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Thread: emergency radios

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default emergency radios

    A few months ago I met a saltwater guide from Florida in Townsend. He was carrying a handheld transceiver which operates on certain ham radio bands. He told me that he could use it in an emergency in the backcountry to contact the Park rescue service indirectly, that is, by calling a ham radio operator and asking the ham to contact the Park rescue service. This seemed pretty wise to me. Cellphones don't work in the park, and CB handhelds don't have the power (500 milliwatts for the CB vs 5 watts for the ham). I found a guy on the Knoxville craigslist who sells handheld radios preprogrammed with ham radio channels, and I bought a water-resistant Yaesu handhheld from him. I was talking to a Park volunteer at Sugarlands Visitors Center who was also a ham radio operator. He told me that I only needed 2-meter capability because most of the ham radio repeaters around the Park operate on the 2-meter band. Does anyone else carry a transceiver for emergencies in the backcountry?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Knoxville, Tennessee


    I have to carry a Park Service handheld when doing water samples. While I guess it is an added layer of protection, I wouldn't carry one unless I had to. I think it's just not worth the weight (much as my same reason for NOT carrying a gun). I don't even think it would get someone out to you all that much faster than just telling someone where you are going to be and when returning if solo. Chances are even if a rescue is initiated it probably won't happen till next morning unless really critical. If your unlucky enough to be in a critical situation deep in the back-country chances are you are screwed anyway.

    But I would like to add a feature you overlooked: Don't have the operator notify the Park Service (Unless really necessary), instead have them call a buddy to come get you out and tell them what you need (set of crutches, etc). Your buddy will come out that night saving you a bunch of cold, pain, and additional misery. No huge rescue bill to stick on the Park Service, and even if your buddy can't get you out (when you call the big boys in) you are sitting pretty until they show. Also your buddy could assist to reduce size and cost of rescue by quickly getting staff to victim.

    I always tell my wife when solo where I will be (River, particular section) and to call Kirk, or Nathan if I don't come home as they will most likely know which places I might really be and will hopefully chase after me
    Call me if you want to go fishing, boating, hiking, or if you want to buy a foamie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    SPOT and an emergency whistle. I do leave the name of the stream where I'm fishing and the name and phone number of a friend who would have at least a good hunch on where i'd be on that particular stream while fishing with my wife.
    My posts are worthless without pictures

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