Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares a link to the following public notice from the FCC:
Wireless telecommunications bureau seeks comment on request by Shipcom, LLC, and Global HF net, LLC, to allow use of high seas marine frequencies by first responders and federal agencies during disasters
Section 80.123 of the Commission’s rules permits very high frequency public coast stations to provide service to units on land under certain conditions, but does not allow high frequency (HF) public coast stations to provide such service. In 2010, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division (Division) granted Shipcom, LLC (Shipcom), a waiver of section 80.123 to permit the use of HF public coast frequencies by first responders during catastrophic situations when normal communications systems are not available. The Division concluded that this limited use of HF maritime spectrum would enhance public safety during catastrophes. The waiver permits service to land-based (base and mobile) Public Safety stations on HF frequencies in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that renders the normal communications infrastructure inoperable, and monthly testing/training to familiarize personnel with how to operate the equipment and make sure it is operable.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s the marine frequencies could always be counted on for interesting listening but not the case now, so if the FCC approves, this’ll be a great new interesting bunch of intercepts to listen to. And with many municipalities going with digital proprietary modes and cell phone use, have a backup using old-school communications that have been proven reliable, well there does not appear to be any downside to this. Hope they use AM and SSB too!