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Repeater freqs in Death Valley?


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#1 Geologist

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 04:54 AM

Hey yawl,

 

Maiden DV trip next week in our new Hawk.  Wondering if anyone can recommend 2m or 70cm repeater frequencies accessible in the northern part of DV?  Our general route will be in through Big Pine, to Eureka Dunes, to Ubehebe Crater, to Racetrack, to Stovepipe Wells, to Marble Canyon, and exit via Panamint Springs.  May or may not hit all those stops, depending on how the fly fishing is on the Lower Owens (rumor is, it's hot right now).

 

Googling suggests some luck hitting the Silver Peak (146.94-, 103.5) and Mazourka Peak (146.76-, 103.5) repeaters from the north part of the park.  Anything else?

 

Any suggestion for best freq(s) to monitor simplex in DV?  146.52?  

 

I don't have a mobile installed on my truck yet, so limited to the handheld Yaesu FT-60R, which is dual band, but only 5 watts.

 

Thanks, John

 

 


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#2 craig333

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 05:20 AM

I was able to hit mazourka from Saline Valley but for the most part DV is a dead zone for vhf ham radio. I could hit a 70cm repeater near ridgecrest but never got a response from Panamint Valley. Thats with my mobile rig in the truck and the Jeep. 


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#3 PaulT

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:44 AM

I had a similar experience when we went there in 2015. That was the reason I bought an Inreach Explorer satellite communicator. It meets my needs for emergency comms although text only. Besides calling for emergency response, you can send to email addresses or text messages to cell phones and also get weather updates as needed.  
 

I kept my Kenwood 710 on 146.52 plus beaconing APRS  with Voice Alert for other hams passing within simplex range. HF would would be another option. I didn’t have a mobile HF antenna mounted at the time.

Even without a mobile rig, be sure to use a mag mount antenna as it will greatly improve your range over the rubber duckie that comes with the handheld. 

 

Paul 


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#4 GreggLT

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 04:43 AM

Howdy! Heard how good the explorer satellite communicator before. Are any newer devices available nowadays for this service?


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#5 PaulT

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 06:50 AM

Garmin now owns the InReach product line. A good overview is available here:

https://discover.gar...reach/personal/

In addition to the device purchase, there is a ongoing subscription that pays for the SOS infrastructure &  services.

As the service uses satellites for communication, there is no need to be near cell towers for it to work.

Most of the devices work well standalone but the user interface and mapping is better with a cellphone or tablet connected via Bluetooth for typing & reading messages.

 

Paul


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#6 bnf3

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Posted 27 November 2020 - 08:21 PM

I was in DV last week.  A little too crowded at Stovepipe and Valley floor.  Few people at the Wildrose campsite, which I always like, and ended up going out through Wildrose and taking turnoff to Panamint Springs.

i had a Hawk on my Tundra for many years and ended up selling that and buying a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4.  I guess age just caught up with me, climbing in and out, but I sure loved the Tundra/Hawk and it got me through a lot of crazy weather.


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#7 eyemgh

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Posted 29 November 2020 - 12:36 AM

We were in DV for a night last week (in Panamint out 178). It was crowded in the paved areas, but we were well away from it all 8 miles off pavement and up a little high clearance trail. I can vouch that the InReach works out there. We just got one and sent a test message to make sure I knew how to use it and could reach the people we needed to reach. We bought a Mini and use it for unanticipated things like mechanicals or delays where we are not in immediate danger, but need help. We won't rely on it for serious emergencies though. The system runs on LEO satellites and the SOS function has been known to fail. We carry a PLB that has a single function...call in the calvary. There's no subscription. They run on high earth orbit satellites, and work very reliably anywhere in the world. I hope to never have to use it. 


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#8 smlobx

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Posted 30 November 2020 - 10:45 PM

I believe that the InReach is probably the most reliable communication device available on the market today. We have used it in Africa, Central America, Europe and Alaska without a hitch. 


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#9 eyemgh

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 12:57 AM

I believe that the InReach is probably the most reliable communication device available on the market today. We have used it in Africa, Central America, Europe and Alaska without a hitch. 

 

I would agree, the key here being "communication." They only thing better would be an Iridium phone, because the communication would be verbal, instantaneous and not text based. 

 

PLBs run on the COSPAS-SARSAT system which is the most reliable SOS system there is. It's the system used by ships and aircraft all around the world. The handheld units broadcast with more power than an inReach and they never need charging. If you need a "send SNR, because my life is in danger" device, nothing beats a PLB. That's all they do though. They communication one message, unidirectionally, and that's it. It's what we carry backcountry skiing. In the truck we carry both the inReach Mini and a PLB. I used the mini on the last trip. I hope to never have to use the PLB. 


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#10 rando

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 02:29 AM

I would agree, the key here being "communication." They only thing better would be an Iridium phone, because the communication would be verbal, instantaneous and not text based. 

 

PLBs run on the COSPAS-SARSAT system which is the most reliable SOS system there is. It's the system used by ships and aircraft all around the world. The handheld units broadcast with more power than an inReach and they never need charging. If you need a "send SNR, because my life is in danger" device, nothing beats a PLB. That's all they do though. They communication one message, unidirectionally, and that's it. It's what we carry backcountry skiing. In the truck we carry both the inReach Mini and a PLB. I used the mini on the last trip. I hope to never have to use the PLB. 

 

 

I would have to disagree with this a bit.  The iridium network is very reliable and there is inherent value in a SAR situation to two way communications.   The GEOS operators can first let you know your mayday message has been received, then ascertain the nature of your emergency, then can coordinate with you for your rescue or other assistance.  It can be critical to know that the rescuers are inbound an will be there within the hour and you should stay put until help arrives, or that the rescue the will be 8 hours out, and you should move the victim back to the hut as there is a real chance of hypothermia.  

 

The iridium transmitter may be lower power (I don't actually know) but the iridium constellation is much lower than the GPS satellites that host most of COSPAS receivers, and is specifically designed for communications, unlike the COSPAS receivers which are hosted payloads with smaller antennas. We know our inReach is reliable and exactly how to use it, because we use it all the time - it is in tracking mode when ever we are out on an adventure.  Professionally, I use Iridium phones and trackers in Antarctica, and have never been issued or carried a PLB when doing Antarctic or Arctic field work. 

 

Given the choice, I would definitely choose inReach (or another Iridium based tracker) over a PLB. 


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