|Top of the Hill||Boots and Blisters||Pinching Pennies|
|Who's Who and New||Member Spotlight||Public Relations|
|Statewide SAR Notes||Web News||Disclaimer/Copyright|
| Recent Missions
|| Callout Information
|Top of the Hill||by Larry Mervine|
When we get the call for help, we never know what to expect. Missions can be strange. We think it's going to be an easy search and it turns out to be a difficult one that we will always remember. The subject may have gotten themselves into a stupid situation and we think this is not worth the time. But then the subject gives the greatest thank you we ever hear. And again a serious life saving job gets nothing. It's all part of being in Search & Rescue. Praise is not why we do this.
See you out there.
|Boots and Blisters||by Tom Russo|
Congratulations to Jan, KD5HFJ, on her new callsign. Hope to year you on the radio real soon now.
Speaking of hearing on the radio: I'm toying with the idea of starting up a Cibola SAR "net" on a simplex frequency. The purpose would be for the hams on the team to be able to practice using their gear for 15 minutes a week in less-than-ideal conditions. Using a simplex frequency eliminates the need to get permission from a club to use their repeater, but makes communications that much more difficult when the members are far apart. In that sense, it would be nearly like using 155.160 on a mission. It would be a somewhat formalized net rather than just a chat session, with net control calling for check-ins and members relaying messages from stations that they can hear but net control cannot --- this would give us practice in the valuable skill of relaying messages verbatim. We had our first trial run on Thursday, 27 May at 21:00, and it was a great success: almost everyone involved learned something new about their radios and antennas. I expect that there will be problems establishing communications between Albuquerque and East Mountain residents, but it will be interesting (and for the geekier among us, fun) to see if there is any way we can work that out without involving a repeater.
A plea: I would like to ask that if you plan to come to any month's evaluation session that you please respond to the request on the voicemail to leave a message to that effect. I was somewhat taken aback by the number of people who showed up to this month's land nav session. I was expecting 6 from the messages on the voicemail, and 10 showed up. This might not seem like a big deal, but the logistics got rather messy. Had I known that this many were going to show up I'd have gotten there two hours early instead of one hour early, set up two compass courses and gotten a helper to make sure everyone could have gotten through faster and less painfully. As it was there was a glitch that caused a hangup in the compass course, and that happened while I was getting the other half of the group fixed up at their resection spot. So while you might have heard me say that I only need the prior notification so I know whether to bother holding the evaluation session (which has been the main problem before now), I also need it to make sure I have the resources to get this stuff done in a timely and smooth fashion.
What was the glitch? Well, when I lay out these compass courses I want to make very, very sure that I've walked the right bearing and have not taken any jogs or curves that would put the endpoint in the wrong spot. So what I do is start from one point, choose a bearing to walk and leave a helper there (Katarina was very patient with me). Then I walk the bearing to a likely spot and shoot a back bearing to make sure that it agrees with the bearing I thought I was walking. Unfortunately at the second-to-last waypoint I was starting to get rushed (people were starting to show up to run the course) and wrote down the back bearing instead of the forward bearing. I apologize to those who wasted time trying to figure it all out.
Another lesson learned: during the resection portion of this month's land nav evaluation we discovered that several of the people were making consistent errors in finding the current position. At first I thought the problem was that they were having trouble identifying features and were off for that reason, but it became apparent later on that the errors were being introduced by the way that they were using a straight edge and the compass. It is difficult enough to draw straight lines at the right angles when it's windy and you don't have a flat surface, but if you try to use a small compass as the straight edge, sliding the compass along the line to extend it, you'll wind up making big errors by the time you extend the line from a distant feature to the current point. Folks with longer rulers had a slightly better time of it, but by far the people who borrowed my aviation "plotter" had the easiest time getting it right. The aviation plotter is designed as a resection tool: the aviator is frequently called upon to find a position by using the bearings to certain radio beacons, and this tool has a built-in compass and straight edge. Holmann's sells them in both the full-sized and pocket-sized versions.
And another thing: one person with an unadorned USFS map tried to use section lines in lieu of true-north lines. The section lines are not always aligned with true north, and a careful inspection of the map showed that several of the lines were off from true north by a few degrees. It pays to draw either True North, UTM, or magnetic North lines on your maps --- using the edge of the map as the only aid to finding True North will hamper your ability to resection at points deep in the interior of the map, regardless of what tool you use. I always draw UTM and magnetic North lines on my maps prior to weatherproofing them with clear Contact paper. At a minimum, it is a good idea to draw in the UTM grid, but be aware that UTM "grid" North is not identical to True North... on the Sandia Crest quadrangle, for example, UTM north is 50 minutes west of True North. Take this into account when doing map-to-field/field-to-map computations.
