Lithium batteries on planes

There seems to be a new scare about lithium batteries carried by passengers on planes.

I wonder if this will mean even tighter rules?

Walt (G3NYY)

Seventh flight this year with a LiPo and 817 in my carry on luggage. No interest in the 817,LiPo,diabetes syringes in my bag but the dude in security was most insistent I took my belt off.

This was followed by a 35min delay for a “security incident” where everone was kept penned in a corridor. They must have seen someone smiling and has to stamp out such dangerous activity.

More interested in my plastic bag of wash kit (less than 100m) and my 5m fishing pole that anything else on flights last week. Let’s hope things stay as they are. More people carrying batteries in hand luggage than there ever was so hope this is an isolated situation which gets overlooked Walt.

73 Phil

Article appears to relate to carrying large quantities of lithium batteries in the hold and not the odd one in hand luggage, but having said that it would only take one incident to provoke a scare.


I had my first real run in with security on my flight out of Johannesburg. I had the LiFePO4 battery out on display in the tray. The X-ray people wanted a closer look at it (no problems there). The guy that she handed off to took a look at it and said, “You can’t take that on the plane”. Exchange went as follows:

Me: "Yes, I can, it’s a spare lithium battery"
Him: "No, batteries are not allowed."
Me: "Batteries aren’t allowed in checked luggage, this is hand luggage, as per the rules."
Him: “No, you don’t know what you are talking about”

(at this point, I’m about to give up the battery for lost)

Me: “IATA rules, and airline rules say that I must carry spare batteries in hand luggage. I am not allowed to put that in my checked luggage. It is less that 100Wh in capacity, and is allowed under Dangerous Goods regulations.”

(at this point, he starts getting confused, so he calls over his supervisor)

Her: “Hmm, I will check”.

(battery disappears with her towards the DG-qualified super-supervisor. At the same time, my father, who is also DG-qualified, comes over to lend a hand. 30 seconds later, she’s back)

Her (to him): “It’s OK. It has to be less than 8 watt-watts or something.” (exact quote)

I took the battery on to the plane, but in the excitement, left my Father’s Day-gift rugby top on the security desk, never to be seen again. Wife not happy.

But remember, as long as it’s less than 8 watt-watts, you’ll be fine!

I think this is the reason I find the internal option that Ed DD5LP has mentioned in the past and Nate has just fitted to his 817 is an attractive option.

However, I always print out a copy of the airline dangerous/hazardous goods sheet and have that with my ticket. I’ve not needed it yet…

Shame about the rugby top.

If you want I have a couple of unwanted England rugby shirts you can have. I’ll even pay the postage!!!

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No thanks, but I think I will be forced to wear my Springboks one next time I’m in Japan :slight_smile:

Of course, this was the first time in a while I’ve travelled without the IATA DG sheet.

I’ve not, however, found a way to cram a battery into the 857 yet. I agree that would be an attractive option, particularly if I wanted to travel with something over 8 watt-watts.

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Yaesu make nests available for the front panel to be mounted off radio; I have one screwed to the shack desk. You could fit one to a suitable box and fit the battery into the box so all nice and tidy and the radio (as designed) in two parts.

Not tried it; only just had the idea.


LOL! I am wearing my Irish rugby shirt today (which I am perfectly entitled to do, as I have dual nationality!)
Very good result against Italy yesterday.
Walt (G3NYY)

It does make you wonder just how many people pack their generic Chinese produced ‘50000 mAH’ mobile phone ‘powerbanks’ in their checked in baggage :anguished: jiggling around in their bags next to lots of metal things…

Someone I worked with last year did that to Canada and back, I asked him if he had any trouble at security, he just said he put it in his checked baggage… Marvellous…

Right, 8th flight this year, 817 + LiPo (in a safe bag) + laptop + diabtetic stuff + a slack handful of LiPo USB phone charges picked up at the conference. My backpack was singled out for further screening and swabbing. That added a few minutes to the security line. No problems and I was on my way. He didn’t swab the bit were the wee ratty dog peed on it, or started to pee on it till my boot and it’s doodahs met! Two of the security guys were going for a break just as I was clearing security and one of them was the guy who swabbed my bag. I asked if there was something I could do to stop being swabbed happening again as I traveled a lot with electronics and batteries and the guy said “No. The computer picks random bags for further screening out of the ones we’re already happy with. There’s no way you can stop being picked at random.” Which is fine, even if everything is perfect with your luggage you will still be randomly stopped. I can live with that.

