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eHam Forums => DXing => Topic started by: K2JF on January 21, 2013, 08:05:53 AM



Title: Cuba
Post by: K2JF on January 21, 2013, 08:05:53 AM
I'm going to Cuba in a week with an art group and am interested in bringing my Elecraft KX1 with wire antenna. Does anyone know about any restrictions I would need to be aware of?


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: WB3BEL on January 21, 2013, 09:18:07 AM
The US has no reciprocal operating agreement with Cuba so you would need to get a Cuban license.

http://www.arrl.org/international-operating


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: K9MRD on January 21, 2013, 10:18:06 AM
As I recall, there is a US citizen in a Cuban jail for distributing telecom equipment to Cubans.  I would not under any circumstances take com gear to Cuba

If my memory is failing me, please correct my statements.....


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: K8GU on January 21, 2013, 12:33:13 PM
As I recall, there is a US citizen in a Cuban jail for distributing telecom equipment to Cubans.  I would not under any circumstances take com gear to Cuba

If my memory is failing me, please correct my statements.....

Nope, your memory is good.  This is the guy I mentioned in my response to this question in the Elmers forum.  With proper planning, letters of invitation, etc, etc, this is probably possible.  But, I'd be disinclined to try if you don't have more than a month or two until departure.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2NL on January 21, 2013, 06:06:29 PM
Definitely leave the radio at home.

I've found the Cubans to be very friendly but don't give the authorities any reason to give you any special attention.  Nothing good can come from that.  Their immigration/customs officials mean business.

-Dave


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: AF5C on January 21, 2013, 06:47:41 PM
Isn't it illegal for americans to travel to Cuba?

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 21, 2013, 07:57:35 PM
Isn't it illegal for americans to travel to Cuba?

John AF5CC

I'm am fairly sure Obama eased the restriction and the USG now allows "People to People" visits but l would not prop that regime up with any of my dollars.

K2JF is an adult who is electing to go to Cuba of his own free will and he obviously has a different opinion than I. He must have some faith in the Cuban officials to make the trip in the first place since we don't even have an embassy in Cuba. If K2JF thinks he can trust the Castro brothers I think he should bring his gear to Cuba and try to operate. I'm sure the Cuban officials can be reasoned with.

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: WS4T on January 21, 2013, 11:58:38 PM
Isn't it illegal for americans to travel to Cuba?

John AF5CC

If K2JF thinks he can trust the Castro brothers I think he should bring his gear to Cuba and try to operate. I'm sure the Cuban officials can be reasoned with.

73,

Chris/NU1O

Hopefully you are expressing sarcasm. He has no legal basis to operate in Cuba no matter what he might think about the Castro brothers.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: ES1TU on January 22, 2013, 02:54:39 AM
Hopefully you are expressing sarcasm. He has no legal basis to operate in Cuba no matter what he might think about the Castro brothers.

-start of sarcasm-

..and when done with CW, you can go and pass on the best regards from international ham community to Fidel and Hugo ;)
I've heard they are both in town and need all support they can get.

-end of sarcasm-


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2RJ on January 22, 2013, 06:43:14 AM
I wouldn't bring any radio equipment at all. I would talk to the local club and ask if you can use their station.

Regarding the "travel ban" to Cuba, it is not illegal to actually go there. But it is illegal under US law for US citizens to spend any money there, effectively making travel there impossible.

Cuban-Americans can go there freely now and also religious missionaries and students can go there for their respective purposes. Previously those groups and others could have gone with special permission. A friend of mine went 10 years or so ago with a mission organized by his Buddhist temple.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N3QE on January 22, 2013, 06:50:24 AM
As I recall, there is a US citizen in a Cuban jail for distributing telecom equipment to Cubans.  I would not under any circumstances take com gear to Cuba

If my memory is failing me, please correct my statements.....

