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Wyoming SAR and FRS radios


KPDoucette
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The Wyoming Sheriffs and search and rescue organizations have initiated a program they call "My 307", Based on Wyoming's state wide telephone area code 307. 

 

Under this program back country and wilderness users are urged to switch their FRS radios to channel 3 with PL tone 07 if they become lost or have an emergency.  While the sheriffs do not routinely guard this channel, in the event that search and rescue is looking for someone the use of the low power FRS channels will allow search crews in the air and on the ground to establish direct two-way communications which they feel will speed the search effort. 
 

https://hls.wyo.gov/programs/search-and-rescue

 

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2 hours ago, KPDoucette said:

The Wyoming Sheriffs and search and rescue organizations have initiated a program they call "My 307", Based on Wyoming's state wide telephone area code 307. 

 

Under this program back country and wilderness users are urged to switch their FRS radios to channel 3 with PL tone 07 if they become lost or have an emergency.  While the sheriffs do not routinely guard this channel, in the event that search and rescue is looking for someone the use of the low power FRS channels will allow search crews in the air and on the ground to establish direct two-way communications which they feel will speed the search effort. 
 

https://hls.wyo.gov/programs/search-and-rescue

 

There are similar types of plans. Trouble is there are too many of them.

https://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/3-3-3-radio-plan-for-shtf-communications/

https://ovatvc.org/2022/03/the-wilderness-protocol/

https://tcares.net/the-wilderness-protocol/

 

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47 minutes ago, Lscott said:

The problem with standards or protocols is that everyone wants one of their own.

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Who said anything about NY ? Thought he mentioned Wyoming. 

But being you brought up NY, many SAR folks carry Garmin Inreach for emergency contacts. Very few if any will monitor GMRS/FRS unless it is known the subject has one. Most only carry a VHF radio as thats what SAR uses. 

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SAR in NY is on licensed public safety frequencies. Very little ham use in SAR in NY other than chit chat. With all the other training folks do very few go after ham. And to be honest its normally not worth it. The SAR Repeater system is as good as public safety in some areas. Most of the command posts have marine in a bank but its not common at all.

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2 hours ago, gortex2 said:

Who said anything about NY ? Thought he mentioned Wyoming. 

But being you brought up NY, many SAR folks carry Garmin Inreach for emergency contacts. Very few if any will monitor GMRS/FRS unless it is known the subject has one. Most only carry a VHF radio as thats what SAR uses. 

It was a joke.

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1 hour ago, JLeikhim said:

Same as channel 3 for many cheap radios. These are FRS radio guidelines.

Pre-2017 reorganization.

Current FRS regulations are

Quote

§ 95.567 FRS transmit power.

Each FRS transmitter type must be designed such that the effective radiated power (ERP) on channels 8 through 14 does not exceed 0.5 Watts and the ERP on channels 1 through 7 and 15 through 22 does not exceed 2.0 Watts.

Which is what the pre-2017 combined FRS/GMRS units tended to fit (naturally, my oldest bubble pack units came out on the GMRS side of the regulations after 2017 -- one set has three power levels with H approaching 5W; other set has repeater access capability, though only around 2W out).

True FRS unit are restricted to NFM on all channels, NFM would be optional on true GMRS (except as noted below)

GMRS now has access to "8-14" with the 0.5W NFM restriction, 5W on "1-7", and 50W on 15-22 (and repeater pairs).

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4 hours ago, JLeikhim said:

Same as channel 3 for many cheap radios. These are FRS radio guidelines.

I just picked up two of these for less than $30 from Amazon (and apparently even cheaper on eBay):

Pofung BF-T11

TWO WATTS on Channel 3!

And programmable with my Baofeng UV-5R cable, too!

Screen Shot 2022-09-21 at 12.43.26 PM.png

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18 minutes ago, Over2U said:

 

Marcspaz wrote: “I would recommend portable HF radios first, and satellite communications second.”

I would reverse the order on that: For emergency use, a Satellite Communicator (or PLB) s more reliable (also easier to operate and smaller to carry) than an HF radio+antenna.

Don’t satellite communications depend  on earth side infrastructure which might be at risk in a large scale emergency?

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5 minutes ago, Sshannon said:

Don’t satellite communications depend  on earth side infrastructure which might be at risk in a large scale emergency?

