Manager - AB7RG
Manager Notes

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

Created by on 2009-01-20

"Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is K4GUN. I've just fallen out of a tree stand while hunting. I'm injured and I need help."

That is what was heard on the Fauquier Amateur Radio Association repeater in Warrenton VA at 6:15 AM on 5 November of 2008. If you think hearing that on a local repeater was a shock, imagine what it was like to utter those words.

That morning started out as many do for me in the early part of November. I was hunting by myself on a 750 acre farm, about an hour from my home. At dawn, I was climbing up into a tree in which I had hung a stand. I had built a ladder on to the side of the tree by nailing 16" long pieces of 2x4 lumber on to the trunk, using 4" long 16D nails. As I climbed up the tree, one of these came loose and fell to the ground. I was still able to climb to the stand, but you'll see why I mention this in a moment.

Once I reached the level of the stand, I carefully checked it by putting one foot on the stand. I had a safety strap in my pocket and I always put it on before I sit down. As I stepped on to the stand, I thought I had a good hold on the tree when the stand fell away beneath me. I lost my grip and fell 20' backwards to the ground.

Remember that 2x4 with the 4 rusty nails sticking out of it? Well, I found it. It was impaled on my back with all 4 nails sticking into my back. They were roughly at the level of my shoulder blade, with one about 1/4" from my spine. The wind was knocked out of me and my entire body hurt. One nail seemed to be touching a rib. It was in this condition that I placed my "Mayday!" call.

W4NHJ took the lead in coordinating the rescue. He calmly asked about my condition and location. He got on the phone with the Rappahannock County Fire and Rescue department. He frequently came back on the air to ask me more questions about who's property I was on and where on it I was located.

The rest of the club kept the repeater clear. Only at the end did a couple of repeater regulars stumble on to what was happening. They quickly figured out there was a rescue in progress kept the frequency quiet for emergency traffic. Only myself and W4NHJ were on the air. As emergency crews approached, I was on the HT, telling them which pond to pass and which pasture to cut through to find me. In all, it took less than 30 minutes for them to find me.

There were two things that prompted me to get into amateur radio. One was to have reliable communications in the event of a disaster that made conventional communications impossible. Watching what happened on 9/11 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina impressed that upon me. The other reason is because I like to hunt alone on this farm and there is no cell phone coverage. I wanted to be able to summon help if I ever became injured or needed other assistance. Since getting licensed, I've become involved in many other aspects of the hobby, but the core reasons still exist.

When buying my first radio, Steve W4SHG at Ham Radio Outlet listened to my needs and suggested my first radio should be two radios. One was an HT and the other was a mobile unit capable of both "cross band repeat" and "Locked band repeat". We'll get into the technical aspects of this shortly. He felt this was a measure of safety because the area where I hunt is not very close to any of the active repeaters in the Virginia Piedmont. I've since learned that I can hear three of them but can't reach any of them from the HT from all spots on the property.

The radios I purchased were the Yeasu VX6R and the Kenwood TM708A. The Kenwood is set up in my truck and is run by an auxiliary battery and feeds a Diamond 7900 antenna mounted in a stake pocket mount by Geotool.

Cross-band versus Locked-band repeat:

The Kenwood gives the user two different options in using the mobile rig as a repeater. The first is cross-band repeat (CBR). CBR gives the user the ability to transmit on a simplex frequency in the 70cm band and that signal is retransmitted on a 2 meter frequency. Because the Kenwood has dual TX and RX features, the user can program in a local repeater with the correct input/output offset. All signals from the club repeater that hit the Kenwood are instantly retransmitted on the designated 70 cm frequency.

Locked-band repeat (LBR) is similar, but it does not retransmit the incoming signals from the external source. That makes it more complicated to use. When programming your HT, you must create an odd-offset into a memory setting. Set it to transmit on the 70cm frequency to get the signal to your vehicle but listen directly to the repeater output that you're trying to reach.

