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Old 05-08-2012, 03:13 PM
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Default Musings of a Noob

Hi All-
First, huge thank you to Stephen and Dave for allowing me to participate. Although I lead the majority of my clubs runs and have put together some small events this was the first truly organized event that I have been able to contribute to as a leader/gunner. I learned a ton from you guys and others that may remain un-named for the interest of time.

While i didn't contribute much, I read every post in every thread in this sub-forum. The wealth of knowledge from the old guard is incredible. I took a lot of it to heart and some of the most important takeaways that I utilized for the first time concisely are below.

Arrive Early: I made it a point to be the first person to show up at the meeting spot for Chicken Corners. I had my packet filled out for me and my family, radio and 2M on, tires aired down and everything organized on my tailgate. It really gave me a chance to focus on getting others signed up and answer questions. Huge help in keeping me relaxed.

Noobs: Keep Newer people close to you. I had the newest wheelers in the first couple positions which really helped keep the pace up. When they were in the middle of the pack the group got separated and was not cohesive. Keeping the slowest person right behind you is key.

CB/2M:
I truly realized on this trip that CB only does not cut it. Nor does 2M only. I feel that trail leaders and gunners should have both CB and 2M, be licensed on the later and know their equipment. I have a 2M HT that works well at short distances but I need to get an antenna for the longer distance. During an emergency, Daniel was able to talk to people many miles away and relay information via cell phone to dispatch. I only heard his side of the conversation and would not have been able to help due to the lack of range. Daniel masterfully relayed the information in a professional, calm manner.

GPS: Everyone needs to have a GPS, Period. weather it is an App on your iPhone (I prefer "My Coordinates") or a cheap handheld or watch. It is an absolute necessity to be able to relay coordinates to dispatch.

Note Pad: during the situation, I was scrambling to write down coordinates that I heard on 2M. I ended up not getting the information. It is important to write down things that you hear on an emergency conversation even if you are not part of it. If there are any questions later on you can assist in helping with clarification/cross-checking.

Water: I only had 2.5 gallons of water with me and feel that for an emergency situation, especially on the more remote trails more could very easily be necessary. In the future I'll be carrying 4-6 gallons between rotopax and cheap 2.5g containers.

Fuel: While I know that fuel and water are the individuals responsibilities I think I'll always have at least a 4 Gal roto with me.

Extras of Everything: It's good to have a little extra food and zip ties and wire and tape. It can all be the one thing that make a difference.

Stories: Everyone has some form of communication. Incorporating a story about the trail or area is great for those who are new to the area and helps keep everyone awake. The best trail leaders I have had always have a story about outlaws or geologic strata or uranium miners or airplanes to share on the trail.

Ice Cream: This is probably my little MO but it goes a long way in the middle of a long hot day. I try to give it to the group first, mountain bikers second and other wheelers last until it's gone.

Fin
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:04 PM
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The mark of a good trail leader is trying to improve the experience the next time out. Looks like you hit them all. Nice work
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:53 PM
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Jon,

Last year it was bewilderingly impressive that you were joined in your wheeling and camping with Tiffany and your identical twin 6 month old daughters. That you have also become a standout contributor to the community and a heck of a lot of fun to hang with, and even bringing along a cute single female friend for more wheeling this year, well, keep it coming!

All your tips above are really great and thanks for the acknowledgement.

"My Coordinates" - there were a few. Can you elaborate. I recently downloaded Topo, which I think you also have. Its nice but no substitute for my Garmin.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:06 PM
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PS. My HAM setup is as basic as it gets. Yaesu 1802 ($125 ish) and a Diamond NR770HNMO a "no ground plane" antenna ($70), recommended to me multiple times by radio pro Sean Boland. This year proved it worked very well. All bought at HRO - Ham Radio Outlet here in Denver.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for the words. The we're actually 11 months old at the time but still....


"MyCoordinates" is a very simple iDevice app that gives you very basic information. Latitude, Longitude, Altitude. I like the fact that that is all it does so you don't have to mess around in another app or your phone settings to find your coordinates. The UI is clean and has large letters. I just know that I get a little frazzled in an emergency and want simple and direct info given to me.