Those of you who have done “time and motion” investigations into processes and working practices should be able to figure out how to massively reduce the chances of being picked by observing very carefully the people having their bags scanned. Enough said :wink:

Dublin Airport security staff have replaced Amsterdam Schipol staff on my list of the most professional but pleasant security people honour roll. They were just as on the ball in spotting stuff in the bags (liquids etc.) as they had huge bins of bottles and nail scissors, but they made you feel relaxed and happy to comply with all the, to be honest, dumb requests to remove your belt etc. They have a boring job but by smiliing and just being nice actually got people on their side. The same as the Schipol staff.

Current roll

  1. Dublin
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Zurich
  4. Barcelona
  5. Munich
  6. Dusseldorf
  7. Glasgow
  8. Edinburgh.
  9. Geneva
  10. Heathrow
  11. Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg
  12. LAX
  13. Chicago O’Hare. <<<< Beelzebub’s own offspring work here as O’Hare passengers know!

I will second your commendation of Glasgow and Edinburgh security staff. I would also like to add Arrecife Airport in Lanzarote to the list of excellent security teams. On numerous occasion taking radio kit through airports as hand baggage I have only been asked to open one item and that was an old tobacco tin containing bolts and wing nuts for a collapsible mag loop. All I usually get is “oh your a CBer” to which I usually agree, smile and move on.


Watched a Vietnamese guy trying to re-enter Australia from a holiday abroad with only a small plastic bag with only a couple of changes of underwear - to speed up his transit through customs. He was singled out because they thought such a small amount of luggage was suspicious. The resulting checks revealed he was also wanted by Aussie police for some other matter so he left in their company after quite a delay :smile:

New guidelines April 2016

Flying from Tokyo to Milan and blissfully unaware of the DG goods policy. I arrive at the boarding gate put some earphones killing time until we take off. I see the staff getting on the mike and getting agitated, I thought they were looking for some stragglers but did not take the earphones off. Anyhow, a few minutes later I go to the boarding gate last after everybody is in only to see them relieved to find me. My suitcase is waiting for me at the boarding gate. At that stage I was going “?”. It turns out I had a camera and its spare. They made me take the spare out and put it in my hand-carry. I felt bad but also thought they did a good job spotting that. They then rushed to put my suitcase back in the plane.

When I fly back home I usually carry tons of batteries in my carry-on luggage along with tons of other radio equipments etc… The confused look of the X-ray guy/girl when they look at my bag is always kind of amusing. I always get singled out. I now put everything into zip-lock bags that are easy to take out and put back in. On the other hand I have never been told that I was carrying too many batteries along with me.

I actually think that batteries in cargo holds have been the cause of a few crashes including one in Florida if my memory serves me right. Since then they’ve been very careful at those. If anything metallic moves in the cargo hold and touches across the +/- or if one is volatile because of a manufacturing defect then you’re in trouble. The last thing you want a few thousands of meters up in the air is a fire.

It was not in an airplane, but my friend Thierry (F4EGG) was coming back from a SOTA and went grocery shopping with his wife. As he drove back home smoke started billowing from the trunk of the car. It turns out a loose bag of rice had pushed the antenna across the +/- while driving and it had promptly caught on fire and melted. So the odds are small but accidents can and do happen.

Dodgy stuff, rice :wink:

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Nothing has changed for passengers. Nothing.

The changes related to mixed cargo / passenger aircraft, Bulk Lithium battery cargo is now banned on mixed planes, they have to travel on cargo only aircraft.

Here’s a change: after 1 Apr 2016 lithium ion batteries not contained in or packed with equipment must be shipped at a state of charge not exceeding 30%.


Has anyone do this or had the SOC of their batteries questioned when passing through security?

It’s an issue for me since I leave for HB-land in two days and I’m bringing my rig. In the past I’ve brought a couple charged batteries and didn’t worry about recharging until I got home. Now it looks like I have find a way to recharge in country.

Did you read my post above yours?

You do know this ruling applies to shipping batteries or equipment and batteries as cargo and not passenger luggage?