I had a similar experience less than two weeks ago on August 6th while
returning from VP5. Granted, this was a few days before the latest "scare".
For whatever reason, my Pelican case which contained my rig, power supply
and all accessories was checked on Provo under my wife's name. The airport
security called her name and she had to explain to security in some back
room what the equipment was. Now keep in mind she doesn't give a hoot about
the hobby, but fortunately we've been married long enough that she pretty
much knew what everything was.
I also had an MLA2500 with me as a carry on for this trip (yes, lots of
equip between checked and carry on). While this usually gets the attention
of the X-Ray screeners I got "caught" re-checking in Miami. As expected,
they pulled me aside and the TSA agent wanted to know what was in the bag.
I explained to him what it was. Usually this is sufficient and with a quick
swab check I'm on my way. So he proceeds to swab the thing - ok, that's
normal. He then says "the screener saw what looked like an urn inside."
I'm thinking he must have seen the tubes or transformer or something round.
So he then swabs the amp again in different places a little more vigorously
and now swabs some areas of the bag - still negative. Finally he takes
everything out of the carry on, lays it on the table and starts swabbing
everything. This guy was bound & determined to find something - again,
nothing. So after he has me standing around for 20 minutes, he says "is
this a ham radio amp or something?" Ummm, isn't that what I told you 20
minutes ago when you started this charade? He finally hands me the amp and
lets me get on my way - by this time my plane had already boarded.
This was my worse experience with ham gear in the past couple of years.
Usually they just look at it, perhaps swab once, and I'm on my way. Maybe
it was just my lucky day. I haven't had the "pleasure" of traveling by air
since this latest incident, but I too am wondering about things as I'll be
heading to PJ2/4 in October for CQWW. Time will only tell...
Kelly - N0VD
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Keith Kerr
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 8:01 AM
To: ah8dx Craig Maxey
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Radio as Carry-On Luggage?
This comment does not directly address your question but may be of interest
to you and the wider audience.
To fit in with some business meetings etc I had to travel by air from
Glasgow to Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland for the recent IOTA
contest and had my Bencher paddles, electronic keyer and a 13.8V switch-mode
supply in my carry-on bag. Predictably this little lot attracted attention
at the X-Ray screen and I had my bag inspected. I explained what it all was
and the usual 'swabs' were taken to 'sniff' for explosives. Imagine my
surprise and concern when the swab from the Bencher paddles lit all the
lights, set off alarms and generally had people looking at me in a rather
suspicious manner. I was taken aside, asked by new security staff the who,
why, what and so on of my journey and belongings including 'Had I been
They re-swabbed me and the paddles and thankfully all came up negative. I
went on my way......with my carry-on gear intact.
Had this happened this past weekend and not two weeks ago, I suspect my
passage through the airport would have been rather different.
The paddles are about 18 months old. Although I work in the vicinity of some
chemical agents as part of my job (medical, hospital) I had not been at work
that or the previous day. I have no idea what the machine detected, whether
or not it was a 'glitch' (perhaps more likely given the second 'negative'
test) but got to wondering if something related to the manufacture of the
paddles or in my shack (solder, flux, components, all the usual
stuff...............and nothing that shouldn't be there!!!) may have been
responsible. Food for thought.
Happy travelling and hope to see you from safely arrived-at destinations.
Keith GM4YXI (GM7V)
At 16:08 14/08/2006 -0700, ah8dx Craig Maxey wrote:
>I am interested in ops that have tried to put their transceiver in the
>carry-on luggage in the past few days and what type of hassle you went
>through. As the CQWW contests approach I am trying to foresee any
>problems with all of my radio luggage that ravels with me. Mainly
>interested in my carry-on luggage which almost always has my
>transceiver in it and a couple of 3-500's.
>Craig Maxey, AH8DX & 8R1EA
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