Now im not talking about mapping and route finding. By coordinates, I specifically mean being able to relay the coordinates (lat, long) of an injured person or broken down vehicle. People should realize that nearly every smart phone can do this weather in or out of cell coverage and should familiarize themselves with how to access it. A cheap gps that only displays coordinates can be had for well under $100 too.

Thanks or the info on the HAM. I need to go NGP on mine so I'll look into that antenna.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonharis View Post
"MyCoordinates" is a very simple iDevice app that gives you very basic information. Latitude, Longitude, Altitude.
Right, there are several apps with that name. Which one is the one you like?
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inukshuk View Post
Right, there are several apps with that name. Which one is the one you like?
Here you go. I use the lite version, which is free. The screenshot below is what you get, simple and intuitive. I also really, really like that it shows in decimal degrees which is my preferred coordinate system as it works well in the computer world. The Pro version is $1.99 and gives you ability to choose the coordinate system, a map/compass etc all of which are done better with other apps.

Name:  MyCoordinatesLite.JPG
Views: 200
Size:  104.8 KB
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:53 PM
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All really good points Jon.

I wish we could keep everyone moving over to HAM and not have to run a CB too, but that is many years out I'm sure. Personally when I lead I do not run both radio's for the trail trucks. I fell I've got enough going on to sit there and relay info on two radios. I monitor the trails HAM frequency and the base camp. But all my trail talk goes out the CB to keep it simple.

The GPS thing is a good point. I use the coordinates screen on my NAV system. Its simple and easy to access.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:17 PM
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Some good info John. As this was my first time leading a run of this size I learned a thing or two as well that I will remedy before the next time.
Communication was my biggest issue as I was unaware that my CB would only broadcast 200 feet (give or take). I have always been in the center to rear of most of the larger groups I've wheeled with so it has never been a problem in the past, but as a trail leader it was frustrating trying to keep communication going between the front and the rear of the group (especially when I couldn't get anyone to relay for me). I would love to step up to a ham but CM is typically the only time I use my radio as it is (rock crawlers are a different breed, we tend to run is much smaller groups and stop and talk a lot instead of communicating via. radio) so the investment is way down on my list of priorities. I will make the investment in a good antenna for my CB though.
I also felt under equipped with extras like fuel and water. I'm sure everyone has seen my Hilux and what lack of cargo capacity it has. I knew I could carry enough for myself, but after leading such a large group I feel it is important to be able to carry extra fuel and water at minimum. With a little reworking of the "bed" area I feel this could easily be accomplished.
Funny thing mentioning the GPS. When the accident occurred on Behind the Rocks and I was on the phone with the Sheriff's office we needed coordinates for the S&R. Almost everyone in my group (including myself) had some form of GPS, but no one had them on. There was some precious time wasted trying to get GPS's booted up. We also had an issue with the format the coordinated were in. We had to give the dispatch coords from three different GPS's before she had one that matched her system.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBoyle View Post
Funny thing mentioning the GPS. When the accident occurred on Behind the Rocks and I was on the phone with the Sheriff's office we needed coordinates for the S&R. Almost everyone in my group (including myself) had some form of GPS, but no one had them on. There was some precious time wasted trying to get GPS's booted up. We also had an issue with the format the coordinated were in. We had to give the dispatch coords from three different GPS's before she had one that matched her system.
I was discussing this episode with a friend over dinner tonight and realized that we could have all been using the Moab repeater for the HAM conversation that took place just after the sat phone call was made. I was talking with Nick and Jon from a high point on Fins (9.66 miles from the GPS coordinates you were at). 146.9(-) CTSSS 123.0 is the Moab repeater. I tuned to your trail frequency (on the CM master lists) and then did some relaying with dispatch via my cell phone. The bird had already been launched but dispatch said they did not yet have coordinates, which I got from Nick and relayed (in lat/long format). I also gave dispatch the HAM frequency. Sounds like you had already given them GPS coordinates by then. Odd that they said they did not. Still, I doubt the time delay mattered because they responders would all still have been just going to trail heads at at that time.

You guys handled it very well.
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