Your memory is correct. Google "Alan Gross". Cuban government seems to fear the small portable wireless technologies, above and beyond all others.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: AF3Y on January 22, 2013, 06:55:40 AM
As I recall, there is a US citizen in a Cuban jail for distributing telecom equipment to Cubans.  I would not under any circumstances take com gear to Cuba

If my memory is failing me, please correct my statements.....

Your memory is correct. Google "Alan Gross". Cuban government seems to fear the small portable wireless technologies, above and beyond all others.

In that case, I guess that I should assume all of the Cuban hams I have had QSOs with are probably
loyal members of the party? I doubt if they could obtain a license otherwise...... ???

BTW, I believe it is OK, legal to go to Cuba, (I could be wrong on that, tho.) but IS against the law to spend US dollars in Cuba. Go figure..... :-\ (convert your funds prior to leaving... hi)

73, Gene AF3Y


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: W2IRT on January 22, 2013, 07:42:26 AM
You're kidding, right? You're going to Cuber when it's almost 0 degrees in the much of the U.S., and you're worried about radio? If/when I ever go there it'll be a week on Veradero, a few trips into Old Havana and a visit to the Piñar del Rio region (with a nice long stop at the Alejendro farm). A bottle of Cuban Club rum, some Montecristo #2s, Partagas Lusitanias and maybe a couple of Cohiba Esplendidos would make me completely forget the concept of ham radio for a few days!


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2RJ on January 22, 2013, 09:18:01 AM
And Cuba isn't even all that rare.

That said I think ordinary Cuban citizens can get a license. But from what I hear their process is a lot more difficult than ours and I think you need to demonstrate that you are able to build a radio from parts too.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: AD9DX on January 22, 2013, 10:01:08 AM
You're kidding, right? You're going to Cuber when it's almost 0 degrees in the much of the U.S., and you're worried about radio? If/when I ever go there it'll be a week on Veradero, a few trips into Old Havana and a visit to the Piñar del Rio region (with a nice long stop at the Alejendro farm). A bottle of Cuban Club rum, some Montecristo #2s, Partagas Lusitanias and maybe a couple of Cohiba Esplendidos would make me completely forget the concept of ham radio for a few days!

This X100

If you really get the urge to do something ham radio related, why not help get a local set up with LOTW


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: KD8MJR on January 22, 2013, 11:54:11 AM
I certainly would not even consider the Radio since the paper work and effort would be a major pain in the butt.

For those who's comments sound like something from the 1980's I would suggest you rethink Cuba and understand that much has changed.  Cubans now travel all around the Caribbean freely, they buy a ton of stuff in the other islands and bring it back to Cuba and make money selling it.  Information etc is not locked down in Cuba like it once was, there are a Ton of satellite dishes in Cuba picking up Directv and Dishnetwork so it's obvious the Government does not care one way or the other, not to mention the fact that you can pick up a phone and just call anyone who owns a phone in Cuba.

In regards to Ham Radio laws, they are just like any other country in the sense that if you operate an illegal station you will be punished.  The only difference is that they take it seriously and years in jail may be the punishment.

If it sounds like I admire them I do admire the people but not the Government.  If you go there and see what they do with little they have it's amazing.   Watching a guy make an engine part from a hunk of raw metal is very impressive, they are friendly people who live life without moaning and groaning about every obstacle life throws at them.
 


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2RJ on January 22, 2013, 12:16:50 PM
Quite a few people from my old country go to Cuba. There's still the air of the place being stuck in time but China is cooperating with them quite a lot now as are their Caribbean neighbors.

I predict that the USA will be on board soon. I wouldn't mind visiting but I will leave the radios at home along with my winter clothing. :)


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: KD8MJR on January 22, 2013, 01:11:22 PM
Quite a few people from my old country go to Cuba. There's still the air of the place being stuck in time but China is cooperating with them quite a lot now as are their Caribbean neighbors.

