Maritime VHF Radio Callsigns & MMSI
All radio transmissions must be individually identified. Vessels may be issued with either a VHF or a VHF/SSB*callsign. In New Zealand, callsigns commonly begin with the three letters ZM followed by another letter and 4 numbers. New Zealand registered vessels heading offshore may be recognized through their ZM callsign.
An MMSI is issued by Radio Spectrum Management and is permanently attached to a callsign. They must not be separated.
An MMSI, once entered into a radio transmitter or AIS equipment, is very difficult and often costly to remove, therefore it is highly recommended that the callsign and MMSI remain with the vessel.
It is an offence to use a false MMSI or Callsign for a radio transmission.
Maritime VHF radio callsigns are issued for vessels operating within New Zealand Waters only. New Zealand registered vessels heading offshore may require an individual ships radio license rather than the standard general user radio license.
A callsign & MMSI belongs to a person (the ‘holder’). If you purchase a vessel the callsign & MMSI does not automatically transfer
New Zealand callsigns can only be issued to New Zealand vessels. If the vessel is registered overseas, then you must contact the licensing authority of that country to obtain a callsign.
Full details are recorded in the Register of Radio Frequencies and made available for public inspection. This includes the name and address of the licence holder. Individual persons as licence holders have the right to request that their residential address be withheld from public access. Requests must be made in writing to the Registrar of Radio Frequencies via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 2847, Wellington..
If you are applying for a callsign for your Single Side Band Radio (SSB) you will need to contact us directly (via phone or email), please do not complete an online application.