RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Commercial, Professional Radio and Personal Radio > GMRS / FRS

GMRS / FRS - Discussions related to GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and FRS (Family Radio Service) communications

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 8:04 AM
2wayfreq's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 348
Default National Hiking Frequency/SAR

I was wondering if there is a National "Common" hiking frequency and/or and emergency frequency that hikers cam come up on if there is a problem? I know about MURS and for my area, the Virginia SAR channels here: Search and Rescue Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
I mean, does SAR monitor MURS? Or, can a hiker come up on 155.160 or a repeater to talk to them? Just in case there happens to be no cell coverage, there should be a way via VHF radio to call out for assistance, right?
__________________
Troubleshooting Golden Rule #1: Check your connections.
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 8:40 AM
SteveC0625's Avatar
Member
  Shack Photos
Shack photos
Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northville, NY (Fulton County)
Posts: 2,421
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wayfreq View Post
I was wondering if there is a National "Common" hiking frequency and/or and emergency frequency that hikers cam come up on if there is a problem? I know about MURS and for my area, the Virginia SAR channels here: Search and Rescue Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference
I mean, does SAR monitor MURS? Or, can a hiker come up on 155.160 or a repeater to talk to them? Just in case there happens to be no cell coverage, there should be a way via VHF radio to call out for assistance, right?
I've never heard of a nationwide hikers' frequency. I do know that a lot of hikers carry the FRS bubble pack radios to talk to each other. Others more knowledgeable about hiking may know more.

Very few people monitor MURS. Because of its 2 watt power restriction, it won't be much good in the back country for reaching out to a 24/7 monitor for help.

You can only use 155.160 (or other SAR frequencies) with permission of a licensee if they will grant it. If they do, get it and any conditions of use in writing for everyone's protection and peace of mind. Even then, you won't be assured of monitoring because SAR generally uses their radio systems only when on training or an actual mission.

Yeah, you're not wrong that there ought to be a way to reach help without cell coverage, but there's no way it could be universal because of so many different organizations and so many different uses of the various frequencies. If you regularly hike in the same area, you might get lucky and find an agency that monitors 24/7 that will grant you permission. Possible but doubtful.
__________________
Rochester-Monroe County 911 7010 1976 to 2003
Northampton Ambulance - Car 2829
KD2IAT --- WQPG808
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 8:50 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Shawnee Kansas (Kansas City)
Posts: 1,120
Default

That might work if it were a "life or death" type of emergency and you had a radio capable of transmitting on the SAR frequencies. However the SAR probably only use that frequency(s) during a call out emergency. They may not be monitoring those frequencies at all times. They would be notified by the local Public Safety Answering point that they are needed for an emergency. Public Safety agencies are not too keen on the general public getting on their frequencies and calling for help, even when it is a matter of "life or death".

BB
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 8:51 AM
mancow's Avatar
Member
  RadioReference Database Admininstrator
Database Admin
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: N.E. Kansas
Posts: 5,852
Default

I think I would carry an air band transceiver capable of 121.5. If things got to the life and death extreme there is always someone overhead that can relay a message somewhere.
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 9:04 AM
rapidcharger's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: The land of broken calculators.
Posts: 2,243
Default

Those SAR frequencies in the public safety pool are probably only used during an active search or training exercise and they're probably using coded squelch and not listening for distress calls.

If you're wanting to carry something for distress, get a ham radio. You don't need to be licensed to make a distress mayday call. You might also look into getting a PLB.
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 9:20 AM
KevinC's Avatar
Moderator---not censor
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Unincorporated Ft. Bend County
Posts: 2,921
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
Those SAR frequencies in the public safety pool are probably only used during an active search or training exercise and they're probably using coded squelch and not listening for distress calls.

If you're wanting to carry something for distress, get a ham radio. You don't need to be licensed to make a distress mayday call. You might also look into getting a PLB.
I second the PLB, something like...

