Monday 2nd February 2015, and it was an early start, having booked a last minute (Like the previous Friday!) week away in Madeira, and the possibility of at least a couple of Sota Summits, having failed miserably 2 years since when, apparently, the baggage handlers decided to lay waste to my MFJ 971 travel tuner en route.. but never mind, new year, new opportunity!
Just in case, I decided to take my MXP-817 Amp as well as the 817nd, Tracer 8Ah Battery, no tuner this time, but my old linked dipole (10-12-15-17-20-40-60m), 4m pole from sotabeams, and with a couple of bungees, and a hastily cobbled together guying kit (just in case).
Backup ‘plan’, in case the Tracer battery didn’t make it past ‘security’…. Umm, AA Batteries in the 817nd..
Boots, socks, a floppy hat (not a SOTA one) and a couple of ‘seaflo’ lightweight collapsible hiking poles completed the ‘other stuff’ in the lightweight case.
In order to get through BHX ‘screening’ the Radio and Battery went in the hand luggage along with the ‘real’ camera, and tablet, loaded with a couple of DVDs worth of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ for in flight entertainment.
The queue(s) for the ‘scanners’ were already backed up to the main door, and about a 20 minute wait ensued. Once to the front, all my ‘junk’ took up 2 trays as I was upfront about what was in the bag, and they made me unpack it all… For once, I didn’t manage to set the alarm off walking through the gate, but my trays appeared to be causing quite a bit of consternation, staff were pointing at the screen, people behind, in the queue were ‘tutting’… Other more important staff were called across and stood pointing at the screen for about 3 minutes… the queue of passengers waiting to come though continually growing….
The first tray was pulled though and I was invited to explain what was in it.. Well, a battery, since that seemed to be the thing they were pointing at, mostly… Asked what it was for, i pointed to the radio “that radio”… He took the battery to one side, swabbed it, put the swab in his ‘testing equipment’ and scanned it once again, whilst staff stood and pointed at the image on screen…
That appeared to be OK – yay! So I could put it in my bag.
“What’s this then?” said the man inquistively pointing at the radio.. “That’s a Radio! That the battery will be used to power”
I was invited to take it out of it’s leather case, to be swabbed, and sent through the scanner again… (Still the queue of relatively unhappy passengers grew….)
Staff pointed at the image as it went through the scanner again.
“Is it a ‘Ham Radio’?” I was asked, by the guy who appeared to be rolling his eyes somewhat..
I explained that it was, I got asked where I was going, and on what flight, and they handed the radio to me.
“Do you have a camera as well?” He asked
“Oh that’s fine, have a good trip!”
I thanked him politely for his attention to detail and hurried away from all of the held up passengers!.
It’s always wise to be aware of the latest regulations!
Since my Tracer LifePO4 battery is labeled as 96WH (It’s an 8AH one) it is within the 100WH that is allowed in hand luggage.