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Operating Suggestions

If you are contemplating HF operation here, consider the following: Most hotels are eager to please their guests, but before you come down and start stringing wires all over the place, make arrangements with the hotel management. They may be able to put you in a room that is more ideally suited for your operation. Many folks enjoy operating VHF from the cruise ships which regularly visit the islands. Our repeaters provide good coverage far from shore, especially if you’re on a high deck of the ship. Put out a call and perhaps one of us will be listening and be happy to answer any questions you may have about the USVI.

Please don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a reply. It’s not that we are trying to be rude, it’s just that there are not many hams here on our small islands.

For HF, one should remember that much of the islands are rock. You might think that in this idyllic environment, surrounded with salt water, that a good ground would be easy to come by. Wrong assumption! The new half wave verticals seem to be popular and of course nothing beats a dipole fed through a tuner’s balanced output, with ladder line.

If you hold a US amateur license, the U.S. Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States, so no reciprocal permits are necessary. It never hurts, however, to register your gear with U.S. Customs before you leave the states. In this way, you have proof that you brought the equipment OUT of the U.S. and eliminate any problems should a customs official question whether you bought your equipment in the states or abroad. (It’s a good idea to do that with anything like cameras, computers, etc.)

You might (logically) think that you won’t be subject to customs as this is a US Territory.  Unfortunately you’d be wrong.  If returning to the US Mainland, or any other destination except St. Thomas, you WILL be required to clear US Customs and Immigration.  Oh yes, we’re also allowed to use 7.075 – 7.100 MHz on 40m SSB.