XS-4 PLB
__________________
Someone told me signatures are silly, so I got rid of mine.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 9:22 AM
2wayfreq's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 348
Default

Well,
I'll ask the local SAR if I can come up on it in an EMG. For now, guess I'll just monitor SAR and Forest Service as I hike for any local issues or SAR ops. Perhaps the MURS "Prepper" Freq 151.820 CSQ could also be a good common Hiker/Trail calling channel.
__________________
Troubleshooting Golden Rule #1: Check your connections.
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 9:58 AM
Completely Banned for the Greater Good
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 7,568
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wayfreq View Post
Well,
I'll ask the local SAR if I can come up on it in an EMG. For now, guess I'll just monitor SAR and Forest Service as I hike for any local issues or SAR ops. Perhaps the MURS "Prepper" Freq 151.820 CSQ could also be a good common Hiker/Trail calling channel.
I agree with the others above, a PLB would be the best option to avoid legal issues with using 155.160

When I go mountain biking, I carry a commercial radio with ham & gmrs & murs freqs preset, and cell as well for example.

73,
n9zas
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:12 AM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SNCZCA01DS0
Posts: 7,158
Default

Other than the PLB, an option would be to get your ham ticket. There are not many places you can go in the US and not be able to hit a 2 meter repeater.
Also, check into the LITZ protocol. Not sure how widely used it is, but it's a place to start.

I've got 155.160 in a number of my VHF radios and never heard a peep on it. As a simplex frequency, range is going to be limited, especially if you are in the back country. I wouldn't rely on it.
Sponsored links
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:13 AM
rapidcharger's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: The land of broken calculators.
Posts: 2,243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wayfreq View Post
Well,
I'll ask the local SAR if I can come up on it in an EMG. For now, guess I'll just monitor SAR and Forest Service as I hike for any local issues or SAR ops. Perhaps the MURS "Prepper" Freq 151.820 CSQ could also be a good common Hiker/Trail calling channel.

There is no such thing as a "Prepper" freq. Are you asking for interesting things to monitor or are you looking for a place to make a distress call? If you're needing to call mayday in a life or death situation, such as if you are wedged in between two giant boulders and are faced with the choice of amputating a limb to get out or dying there, you do that anywhere you can but I wouldn't count on anyone listening on MURS or some public safety frequency that isn't even part of a repeater. That's the nice thing about having a frequency agile radio that's unlocked like one of the Baofeng/Wouxun/TYT, etc. In a life or death situation, you can scan around til you hear something and then try to get their attention.

I do a lot of hiking but I don't go anywhere too remote as I always drive to the trail head. I use the ham radio in my vehicle to cross band repeat onto a ham calling frequency or local repeater, then I head out on the trail with a portable that I can use to get into the crossband repeater and use the higher power and better antenna in case I need help. I have been in situations where there was no radio reception of any kind, not cell phone, not 2 meters, nothing... mountains'll do that... the setup I just described was of no use.

Last edited by rapidcharger; 01-07-2013 at 10:20 AM..
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:23 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 508
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
Those SAR frequencies in the public safety pool are probably only used during an active search or training exercise and they're probably using coded squelch and not listening for distress calls.

If you're wanting to carry something for distress, get a ham radio. You don't need to be licensed to make a distress mayday call. You might also look into getting a PLB.
Now you will have everybody buying a ham radio and misunderstanding your quote thinking they will be able to use ham unlicensed...geez
__________________
Licensed GMRS user
Licensed Amateur operator
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:25 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: In the 'patch
Posts: 4,314
Default

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9780; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.8+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0.0.600 Mobile Safari/534.8+)

I would agree with a PLB or SPOT. I use SPOT as part of my companies safety program and will say that the device works, and very well. Average time to get a message out is about 5 minutes, even with the device sitting on my dash, plus it has a GPS reciever. Even if it gives a position with an EPE of 100-200m it is close enough for SAR to start a search for you. I would also recomend an airband radio capable of 121.5MHz as a back up to a PLB or SPOT plus it wmeans you have a chance to talk to aircraft supporting ground SAR. Anything else is going to be hit or miss, and with out repeater coverage where ever one is hiking is going to make Ham/Commercial portables hit or miss for getting help unless one is on top of a peak.
__________________
Interoperatablity is not a technology, it is an attitude!!!

