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#90796 - 04/10/07 01:39 AM Survival Whistles question
MichaelJ07 Offline

Registered: 12/19/06
Posts: 101
Loc: Michigan, USA
I'm not all that familier with pealess whistles. I recieved a couple Fox40 Howler Whistles in the mail today from a very good company. They arrived fast and in perfect condition. My question is, do all pealess whistles sound like this? I didn't hear any sound that would in any way alert anyone nearby as to my dire situation (if I was in one.) They are for my grandchildren and I know they will not be able to get any whistle sound out of them with their little lungs. So, what whistles are good for kids to have in the wilderness if the pea ones seem not so good?

That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

#90797 - 04/10/07 02:09 AM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: MichaelJ07]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Put your finger over the hole- do you feel air moving? If you don't, it means there is something in their somehow and should be cleaned out with a pipe cleaner.

If you do have air movement, I don't know what to tell you. I've used all of the Fox models and it doesn't take much air moving through them to leave you in pain if you are silly and blow it inside. Don't worry about being gentle, blow on that sucker, and blow it outside. Don't toot it, blow it, like you are blowing out candles on a cake.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#90800 - 04/10/07 02:42 AM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: MichaelJ07]

Re : MichaelJ07

You have raised a very interesting point about the design of whistles. I think there is a too much emphasis on which type and make is best suited for a survival situation. Obviously the louder the whistle the better but the effort required for continual signaling needs to taken into account also. There are a few whistles out there that are being marketed as the worlds loudest. The main reason for a pealess whistle is the reliability and the maximum potential performance that they have. Although some whistles such as Fox 40 Classic has an extremely loud sound at 115dB, while some other similar designs suggest even higher volumes even greater than 120dB. What is not mentioned is that it takes quite a bit of puff to get these Whistles to start oscillating. Even the Acme Tornado at 107dB may prove a bit difficult for small children to get any sound oscillations started. The Fox40 Howler is rated at 110dB. Of course the louder the sound on the dB scale (which is a logarithmic scale) the effort to start to get it to work will I suspect be on a logarithmic scale also. If you are concerned that your grandchildren are unable to get the whistle to start oscillating then it may be worthwhile getting a whistle which is specified at around the 100dB. Of course this will reduce the range at which it can be heard. But then if it is taking a considerable amount of effort by the child to even get a few blasts then this may put the child off from continuing to signal. Something like the orange plastic Perry whistle or the aluminum Lifecycle Mountain Whistle (your grandchildren should be able to get Lifecycle one started but should not be used in freezing temperatures unless you instruct the child to first warm up the whistle by placing inside a coat pocket for 5-10 minutes before they begin to start signaling). I think you may need to purchase a few other whistle designs and give them to your grandchildren for them to experiment with to see which ones they are comfortable with. Also three short blasts on the whistle every 30 seconds to a minute should be taught to your grandchildren as this is generally recognized as a general distress call.

Edit - Incorrect information

Oops - That should have been 6 blasts on the whistle with a period of 1 min before the repetition for the internationally recognised distress signal.

The 3 blasts on the whistle is used as an acknowledgment that the distress signal has been heard.

Edited by bentirran (04/10/07 10:14 PM)

#90802 - 04/10/07 03:13 AM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: MichaelJ07]
alvacado Offline

Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 79
Loc: South Texas
I had exactly the same (whistle) experience with my grand childrem and my PEK's. Based on this forum, I purchased a number of the the largest and the smallest Fox whistles and found they attract less attention than a dime store whistle and are more difficult to use, I then tried the STORM WHISTLE and am completely satisfied.

Age and Treachery will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm

#90804 - 04/10/07 03:19 AM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: alvacado]
Be_Prepared Offline

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 530
Loc: Massachusetts
Another option to consider is the flat ACR whistle. We have them attached to all our life jackets on the boat, and there's one on my keychain, and my son's backpack. They are light, thin, and require less air than some of the other pea-less whistles. Here's a review from Backpacking Light:


They are about $3 each. I bought them at West Marine. They are also USCG approved.

- Ron

#90814 - 04/10/07 07:35 AM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: Be_Prepared]
lazermonkey Offline

Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 318
Loc: Monterey CA
Please correct me if I am wrong but doesn't pitch have something to do with how well one can hear the whistle regardless of decibels. The Fox 40 produces a lot higher pitch than conventional whistles. and from what I have experience is younger people hear the fox 40's a lot better than older people.
I do have to agree that it seem to take a bit more work to get the fox 40s going but it seems the work is well worth the extra effort.
Hmmm... I think it is time for a bigger hammer.

#90819 - 04/10/07 12:57 PM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: MichaelJ07]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5266
I find the Fox 40 difficult to get a lot out of also. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but we (meaning me) burned up a tea kettle a few years back and from the remains I pulled out the whistle which was the stopper in the spout. That pealess whistle is very loud, blows very easily and is just as easy to carry as many other whistles.
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#90832 - 04/10/07 04:58 PM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: lazermonkey]
duckear Offline

Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 477
Originally Posted By: lazermonkey
Please correct me if I am wrong but doesn't pitch have something to do with how well one can hear the whistle regardless of decibels. The Fox 40 produces a lot higher pitch than conventional whistles. and from what I have experience is younger people hear the fox 40's a lot better than older people.
I do have to agree that it seem to take a bit more work to get the fox 40s going but it seems the work is well worth the extra effort.

I guess the point is that some folks (kids, older folks, chronic lung disease, injured) just dont have the extra effort in them. Thus the extra care needed in picking a whistle for someone.

#90837 - 04/10/07 06:37 PM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: duckear]
Rio Offline

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 112
Loc: Pacific North West
X2 on the Storm Whistle. I was a life guard at a pool for several years where we used whistles to communicate with each other, clear the pool, alert patrons etc. Of all the whistles I've owned, the storm is by far my favorite. Admittedly the storm is a little on the large side, so I edc a mini fox40. At first, both of these whistles aren't the easiest to get noise out of, but once you practice for a while it is not a problem.

For me the easiest way to use them is by placing my tough over the mouth piece of the whistle, build up some pressure in my cheeks, then remove my tough from the whistle allowing the pressure form my cheeks to blow the whistle. Using this method you can get a pretty high level of performance out of most any whistle with minimal effort.

#90843 - 04/10/07 08:34 PM Re: Survival Whistles question [Re: Rio]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
If you have someone who can't use a whistle, such as someone who is breathing-impaired, you might forego the whistle and get them a personal alarm. This is what I got for my Mom, who had a heart/breathing problem. It is 120 dB, is activated simply by breaking the connection between the alarm and the strap, and the alarm will sound for 20 minutes. You can also use it to make a three-whoop+pause signal fairly easily.

But my Mom said if it was activated for even a second, it would blow out her hearing aid batteries.


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