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#202584 - 05/28/10 02:48 PM source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror?
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Hey guys, I remember in the past that nobody had come up with a retail source for the AMK Mini Rescue Flash Signal Mirror, the one that's only 2" x 1.5". It seems to have only been available as a component in premade kits from AMK though some other kit retailers include it as well.

In the time since, has anyone found a retail source for this little unit? I've got a few of the regular sized ones, and I know that bigger is better for signal mirrors, but I have a micro-PSK project where that little mirror would be an asset. I hate the idea of shelling out the money for the mediocre AMK SOL kit just to get the mirror.

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#202587 - 05/28/10 03:32 PM Re: source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror? [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
acropolis5 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/18/06
Posts: 355
Try Campmor. I know they have them in the N.J. store, so they are probably available from their website.

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#202590 - 05/28/10 03:49 PM Re: source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror? [Re: acropolis5]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: acropolis5
Try Campmor. I know they have them in the N.J. store, so they are probably available from their website.


No joy at the website. Are you sure the ones at the NJ store are the Minis, or the extremely widely available 2" x 3" regular size mirror?

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#202626 - 05/29/10 08:04 AM Re: source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror? [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
TheSock Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 471
Loc: London England

Ranger Rick sells a folding one (or of course you could make your own by backing a few small mirrors with duct tape).
He also sells a 2 inch by 6 inch one that folds down to 2 inches by 2 inches, but only as part of one of his inexpensive kits.
The Sock

<FOLDING SIGNAL MIRROR – The only folding signal mirror on the <market, when closed up it's just 1 x 2 inches in size, when <opened it's 2 x 3 inches. It's so compact and light you <shouldn't have any problems finding a place to store it. Either <carry it in your pocket or any size survival, made of durable <acrylic plastic and only $3.50 each, shipped from Italy.
_________________________
The world is in haste and nears its end – Wulfstan II Archbishop of York 1014.

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#202635 - 05/29/10 11:20 AM Re: source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
rauburg Offline
Stranger

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 2
I have the Mayday signal mirror. It is not the same mirror you are asking about but it performs well.
Mayday Signal Mirror

I have tested this mirror with an airplane and a 2x3" mirror from the NRA survival kit. I am in the Civil Air Patrol and set out a practice Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) during a practice search exercise.

When the plane got close enough I began signaling; alternating between the two mirrors. The crew in the plane was able to spot both mirrors and reported that the larger mirror was easier to see. They didn't say that the larger mirror was vastly better, just that it was easier to spot. I feel that the performance of both mirrors was acceptable.

I did notice that aiming was quicker and easier with the larger mirror. I honestly can't say if it was me, or the mirror.

I now use the small mirror in my hiking/backpacking gear and have gone to the larger mirror for my flight bag.

Randy


Edited by rauburg (05/29/10 08:01 PM)

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#202646 - 05/29/10 06:59 PM Re: source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror? [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 218
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Glock-A-Roo
Hey guys, I remember in the past that nobody had come up with a retail source for the AMK Mini Rescue Flash Signal Mirror, the one that's only 2" x 1.5". <snip>

In the time since, has anyone found a retail source for this little unit? <snip>


I have not, and I don't see it offered as a separate product in the AMK online catalog here:
http://www.shopatron.com/home/search/453.0.1.1?q=mirror&x=0&y=0
You could try asking AMK directly at the email contact or phone number given on that web page.

Another possibility is to trim a regular AMK Rescue Flash 2"x3" mirror to the 2"x1.5" size. There are many drawbacks: labor, the risk of damaging/distorting/delaminating the mirror, and the mirror surface at the cut edges might be subject to corrosion (though you could apply sealant). If all went well, you'd have your 2"x1.5" mirror with mesh retroreflective aimer.

As mentioned above, there are other signal mirrors on the market that are smaller than the standard 2"x3" size, such as the BCB 2"x2" "Mayday" mirror mentioned above. Besides those mentioned above, the French and Swiss Air Forces use a 2"x2" glass mirror with a solid retroreflective aimer. While the French unit is small, and probably brighter than the plastic alternatives, it is thicker, heavier, thicker and more expensive than them. The only place I've seen the French mirror offered in the US is here, at $24 + S&H.
French 2"x2" signal mirror at Deutsche Optik
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)
(Ocean Signal PLB)

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#202647 - 05/29/10 07:03 PM Re: source for the little AMK "mini" signal mirror? [Re: rafowell]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Why not contact AMK and ask?

Sue

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#202655 - 05/30/10 01:02 AM AMK "mini" signal mirror vs BCB Mayday Mirror [Re: rauburg]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 218
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: rauburg
I have the Mayday signal mirror. It is not the same mirror you are asking about but it performs well.
Mayday Signal Mirror

I have tested this mirror with an airplane and a 2x3" mirror from the NRA survival kit. <...> The crew in the plane was able to spot both mirrors and reported that the larger mirror was easier to see. They didn't say that the larger mirror was vastly better, just that it was easier to spot. I feel that the performance of both mirrors was acceptable.<...>


I'd love to hear more particulars about your test - range, sun to target angle, airplane altitude, airspeed. I have yet to locate a cooperative pilot for signal mirror testing. I do have some WWII RAF test reports on 2"x2" steel mirrors (low reflectivity), and the RAF (unlike the US Navy, USAF, and USCG) felt that, since the 2"x2" steel mirrors seemed to be bright enough to travel the range at which a survivor could see a small airplane, that they were big and bright enough. ( I'm actually supposed to be putting those reports online so you folks can see them, rather than chatting here).

Myself, I'm more comfortable with larger mirrors, and every US Government document and photo I've seen referring to US Government issue signal mirrors refers to mirrors that are 2"x3" or larger.

However, in the realm of 2"x2" or smaller plastic signal mirrors, the Mini Rescue Flash seems the brightest. The beam from my 1.5"x2" Mini Rescue Flash™ (American Medical Kits) is much tighter and brighter than my 2"x2" Mayday Signal Mirror (BCB International), based on today's test*. See the comparison of the beam brightness at right.




All other things being equal, the Mini will be more visible than the Mayday, visible at longer range, and it is smaller, as well.

The Mayday mirror has some advantages over the Mini: it is widely available, comes with a lanyard, floats, is inexpensive, and has instructions on the back.

I've seen one review arguing that the BCB mirror isn't very robust: (video of user tearing mirror apart here:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=8xfao47WHtQ )

The Mini Rescue Flash isn't perfect. As noted, it doesn't seem available by itself, it doesn't float, and doesn't come with a lanyard. After 1 year in my trunk (in Southern California) mine shows some signs of delamination - likely because of the heat cycles. Unlike most signal mirrors, the Mini lacks self-contained instructions on the back. The back (shown here)
http://www.equipped.org/pp/briefs/pic_amk_sol.htm#d
says to go to www.adventuremedicalkits.com for instructions, rarely an option when you get lost. Even if you (as you should) try to learn to use the mirror prior to getting lost, finding the instructions at the website is a real challenge.

The closest I've found is this AMK product video: "Ed Viesturs Survival Essentials", which covers signal mirror use starting about 30 seconds in, and is more easily found on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV_kVLnydlU

I like Doug Ritter's instructions better:
http://www.equipped.com/psp/psp_rescueflash.htm

Originally Posted By: rauburg
I did notice that aiming was quicker and easier with the larger mirror. I honestly can't say if it was me, or the mirror. <...>


I didn't try this myself, but I do notice that the sighting window on most mirrors is larger than that in the Mayday mirror.
===========
* Test Description
I took both mirrors, which have been together in my trunk since last summer, and propped them on my driveway, as shown, so as to reflect the sun onto the back of my darkened garage, 33 feet away. I then photographed the beam.


Edited by rafowell (05/30/10 05:12 AM)
Edit Reason: Inline photo
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)
(Ocean Signal PLB)

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#202657 - 05/30/10 01:31 AM Re: AMK "mini" signal mirror vs BCB Mayday Mirror [Re: rafowell]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 218
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: rafowell

(Click HERE to see the photo of the test results - the forum software doesn't seem to want to display it inline.)


Never mind - I managed to edit the prior post to include the photo inline.


Edited by rafowell (05/30/10 05:14 AM)
Edit Reason: Obviated by edit of prior post
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)
(Ocean Signal PLB)

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#202663 - 05/30/10 02:38 AM Re: AMK "mini" signal mirror vs BCB Mayday Mirror [Re: rafowell]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Thanks for the info. Sounds like I have not overlooked a source for the small AMK mirror. I am reluctant to chop the larger one down, not knowing if there will be a detrimental effect on its performance.

I will keep an eye out for a good sale on the AMK SOL kit in order to harvest the mirror from it.

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