Author Topic: Safety whilst coastal walking alone - GPS device or ViewRanger BuddyBeacon?  (Read 2052 times)

richardh1905

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I'm sure that they could work with lat and long, fernman


But you need to ask yourself - if you are going to 'remote areas', can you guarantee a phone signal?

richardh1905

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Does anyone use a HF or UHF radio and can they contact emergency services with it?



We used to carry handheld marine band VHF radios when I worked on lighthouses, but you need a license and they are not really intended for land use.

ninthace

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We used to carry handheld marine band VHF radios when I worked on lighthouses, but you need a license and they are not really intended for land use.
Isnít VHF pretty much line of sight anyway so of limited value. Also for it to work, someone has to be listening. The unlicensed devices once loved by skiers before the invention of mobiles had a very short range, 2km tops, and could not be tuned to the Guard frequency.
Solvitur Ambulando

ninthace

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As I'm not getting any younger and I walk on my own in remote areas, this thread has got me thinking I should install a phone app that I could use to send my location to someone if I had a serious problem.

Those I've looked at briefly at this stage all show your position in latitude and longitude. Is that OK for the UK emergency services, or do they want OS grid references?
From previous discussions on this forum the emergency services seem to want a post code!
http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14209.0
Solvitur Ambulando

alan de enfield

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Isnít VHF pretty much line of sight anyway so of limited value. Also for it to work, someone has to be listening. The unlicensed devices once loved by skiers before the invention of mobiles had a very short range, 2km tops, and could not be tuned to the Guard frequency.



Putting aside the legality of transmitting without a licence.


Yes - VHF is 'line of sight' but  can easily achieve 20+ miles from my boat - the sea is pretty flat and line of sight is as far as the horizon, and even further if the receiving aerial is at the top of a mast.


Marine VHF is on FM. Channel 16 is the calling channel and any ships will monitor it (although DSC is now more commonly used)
The same 'radio' can be programmed to cover all of the SAR (Search & Rescue) frequencies for bot Land & Sea


The international 'Guard Channel' of 121.5Mhz is on AM and cannot be used on the same radio as the Marine channels.
EPIRBs on 406Mhz have pretty much replaced the 121.5Mhz channel.
You can get a personal EPIRB (which needs to be registered) which in the event of an emergency, push the button and a satellite will pick up the signal from anywhere in the world.
The satellite then notifies 'your country of registration emergency services', who notify your 'next of kin' and commences searching.


The Epirb is a 'one off purchase with no additional annual licencing or usage costs'


Just one example


https://www.aspli.com/2119/plb-rescue-me1-personal-locator-beacon/?gclid=CjwKCAiAmO3gBRBBEiwA8d0Q4rin7CCwYhKQ789q2wjhEy7fshXoM2iydQa0kjTW77RKR4yPJc0v3RoC2sgQAvD_BwE
« Last Edit: 11:54:41, 20/12/18 by alan de enfield »

Owen

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HF sets are big and heavy and need lots of power. They do have range - world wide if you know how but that requires an equally big antenna. I've used them Kenya to UK and Falkland Islands to UK but I think the Army use satellite technology these days.


UHF is similar to mobile phones with the same limitations.


VHF even on the hills has a limited range, especially handheld sets.

ninthace

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Thanks Alan - very instructive.  I never had much luck with the radios we were issued with for diving.   In fact I did suggest we could improve the range by tying a chinagraph pencil to the aerial and sticking some white fablon to the back of the radio.  That way we could write a message on the plastic and throw the radio to the recipient!
Solvitur Ambulando

fernman

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Thanks Richard and Ninthace for your comments on my query about using lat and long (where is Sussamb today, he might have something to say!).

Agreed a phone signal is unlikely in remote parts of north Wales where I go, it's something I'd have to take a chance on, one always needs to make compromises. But the closer areas in Bucks, Oxon and Herts where I walk have some "remote" spots in woods etc. where no-one might pass for days, and these places do have a phone signal.

As for needing postcodes, that is third world Britain beurocratic nonsense, I can't imagine anyone away from home or work would have a clue what it is, especially in the middle of the countryside.

ninthace

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Perhaps this will give you some hope Fernman https://www.ruralnetwork.scot/news-and-events/news/emergency-services-encourage-use-location-apps
I have no doubt the Coastguard and MRTs can use grid refs!  I suspect the problem lies with ambulances using sat navs to get to a call, car sat navs don't do grid ref (at least mine doesn't).
Solvitur Ambulando

alan de enfield

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Thanks Alan - very instructive.  I never had much luck with the radios we were issued with for diving.   In fact I did suggest we could improve the range by tying a chinagraph pencil to the aerial and sticking some white fablon to the back of the radio.  That way we could write a message on the plastic and throw the radio to the recipient!