I predict that the USA will be on board soon. I wouldn't mind visiting but I will leave the radios at home along with my winter clothing. :)

A lot of Americans would be really frightened if they knew what China was up to!
They are in almost every Latin America and Caribbean country using their money (thanks USA consumer) to buy influence and power.  Right now most of the countries that surround the United States are getting very very friendly with China.  I can tell you from personal experience that in most countries they would rather deal with the USA but since the USA has been MIA since 2001 they have now see China as their new partner.




Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2RJ on January 22, 2013, 01:24:30 PM
A lot of Americans would be really frightened if they knew what China was up to!
They are in almost every Latin America and Caribbean country using their money (thanks USA consumer) to buy influence and power. 

And oil and natural gas too.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: AF3Y on January 22, 2013, 03:08:05 PM
Quite a few people from my old country go to Cuba. There's still the air of the place being stuck in time but China is cooperating with them quite a lot now as are their Caribbean neighbors.

I predict that the USA will be on board soon. I wouldn't mind visiting but I will leave the radios at home along with my winter clothing. :)

I have always wanted to travel to Cuba.  If for no other reason, to see all the 1950s and 1960s cars they have somehow kept running!

My father was a civil engineer during WWII and was given a draft exemption and assigned to building military airfields in Guatemala and Brazil. He once told me that the most beautiful women he had ever seen were in Havana. He said they could get a plane over to Cuba quite often, and the R & R trips were enjoyable after nothing but the jungles, coconut wine and the locals for entertainment.

Yep, I would like to make that little trip. Just a hop from Florida..... :-\

I had a post military travel restriction, but that expired a LONG time ago ;D.
73, Gene AF3Y


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU4B on January 22, 2013, 03:18:49 PM
Quite a few people from my old country go to Cuba. There's still the air of the place being stuck in time but China is cooperating with them quite a lot now as are their Caribbean neighbors.

I predict that the USA will be on board soon. I wouldn't mind visiting but I will leave the radios at home along with my winter clothing. :)

I have always wanted to travel to Cuba.  If for no other reason, to see all the 1950s and 1960s cars they have somehow kept running!

My father was a civil engineer during WWII and was given a draft exemption and assigned to building military airfields in Guatemala and Brazil. He once told me that the most beautiful women he had ever seen were in Havana. He said they could get a plane over to Cuba quite often, and the R & R trips were enjoyable after nothing but the jungles, coconut wine and the locals for entertainment.

Yep, I would like to make that little trip. Just a hop from Florida..... :-\

I had a post military travel restriction, but that expired a LONG time ago ;D.
73, Gene AF3Y

Maybe if we would end our highly successful (not) 50 year old Cuba embargo...


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 23, 2013, 07:27:19 AM
I certainly would not even consider the Radio since the paper work and effort would be a major pain in the butt.

For those who's comments sound like something from the 1980's I would suggest you rethink Cuba and understand that much has changed.  Cubans now travel all around the Caribbean freely, they buy a ton of stuff in the other islands and bring it back to Cuba and make money selling it.  Information etc is not locked down in Cuba like it once was, there are a Ton of satellite dishes in Cuba picking up Directv and Dishnetwork so it's obvious the Government does not care one way or the other, not to mention the fact that you can pick up a phone and just call anyone who owns a phone in Cuba.

You make it sound as if they had a revolution like those in the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Empire. Cuba is still a Communist regime with all the restrictions on freedom that entails.

I don't know how Cubans are able to buy a "ton" of stuff around the Caribbean when the CIA Factbook says:

"The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s" Also, only a small percetage of Cubans are working in what we would classify as private sector jobs. Many educated Cubans are taking jobs as taxi drivers amd waiters, etc., so they can earn hard currency from tourists. That's just a waste of an education as far as I'm concerned.


In regards to Ham Radio laws, they are just like any other country in the sense that if you operate an illegal station you will be punished.  The only difference is that they take it seriously and years in jail may be the punishment.

