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Author Topic: DXpedition? Don't put all your ham gear in your checked luggage  (Read 1113 times)
HS0ZIB
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Posts: 598




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« on: November 07, 2017, 11:59:06 PM »

I was reading about the current problems of the 9U4M DXpedition to Burundi.  Apparently, the checked-in luggage with most of their ham gear is stuck in customs.

Here is a lesson for anyone who organises a DXpedition.  Pack a complete 'basic' ham station in your hand luggage, (rig, coax cable, wire antenna etc).  If your checked-in luggage is held up or confiscated by customs, then you should still be able to get on the air using your basic ham gear and a locally-sourced car battery etc.

(Not criticising the 9U4M team at all - I hope they get their ham gear 'released' asap)
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SP65053
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 12:26:26 AM »

It is not so simple - on some airports they do not allow cables or wires in hand luggage (sometimes they also sniff at amateur radios)  Angry
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KM4SII
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Posts: 240




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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 06:54:07 AM »

I bet that would present some difficulties in some countries. All of those black boxes and cables  Cheesy  Even when I was traveling to Iceland every single airport except one pulled my case with rig, antenna, power supply, etc. aside and questioned me about it, dug through it a little, and some on the airports swabbed it too. Not a big deal, but that was just in the U.S. and Iceland. I imagine it would be much more difficult in countries such as 9U....
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N3QE
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Posts: 4875




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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 07:10:37 AM »

I was reading about the current problems of the 9U4M DXpedition to Burundi.  Apparently, the checked-in luggage with most of their ham gear is stuck in customs.

Here is a lesson for anyone who organises a DXpedition.  Pack a complete 'basic' ham station in your hand luggage, (rig, coax cable, wire antenna etc).  If your checked-in luggage is held up or confiscated by customs, then you should still be able to get on the air using your basic ham gear and a locally-sourced car battery etc.

(Not criticising the 9U4M team at all - I hope they get their ham gear 'released' asap)

I think that's what 9U4M did, they have been on the air, evidently at low power only using rigs they carried on, and using homebrew antennas they built from local materials.
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ON5MF
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Posts: 136


WWW

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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 07:26:31 AM »

A few years ago a friend and I had some trouble with our handluggage when we departed from Brussels South to Dublin. Together with a transceiver we also had a dipole with a balun in our handluggage.
Apparently the ferrites in the balun looked very suspicious on the x-ray machine  Cheesy.
Luckily for us there was a ham on duty at another security desk who could persuade his colleagues that we didn't mean any harm. (He probably needed the IOTA we were going to activate  Wink)
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Mostly (low power) rtty contesting using OQ6A, sometimes dxing using ON5MF
in november '14,'15,'16,'17 and '18 also OP5MF, special prefix in commemoration of 100 years WW 1

www.on5mf.be
W6GX
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Posts: 163




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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 07:45:16 AM »

I once got stopped at the airport security check point for carrying this in my backpack Grin  They were a bit concerned that is heavy object could be used as a weapon on the plane.  Luckily the supervisor deemed me as no harm as I weighed only 131 lbs.  I could barely lift this thing, LOL.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

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N5VYS
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Posts: 1116




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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 08:14:13 AM »

This is the world we live in.

Obie N5VYS
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LA7GIA
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Posts: 142




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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 10:12:54 AM »

This has nothing to do with check-in luggage. If you have been travelling to Africa you know that customs are AFTER you collect your luggage from the bag belt. They always check your luggage in customs in some way. With the upcoming ban of electronics in carry-on luggage, many willl be forced to put their expensive gear in checked-in luggage.
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KD0PO
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Posts: 705




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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 11:13:37 AM »

I carry a TS-480 control head in my carryon to and from Myrtle Beach through DFW. Never a problem at DFW, but every single time coming home the MB TSA swabs it and asks many questions...

Ray
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WO7R
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Posts: 2507




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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 03:58:29 PM »

DXpeditioning is just plain getting harder, no question.

