I received a phone call from Hector CO6CBF this evening. One month has passed since the AMSAT Symposium in Orlando, and Hector now has all the radio gear he received at the Symposium. He is a very happy ham tonight. :-)
When Hector returned to Cuba, Cuban Customs held the radio gear until an inspector from the Ministry of Communications went to the airport in Hector's home city of Cienfuegos and certified that the gear was legal to enter Cuba. Hector has been calling the local office of the Ministry of Communications daily, to get someone to inspect the equipment. That finally happened a few days ago. After the inspection, and then sending paperwork to Havana, Hector received word today that he could retrieve his gear. He borrowed a car, and went to the Cienfuegos airport to do that.
Hector took two HTs home with the other radio stuff, and he has had them at home for the past month. He disassembled the HTs before leaving Florida, and they were not classified as "radios" when he went through Customs. The HTs were considered to be "parts", so they were not held at the Cienfuegos airport. Hector also carried a ThinkPad laptop and a new mobile phone home, which were not held at Customs with the radio gear.
Some of the items Hector now has at home include: a Yaesu FT-817ND, an Elk antenna, SignaLink USB interface, an az/el rotator with LVB Tracker, a FUNcube Dongle Pro, and accessories like coax cables, a 2m/70cm diplexer, and amplifiers. These items should help him improve his satellite station, and also let him work on an EME station not far from his home. One of the HTs will go to another ham, and that new mobile phone will help with satellite operating. It's an Android-based phone, and Hector can run apps on it to show pass predictions, show his location using the GPS in the phone, record audio from the passes, and take photos and make videos with the phone's camera. Hector couldn't take a GPS receiver home with him, but can make use of the GPS in his mobile phone to pinpoint his location - especially at grid boundaries.
Thanks to all the hams who gave Hector equipment to take home from the Symposium. Hector wanted to post a thank-you message himself, but he isn't able to access his e-mail account from home this evening.
Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/