I would imagine something of pretty big nature would have to occur for SAR Sat to not get an activation. Garmin has its own dispatch center that will reply to any SOS from an InReach. Additionally many of us have multiple contacts setup for a trigger to an SOS (SAR Chiefs and Officers, Spouse, other important folks) that is in addition to Garmin/SAR Sat folks handling the emergency.  The actual devise communicates directly to the satellites in range. The Mission Control centers are in 6 different locations around the world. 

For actual use I can say in a normal incident area (hurricane response) I have sent a message via my InReach and the other party got that message within 5 minutes. This was a message only and not an actual SOS Emergency trigger. In everyday use I have seen messages populate on my cell (text and email) within 5 minutes in testing and training missions. For those that are in the rough country and routinely don't have cell signal the units are very reasonable for safety plans. I have one in each vehicle all the time now. Lots of the US that has little to no cell still. 

Garmin has a video on this that we show to new users - 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Over2U said:

 

Marcspaz wrote: “I would recommend portable HF radios first, and satellite communications second.”

I would reverse the order on that: For emergency use, a Satellite Communicator (or PLB) s more reliable (also easier to operate and smaller to carry) than an HF radio+antenna.

 

Have to disagree.  We have had massive satellite communications outages (especially GPS related) due to recent CME's sending some nasty space weather our way.  One network I am aware of lost 40 of it's 48 satellites in the past month, seriously debilitating the network.  I read an article today that there was a massive satellite blackout to systems servicing most of the African continent due to a CME event.

 

In fact Viasat has so many interruptions to service that they have a website dedicated to showing the services current status.  Even the new Starlink system has been having outages due to space weather this year.

 

Also, earth surface SatComms is contingent on clear view of an in-network satellite.  Garmin has posted on their website that you need a clear view of the entire sky with little or no tree cover, and very heavy, solid tree cover in all directions may prevent successful communications. 

 

HF radio is not impacted by things like foliage or partial sky visibility.  HF radio is impacted by space weather, but it's only diminished.  There is never a blackout of communications using HF.

 

So, in my opinion, if you can... have both.  if not, at least have an HF radio.  Just because satellite is easier and has more portable bells and whistles, that don't mean it's 100% up-time. 

 

 

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I am not aware of any disruptions severe enough to prevent GPS usage in the U.S. As for communications, Garmin has not posted any outages affecting their world-wide inReach Satellite SOS capability for at least the last year.

Going back to the start of this thread, we are talking about snowmobilers and hikers in Wyoming trying to use their extremely short range and license-free FRS radios in that state’s “Be 307 Aware” emergency communications scheme. To summon emergency help when outdoors and out of cellphone range, a satellite communicator or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) would be my recommendation for most people.

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15 hours ago, Over2U said:

I am not aware of any disruptions severe enough to prevent GPS usage in the U.S. As for communications, Garmin has not posted any outages affecting their world-wide inReach Satellite SOS capability for at least the last year.

 

I have no idea what network Garmin uses, so I can't really speak to that.  However, my entire radio and IT career has been as successful as it has been because emergency services and government agencies found out the hard way that the hardline internet backbone and satellite communications not only don't have 100% up-time, but also happen to fail at the least convenient times.

 

Also, if you watch the NOAA, NASA and other private space weather agencies, you will here about the outages as well as the predictions for potential outages.  Most reports are released for public consumption weekly.  Once in a while, something big happens and it makes regular news, like with all the StarLink satellites being damaged a couple of days/weeks ago, due to a massive storm caused by a CME.

 

15 hours ago, Over2U said:

Going back to the start of this thread, we are talking about snowmobilers and hikers in Wyoming trying to use their extremely short range and license-free FRS radios in that state’s “Be 307 Aware” emergency communications scheme. To summon emergency help when outdoors and out of cellphone range, a satellite communicator or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) would be my recommendation for most people.

 

I think, maybe I am presenting my opinion in a confrontational way.  If I have been, I apologize. 

 

That is actually a great idea.  These are among the best options.  I only have the opinion that HF radio is better because the radios are cheaper to buy, are not subject to service blackouts and don't require a paid subscription that expires in order to get help.

 

That said, most people don't want to carry the small lifpo4 battery and a radio if they are on foot and every pound counts.  If they wont carry a radio, the ease of something like InReach or PLB is light years ahead of other options and most definitely a great idea.

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