I assume you mean monetary punishment but I suspect if one opened a "Pirate" radio station in Cuba they would find themselves in a jail as you claim. The typical Cuban does NOT have access to the internet as we know it. Those that have internet access have access to a kind of intranet run by the Cuban government and for most users it's at dialup speed.  

In many countries those that operate a radio illegally are not punished at all unless they are interferring with an important service such as police, fire, or aeronautical services. It is a low priority offense and there aren't enough enforcement agents. Take a listen between 27.410 up to 27.999 when 10 meters is open worldwide and you will hear stations from all over the world.

I talk to many European amateurs who started out on 11 meters and many are proud to say they were once "Pirates."  I've only heard of one who told me government officials came to his house and that was last week during a QSO with a station from Holland. He was visited a second time and fined about 1,000 Euros but he said he was causing a lot of TVI. The authorities finally convinced him to get an amateur license but it sounded like he enjoyed his "Pirate" days better. I still hear of Pirate stations (and read their reception reports) operating near the 40 meter ham band and Pirate FM stations in US cities are getting to be really popular with certain groups.

The difference with regards to punishment is one country is trying to control as much information as it can while most of the other countries realize it's a harmless violation unless it effects important radio transmissions.

If it sounds like I admire them I do admire the people but not the Government.  If you go there and see what they do with little they have it's amazing.   Watching a guy make an engine part from a hunk of raw metal is very impressive, they are friendly people who live life without moaning and groaning about every obstacle life throws at them.

I don't find anything admirable about making do with little. It just illustartes to me how much better the Cubans could be doing with a market based economy. Our citizens here in the US and in most of the world did the same thing during the Great Depression.

As for little moaning and groanng, it's due to the fact that they have learned after 50 plus years of Communist Party rule it doesn't help make things better since the moans and groans are ignored by the Communist Party, but it most certainly does not mean the average Cuban is content with their current way of life.

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 23, 2013, 09:26:40 AM
By pure coincidence, I just read this article about Cuba's long awaited fiber optic link for telephone and the internet:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/22/us-cuba-internet-idUSBRE90L13020130122

73,

Chris/NU1O



Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2RJ on January 23, 2013, 09:43:02 AM

You make it sound as if they had a revolution like those in the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Empire. Cuba is still a Communist regime with all the restrictions on freedom that entails.

Not really. The travel restrictions have been loosened significantly. It used to be that you had to pay an exit fee to leave the country and get a letter of invitation. That isn't true anymore. The requirements are the same as for US citizens traveling abroad - passport and entry visa from the country you are visiting.

It doesn't mean that Cubans are now jetting all over the world. They are still mostly poor. And getting a passport is still a challenge. But it is in many places.

But it does mean that the Government doesn't place as many legal barriers to travel.

Cubans are also now allowed to own cell phones and stay in hotels.

I don't think the USA will grant an entry visa to Cubans because they are presumed to have immigrant intent, and besides there's no US embassy in Cuba to even grant a visa in the first place. The closest one is in Kingston, Jamaica.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 23, 2013, 03:52:27 PM

You make it sound as if they had a revolution like those in the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Empire. Cuba is still a Communist regime with all the restrictions on freedom that entails.

Not really. The travel restrictions have been loosened significantly. It used to be that you had to pay an exit fee to leave the country and get a letter of invitation. That isn't true anymore. The requirements are the same as for US citizens traveling abroad - passport and entry visa from the country you are visiting.

It doesn't mean that Cubans are now jetting all over the world. They are still mostly poor. And getting a passport is still a challenge. But it is in many places.

But it does mean that the Government doesn't place as many legal barriers to travel.

Cubans are also now allowed to own cell phones and stay in hotels.

I don't think the USA will grant an entry visa to Cubans because they are presumed to have immigrant intent, and besides there's no US embassy in Cuba to even grant a visa in the first place. The closest one is in Kingston, Jamaica.


I found your sentence which concluded travel rules in the US and Cuba to be similar to be both untrue and very naive.  According to the Wikipedia article on Human Rights, Cuban Citizens cannot leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission.