Last edited by kayn1n32008; 01-07-2013 at 10:29 AM..
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:29 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 508
Default

I think the best thing would be getting your Ham license and buy a dual band mobile with cross band repeat,park in a location where you will be able to access a near by repeater and notify people where you will be and not chance buying aviation or amateur equipment and use unlicensed.
__________________
Licensed GMRS user
Licensed Amateur operator
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:38 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: In the 'patch
Posts: 4,314
Default

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9780; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.8+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0.0.600 Mobile Safari/534.8+)

Quote:
Originally Posted by spd640
I think the best thing would be getting your Ham license and buy a dual band mobile with cross band repeat,park in a location where you will be able to access a near by repeater and notify people where you will be and not chance buying aviation or amateur equipment and use unlicensed.
As someone that spends time working in VERY remote areas with limited APRS coverage and ZERO ham repeater coverage and even less cellular coverage. SPOT(or a PLB), a GPS reciever and an Airband radio are going to be MUCH more useful in an emergency getting help than any other form of communication short of an Irridium/Globalstar Sat phone. (With appropriate LE phone numbers because 911 does not work on sat phones)
__________________
Interoperatablity is not a technology, it is an attitude!!!
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 12:00 PM
rapidcharger's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: The land of broken calculators.
Posts: 2,243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by spd640 View Post
Now you will have everybody buying a ham radio and misunderstanding your quote thinking they will be able to use ham unlicensed...geez
But you can... for distress calls.
Which makes a ham radio a handy thing to have whether you are licensed or not.
Sponsored links
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 12:14 PM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SNCZCA01DS0
Posts: 7,158
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
That's the nice thing about having a frequency agile radio that's unlocked like one of the Baofeng/Wouxun/TYT, etc. In a life or death situation, you can scan around til you hear something and then try to get their attention.
Good point, but keep in mind that on the VHF band, there is no standard repeater offset on the Part 90 side, so if you wanted to get into a public safety repeater, you'd have to figure out the input frequency as well as the PL or DPL tone. Relying on using the repeater output frequency and getting the right PL or DPL tone to open the RX side of the other radios, plus having someone in range is a real crap shoot.

Your best bet is going to be PLB, Air Band radio or an Amateur radio. If you are really concerned about being able to contact someone in an emergency, you will need one of those, and on the amateur side, I'd suggest HF radio. A Yaseu 817 with a wire antenna is probably your best bet, unless you want to lug around a bunch of batteries.
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 7:42 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 138
Default

VHF Radio Use in Oregon - Fact vs. Myth
Accident victims saved by use of a VHF radio

Radio Use in Oregon - Fact vs. Myth
On June 20, 2000 two OMA members were caught in rockfall on the Sandy Glacier Headwall on Mt Hood. They had a VHF with various frequencies programmed into it, including the state SAR frequency. After the fact there was public criticism of their use of such a VHF radio. While it is unusual for somebody to carry one it is very ironic to be critical of those who do. The criticism turns out to be inappropriate, and the true reason for it remains unclear. This entire incident was shrouded in mis-information which was deliberately fed to the press by government officials who would not consent to their names being on record. While most of the mis-information given to the press was part of a concerted effort by the US Forest Service and was politically motivated the radio criticism came from the Clackamas County Sheriffs office. However, the deputy in charge of this rescue works on a contract between the sheriffs office and the Forest Service. It remains unclear whether the Sheriffs office didn't know who the licensee was or whether there was an ulterior motive. (Neither reflects very well on the agency.)

The licensee of the state SAR frequency is the Oregon Department of Emergency Management and they have clarified that such emergency use is entirely appropriate. Carrying a VHF radio would also appear to be fully in accordance with HB 3434. This was enacted (in knee-jerk reaction style) in 1996 or 1997 and attempts to mandate that climbers carry "mountain locator units, cellular phones or other technological devices". A VHF radio has many compelling advantages over both a cell phone and a locator unit. So on one hand we have legislators attempting to mandate the use of communications technology for safety purposes and on the other hand we have the US Forest Service and the Clackamas County Sheriff criticizing a party which does so.

To carry a VHF radio, and to listen to one, is entirely legal. This is the frequency band that common scanners cover. To transmit on a frequency requires that you license that frequency or have the permission of the licensee. We have confirmed with the licensee that permission in an accident such as that of June 2000 is implicit. The Oregon Department of Emergency Management licenses the SAR frequency for emergency use. It turns out that they were also confused by the criticism in the press, and they have stated that the use of the frequency by the climbers involved was entirely appropriate.