Point to ponder: It has been argued time and again that our Search
Techniques evaluation should be dropped, especially since no team has ever
achieved less than 80% POD. This has changed. In our evaluation this past
weekend at Bear Canyon we had one team find only 50% of the clues (too few to
pass), and had another team find 66% of the clues (65% is passing) but take
just about the maximum amount of time they were allotted. Contributing to
this were more realistic search areas: Saturday's search areas were set by
base camp personnel and communicated to the team by pointing at a map rather
the way we did it before (pick an area between obvious geographic features so
there's no choice but to stay within your area and search all of it), a
pronounced tendency for the teams to get too close together (increasing the
odds they'll see any clue they walk near, but decreasing the chance they have
of covering their entire search area in the time allotted), and having a hard
time keeping the line moving straight. I have not scheduled any search
techniques trainings in the past six months, but there's one coming up in
July. Please consider coming out to practice these essential skills.
|Hike of the Month||Piedra Lisa Trail/Sandia Geology||0800, Jun 26, 1999|
|Trailhead: Piedra Lisa at Juan Tabo (end of road past La Luz turnoff|
|R.T. Distance: 9 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7000/8000|
|Hiking Time 3+ hours||Hazards: not really|
|Topo Maps: Sandia Crest Quad|
|Pinching Pennies||by Mike Dugger|
Two hardy souls met on May 18 to hammer out the budget for our team for the next year. Their proposal will be presented for discussion and a vote at the June meeting. If you don't like it, you can't say we didn't ask.
|Who's Who and New||by Susan Corban|
It's been a busy month for new members. David Aube, Jason Metzger, Eric Jaramillo, Richard Lloyd and Chuck Girven have each had an orientation. Please help them out when you go on missions. Welcome to the team, guys, and welcome back, Jason and Chuck.
|Public Relations||by David Dixon|
Last Saturday was National Trails Day and a few of us manned (I guess it should be personned) [Ed. note: try "staffed"] the Cibola table at Elena Gallegos for what was expected to be a large group of trail cleaners. Larry and I set up our table/banner/stuff for the 125 people who showed up for National Trails Day last Saturday at Elena G. Had only 1 interested person but if he comes to a meeting and stays with us then the 2 hours was worth it.
I have also volunteered us to do some outdoor skills to a group of elementary school kids as part of a summer library program on the afternoon of June 24th. If you are interested in braving the choppy waters of Lake Eight Year Old let me know. We could use some help on this one.
It's halfway through the year and our recruitment efforts continue to pay off as we have new faces at every meeting. We're on our way to meeting our
membership goals. Thanks to those of you who have helped in this task.
James Newberry is 39 years old and happily married to a wonderful lady, Starla. He's a registered member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma. James proudly belongs to the Potowatomi Black Leg Warrior Society, & the Warshield Gourd Dance Society here in Albquerque. When he's not hanging out with search and rescue folks, he likes to spend his time hanging out at the Pow-wows, eatin' fry bread. James is a self-employed cabinet & furniture maker and all around handyman. His small wood shop will be listed on the internet when his web site is finished, hopefully in July. Then watch out world, the James is on the loose.
Chuck Girven (KC5ZYH) was born and raised in Illinois, where he convinced his high school girlfriend, Mary, to marry him upon graduating. They will be celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary in November. They have two children, Ben and Jessica, both married and one tremendous grandchild named Matthew Caige.
Chuck has always enjoyed backpacking and having everything you could ever need in your pockets or hanging off your belt. Hence his nickname of Pockets which he earned during his and Mary's brief sojourn to Vienna, Austria. When they originally moved to Albuquerque, joining a search and rescue team seemed a natural thing to do. Chuck and his wife were members of Cibola SAR until about two years ago when Mary got a job offer in Austria for the United Nations. Off they went. They've been back since May and they have finally managed to put their lives back into some semblance of order and can now devote more time to the team. Mary is not so fortunate. She is now back in Vienna for the month of June to install more software to the web site she developed there.
|Web News||by Tom Russo|
|Statewide SAR Notes||by Mike Dugger and Nancy O'Neill|
Contact Mary Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to enroll for classes or field certification sessions.
On the positive side: The people at New Mexico Tech were a pleasure to work with and bent over backwards for our many special requests. Toni Ortiz said that his staff thought we were a fun bunch and enjoyed attending some of our classes. The weather cooperated for a wonderful star party; Wheezer said he'd never looked into a telescope before and he stayed quite late. Three of us stayed after everyone left and had the big scope to ourselves. (this rates up there with chocolate, folks!) No one got hurt on the dreaded "razor wire" that the we were warned about and no one fell off the balconies at the dorms after socializing with their preferred beverages. I personally learned that I really appreciate the way that we, as a team, tie subjects into litters. Some of us took a high angle litter evacuation class, and when you are at an angle that gives you a great view of the ground 70feet down, you appreciate a good tie in! (For your information: yes, Ryan Jackson does swear.) We had no problem with classroom lighting but we did not do a good enough job of selecting rooms for the classes that had big attendances. Cibola had the largest number of attendees for a team. We voted in a good board and we hope that next year's ESCAPE will be even better than this year's.
On the negative side: The AC's in the dorm weren't functioning. The schedule format would have made a cryptologist happy - that won't happen next year, folks. I didn't get all the new classes I had hoped to have - submit your ideas now, so we can find instructors. There weren't enough vendors, and this definitely won't happen next year. And the radio guys didn't stay long enough, so I didn't get my battery recharger. The change in classrooms/sites weren't posted adequately. The dogs who attended classes that weren't dog oriented were noisy.
Rick's "pot test" results are still being tallied. Since the folks who found the largest numbers of pots also took about twice as long as everyone else, Rick will be choosing the winner using a "pots found/time taken" ratio. I'll keep you posted on the outcome, and I hope that will be before the REI gift certificates expire.
The few critiques that were handed in (I apologize for the user-unfriendly formatting of the forms, again, this won't happen next year) showed that people want the ESCAPE to alternate sites and to be held either on the first or third weekend in May. Steve Meserole has a few plans as Planning, as which he volunteered to serve next year. He helped a great deal this year and I thank him.
All in all, it was a good ESCAPE. Next year, with the experience under my belt, it will be even better. Thank you all for attending.
|Disclaimer and Copyright notice||the Editors|