Also since a Cuban doctor makes less than $1,000 a year, what good is a right to travel if only a select few can afford to do so?  The same applies to the ability to stay at a hotel or own a cell phone. Those "rights" may look good on paper to foreigners but they are of no practical value to average Cubans.

When I think of a telephone the first thing that comes to mind is my right as a US citizen to free speech.  Cubans have no right to free speech.  A telephone would not nearly be so important to me if I had to be on guard about anything I might say in case my government found it offensive and I wound up in prison or a labor camp.

Another thing I found of interest in the Wikipedia Human Rights section on Cuba were the laws with respect to both computer usage and the Internet.  These are likely the reasons so few Cubans use LoTW.

As a result of ownership restrictions, computer ownership rates are among the world's lowest. The right to use the Internet is granted only to selected locations and they may be monitored. Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.

When you were making your US/Cuba comparison why did you leave the above out? The PC and Internet rules pertaining to Cubans are more relevant to this forum than travel rules which are mostly meaningless for most Cubans.

73,

Chris/NU1O





Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 23, 2013, 04:40:15 PM

In that case, I guess that I should assume all of the Cuban hams I have had QSOs with are probably
loyal members of the party? I doubt if they could obtain a license otherwise...... ???

BTW, I believe it is OK, legal to go to Cuba, (I could be wrong on that, tho.) but IS against the law to spend US dollars in Cuba. Go figure..... :-\ (convert your funds prior to leaving... hi)

73, Gene AF3Y

I worked a Cuban on CW today and at the end of our short QSO he tapped out God Bless. I would think a true believer would be an atheist so I kind of doubt all are Party members.  Obviously, not all Party members are true believers. Some join because they think it will mean a better job, or more perks, but I would think they would be the one's most apt to leave out God Bless since they are really living a lie.

Gene, were you in the Army Intel Agency when you were a ham and did they put any restrictions on you?

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: AF3Y on January 23, 2013, 04:55:32 PM

Gene, were you in the Army Intel Agency when you were a ham and did they put any restrictions on you?

73,
Chris/NU1O

Chris.... I was in the Army Security Agency for 6 years. I was not a ham at that time. Prior to discharge, as part of a "de-briefing", I had to sign a form that I would not "Visit, Travel Through, or FLY OVER any Communist controled country" for a period of ___?____ years. (My memory is not what it used to be, but that was basically what I signed. I always remembered the FLY OVER part!)  I do Not remember how long it was for, but it is certainly no longer a problem, since I was discharged in 1964!  :o hi

We, along with the Naval Security Group and Air Force Security Service were the "cheap labor force" for the NSA at the time. hi hi

73, Gene AF3Y


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: K1DA on January 24, 2013, 11:25:41 AM
A number of us who DX a little remember the first signs of change in the old USSR, when home based ham operators  with up to date Japanese gear began to appear alongside the radio "klubs" "near Moscow" where it was "wx cold" using "15 tube radios" (and no doubt a "kommizar" sitting behind the guest op of the moment)  They used SSB and spoke such good english we suspected they might be KGB.
There was a time when the only  address for ANY Russian ham  station was "Box 88,  Moscow".  Things seem to be changing in the "worker's paradise" that is the Spanish minority dominated Cuba of today,   no doubt in part because so many more people are needed in the "technical arts".  I have heard the government "functionaries" now have access to lots of new Korean cars.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: N2RJ on January 24, 2013, 11:52:43 AM

I found your sentence which concluded travel rules in the US and Cuba to be similar to be both untrue and very naive.  According to the Wikipedia article on Human Rights, Cuban Citizens cannot leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission.

Wow, do you always have to be that obnoxious when you reply?

FWIW the laws were changed. They had to get an exit visa in order to travel. Now they do not. This was part of Raul Castro's reforms. They just need a passport and entry visa to the other country. The migration law is still in place but that is slated to be changed as well.

