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Socal 4x4 Geocachers: Forums

Socal 4x4 Geocachers :: View topic - ==> HAM RADIO HELPS OUT WITH MOUNTAIN RESCUE
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Crawler Gears
Crawler Gears

Joined: May 26, 2006
Posts: 420
Location: Lake Elsinore

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27,2009 10:37am    Post subject: ==> HAM RADIO HELPS OUT WITH MOUNTAIN RESCUE Reply with quote

I thought this would be of interest to those who spend time out in the mountains and deserts and such. Note the rescue was coordinated over a signal path from Mount Badly to Catalina Island to Vista!

Copied from the weekly newsletter of the American Radio Relay League (Ham radio geek organization) 7/24/09:


It was a quiet afternoon on July 11 and Rich Lippucci, KI6RRQ, of Vista, California, was monitoring the Catalina Amateur Radio Association (CARA) repeater on his base station. "I heard someone come over the repeater, calling, 'Is there anybody listening?' I responded and the caller said he was on his handheld transceiver hiking around the Mt Baldy area. He was about 2.5 miles off road and resting at the wilderness San Antonio Ski Hut A few hikers had arrived from farther in the backcountry -- one of their friends had broken an ankle and was a mile or more up the trail and they needed help." Mt Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains and the highest point in Los Angeles County.

Lippucci asked the caller for his call sign and name. "He told me he was Kirk Gustafson, KE6MTF," he told the ARRL. "I asked Kirk if he had a cell phone, but he told me there was no cell service where they were. I told him I would coordinate emergency services over my landline and asked for his exact location. He did an excellent job; he had a good idea of where he was and wasn't sure which county he was in, but he did have GPS coordinates."

Using his landline, Lippucci called 911 and was transferred three times until he was connected to Chelsea in the San Bernardino County Sheriff's dispatch center. "Chelsea coordinated the rescue with the San Bernardino Fire Department who sent a foot patrol to the area," he said. "The Sherriff's office dispatched a helicopter to meet someone at the ski hut to take them to where the hiker was down. It took a little less than an hour for emergency services to get above the location in a helicopter, but they were not able to land the helicopter due to the rocky terrain at the ski lift." Lippucci said that while the foot patrol and helicopter were on their way, the group of hikers had brought the injured woman down the trail to the ski hut, stabilized her leg and determined it was probably not broken. They still did not feel they could carry her out as the trail down from the wilderness ski lift was so steep." The ski hut can only be reached via a steep three mile hike and 2200 feet elevation gain.

The dispatcher told Lippucci that the helicopter would perform a skid rescue where a crew member suspends a bed basket from the helicopter; the victim is secured and pulled back up to the helicopter. The dispatchers asked Lippucci to relay back to Gustafson, asking if the group needed anything, such as food or water. Gustafson relayed back that they didn't need anything. "After about 15 minutes from arriving on site, the helicopter and its crew got the victim airlifted out successfully without further complications," Lippucci said. Gustafson took a video of the rescue with his cell phone:
Self-appointed Expert!
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Bone Stock
Bone Stock

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 10
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27,2009 2:05pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here you can get cell service above the ski hut. Mr. Green
Geocache GC1JD9P Moonlight Mile.
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All Terrain
All Terrain

Joined: Aug 07, 2007
Posts: 65
Location: Mtn. View, CA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 02,2009 11:36am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Copied from the the weekly newsletter of the American Radio Relay League (Ham radio geek organization) July 31, 2009


On the afternoon of July 16, ARRL Elko County (Nevada) Emergency
Coordinator Greg Barker, K7CWL, was making his way home on Nevada
Highway 278 when a van sped past him. About 60 miles later into his
trip, he saw the van slow down and pull over to the side of the road.
Barker, a physical therapist, pulled over and asked if he could assist.
An elderly couple, their daughter and granddaughter were on the way to
the hospital in Elko -- another 60 miles -- as the grandmother was
experiencing what they believed was a series of mini-strokes.

The daughter told Barker that their van kept losing power and wouldn't
run. Barker assessed the grandmother and tried to call 911 on his cell
phone, but there was no coverage in that area. "I put out a call on my
mobile radio, requesting immediate assistance, using the 146.850
repeater located about 55 miles away, part of a wide-area linked
repeater system maintained by the Elko Amateur Radio Club," he told the
ARRL. "Kent LeBart, K6IN, club president and a radio technician for the
Nevada State Highway Patrol, was monitoring the system and responded
immediately, asking how he could be of assistance."

Using the crossband repeat mode on his mobile radio, Barker was able to
stay with the family at the van. He also used his handheld transceiver
to tell LeBart that the grandmother needed to get to the emergency room.
"Kent contacted central dispatch and relayed the information I gave him
and asked me questions from the dispatch about the patient's situation
and condition," he said. "Based on that information, they sent a medivac
helicopter from Elko and an ambulance from Carlin."

Barker said that Highway 278 has no mile markers: "I relayed information
to dispatch about the location using the closest ranch name and mountain
pass turn-off as landmarks. With this information, volunteer fire
fighters and first responders were on scene in about 20 minutes and the
helicopter was on scene in about 30 minutes, followed by the ambulance
at about 35 minutes."

Another local ham, Joe Sasgen, AD7OO, was able to offer useful
information about approximate arrival times of the helicopter and
ambulance. "Joe was monitoring central dispatch out of Elko," Barker
said. "This information was reassuring to the family."

Flight paramedics assessed the grandmother and determined that a flight
was justified based on her condition, Barker told the ARRL. "I was able
to take her husband into the hospital in Elko to meet his wife. This is
another testament to the value and utility of Amateur Radio,
particularly on the lonely highways of rural Northern Nevada."
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