So which is better? Well, CBR is easier to set up on the main unit and the HT. It is also a lot clearer on the RX side from the HT. CBR takes full advantage of the superior antenna system of the base vehicle. There is a problem though. CBR is illegal unless you modify your radio. The 70cm link back to your HT is never properly identified unless you set up an automatic ID system. I haven't yet found an easy way to do this. No amount of twisting the words of the rules will change this reality so unfortunately, if you chose to use CBR without devising some form of IDing device on the transmissions from your truck to your HT, you're in violation of FCC regulations.

So what have we learned?

Since this isn't an article about hunting, I'll spare you the comments about tree stand safety and which ones I violated. I will talk about being prepared. Emergencies can happen at any time. They can happen while you're hunting, hiking, fishing, biking or even just driving to the grocery store. Do you have the tools on hand to deal with that? If you live in an urban area, your cell phone may still be the most reliable method of getting help. If your travels take you off the beaten path, that may not be the case. Don't just look in the repeater guide. Get on the local repeaters and figure out which ones are active and which ones are essentially dead. If you're out of cell phone range, have a plan and be ready to execute it.

One big lesson to learn is to actually have your equipment on you. My HT was in my pocket and I was talking on it within 30 seconds of hitting the ground. I knew where it was and I knew the battery was fully charged. I knew my Locked-band repeat arrangement would work because I had practiced with it several times. I knew somebody would be listening to that repeater because I had used it before and knew some of the members. A breakdown at any of these points would have found me sitting at the base of that tree, in a considerable amount of pain for hours until I mustered up the strength and guts to stand up and walk. Had the nails been just an inch to the right, that might not have even been an option and I would have sat for hours until I was missed and a search party was sent.

So how did it end?

When the rescue squad found me, they attempted to remove the board from my back. They asked how my pain tolerance was and started trying to pull and pry the nails out. It didn't work. They gave up and loaded me on my side on to a backboard for transport back to the Faquier Country Hospital ER. The doctors finally got the board out and took x-rays. I broke no bones and was released in about 5 hours. All I have are bruises, scrapes a lump on the back of my head, a very sore shoulder and 4 puncture marks in my back. In all, I got off very lucky.

I have a new appreciation for amateur radio. We all hear the stories of how an operator helped a guy here or there. I live in the DC metro area and a lot of the local clubs lent a hand during 9/11 and others help in big weather emergencies. Sometimes though, its much more personal. This time, it was my emergency and the radio community came through better than I could have expected. I hope my experience reminds more people about the value of preparedness and the greatness of the people with whom we share this hobby.

KB3PDA 2009-02-07
RE: Crossband Repeat
>>>I have a PDF of an article I wrote on crossband repeat available on my web site:
Gary KN4AQ <<<<

Thanks for that. I am reading it and have saved it for reference. -Doug

N5KQQ 2009-02-03
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Man, that's great that you made it okay. I hate to hear stuff like that. But, the greatness of ham radio and ham operators strike again. It never ends.

Okay, look, I have to ask you. Just between you and me. Besides mayday, mayday, mayday. What other three words did you say? I want tell. Just pulling on your coax.

Happy you are okay. 73's de N5KQQ
KB2FCV 2009-02-02
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Great story and glad to hear that you're ok! You're lucky to still be here to tell the story. It's always nice to hear when amateur radio plays an important role in saving a life.

Now that you have your radios all set to go for an emergency it's time to focus on how to prevent them!!
SWL377 2009-02-02
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Thanks for posting this detailed and harrowing account of your ordeal. I'll bet someone reading it will take note and carry an HT (and perhaps APRS gear too) on their next solo outdoor adventure when they might not otherwise have done so. You certainly were prepared for the worst, sorry that you had to experience it so dramatically. You came sooooo close to major spinal damage. Glad you came out OK and took the trouble to put togther a very useful post.
AD5NM 2009-02-01
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I commend you on having the forethought to set up a mobile repeater on your solo hunting experiance. I will remind you that you nor your mobile repeater are under any regulation, other than common sence, durring a declaired emergency. So to set your equiptment up as you did shows planning in the event of, but you can use a direct repeater pair when elevated in your nest, if your lucky. However who's going to be chatting on the radio and seriously be trying to kill dinner. Glad your ok .