Just as a follow-up.
The VHF I carry with me is capable (and programmed) for :
All marine frequencies
All Coastguard frequencies
All UK SAR (Land & Sea) frequencies
Amateur (Ham) 2 metre (144Mhz) channels

All PMR446 ('walkie-talkie') UHF Frequencies


Edit to add :
Forgot to mention that this radio transceiver also include a 'standard' VHF receiver (music, news, etc channels), an LED torch and a very bright 'strobe light' to assist rescuers in finding you.
I have used 'radio' for many, many years and DX'd all over the world but I'm really impressed with the features that this little radio offers for a 'pocket-money' price.

Cost of the Radio Transceiver was £13* + £3 for a programming cable. Comes with a 1800Mah battery as standard but I have changed that out to a 2700Mah at a cost of £9. Added at 'better' (longer) aerial that gives (allegedly) a 3.0Db gain - cost £1.40
Battery charged via USB cable from my 'power-pack'.


Weight of radio including 'extended' battery = 240 grams (8 oz)



* There was a 'price war' going on so I bought several whilst they were on 'offer'. They are normally about £18-£20


I am a 'lapsed' Ham (G3LCR), and have both a marine VHF operators licence and an Aircraft VHF operators licence.
However I should point out that the radio is 'illegal' for transmitting (except in an emergency) as it works on multiple frequencies so is not 'type-approved'.
« Last Edit: 14:52:48, 20/12/18 by alan de enfield »

sussamb

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I suspect the problem lies with ambulances using sat navs to get to a call, car sat navs don't do grid ref (at least mine doesn't).


Most modern satnavs and definitely all Garmin ones do grid refs.  Our ambulance control centres can also cope with grid refs  O0
Where there's a will ...

sussamb

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Thanks Richard and Ninthace for your comments on my query about using lat and long (where is Sussamb today, he might have something to say!).


Away on holiday with patchy comms and my phone so don't expect much from me  ;D
Where there's a will ...

richardh1905

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Isnít VHF pretty much line of sight anyway so of limited value. Also for it to work, someone has to be listening. The unlicensed devices once loved by skiers before the invention of mobiles had a very short range, 2km tops, and could not be tuned to the Guard frequency.



Correct. Channel 16 for Coastguard (and all ships) - they are always listening. But for mariners.
« Last Edit: 15:57:26, 20/12/18 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

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The Epirb is a 'one off purchase with no additional annual licencing or usage costs'



Sorry to be pedantic, Alan, but a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is what would be appropriate for a hillwalker, not an EPIRB, which is registered to a vessel. Although they pretty much do the same job.


http://epirb.com/difference_between_EPIRBs_PLBs.php

alan de enfield

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Correct. Channel 16 for Coastguard (and all ships) - they are always listening. But for mariners.




It all changed several years ago - they no longer keep a 'listening watch' on Ch16. It is still 'switched on' but does not have a dedicated person sat with ear-phones on keeping a Ch16 'watch'.
I mentioned this in Post #34

It now relies on someone actually 'noticing the call' as all emergency traffic is now via DSC(Digital Selective Calling)


Channel 70 is the DSC channel and automatically transmits the boats location, name and number with a simple 'press of a button'. Voice transmission on channel 70 is forbidden,

A VHF radio will enable you to summon help by calling the Coastguard and alerting other vessels. Up until recently this was done with a mayday call on Ch16. However, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) has changed. There is no longer a legal requirement for any ship or coast station to maintain a manual watch on Ch16. The UK Coastguard and Irish Coast Guard have ceased a dedicated Ch16 headset watch and now monitor this via a wall-mounted loudspeaker. Please check with other countries if going abroad.


Instead, commercial ships and the Coastguard now monitor a special digital channel with DSC radios.


Source : RNLI Website


There have been several other changes in 2017 with the revised frequencies for the safety channels'









Further changes come into effect in early 2019 with some of the Duplex frequencies being 'split' to give additional Simplex channels


For example Channel 20 will be split into channel 1020 and channel 2020 utilising each half of the Duplex frequencies.
« Last Edit: 16:46:21, 20/12/18 by alan de enfield »