I have an old Icom A-5 aviation handheld with a frequency range of 118.000-136.975 MHz on top of WX, AM, and FM receive functions. Is there any way with little modification, or a simple static build that I can shift my frequency range to encompass marine radio? Specifically from the 156.050-157.425 Mhz range. I am looking to use it to listen in on my local airports, but would like the option to listen to my local port operations, and talk to friends at my sailing club from home if i can push the transmit range that far.

Edit: thanks for all the helpful responses, I have decided to build a Yagi for the avband, to continue listening, and I am taking my technician test tomorrow. I know how important it is not to transmit on avband, I am a student pilot, and my dad gave me the radio. I am getting a UV-5R to use once I get my callsign.


2 Answers 2


Modifying a modern solid state radio to work at different frequencies is difficult and not worth the time, effort, and equipment costs. You could buy a low cost marine band handheld or portable radio for less.

However, in the USA transmitting on such a radio from land would be illegal. You would have to apply to get a license to set up a radio station to operate on those frequencies. No license is needed for the owner of a boat to operate the radio while on that boat. Technically unless you own a boat it is illegal to even purchase a marine band radio.

In the US anyone can own and use a marine band receiver. it is only the transmitting that is regulated.

You and your friends could get a HAM radio license or GMRS radio license, then use a pair of HTs or mobile radios to talk to each other. They are legal to operate when on the waters.

I am not sure if the US GMRS license allows for operations outside of US waters, but their range is short so I doubt you reach someone on shore from outside of US waters.

With a HAM radio license you could use a HF radio and reach shore stations from much longer distances.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response, I do in fact own a boat, and have access to perfectly good marine radios, I was just wondering if this would be a feasible project. I have decided to instead build a Yagi to try to listen in to a few different airports, and pick up a UV5r or two to talk to friends with. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @ChamomilePurple aircraft comms is yet another business! And I know you said you just said you wanted to "listen"; but make very sure not to transmit on these bands. You might not want to specifically buy a UV-5R, because, depending on the jurisdiction you're in, you might not be allowed to operate it without an amateur radio license, or you might not be allowed to operate it at all, under any circumstances in other. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ Hint: if you're a few kilometers from the airport, and use a somewhat directive antenna (like your Yagi), you really don't need a great receiver to listen to aircraft. ATC and aircraft are strong transmitters. You seem to have a PC or laptop already, so maybe spend some 30–40€ on an RTL-SDR and you can essentially listen to anything from ca 0.5 MHz to 1.7 MHz that isn't wideband. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 12:42

Probably not legally.

Transverters are a thing, but I doubt if any are certified for use in the services you mention.

You may of course DIY a transverter, but that may end up being as costly as simply purchasing an appropriate marine radio. And is likely against regulation for those services.

Sorry to be a wet blanket!


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