Dave, W8QF
KC8ARD 2009-01-29
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I'm glad you're okay. I read your story on I will carry an ht whenever i go into the woods from now on.
KG4WRM 2009-01-29
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Great story! I am glad you are OK. Thank you for sharing your experience.
N4FOZ 2009-01-27
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
What an amazing story! Makes me proud to be a Ham...
KO4MI 2009-01-23
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I'm glad you seem to be doing okay.

I'm a city guy who never learned to hunt. I'm not sure how I would do at it. If you ever want to swap hunting lessons for sailing lessons let me know.

sail fast and eat well, dave KO4MI
S/V Auspicious WDC9882
WA3SKN 2009-01-23
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
"...and yet another educational experience!"
Glad things worked out OK! You can plan everything, but it is best to be prepared.

N9FE 2009-01-23
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
There are many areas where cell phones do not work and radio is the only way. I've called in accidents, tornado's, And the worst was telling a good friend who was out doing field work his father just passed away. This is what radio does out in the sticks where cell phones don't make it...
K4GUN 2009-01-23
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
There are some really good observations that have been posted here. I'd like to comment upon some.

First is about the legality of CBR. Yes, it was an emergency and in an emergency, all modes are legal. However, because I had the radio set up to work through a repeater, true CBR would have been illegal right up until the time I needed it. Remeber that every time anybody talks on a 2 meter repeater, your CBR rig is retransmitting the signal on 70cm and that transmission is not identified as coming from your station. In order to be ready for an emergency, you have to set up CBR every time you're in the woods and each time you do, you violate the ID rules if you're listening in to a repeater.

Next is a point brought up by a number of folks. You MUST practice with this mode. You need to be aware of things like the length of time the repeater is held. You need to know how active the repeater is. You need to know if either of your frequencies are prone to interferrence where use of tones will help. You need to know if you can get by with using lower power on either the mobile or HT. You need to know how terrain will affect your comms. Get out and use the system. That way, if you ever need it, you know it will work.

As to the several comments on hunting safety, I chose not to address those in the original article. This was about the radio aspect of it. Using nails was obviously a bad idea. Not using a climbing harness was a bad idea. Not testing the strap that held the stand was a bad idea. Hunting alone is not by itself a bad idea. It does increase risk, but that's what the radio was for. It was to mitigate some of that risk. For those who asked, it was a commercial stand... the strap broke due to its age.

Finally to the folks who don't get hunting and felt the need to make rude comments, I really feel bad for you. This story could just have easily been about a mountain biking trip or a camping excursion. The lesson was not about hunting, the balance of nature, the value of wildlife management nor the ethics of how food is harvested. It was about how to be prepared and how to keep your mindset such that you are never wishing you'd prepared better for an emergency. If you missed that point, you have let your emotions get the best of you.

Thanks to all for the well wishes. I'm quite glad to have survived to read them.
N4BWV 2009-01-23
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Maybe you should give Bambi a break and stick to Radio. I'm glad you're OK.
VU3MES 2009-01-23
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
what a story, real life situation where ham radio lends a helping hand. hope u r fine and thanks for sharing this with all of us.

73s de vu3mes satyan india
KN4AQ 2009-01-23
Crossband Repeat
A bigger problem with full crossband repeat is repeater hang time. If the repeater you're using has several seconds of hang time, your crossband repeater is stuck on the air during that time, as well as the time people are talking. When two stations are talking, the repeater will likely not drop between them, and you can't break in and talk back until one of them leaves a longer pause (you become an SWL). If you can hear the repeater directly on your HT, one-way crossband repeat solves the problem.

