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  #1  
Old April 28th, 2016, 12:52 AM
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Off Road Trip Safety Planning

Board,

Over our evening campfire in Death Valley this past weekend, we discussed the lack of cell signals and the lack of amateur radio repeaters in the Death Valley National Park. This led to the fact that had we had a serious emergency when in a vast wilderness, communications to a medical or law enforcement agency would have not been available. Someone would have had to drive hours to a location to get a cell signal or such.

So, we discussed needing to come up with a template for our trip planners to use in thinking through communications on a trip outside our usual comms friendly So Cal deserts and mountains.

Does anyone out there, club or individual, have a template they use to record what ham radio, satellite phone or similar methods they would intend to use in such remote areas?
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  #2  
Old April 28th, 2016, 01:24 AM
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Briggsie is 100% correct. Preparations for self sufficiency is always best. Here are some things to consider about different comm methods:

CB and FRS Radio:
Cheap, no license required and most everybody has one.
Limited range

VHF Ham Radio:
Fairly inexpensive and using repeaters can communicate over a long range (If a repeater is accessible)
Requires an easy to obtain license

HF Ham Radio:
With good conditions you can talk around the world
Expensive and require a license

Sat Phone:
Expensive and don't require a license
Limited coverage if you are not in the open with an unlimited horizon

VHF Aircraft Radio:
People rarely think of this. 121.5 MHz will get you in contact with an aircraft flying overhead. As with everything else above an emergency is an emergency and there is no reason to not use them licensed or not.
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  #3  
Old April 28th, 2016, 01:49 AM
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If I were going to do some very austere backcountry work I don't think there is a substitute for redundant long haul comms, but as Dave and Jeff note most people aren't going to take the time to work the HF side of stuff so one of the easiest solutions is just going with the sat phone; either purchased or rental. Also in the Sat doman that is cheap enough to be worth buying just in case is something like a SPOT (Amazon.com: Spot Satellite SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange SPOT-3ORANGE: GPS & Navigation) as an intermediate step vice Sat phone.

Being one of those one is none, two is one guys I'd go with active comms both in the form of vehicle and handheld VHF, grab a spot, and also understand other signaling devices and have on hand (VS panels, signal mirrors, strobes, chem light buzz saws, etc).

All of this goes back to the point already made though; preperation is a mindset and a facet of experience & training-a lot of folks get this gear but never opcheck it, charge/change batteries, etc. Then its just weight.
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  #4  
Old April 28th, 2016, 02:14 AM
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Emergency equipment wise you can "what if" till you have thousands of pounds of gear and no money left. Aside from basic hand tools I keep one of these in all my vehicles. Amazon Blowout Kit Best $20 you can spend on an oh shit medical emergency kit. I also carry sutures, steri-strips and some surgical tools but as Ray stated you really need to know how to use the stuff if you ever need to use it.
Beyond that it becomes pretty much an individual thing. My daughter is a Type 1 Diabetic so I pack lots of insulin, a spare pump, syringes and anything she that could possibly require for an unscheduled prolong stay.
This is a great topic to hash and rehash. There really isn't a wrong answer and I encourage others to post what they carry and their thoughts.
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  #5  
Old April 28th, 2016, 03:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
This is a great topic to hash and rehash. There really isn't a wrong answer and I encourage others to post what they carry and their thoughts.
So true.

The med stuff is a discussion unto itself but important enough to weave into this since in many ways the two things are linked; comms become important when you need help and most of the time assistance is needed b/c of a medical situation (or a situation that could have medical implications, i.e. catastrophic breakdown far from help that goes from fun weekend away to a quasi-survival situation).

Which reminds me to add to my return to CONUS list to go through my bags again; I was proud of my 14yr old when over spring break I pulled one of the medical bags out of coyote to bandage up her knee and she asked me when the last time we checked expiration dates was (b/c she had done the last survey with me, a few years ago). Time to go through it all again!
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  #6  
Old April 28th, 2016, 04:01 AM
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Mariners us an ePirb, try this http://www.findmespot.com/mobile/
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  #7  
Old April 28th, 2016, 07:52 AM
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A DeLorme InReach would be a good option from what little I know about it. A decent first aid kit and some kind of medical training would also probably go a long way. I'm taking the Wilderness Medicine course at REI, I'll let you know how that goes.
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  #8  
Old April 28th, 2016, 08:21 AM
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I try to carry Uncle Douglas and or Robert Davis (with plenty of beer) in my truck at all times during off road excursions. They have been able to get me out most situations so far.
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  #9  
Old April 28th, 2016, 09:25 AM
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406 epirb. Cheap and works anywhere in the world.

http://www.amazon.com/ACR-GlobalFix-.../dp/B002RMCWFU
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  #10  
Old April 28th, 2016, 10:20 AM
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While I hate to admit , I have failed the HAM practice test over and over ( I do have a GMRS Call Sign ) , so, while I have been in places that was just me , myself and my alter ego, I have always carried:

When not on a vehicle:

