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Author Topic: Airport security: carrying radios on board  (Read 3967 times)
K2JM
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« on: June 08, 2005, 11:51:52 AM »

I'd like to carry my HT with me on an airline.  Anybody had any experience with this?  

I won't have any luggage checked in, and my big fear is that the security people will not let me carry on the radio, but then I'd have nowhere to stow it if they made me check it in!

Saw some questions on this topic about 2 years ago, but not a lot of people had a lot of experience with it.

Has anybody had any troubles?
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KE4SKY
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2005, 12:07:35 PM »

I recommend shipping your radio and valuables ahead via FedEx or UPS to your destination hotel.  Have them hold the parcel for you until you check in.

I do this with cameras, computer equipment, firearms, radio, a 3-day light travel bag of working essentials, etc.  Pack them securely.  I recommend Pelican hard cases, secured with a padlock and insured for full replacement value.  That way the gear is there when you arrive instead of lost with your other luggage.  Yes, doing so is expensive, but it's much easier than hassling with some ignorant dolt at TSA or the airline.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2005, 01:42:10 PM »

Hmmm.

I do this every week on all different airlines and have never had the slightest problem.  They treat it like a cell phone or anything else that's battery powered and clipped to your belt.

Make sure you have the battery attached and can turn the HT "on" to loosen the squelch and show them it's a radio.  Then, also be prepared to slide off the battery to show them it's two pieces and there's nowhere to hide anything inside once they're separated.

Frankly, I've only very rarely even had to demonstrate this at all; but once or twice I was asked to "prove it's a radio," so turning it on is all that takes.

WB2WIK/6
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K7VO
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2005, 02:01:23 PM »

I travel nearly every week for work and I carry a Tokyo Hy-Power HT-750 (a really big 6, 15, and 40m SSB/CW HT) and a small Kenwood HT for FM with me all the time.  I have only once had TSA even raise a question.  I explained it was a ham radio and offered to show my license.  I was told that wasn't necessary and let right through security.  No problems at all.

72/73,
Caity
K7VO/8
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WA5UHK
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2005, 06:07:38 PM »

I agree with the last two posters.  Carry the thing on board.  

I used to travel with my HT and ...get this...use it on the airplane.  I used my cell phone in the air also.  

That was many, many years ago before all the controls on electronic devices.  It amazes me that the airlines are so paranoid; I figure that if an HT messes with any vital electronics in an airplane than the designers of the plane are lame beyond belief.
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K2JM
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2005, 03:01:29 AM »

I've often brought my little AM/FM "MP3-player-looking" radio on board and used that.  One stewardess caught me and told me the reason for the ban had less to do with interference than with the fact that they didn't want anybody to have a means to communicate with the ground.

I didn't argue that this made no sense because embedded in the seat in front of me was an Airphone.

In any case, I'm am praying that cell phones are not allowed.  I couldn't stand the din.
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GM7CXM
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2005, 07:55:02 AM »

I've been taking radios on airplanes for some years now. Normally my rig and psu come as carry-on luggage (706, 897, MFJ 9420 VX150 etc), and occasionally an ATU, whereas the antennas, coax, etc, all go in checked luggage. I travel throughout Europe and North America and have never had any problems, over and above the usual "what's that?" kind of thing. I do take my licences and purchase receipts just in case, though.

73 de Duncan EA5ON / GM7CXM
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KC0SOG
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2005, 08:14:23 AM »

Just for insurance, you might want to take a copy of your FCC license with you.  

73, Doug
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2005, 08:29:04 AM »

>RE: Airport security: carrying radios on board  Reply  
by WA5UHK on June 8, 2005  Mail this to a friend!  
I agree with the last two posters. Carry the thing on board.

I used to travel with my HT and ...get this...use it on the airplane. I used my cell phone in the air also.

That was many, many years ago before all the controls on electronic devices. It amazes me that the airlines are so paranoid; I figure that if an HT messes with any vital electronics in an airplane than the designers of the plane are lame beyond belief.<

::I agree.  And this may very well change, and soon.  Of course, if FAA lifts the "ban," that doesn't mean the airlines have to; they can invoke their own rule, logical or not, and if you don't like it, you don't have to fly with them.  Of course, in this age of airlines (nearly) all being bankrupt and begging for business anywhere they can get it, I don't imagine many airlines would be turning customers away.  Before the FAA ban existed, or maybe while it existed but nobody really knew about it, I also used to use my VHF-FM HTs on board commercial flights all the time.  That was back mostly in the early 1970s.  One flight we made to Dayton (for the Hamvention), from NYC, almost the entire plane was full of hams, all having HTs, and we were all using them at the same time.  Amazing we didn't go down in flames over Pittsburgh....-WB2WIK/6
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WA4PTZ
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2005, 09:42:11 AM »

You may find it easier to pack it in your checked
luggage. Most pilots will not allow you to transmit
while in flight or on the tarmack so you aren't
going to have much fun in flight and if you forget
that you are in flight and transmit you may find
yourself detained when you land. Remove the battery.
Security may check it after the baggage scan, but
they will simply inspect it and close your luggage
and leave you a TSA sheet telling you they checked.
73 - Tim
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WO8USA
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2005, 05:40:31 PM »

I've taken my TH-F6A in my briefase several times, the only thing I do is take my antenna off and I make sure I always have a copy of my license in case.  I've never been questioned nor have any problems.

Chris WO8USA
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KG2B
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2005, 04:34:37 AM »

I've taken my FT-470 along a few times with not the slightest interest raised by security.  I was especially surprised because I had charging cords for the rig, a digital camera and all its cords and disks, and cell phones with cords....a huge mess of wires and little boxes, in other words.  No problem.
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KC2MMI
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2005, 06:38:00 PM »

TSA Insecurity always finds womthing of mine to get upset about. One time it was a breadmaker (don't ask) another time it was my minilight, which is about the size of a 12g shotgun shell. They always find something that needs scrutiny, but they've never asked about the HT in my bag.

I do carry a copy of my license, just in case. But AFAIK there's no regulation against carrying hahndheld radios of any kind onboard. Regulations against transmitting aboard, yes. Against using aboard at all, sometimes. But nothing that prevents you from carrying it aboard, or from using it in the terminal.

I would have to say NEVER PACK IT IN CHECKED LUGGAGE unless you have special insurance. Electronics and other valuable goods in the checked luggage are specifically NOT insured by airlines, they will not reimburse you for damage or loss of electronics, cameras, and many other types of goods in the checked baggage.
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KC8VWM
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2005, 05:14:29 PM »


"You may find it easier to pack it in your checked
luggage."


I no longer place my radio equipment in any checked luggage. I had one damaged by baggage handlers once.

Apparently, the DTMF pad on my radio stopped working but I didn't realize the problem until I used the radio a day or two later in my motel room when I was using it to program some local repeaters.

Bottom line is that they can play pretty rough when handling checked baggage. Also three days had passed before I noticed the problem and initiating an insurance claim would be difficult at best.

So I just wear my radio like a cellphone now.

I have since decided that I will just let them ask questions about the device since I don't have nothing to hide anyways.

73 Charles - KC8VWM
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AB7RG
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2005, 09:59:01 PM »

I would never check anything electronic -- I always carry on the aircraft with my electronics.

I've been questioned a couple of times, but for the most part it's never been a problem. One TSA agent didn't like the rubber duck on my scanner, saying it could be used to stab someone to another TSA agent. I just said, "By that line of thought just about anything is weapon. Ban my HT's (flexible) antenna and I'll make sure that you have to pull every pen on the plane." Needless to say suddenly the rubber duck was no longer an issue and I was on my way.

73 Clinton AB7RG

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