I have a PDF of an article I wrote on crossband repeat available on my web site:

Gary KN4AQ
KL7IPV 2009-01-22
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad you are okay but remember that in an EMERGENCY all rules can go out the window. You may have to explain the situation to the FCC but an EMERGENCY takes precedence in any location. You can't use CBR normally but that was not a normal situation.
AD7WN 2009-01-22
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
What a story! Glad it turned out as well as it did.

73 and tks de John
KD0KCN 2009-01-22
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I read this story on AR15 about two months ago - good job to all!
KC2TIR 2009-01-22
RE: Deserved
Je Je, May the fleas and ticks of a thousand Deer infest your armpits and your arms be to short to scratch them.
You worry about the tree??? How about that "fruity" salad that you sink your fork into? Aren't you "stabbing" the poor defenseless salad to death? You animal! NO NO! You vegetarian flake!

Be a Man, eat a DEER, vension just might grow some hair on your girly-man chest!

N0PGH 2009-01-22
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
From a PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) member:

Good on ya for being prepared!

Carrying an HT while in the wilderness is something I've always done. Once while out hiking/geocaching, I did happen upon a lone mountain biker who had crashed and broke his ankle and was able to call for help. His cell phone had no coverage, bu I was able to hit a 2M repeater.
N0AH 2009-01-21
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad you are ok....Bambi's mother too-
PLANKEYE 2009-01-21
I loved the Article Steve, I'll tell ya that right off the bat and from the heart Brother.

If it was me, I would go back to your boy at HRO and buy him a Stripper!!

You guys that are worried, stay worried!!

You guys that live, keep living!!



N2ENE 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I'm pleased that everything turned out all right, and that ham radio played such an important part in determining the outcome.

I find the explanations concerning crossband repeating somewhat confusing. The cure for my confusion would best come from my own research or maybe an exhaustive article on it in eHam.

I'm not a hunter and have no desire to hunt, a personal distaste for killing animals. Yet I do view hunting to be a respectable rural tradition that enriches the lives of hunting families, puts food on their table and controls the population of animals that would die of starvation or disease due to the absence of predators. Just because hunting is not part of my tradition, I see no reason for mocking or denying it to those for whom it is an important part of their life.
W1RKW 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
If you're gonna fasten 2x4's to a tree and a stand as well, why not lag bolt the sucker? Nails are asking for trouble.
W1RKW 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Hate to be a downer here and sorry you didn't get any deer that day but there has to be a safer way to get into a tree stand and perch oneself in the stand and minimize a falling injury. Nailing anything into a tree and putting your body onto it is shortsighted thinking safety wise. In the end, I'm glad you're OK and had the means to get help when you needed it.
VE6TL 2009-01-21
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
The obvious lesson is to always wear a backpack with extra supplies when hunting. A spare rig and batteries might have saved the day!

K6YE 2009-01-21
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

Glad you are alive and well after your ordeal!

Hindsight is still 20/20 but I think lessons were learned by most persons:
1. Do not hunt alone.
2. Have a method of emergency communications handy.
3. Use a professional tree stand.
4. Double check everything.

For the non-meat eater:
1. Anything that lives must have input and the result is death to some other organism (be it plant or animal).
2. Food is a matter of personal choice. One can be PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), PETA (People that Eat The Animals), both, or neither.

Good luck on your future hunting missions. Have fun on the air while you are on this side of the dirt.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
K5END 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
So how do we know he isn't a photographer? Did I miss the Weatherby reference?

Steak tartare, lamb chops, soufflé or red-neck-white-tail venison; what's the difference?

He didn't eat his horse. At least give him points for that. (We don't eat horses here.)


I think this sub-thread belongs in a different forum.

