Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Stranded Hams Use Satellite to Call for Help

When Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, and his father, Jack, AC5DI, headed out on a griDXpedition in the Texas desert, they didn't realize the hams listening for them would also help get them resuced. According to Newsline and the AMSAT News Service, Clayton and Jack were crossing the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park, en route to activate rare grid DL88jx in late August when their pickup truck got stuck in mud. Temperatures in the remote area often go above 110 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no cell phone service. 

Park rangers respond to help get W5PFG and AC5DI's
truck out of the mud in a remote area of Big Bend
National Park in Texas. (W5PFG photo via AMSAT.org)
Clayton used a pass by the AO-92 satellite to call for help, relaying specifics - including their exact location - to Kevin Zari, KK4YEL, in Florida. Several monitoring hams called park headquarters and within two hours, rangers arrived to rescue Clayton, Jack and their truck. There were no injuries or damage. (For more on operating from Big Bend National Park, see this month's the October 2019 VHF-Plus column. - ed.)