form or call (877) 480-3201 for assistance.
3) On the My Licenses screen, click on the link Apply for a New License
4) On the Select Service screen, SA /SB Ship License
5) Answer the questions on the following screens; navigate through each screen by clicking on the Continue button.
6) On the Certification screen, 'sign' the application by typing your name in the appropriate boxes.
7) Click the Submit Button. You will receive a confirmation screen giving you the file number for the application submitted and the fee payment options will also be available. You can make the fee payment online or print out the 159 and submit it with payment (check, money order, credit card) to: Federal Communications Commission, Wireless Bureau Applications, P. O. Box 358994, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-5994. (The FRN will be needed to access the 159 form for the electronic filing). This fee must be received within 10 calendar days of the filing.
If you would like assistance with this filing, please contact the ULS Customer Support Hotline at 1-877-480-3201 and select option 2 at the menu.