I foresee the day where even a simple fly-in (they type I do) will require Pelican cases, hundreds in extra fees, and no fooling.

And, even before, other stuff can happen.  I was flying in to PJ4 on a little American Eagle puddle jumper.  Wanted me to check my bag with my rig, which was already in a smaller-than-normal carry on precisely to forestall this.

Somehow, I magically forgot to give it to the gate agent.  Went on the plane no problem.  Just as it had in the past.  But, if I did what I was told, who knows what would have happened to the rig.

I've seen the way they toss that stuff around.  Pelican bags, with good foam margins, would be the only way to go.
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VA3VF
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Posts: 765




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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2017, 04:50:56 PM »

The days when flying was straight forward, and even fun, are long gone. The rules have changed, and the opinion of customs/security inspectors can vary wildly. And don't forget corruption.

No idea if any and/or all is part of the problem here, just saying.
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KC0W
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Posts: 273




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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 04:38:52 AM »

 I have brought amateur gear to 17 countries on 5 different continents. Perhaps the granddaddy of them all was hand carrying on board a K3, KPA500, 200' of coax, all interconnecting cables & a laptop computer while going to American Samoa. There is an art to having the airline gate person............Ummmmmmm.............See things your way.

 1. It's all about confidence. If you are timid & apologetic for exceeding the carry on limits your excess gear will go into the belly of the plane every time. Hold your head high while you walk on the plane like you own it.

 2. If you are questioned while boarding the aircraft by the gate agent explain to them this is VERY delicate "electronic equipment" that MUST be hand carried on board. Make sure other passengers are behind you while you stall & waste as much time as you can of the gate agent. Don't take no for an answer regarding having the excess items put into the belly of the plane. Because you are now holding up the line you will be let on board if (and only if) you don't take no for an answer. It's not a pretty situation but it works.

 3. Upon arrival at your DX destination proceed thru the "Nothing to Declare" line. Again, hold your head high & breeze right on thru. In Africa & South America your gear will probably go thru an X-ray machine upon arrival. This has happened to me numerous time with zero problems. It's important the Customs people are made aware of:

 (a) This equipment will not be left in the country.
 (b) This equipment is not for work related purposes.
 (c) Obviously show them your import documents for exceedingly strict countries like Thailand.
 
 Telling them the gear is for Amateur Radio is meaningless & will get you nowhere. Showing them you amateur radio license is meaningless & will get you nowhere.             


                                                                  Tom KC0W
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K7RBW
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Posts: 481




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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 05:06:13 AM »

KC0W makes some excellent points. From my experience, I'd say that they are almost listed in the opposite order that I apply them, but they are all important.

The more you know about the rules of the country you're visiting, the less they'll surprise you.

The stickiest wicket I've had is in convincing them I'm not going to leave it behind.
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N5UD
Member

Posts: 1360




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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 07:33:51 AM »

I carry a TS-480 control head in my carryon to and from Myrtle Beach through DFW. Never a problem at DFW, but every single time coming home the MB TSA swabs it and asks many questions...

Ray

For sure TSA agents in different USA airports behave differently. I certainly have some locations on the A Ho list. Some airports are easy walk throughs.

Oh for the days of yore when you could just walk up to the ticket counter, buy your ticket, and fly away.

Modern times are great !

GL guys N5UD
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N2RJ
Member

Posts: 2008




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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 09:56:59 AM »

This has nothing to do with check-in luggage. If you have been travelling to Africa you know that customs are AFTER you collect your luggage from the bag belt. They always check your luggage in customs in some way. With the upcoming ban of electronics in carry-on luggage, many willl be forced to put their expensive gear in checked-in luggage.

This is correct.

We dealt with it ALL the time in 9Y. You are supposed to pay a bond for the equipment. Foreign customs treats ham radio and all radios as suspect. They may also end up confiscating it.

Luggage getting lost by the airline is a first world problem... when some all powerful bureaucrat decides that your DXpedition gear can be stuck with them for an indefinite period you literally can't argue.
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