When the SAR operation began the climbers were contacted by the sheriffs deputy on the VHF radio. And by the ground crew on standby. And the 939th rescue crew as they approached. Conversations were initiated by these organization and the climbers replied. At no point were they instructed that they should not transmit anything due to a lack of permission from the licensee. The sheriffs deputy did not hesitate to transmit questions requiring a reply.

A rescue where the stranded party has a radio should be much better for the rescue groups responding. They can get direct information on the location, condition, and other factors. In most rescues they are left guessing until they arrive on the scene.

While climbing parties with such a radio are not common they sometimes exist. These climbers owned one and therefore carried it for emergency use. The University of Oregon equipment "library" includes radios as well as cell phones and avalanche beacons. Members of rescue units have been known to carry such a radio when climbing recreationally.

We sincerely hope that the Oregon press will not mis-report the facts on radio use in the future. This is a great dis-service as it may discourage some people from carrying or using radios and may reflect poorly on people who actually demonstrate foresight and preparation

Oregon Mountaineering Association
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 9:31 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Peoria, AZ.
Posts: 2,940
Default

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; U; en-US) Gecko/20081217 Vision-Browser/8.1 301x200 LG VN530)

Ham radio also has the "Wilderness Protocol". All stations should monitor 146.520 (and 52.525, 223.5, 446.0, 1294.5) every 3 hours starting at 7am, for 5 minutes.
See QST, Feb 94 page 100, Apr 94 page 109, May 94 pages 103-104.
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 9:34 PM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Peoria, AZ.
Posts: 2,940
Default

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; U; en-US) Gecko/20081217 Vision-Browser/8.1 301x200 LG VN530)

The above is an excerpt out of the ARRL 2010-2011 Repeater Directory, page 22. There's more info available.
It wouldn't be that difficult to include MURS ch 1 and/or FRS ch 1 to your monitoring. It's not official or anything, just a good idea.
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 01-07-2013, 10:22 PM
mmckenna's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SNCZCA01DS0
Posts: 7,158
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gman4661 View Post
VHF Radio Use in Oregon - Fact vs. Myth
Accident victims saved by use of a VHF radio

Radio Use in Oregon - Fact vs. Myth
...
Oregon Mountaineering Association
While this is all well and good, there are a couple of issues that are not addressed here, and leave gaping holes in the reality of how this would work.

Unless there are facilities in place to monitor 155.160 in all locations, recommending or even implying that it could be used as a valid means of contacting help in an emergency is negligent. While it did work in this specific situation, I would strongly suggest this was pure dumb luck rather than any indications of a properly designed radio system.

155.160 is not the only frequency used by SAR. Most may, but some are using UHF frequencies, some others use different frequencies. I know in my area, none of the local agencies monitor 155.160.

Addressing PL tones isn't mentioned. While it may be implied that open squelch is used, do ALL SAR agencies use carrier squelch?

Federal laws trump State laws, and while the State of Oregon might say it's OK for anyone to use that frequency, the FCC rules are pretty clear about needing written authorization from the license holder. Blanket statements are not allowed.

Prudence would say that you not rely on any one means of contacting help in an emergency. Carrying only a cell phone in the back country would be foolish. Relying on a 5 watt simplex VHF radio would be foolish. Relying on an FRS radio, GMRS or ham radio only would be just as foolish. Any of these radios should be combined with other means. About the most reliable would be a PLB. The cost of a PLB is equal to a basic VHF radio, and doesn't require special programming or reliance on pure chance in making contact. Satellite phones are more expensive, but again, more likely that someone in distress would actually be able to contact someone for help.

It concerns me when a newspaper article like this makes a completely incorrect statement and not include any of the caveats that are necessary to connect all the dots, far too many people take it as gospel truth without thinking of the consequences. While many would like the idea of having a single VHF radio for all their needs, it just isn't going to work out that way. There is a lot more that goes into making it all work correctly than turning it on and pushing the PTT button.

While carrying a VHF radio with 155.160 in it might be a good option, it should never be the only option.
Closed Thread

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2015 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions