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#292516 - 06/19/19 07:15 AM Regarding emergent communications
WesleyH Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 97
Loc: OKLAHOMA
I had a thought regarding emergent communications. Considering that the use of a ELTs and personal beacons can sometimes take considerable time to rescue after being activated.

This is predicated on the fact that emergency communications take precedence on any frequency.

Irregardless of where you are, there are usually aircraft, even high altitude jets. As you are on the ground and can see them, they are line of sight. The use of a portable Aircraft Nav/com radio will allow you to contact such aircraft and either declare an emergency or have them let SAR of your situation and location.

Even at an altitude of 35,000 feet, the radio would let you communicate with aircraft overhead.

Such radios as the Yaesu FTA-550AA NAV/COM Aviation Radio can be had for $199, uses 6 AA batteries and transmites 5 watts on the aircraft band. (Roughly 108-136Mhz.)

See: https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/yaesu-fta-550aa-airband-transceiver.html

Many aircraft as a matter of safety "guard" or moniter the aircraft emergency freq of 121.5. Barring that, knowing what ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control Center) you are in, can give you the frequency the aircraft are likely on.

See Generally: https://www.cfinotebook.net/notebook/air-traffic-control/air-route-traffic-control-center

Without going into all the details, it should be easy to reach such aircraft, or any SAR aircraft that might be in the area.

While not necessarily optimal, short of having a satellite phone, It could be the next best thing. It would greatly shorten your rescue time in the Continental US of A.

And no, you are not required to have a license if you only use the transmitter in an emergent situation.

WesleyH
K0WHH



Edited by WesleyH (06/19/19 07:32 AM)

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#292518 - 06/19/19 01:43 PM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: WesleyH]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6995
Loc: southern Cal
Yes,rescues can take considerable time. I agree completely - been there, done that.


The problem is that initial notification is just the beginning of a process that may be long and intricate, often complicated by weather and logistical issues.

It is far better to equip, both material and knowledge, to deal with situations, realizing realistically that outside aid may not be immediately available, even if whatever handy/dandy black box can give immediate notification.
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#292520 - 06/19/19 09:05 PM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: WesleyH]
DaveL Offline
Stranger

Registered: 10/03/18
Posts: 21
In the Late 1980ís we had a rescue near the top of Pikes Peak, a guy fell a broke his leg compound fracture. His group had a marine band radio and was lucky to contact a boater at the Pueblo Reservoir and notified the SO. About a 45 mile distance call.
We also carried aircraft band radios for work with choppers

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#292522 - 06/20/19 06:12 PM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: WesleyH]
Michael2 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 30
That's not a simple radio for a beginner to use. While it might not be illegal to use it in an emergency, it would not be legal to try out transmitting with it for practice.

I wouldn't want to use any radio like that in an emergency, unless I was already familiar with it. Just reading the manual doesn't count. That's why local amateur radio groups often have regular training session and weekly nets to ensure familiarity with operating procedures and their own equipment.

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#292524 - 06/20/19 07:41 PM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: WesleyH]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 792
A plb is nice because it transmits your GPS location.
Most are dead simple to use.

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#292526 - 06/20/19 08:28 PM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: DaveL]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6995
Loc: southern Cal
I you were near the summit of Pike's Peak, .you were near a developed area with a visitor center, road, and cog railway. So how did contacting a boater some distance away actually expedite the rescue?

I guess the question is how near is near, and how long did it take for assistance to reach you.

PLBs seem to have a pretty good track record in this regard...
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#292532 - 06/21/19 03:13 AM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: Michael2]
WesleyH Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/16
Posts: 97
Loc: OKLAHOMA
Michael2 makes an excellent point. It is not anything like using a GMRS radio, or otherwise non licensed radio. Essentially that would go for 2 meter or HF (shortwave) frequencies as well. For all practical purposes, you can't just try a random frequency and broadcast hoping to be heard. Unless you know what the calling frequency is for the band, and what mode AM, USB, LSB or FM, and best time to transmit, you would be lost.

And I agree that the cost of the radio, may not be in line with most survival equipment, but, If there is a helo in the area looking and missing you, an aircraft radio would fix that quickly.

Personal thoughts for emergent communications:

PLB (registered of course)
Satellite phone
Cell phone
Aircraft radio
SW radio.

In any case, knowing how to use the radio, and what frequencies to use is of great import. Which raises a question, how many people were rescued with radios which they knew nothing about?

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#292534 - 06/21/19 03:44 AM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: WesleyH]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6995
Loc: southern Cal
Don't overlook the tried and true, low tech implements for indicating your position - signal mirror by day, bright light or fire by night. In SAR situations, even when in radio communication with a helo, both mirror and fire have been very helpful. Practically speaking, everyone has a cell phone these days, and most of the time, they are in communication (not always!). Nowadays many SARs are initiated by a cell phone from the accident scene.

Even just standing in an open spot and waving your arms will be a big help.


Edited by hikermor (06/21/19 03:55 AM)
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#292568 - 06/25/19 12:09 AM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: WesleyH]
DaveL Offline
Stranger

Registered: 10/03/18
Posts: 21
If I remember correctly the injured hiker was about half way up and got on the wrong trail ,was headed for the kind of north slope. Easy to do if you are not paying attention. About 6 miles up and 6 miles down 3 to 4 miles from the cog railroad or the pikes peak Highway.
Other than the top or bottom Pikes Peak is wilderness with a few trails, I know of three people who disappeared there
The marine radio was all they had , before cell phones
I was not the victim , for a in shape team member about a 4 hr hike

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#292578 - 06/25/19 03:33 AM Re: Regarding emergent communications [Re: DaveL]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6995
Loc: southern Cal
Many moons ago, I was stationed at Ft. Carson, adjacent to Pikes Peak. On occasion, I was finished with my duties, defending the USA from our enemies, and I would get my pass around noon and hike the trail to the summit and return in time for dinner in the mess hall.

The trail was obvious and clear, a veritable highway; the cog railway was prominent, to say nothing of the summit road - hardly ingredients for a wilderness. It is undeveloped country, and i somehow you got o the trail, conceivably you could get in a bind.

Nowadays we have much better tools than marine radios for wilderness use - PLBs for instance, although one should never abandon self reliance.
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