And as a US citizen, you try leaving the country without a passport. Won't happen unless you swim! So US citizens also technically need permission to leave the country.

Here's where they end the exit visa requirement:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/world/americas/cuba-lifts-much-reviled-rule-the-exit-visa.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


Quote
Also since a Cuban doctor makes less than $1,000 a year, what good is a right to travel if only a select few can afford to do so?  The same applies to the ability to stay at a hotel or own a cell phone. Those "rights" may look good on paper to foreigners but they are of no practical value to average Cubans.

I already addressed that.

Quote
When I think of a telephone the first thing that comes to mind is my right as a US citizen to free speech.  Cubans have no right to free speech.  A telephone would not nearly be so important to me if I had to be on guard about anything I might say in case my government found it offensive and I wound up in prison or a labor camp.

Another thing I found of interest in the Wikipedia Human Rights section on Cuba were the laws with respect to both computer usage and the Internet.  These are likely the reasons so few Cubans use LoTW.

As a result of ownership restrictions, computer ownership rates are among the world's lowest. The right to use the Internet is granted only to selected locations and they may be monitored. Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.

When you were making your US/Cuba comparison why did you leave the above out? The PC and Internet rules pertaining to Cubans are more relevant to this forum than travel rules which are mostly meaningless for most Cubans.

73,

Chris/NU1O

I wasn't going to write a novel on Cuba. I was only addressing the travel issue.

And Cubans can use LoTW very easily - with a QSL manager. Many of them already use QSL managers anyway.


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 24, 2013, 03:45:14 PM

I found your sentence which concluded travel rules in the US and Cuba to be similar to be both untrue and very naive.  According to the Wikipedia article on Human Rights, Cuban Citizens cannot leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission.

Wow, do you always have to be that obnoxious when you reply?


When somebody tries to equate human rights in Cuba with human rights in the USA, which is what you are doing, I find it extremely hard to take the other person seriously.  At least KD8MJR wrote he admires the people but NOT the government. You have not made that distinction.

I read the NY Times article from October very carefully. One woman interviewed by the NY Times would not give her last name for fear of government reprisals. Another woman who is eligible for a Spanish passport because her grandparents were from Spain, said, “Sure, I can go, but where am I going to get the money?”  Which was my point all along. There is also a clause that would make it extremely hard for Cuban professionals to leave the country. Cuba is not going to let their doctors come to the USA since they have 30,000 working in Venezuela to pay their oil bill.

Just what is your point, do you think Raul Castro is going to turn Cuba into a Western-style democracy?

You seem to be enamored with Cuba. Move there if you think it's such a wonderful country. I'm sure they would welcome you with open arms. Actually you did have a chance to move there since you were not born here in the USA but you passed on Cuba. Why is it the people who brag about Cuba usually do so from the comfort and safety of the US?

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Cuba
Post by: NU1O on January 24, 2013, 03:53:13 PM
A number of us who DX a little remember the first signs of change in the old USSR, when home based ham operators  with up to date Japanese gear began to appear alongside the radio "klubs" "near Moscow" where it was "wx cold" using "15 tube radios" (and no doubt a "kommizar" sitting behind the guest op of the moment)  They used SSB and spoke such good english we suspected they might be KGB.
There was a time when the only  address for ANY Russian ham  station was "Box 88,  Moscow".  Things seem to be changing in the "worker's paradise" that is the Spanish minority dominated Cuba of today,   no doubt in part because so many more people are needed in the "technical arts".  I have heard the government "functionaries" now have access to lots of new Korean cars.

I witnessed the change in the USSR firsthand on the ham bands. I vividly recall working the first stations using Japanese gear but I have yet to work a station in Cuba using a state-of-the-art rig.

I worked a Cuban yesterday on CW and his gear was mostly old Soviet military gear.

Has anybody recently worked a Cuban station using a modern commercial transceiver?

73,

Chris/NU1O