N0MUD 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
KD6nig, Josh thanks for that Wilderness info, I looked it up and it had some really good information. I will try to utilize that info the next time I go hunting alone. I hunt alone because there is no one that I know of in the ham community here in Colorado Springs that likes to go hunting. I only have one relative that hunts, a non ham, but lately he has been hunting with his daughters husband, so that leaves me alone.
For those hams that have made not so nice comments that live in Europe, please just keep your comments to yourself, you have no idea what your saying. The pilgrams that came from over there to here had to hunt for food. They were foreigners but I don't remember hearing any complaints about them hunting when they landed at Plymouth Rock or some such place. So Like I said when I hunt alone I have ham radios available to me especially the HT's when I get out to try and walk.

If I get a deer and/or an elk it puts meat on the table and it doesn't costs as much to get the meat processed by a meat cutter. I am glad the ham that started all this came out with just minor pain. I do recommend buying a commercial deer stand, it's safer and if it fails then he can sue the makers. hai hai....ok I said several times now I rely on ham radio when I hunt. I have no problems hunting alone. SOOOOOOOO......hunting season starts in September so if you want to go hunting with me let me know. You'll have to have a camper tho as I don't share.

73's Mike, N0mud
KD6NIG 2009-01-21
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
There is a "wilderness protocol" mentioned in the front section of the ARRL repeater guide.

I don't know how many people follow it and monitor it, however. I'm not near wilderness so I only remember it when glancing through it before.

KE4BIW 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Thanks for a very well written article. I few observations:

Go give that guy at HRO who advised you on radios a BIG hug!

Buy yourself a self supporting stand. I'm not a hunter but here in Florida a lot of guys set those stands up and leave them up all season, then take them down and drag them home in the bed of their truck.

AF3Y 2009-01-21
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
If you had not been hiding in a tree to shoot a baited deer, you would not have busted your a$$. I am sure most of the Bambi types got a good laugh watching you.
KI5BC 2009-01-21
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Man, what a story. I'm really glad you took the initiative to have communications, just in case you needed it. I travel to the southwest Texas area alone quite often. I take water, food, blankets, and my radios as well. Even on paved roads, you never know what can happen.

As for the comments about killing animals..... I probably wouldn't eat animals either, but God made them out of meat. So I guess He's for it, just like me!!!

Take care....

K1CJS 2009-01-21
RE: Deserved
LU2DFM--I sincerely hope that you aren't out in the wilds some day and need help--no matter what you may be doing at the time. Your little rant here just shows your ignorance.
KC3L 2009-01-20
RE: Deserved
Wow glad your ok.

KC8VWM 2009-01-20
RE: Deserved
4) How about a "wilderness net" for people whom are alone in the wilderness? (or just generally, alone, or generally, in the wilderness) Might be an interesting article topic.

73 de Vince EN52ua


Good idea! I was considering my hamshack located in the back 40 behind my house in the "wilderness" would be a good place to participate in such a net. Oh, yes, I should mention I am usually out there all alone too. :)

On a side note, this was a great story and contribution. Enjoyed reading it very much.

More ! More!...

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
N6AJR 2009-01-20
RE: Deserved
Well I am embarassed to be in the company as such as the above.

Folks have been killing animals since man has existed. But that is not a reason to express joy in some humans failure to live.

May your diety bless you soul regardless of you comments.
KC0RBX 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
That is great news!! It is exactly why I bought a dual bander that would crossband. In an emergency the FCC ain't gonna come down on you. Heck, look at illegal C.B.s. They don't seem to care much about that, now, do they? So, I agree with you one hundred percent, learning both is very important. Great job to both of you and to the rescue team. Although, trying to remove the board from your back in the field, in my view, may have proven to be a big mistake. Of course, I'm not a rescue person or E.M.T., but I would think they would have wanted to leave it in so the E.R. doctors could x-ray it to be sure it would be safe to remove it. But, that is not the story. The story is that you made it through this with Amateur Radio!!!!!
KC0RBX 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
That is great news!! It is exactly why I bought a dual bander that would crossband. In an emergency the FCC ain't gonna come down on you. Heck, look at illegal C.B.s. They don't seem to care much about that, now, do they? So, I agree with you one hundred percent, learning both is very important. Great job to both of you and to the rescue team. Although, trying to remove the board from your back in the field, in my view, may have proven to be a big mistake. Of course, I'm not a rescue person or E.M.T., but I would think they would have wanted to leave it in so the E.R. doctors could x-ray it to be sure it would be safe to remove it. But, that is not the story. The story is that you made it through this with Amateur Radio!!!!!
N7BUI 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Steve thank your lucky stars that your radio wasn't one of the little micro HT's that put out a screaming .5 to 1 watt that nobody can hear.

