Shipping Equipment Across International Boarders:
What's an ATA Carnet?
Import / Export regulations are among the most complex regulations and procedures you'll ever encounter.
As you may know, when taking almost any type of expensive equipment into another country you must adhere to that country's import laws. Bringing in $40K - $50K of electronics, antennas and computers almost always requires payment of import duties and/or Value Added Taxes (VAT). However, if you can show the equipment will be removed from the country within a specified time frame the import fees and taxes are generally waived. So, how do you prove that?
The ATA Carnet (also known as Carnet) is a "Merchandise Passport” for items that will enter and be
Going to, or passing through, a non Carnet country is a challenge in itself. Our equipment will pass through the: USA, New Zealand (twice), New Caledonia (twice) and back to the USA (each a Carnet country). Ross K6GFJ is working with a firm that specializes in this process, Carnet Express.
There's a processing fee and a bond which is the actual guarantee. The bond can be a cash payment or financed at a low interest rate, documentation is in English. While the Carnet eliminates the hassles which might occur, it does not exempt holders from obtaining necessary radio licenses and/or landing permits.
Don Greenbaum N1DG, of the Northern California DX Foundation, has been very helpful in navigating the Carnet waters and recommending a freight firm to handle the end to end shipping at a reasonable price.
Uploading logs can be done using several different services, from: Winlink, to Inmarsat to Iridium. Each has its pros and cons. For our projects we use the Inmarsat Global Area Broadband Network (BGAN). Three satellites circle the globe at the equator, each covering a specific geography. BGAN service works very well for all but the most extreme Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Satellite Names and Orbital Locations
I-4 Americas 98° West
We buy BGAN services using a prepaid account, $385(USD) for 500 units of BGAN service. One BGAN service unit equals a one minute phone call to a landline anywhere in the world, calls to mobile phones are slightly more expensive. BGAN also provides bidirectional text services. For data transfers the cost is 9.1 units per megabyte of data, or $7(USD) per megabyte.
The BGAN terminal is an integrated telephone / Internet modem. Connect a PC, establish a satellite session and you're good to go. You can place or receive a phone call, send / receive text messages or perform any type of Internet activity, i.e. surf the web, send / receive e-mail, FTP.
For data transfers the BGAN billing process charges you for the data transferred and not the length of time you're connected to the satellite. You can stay connected continually at no charge, the meter starts when data is sent or received.
Improperly used, BGAN can be "very" expensive. For example, a 10,000 QSO N1MM+ file is about 4 megabytes, about 39 BGAN service units or ~$30(USD) to upload the file. By compressing the file the resulting file size is ~300K or 1 BGAN unit at 77 US cents. A big price difference, we will compress all upload files.
You can see very quickly that by compressing the log files BGAN becomes a very cost effective solution. And more importantly, quick and easy for the DX-pedition team's log manager.
We have private e-mail addresses for pilot and family communications: however we ask the senders to use only textural e-mails, no graphics or HTML formats which are data intensive.
Used BGAN terminals can be found on EBAY for about $1,000(USD) for a basic unit and several thousand dollars for full featured units. Our basic unit works perfectly for our purposes. Buying a used unit that will be used on several projects is more cost effective than renting a unit for each project.
We will upload logs daily to the Log Search data base at TX3X.com
Our TX3X donation data base is linked to the logging data base. As we upload the logs our software will compare the donor and log files, select matches and process an LoTW record for "early" donors. Early donors, like you, are those individuals that processed their contribution before we sailed.
OQRS will be turned on after the DX-pedition team returns to dry land.
We are not using ClubLog; all confirmation activity will be performed at TX3X.com
Living on the Evohe:
Steve Kafka has continuously owned and sailed Evohe for almost 35 years. He's sailed her from the Antarctic to the Arctic and sailed the world on many occasions. Steve and his wife raised their 3 children on Evohe, 2 of which are today professionals in boat racing and the seagoing industry.
For several of us this will be our third DX-pedition on Evohe. The boat is 25 meters (~80 feet) in length, licensed to carry 12 passengers and up to 8 crew, it can be crowded. This is a "working" boat, there are few creature comforts and very little privacy. Four forward sleeping compartments are allocated to the passengers, 2 heads (toilets) one with a shower, a lounge, and galley are the passenger accessible areas. The crew quarters are in the aft compartments, the engine room is located below the lounge.
While underway passengers are permitted to use the public areas, sit in the wheelhouse with the on-watch crewmember or, in good weather / sea conditions sit in an outdoor area aft of the wheelhouse. For saftey reasons passengers are not permitted to access the outside decks while underway.
Depending on sea conditions meals are served either in the lounge or buffet style in the galley. In really rough sea conditions passengers are asked to remain in their bunk or to adequately secure themselves in the lounge or wheelhouse. Meals are prepared by the crew, the galley is open to the passengers at any time.
Motion sickness can be a real problem for some people. Everyone is asked to visit their doctor before leaving home to discuss medications which may address their situation.
For safety reasons, loading and unloading the equipment is handled primarily by the crew. Once ashore the radio team and crew will establish the radio camps. Meals can be taken on the island or on the boat. We'll acnhor offshore and run the Zodiac back and forth. The skipper or senior crew members operate the Zodiac.
We're just a few weeks away from shipping our equipment to New Zealand. We'll update you on that progress in the next edition of the Insider.
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