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Taking radios to France?

Dear All,

I know that a good many people on here travel around Europe from time to time making use of their CEPT licenses. Now my traveling time has also come, if a little unexpectedly!

As a recent graduate (aka sponging off Mum and Dad) I have been applying for work at a field study centre in the south of France, in fact about four-fifths of the way up Sommet de Finiels F/MC-196 and Mont Lozère F/MC-195. The study centre (and the caravan I will be staying in) is higher than Ben Nevis!

Now, the crux of it all is this. There’s no way I can pass up the chance to take the 817 and a few bits with me (specifically: ATU, W3EDP, laptop, data cable (for pskmail, if ever i can get it to work correctly) and some batteries). But I’ve not really been abroad before (France and Germany on a coach many years ago with secondary school). I understand that the world has gone mad and that radios in airports can cause problems. I’ll be traveling abroad, for the first time, on my own and I have no idea what I am doing. But I am determined to play radio while I am there. I’ll be flying on Wednesday from Liverpool to Nimes with RyanAir. I would welcome any and all advice on how to experience the least hinderance on taking radios through an airport?

I’ll be out there for 2 to 3 weeks, and (if they like what I do) going back later in the year, with a view to doing some more work there next year. It sounds like the kind of job an aimless graduate would love :wink: I’ll do my level best to get an activation in, I hope to work some of you as F/M0MYA/P.

Thanks and 73,
Dave M0MYA.


I’ve only been to Corfu (4 years ago) and took just the handy, I carried it and a slim jim in my Hand Luggage and was not even asked about it, but I guess things have changed a bit since then.

Hopefully some one will be along shortly with more useful and up-to-date advice.

Good Luck with what you are doing and with the activating.

Stewart G0LGS

In reply to M0MYA:
Dave, I’ve been taking my IC706 plus SMPSU, ATU & antenna bit’s & pieces on holiday trips over the past 10 years operating from EA,EA6,EA8,CT,CT3 and 5B. Before that I took my FT290 on trips to VK & W.
On occasions I’ve removed the front panel from the 706 & carried that in my hand luggage with the radio & the rest of the kit in my suitcase on the basis that the 706 minus the panel doesn’t look very attractive to any potential thief, of course you can’t to that with the 817.
More recently I’ve been taking the complete 706 as hand luggage, when going through ‘security’ at the UK end (usually Bristol or Birmingham but Luton on one occasion). I take the 706 out of my flight bag & put it through the scanner separately, this seems to keep ‘security’ happy and no questions are asked, I guess that they are used to seeing electronic circuits in lap tops etc. On the return trip I just leave it in my bag, no one has ever shown any interest.
With the 817 you can demonstrate that it’s a receiver if you have batteries fitted, leave it tuned to a local BBC FM station (NOT I suggest to Air Traffic Control!) I keep the microphone separate and if asked don’t make too much of the fact that it’s a transceiver, it’s just a radio for listening to the BBC world service (true but WS signals are usually poor in Europe & most of the programs are rubbish in my opinion!). If you are going to operate on HF from anywhere apart from hilltops I think that you’ll find QSO’s hard to make on just 5W!
Apart from taking your licence if your radio was purchased recently & you have receipts etc. it might be worth taking copies of these just in case you get stopped by customs on your return but I’ve never bothered to do this.
Possibly others will have more advice but take the radio & enjoy operating from somewhere different.




In reply to M0MYA:

I used to worry about taking radios on flights but don’t anymore. They let an entire plane of people take their 900MHz/1800MHz/2100MHz transmitter on the plane without issue! Last week I took two handhelds plus speaker-mics and chargers plus my eeePC701 netbook and charger plus loads of wires etc. to Friedrichshafen via Edinburgh and Zurich airports. Radio transmitters are not banned from aircraft. In fact the requirements are for electronic stuff to be in your carryon luggage not checked in luggage.

All of the above plus a camera and spare AA cells were in my small backpack. At Edinburgh at my bag had to go through the Xray machine twice. After the first trip they asked me to take the computer out and put it in its own tray. I also put the radios with it. No problem the second time. At Zurich the bag went through Xray 3 times. Each time they wanted stuff spreading out. The staff at Zurich were supremely polite and were apologetic in asking me to unpack stuff. I’ve never met airport security staff who were so polite and friendly before. Not even Amsterdam Schipol’s staff are this laid back! Compared to the unpleasant, arrogant and ignorant staff at Heathrow T5 and the nightmare that is Chicago O’Hare then Zurich has to be one of the nicest places to fly from. The only problem at Zurich was the coffee I bought worked out at £4.85 a cup !


In reply to M0MYA:

Hi Dave

Read TAKING AMATEUR RADIO GEAR ABROAD posted on the Reflector last August.

73 Roy G4SSH

In reply to MM0FMF:
I carried a large HF transceiver that I had bought elsewhere in the US through O’Hare without a problem however a colleague that I was travelling with had his small transistor BC receiver inspected (this was before 9/11).
Since then I’ve only carried a hand held on one holiday visit to New England again without difficulty.
Off the subject I can’t understand why in gun crazy US the airport cops at Boston (where 9/11 kicked off) just carry their standard side arm whilst at UK airports the cops carry machine guns which make me feel very uncomfortable.




In reply to All:

Dear All,

Thank you all for your replies, all of which were helpful and went a long way to increase my understanding and allay my fears. Everything packed and ready, departure for who-knows-what-and-where is tomorrow.

I look forward to working some of you as F/M0MYA/P

Dave M0MYA