Glad you were able to make it into the repeater and raise W4NHJ to assist in your rescue. Nice job to all concerned and very good article.
KC9GMX 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Im tired of people misreading the FCC rules and thinking that cross-band repeating is illegal.
Rules dont say that the control operator has to be at the control point (the point where the transmission is originating). This is why we can have stations under "remote control". Your cross-band repeater is a remotely controlled station, as long as it has some kind of tone control method. News flash, tone doesnt mean DTMF tone, PL tone works to, with the tone TX keys up, without it, not transmission, this satisfies this requirement.
As for IDing, All you have to do to ID the UHF side is to transmit 2 meter simplex on the same frequency as the 2 meter repeater the VHF side is listening on, then your ID goes out over the 440 side, IDing is taken care of.
Take out any of the above, then its illegal.
KW4JX 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
It's also possible for animals to get injured or killed if you go hunting.
N6AJR 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Very few hobbies can save your life, or the life of another, Ham radio is one , swimming is another, great story, well written and I'm glad it all turned out well in the end.
K0BG 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I too am happy you're okay. But, oddly enough, no one really commented about you hunting alone.

I grew up in a sporting goods store in Kansas City, which my parents owned. Perhaps one of the very first lessons I learned after those drilled into me about gun safety, was hunting safety. In that respect, it is a cardinal sin to hunt alone! Of course people do it all the time, and certainly people don't get severely injured just because they do. From a different perspective...

Lots of folks own power amplifiers, and just because they do, doesn't mean they're going to be injured working on one.

But it is cases like this one that should remind us all, that there are certain rules we should all follow whether it be related to hunting or working on an amplifier. If we don't, it is indeed possible to be maimed, of even killed.

Alan, KØBG
N0MUD 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I also am a hunter and hunt alone. I am a disabled Vet and when I set up my camper in deer camp, one thing I set up is my 2/440meter vertical. Here in colordo we have a Colorado Connection system and I keep in touch with a ham friend in Colorado Springs and he sends an email to my wife letting her know he spoke with me and I am ok. We make contact 3-4 times a day and sometimes more just to talk. I have a FT-857d in my camper and FT-8800r dual band in my truck and if I get out to walk I also carry a dual band HT with me. I do have a permit to shoot from my vehicle as long as I am totally off the county roads. Again that permit is due to my being a disabled Vet. Where I always camp I am about 8900 ft above sea level and I have two repeaters available to me one in Salida, CO and the other in Leadville, CO. both of them are a part of the Colorado Connection system. Again because I hunt alone I rely heavily on the Colorado Connection for contacts. As the saying goes with an HT in my backpack "I never leave home without it."

So if you ever go hunting alone whether your an abled bodied hunter or a disabled person always, always have an HT with you as you will never know when you might need it.

73's Mike, N0mud
VA3TR 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Thanks for posting this story. There are quite a number of lessons here, and I am very glad that things turned out well.

The big message that I am going to take away is that I need to be more diligent about keeping my 2m turned on when I am sitting at my desk.


WY2V 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
AE6RF and others:

Depending on who the "EMS people" were that responded and how far from definitive care K4GUN was when he got hurt it MAY have been proper practice to remove the nails.

Some training organizations, Wilderness Medical Associates in particular, have "wilderness protocols" that may include removal of impaled objects. Such techniques require standing orders be signed by the medical director (MD) under which the responder organization operates. Lacking this order, the responder could not undertake the protocol.