As Uncle Doug pointed a 406 epirb, plus a Sat Phone

When in a Vehicle:

The above
plus
HAM Radio even if my license / call sign is for a different frequency ( as Dave well put it, licensed or not, better have it and not need it, than .... you know )
Also have a Spot Find me I've got under their initial Lifetime Service thatis always in the bike / car
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  #11  
Old April 28th, 2016, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rugbier View Post
While I hate to admit , I have failed the HAM practice test over and over ( I do have a GMRS Call Sign )
When I get back just gimme an ID, I'll go take the test for you-I just want to see the guy's face at the church when I sign in as Gustavo and hold it up.
(*note, I am kidding FCC)
(**also note that under emergency conditions anyone is authorized to use such equipment)

For real though, I just did hamtestonline for a bit and got through it fine. It was worth whatever $ I spent for the subscription.
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  #12  
Old April 28th, 2016, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Ray_G View Post
When I get back just gimme an ID, I'll go take the test for you-I just want to see the guy's face at the church when I sign in as Gustavo and hold it up. (*note, I am kidding FCC) (**also note that under emergency conditions anyone is authorized to use such equipment) For real though, I just did hamtestonline for a bit and got through it fine. It was worth whatever $ I spent for the subscription.
Deal :-)
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  #13  
Old April 28th, 2016, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Rat bastard. You will probably even buy parts in the sly for Pedro.

-Jeff
You clearly don't know the rules; if you buy parts from Pedro, he can buy them back from you at anytime. If Pedro buys parts from you, he can return them at anytime, and then choose to buy them back. If you buy parts and Pedro knows, he can buy them at anytime. If Pedro thinks you bought the parts, he reserves the right to buy them from you.

I miss Pedro, and I'm sorry we have royally screwed this post...all it needs is the GTT.
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  #14  
Old April 28th, 2016, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
Emergency equipment wise you can "what if" till you have thousands of pounds of gear and no money left. Aside from basic hand tools I keep one of these in all my vehicles.
This is a great topic to hash and rehash. There really isn't a wrong answer and I encourage others to post what they carry and their thoughts.
Great topic of discussion. And lots of good points.

The absolute best preparation is a top notch survival course. I took one many years ago in college. Do I remember enough to stay alive in such a situation? Probably not. Time for a refresher.

All the emergency gear in the world won't be any good if you return to your vehicle to find out it's been broken into and everything is gone and vehicle is vandalized.

The best thing you can do is learn to survive in the environment you are stranded in with next to nothing.

Truth is few today have the survival skills of our ancestors 200 years ago.
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  #15  
Old April 28th, 2016, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jymmiejamz View Post
A DeLorme InReach would be a good option from what little I know about it. A decent first aid kit and some kind of medical training would also probably go a long way. I'm taking the Wilderness Medicine course at REI, I'll let you know how that goes.


I got the Delorme for my birthday a couple years ago and use it as a primary navigation device. I have never used the emergency function, but a couple years ago, my brothers were off the coast of south Florida and needed a tow at night. They got the coast guard on the marine radio and the CG asked them to deploy the Delorme so that they could have updated coordinate and because the responding vessel had never received an sos from a gps device like the Delorme or the Spot messenger. It worked very well.

On meds and first aid, we have a pretty extensive first aid kit in our cars. Both me and my wife have had tons of first aid training over the years. I'm actually doing an REI wilderness first aid course this year and Katie wants to get caught up on her infant training now that we have a baby on the way.

As others have said, it's all about the mindset and the training. You can have all the gear in the world but if you're in the middle of nowhere, dealing with an injury. Or multiple injures or God forbid, a fatality, that's an enormous amount of stress. If you don't know how to use what you have, that's not the time to be reading the instructions for the first time.
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Old April 28th, 2016, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by LuisC View Post
Great topic of discussion. And lots of good points.

The absolute best preparation is a top notch survival course. I took one many years ago in college. Do I remember enough to stay alive in such a situation? Probably not. Time for a refresher.

All the emergency gear in the world won't be any good if you return to your vehicle to find out it's been broken into and everything is gone and vehicle is vandalized.

The best thing you can do is learn to survive in the environment you are stranded in with next to nothing.

Truth is few today have the survival skills of our ancestors 200 years ago.
Great point, but shame on those who leave a vehicle without taking the minimum survival gear with them, there are backpacks for that :-)
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Old April 28th, 2016, 01:43 PM
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What first aid kid is everyone using?
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  #18  
Old April 28th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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Water, sun screen, a jacket, backpack and a good pair of hiking shoes gets you about 90% of the way there.
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Old April 28th, 2016, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jymmiejamz View Post
What first aid kid is everyone using?

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  #20  
Old April 28th, 2016, 02:13 PM
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All the emergency gear in the world won't be any good if you return to your vehicle to find out it's been broken into and everything is gone and vehicle is vandalized.
With that silly mindset why would you even bother to prepare at all? Seriously, where do you come up with this shit? SMH
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