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Thread: Low Tech signal devices

  1. #1
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Question Low Tech signal devices


    I have been reading quite a bit here on the high tech sat phones, radio's and such, but how many f you have relied on lower tech stuff (mirors, smoke, etc).
    I'd like to hear what you keep in your packs if any. What have you actually had to use, etc.....

    later...

    reuben..

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    Default low tech gear

    RJC: I relied on smoke and mirrors for years....but then I got out of the car business! Seriously though, good point. I love the tech stuff and usually go out and get one or two of everything but simpler is almost always better. Good firestarter is my #1. I'd rather explain why I set half the forest on fire to get rescued than explain why I was stupid enough to die. I've had to use what I had in my pockets a few times to survive and those were the days before GPS and Sat Phones. Good knife is my #2. #3 is good old parachute cord. It's amazing what you can do with just those three items....in most places/situations, I think a person (using his/her brain) could live long enough to get rescued. Other than those three items, I always have first aid kit, candy bars, water and some other odds and ends. I might start a thread on the powerboat forum for overboard bag contents just to see what others carry aboard too! Good idea! SE Mike

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up I'll chime in

    1. Good knife
    2. Fire starters - boyscout on keychain, matches and magnesium bar (usually carry all and lint)
    3. Compass (mine has mirror built in)
    4. Aluminum foil (lots of uses)
    5. Parachute chord
    6. Good ole whistle

    Good thread!

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    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default Good stuff

    Those are good things to carry, and I keep all of those around except the whistle! I'm not sure why I don't have one of those other than oversight! Golly a whistle is page one of the boy scout manual isn't it?
    I keep lots of 550 cord (para cord) around. I learned to love that stuff in the military.
    I have thought about contructing a smudge pot of sorts. Just to see if it would work. In the event you can't get around to start a smoky fire or if there was nothing around etc.
    I do keep a few mirrors within reach as well but you do need a little light for those.
    Anybody use flags or tarp material for marking signaling?

    reuben...


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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    Default

    I had a friend that wanted to rig up his own low tech device - a mylar balloon based emergency signal.

    First of all mylar is super light, so you can keep this balloon folded up in your pack or pocket and not sacrifice a lot of space and weight.

    The balloon would be day-glo on one side and normal mylar on the other - the painted side is very high visibility while the other side would be radar reflective (sounded good to me!) then you have some sort of small source of lighter than air gas that you can fill the balloon with (like the little Co2 bottles, but with helium and some sort of nozzle that lets you fill the balloon without over-pressuring it?) - the balloon is then tied to a couple hundred feet of very small diameter, but strong, line.

    When you're under the trees and you break your leg you can pop out the balloon, inflate it, and line it up through an opening way over your head - presto! You have a visible signal and perhaps a radar reflective one as well that a search and rescue aircraft is equipped to spot easily. Seemed pretty ingenious and best of all - low tech!

    Obviously wind, duration of the helium etc.. are problems and I don't know how practical it is or the availability of an air source like that...but it stuck in my mind as a great "MacGyver" method!

    I usually carry smoke, dye, mirror, fire starter, and a whistle - I haven't found good small pen flares yet, seems they've gone out of style? I think that's about it for my low tech signal devices (I guess I don't carry any of the hi-tech variety (lasers, sat phone, epirb, etc) but I know I would if I had them! )

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    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Who's gonnaargue with McGiver!
    I kind of gave some thought to a ballonn as well however I figured smoke would be easier to work out!
    I'm wondering if the compressed CO2 would be one of those FAA no-go's?
    I just kind of figure that anything compressed that burns or help burns might be banned. Anybody know?
    I do have a pen gun flare that I kept from when I was in the Military. I keep it in my kit, but am not sure if I can get it across the border when I drive up. Unless of course I forget where I put it and it just happens to arrive.
    Then there are always those 12 gage flares they sell for watercraft. I've never used one so I don't know how they compare to military pen-guns....

    later y'all..


    reuben...

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    Default

    S O S - Trampled in the snow, 20 or 30 feet high or made out of rocks or trees.

    A gas can place in tree with a fire under the tree. Shoot the can of gas and run!!!!

    Three fire in a 50 foot triangle.

    Automobile flares- 20 flares is min in my book.

    If you see or hear an airplane put grass, green brush or oil on a fire to create smoke.

  8. #8

    Default

    Fire piston to start fire and small 410 size flares for boats all the standard but the Fire Piston they don't take it from you on the plane it doesn't show up if made from wood hanging around your neck.

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    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Question Okay next question!

    Okay... next question...
    Anybody ever rely on one of these low tech signally devices in a real situation?

    Ciao y'all....

    reuben...

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Talking World News Headlines!

    Forest fires make world news headlines... I think I could manage to send a smoke/fire/SOS signal if there was a plane in the area. I think any would be very useful if there was someone out there looking for you, but might have to be a little more creative otherwise.

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    A cd makes a better signaling device than a mirror. You can look through the hole in the middle as you flash someone.
    Always carry a couple in the atv, boat and snowmobiles.
    Last edited by Snowwolfe; 03-06-2007 at 18:12.
    Tennessee

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Talking LOL...sorry

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    A cd makes a better signaling device than a mirror. You can look through the hole in the middle as you flash someone.
    Always carry a couple in the atv, boat and snowmobiles.
    Snowwolfe-
    all I could picture when reading your post was a redneck on the side of the road, pants around his ankles, bent over with head between his legs, CD up to his eye trying to catch the attention of any passer byers!!

    heck of an idea with the attention-getter though!

  13. #13

    Default CD are low tech & cost

    I have had one in my gear for a long time now, it's as low tech and low cost as you can get and work very well, and yes got to use it once!

  14. #14
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default CD's

    I'm gonna have to give CD's a try. I have signal mirrors but the idea sounds intreging!! Next sunny day!!!

    ciao ya'll

    reuben....

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    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    RJC
    As a Search And Rescue Pilot (Navy) the most effective/longest range signaling devise is a mirror. Up to 50 miles on a sunny day! If you learn to use it right there is not a pilot in the world that will not notice it. It is like a piece of the sun flashing back and forth across your face. For night time a green chem-stick on a 4 section of 550 cord. Spin it in a circular motion over your head. Try these items yourself. During the day get a partner to go to an opposing ridge line or a tall building and flash you with the mirror. With the chem-stick (Buzzsaw) get a couple of miles down a dark road and see how much they stand out from the normal little lights you sometimes see on the countryside.

    Just my $0.02

    Drew

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    A cd makes a better signaling device than a mirror. You can look through the hole in the middle as you flash someone.
    Always carry a couple in the atv, boat and snowmobiles.
    A true signal mirror will have a sighting hole in the middle. In the "old days" when running long range traverse and triangulation nets for geodetic control we also routinely used mirrors as targets.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

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    Default

    I always carry an ACR Firefly strobe in my pack.
    Now what ?

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