WMA's wilderness protocols would apply to a certified responder certified by WMA when transportation time to the nearest hospital exceeds 2 hours. For impaled objects the protocol directs the responder to "Remove all impaled objects unless doing so would cause further harm. Exceptions include impaled objects in the globe of the eye or when removal would result in severe pain or bleeding. Remove objects that interfere
with safe transport or will cause more damage if left in place. After removal, treat as an open wound (see

I'm not speculation whether the responders were acting properly or not in this situation, merely that some responding organizations may have access to treatment/stabilization protocols that a typical "urban" EMS responder may not.

Bottom line is HAM radio was a great asset in K4GUN being able to get help in an emergency when he needed it.
K4GUN 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I think the EMS guys were trying to figure out how best to get me out. I was at the base of a tree, with a 10' deep ravine and small stream between me and the vehicles. It was fairly steep and there were briars and undergrowth to contend with. I think he was worried that putting me on my side would further complicate getting me out and may destabilize the backboard as they handed me from person to person over the ravine. It was very difficult to get me strapped down securely from my position in the woods.

Thanksfully, there was no damage done. He didn't complicate an injury and they managed to keep me on the board. It was a risky thing to do.
WB1AAT 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Awesome story that illustrates the importance of having communications. In the days before cell phones and coverage were so plentiful, 80s, and even 70s, I always had a rig in the car, even if tucked into a bag under the seat. Nothing like breaking down in the middle of nowhere with no communications :(

I got a little complacent myself when traveling until 911. After that I make sure I have my THF6 (w/ car charger and extra telescoping antenna) with me wherever I go, business or pleasure, local or via airline. I admit I often forget to identify repeaters in the area aheaed of time sometimes, but the wide band abilities of HTs like these have so many other benefits. With it I can (and do) listen to weather, AM and FM broadcast, public service, and even TV audio (non-digital). A good way to stay informed if something does happen, even if just a regional weather or storm problem. Also came in handy when ice storms clobbered us in New England in December.

And lets get back to cellular for a second. Its a great thing to have but its still just a radio complete with its limitations. As an Amateur, I've applied what we know to maximizing even that resource. I always pick phones that have an external antenna jack and either have a full size external antenna on my vehicle or full size mag mount in the trunk. I suppose you can do even better with yagis which are small enough for these bands. When on a rafting trip in upstate Maine last year, mine was the only vehicle with a working cell phone because of the outside antenna. My car was very popular ;)
AE6RF 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
> Seems odd that the EMS people would try to remove the
> board on site considering the deep puncture wounds...

That would have been against protocol around here...

73 de Donald
KB1IIX 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Every time I've put out a call and needed help, someone has ALWAYS answered. Lots of time there's very little activity, but a LOT of listeners. Also in Vermont...
W4VR 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Sorry to hear about your accident. Good thing you did not land on your head. How was the Virginia Gentleman?
N1HOS 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Here in my part of Vermont, you might find somebody to call on the repeater about twice a week if you are lucky.
N9NFB 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
1) Glad to hear you're OK. Usually falls like that don't end so well.

2) All the talk about legal x-band operation is not relevant in an emergency situation per FCC rules. It's still important to know for just general fooling around.

3) Despite lots of talk about emcomm "needing" background checks, orange vests, binders full of MOUs and procedures, lightbars on cars, mandatory net checkins, ID cards, encryption/obfuscation of traffic, and nationwide topdown militaristic command structures, almost all "emergency communication" is actually done as per this story. How bout some more articles about "real emcomm"? Not just an interesting individual story but more general discussions about the overall topic? MARS might have lost its mission but this kind of work will never be lost.

4) How about a "wilderness net" for people whom are alone in the wilderness? (or just generally, alone, or generally, in the wilderness) Might be an interesting article topic.

73 de Vince EN52ua
K5END 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad you're OK, sorry to hear you were hurt.

I enjoyed the article, which rang close to home. It was my intrigue with and repeated week-long visits to the back country of Big Bend National Park that inspired me to get licensed and become an Amateur operator.

Now I enjoy the hobby in many other ways, and have yet to call for emergency.

So, my concern ("fear") led me to a great hobby!
AE9Q 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Thank you for sharing your experience with us via eham. I learned two lessons from you (actually more than two, as another one is to be sure my tetanus shot is current...): be more consistent in monitoring the local repeaters while at home, and learn how to cross-band my FT-8900.

WY2V 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
... of course this still doesn't solve the control operator issue on the repeating transceiver...
WY2V 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
I am a relatively operator, and CBR has interested me for some time now. At the same time, the legality of CBR has discouraged me from applying it.

Does anyone know if there is a way to use ARTS to provide the necessary identification transmission?

I have a FT-8800 that is cross-band capable. It also has ARTS capability. One of the ARTS options is to periodically transmit periodically your callsign in Morse code. You obviously would not want to do this on the repeater (2m) side since that would result in frequent transmissions that would cover a very wide area. However if it be set up to transmit on the 70cm side only that would greatly reduce the impact on other stations. Does anyone know if that is possible? Would that make it's use legal?

K4GUN 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
"Glad you're okay. Did you hear any of the little woodland creatures laughing because you were suffering instead of them? "

Funny you should mention that. I joked with the ER nurses about it. They asked if I at least got a deer for the trouble. My response was that the crashing to the ground seems to have sent the deer scattering but that I was sure I heard a couple of squirrels laughing from the branches.

Another funny ER situation happened shortly after I was checked in. I was still on my side with the board stuck into my back. I was facing away from the door. I heard footsteps as somebody entered and then I heard a woman gasp. With all the movement around me, I called out, "Wait a second! Who just gasped? You can't walk in here, look at the guy on the table and gasp!" That got the whole ER laughing pretty hard. I tried to make the best of it.

KC5HMC 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Wow, glad to see that you are doing well. I will now start carying my HT with me. Great story!!
K8QV 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad you're okay. Did you hear any of the little woodland creatures laughing because you were suffering instead of them?

I have been many places where the HT heard nothing, but the cell phone worked. I guess there are lots of variables. When venturing into new territory, it's probably best to take both forms of communication just in case one of them turns out to be useless.
KA9DTZ 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Good to hear you made it out of the situation okay. Things have changed a lot over the years with mobile phones but it's always good to have a HT with you. I always carry mine with a spare battery. I've found so many places in my local area with poor/no cell coverage.

Seems odd that the EMS people would try to remove the board on site considering the deep puncture wounds...

N2RRA 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad your ok!

Lesson learned! Know your equipment well and make show all is functioning well before you go off alone where you may be isolated.

Practice scenerios to be well prepared for anything. A good rig with cross band repeat is why I lack in the mobile and know due to your experience I'll be looking into one for sure.

73 and thanks!
W4WSW 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Wow dude, I'm more than happy that nothing big happend to you, #1 get better soon, & #2 like I said many times to others, this is not just a "Hobby" this way of communication go beyond of that....!!!

73's & God bless...
Luis / W4WSW
K1CJS 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad to hear you are OK and you had the means to get help. Today, however, that help isn't always there. Too many repeaters aren't monitored these days, and if an emergency happens, they are all but useless to get help on.

Let this be a wakeup call to turn on your rig and monitor your local repeater. One of the people aided by such a simple thing may well one day turn out to be yourself!
K2FOX 2009-01-20
RE: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
WOW!, what a story. Glad to hear you are okay.

Time for a store-bought tree stand.

KB2DHG 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Happy to hear that all went well for you... I always bring my HT with me when I am hiking or even when on vacation... BUT I am ashamed to say that most the time I simply use my cell phone when I have an emergency...
K9ZF 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Glad you are OK Steve. Good Rovers are hard to come by!

Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana.
K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269 Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
<> List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!

KX5JT 2009-01-20
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!