Lost and Found... the newsletter of Volume 8, Issue 6
12 June 2003
Editors: David Dixon, Mike Dugger, and Tom Russo

Cibola Search and Rescue
"That Others May Live..."
Top of the Hill Boots and Blisters Business as Usual
Feature Article Web News Disclaimer/Copyright
Back to Top
Top of the Hill by Aaron Hall , President
I'm sure by now everyone has heard that we had a problem with a mission callout last week. I want to bring it up just to make sure that everyone is aware of what happened. When ARES paged us last week a combination of things happened that caused our system to breakdown and resulted in us not responding to a callout. Fortunately the mission was 1022'd within half an hour of the original callout so no subjects were impacted by our breakdown. The source of the breakdown was pager 1 receiving the original page from ARES incorrectly. The numbers came through scrambled. When our pager handler called the phone number that they received they thought (correctly) that the number was meaningless. As a result pager 1 issued a "000" page to the team, meaning no mission callout. A number of other people (including myself) had actually received the correct page from ARES and assumed that the "000" page meant that there was no mission. The system actually worked pretty much as it was supposed to (except for the malfunctioning pager). We have a lot of redundancy built in to deal with situations where pages are missed or people can't pick up the page quickly enough. Since this is a new twist on pager problems I thought that everyone should be aware of it. An easy solution to partial or nonsense pages when you are pager 1 is to call pager 2 or any top of tree and check with them to see if they received a page that made sense. This isn't something that we have done in the past, because we haven't had this problem before. I'm not sure that it's the best solution, but I am sure that it would catch most situations like this.

Now for my soapbox. Please keep in mind that even though Search and Rescue is a lot of work, it is also a lot of fun. Missions are always interesting, and trainings, evaluations, and hikes great opportunities to learn new things and meet new people. Summer is here and, as is usual for this time of year, we are experiencing a decline in the number of missions that we get called for. Lack of missions can reduce the excitement quotient of SAR. This means that it's doubly important to attend trainings, monthly hikes, and evaluations because, let's face it, we do this in part because we enjoy it and enjoy working with our teammates. SAR is fun! So please get out there and attend a training, conduct an evaluation, or lead a hike of the month. You will enjoy it and so will your teammates!

Back to Top
Boots and Blisters by Steven Buckley, Training Officer
I just finished a litter training today. This is one of two training opportunities this month. The other is Tom Russo's HAM training on 21 June 2003 at the Sandia Ranger Station on S. 14 starting at 0900 hours. I urge all of you to attend this training. From the intel I have received so far, it will be a great training and a must attend event for all of Cibola's HAMs [Ed. Note: Tom has designed the training to be of interest to both hams and non-hams --- please don't stay away just because you don't have a license yet!].

I wanted to take some time to review our training program with you and look at the training status of the team. Ignoring the fact that we have one more training opportunity this month, the team is doing a pretty good job in attending our training program. The best news is that we have no members who are in danger of getting a status change to "ex-member" due to failing to attend two trainings in two consecutive half year periods. In addition 75% of the team has at least two training for the Jan-Jun 2003 half. Great job! Thanks for your support. Four members and 3 prospective members are short this half. Four people have no trainings (3 prospective members and 1 member) and three people have one training (all members). Please review your training records on the web site and let me know if you disagree with what the record says.

Now for some kudos for the high attenders. I will throw out number one (me-9 trainings) on account of attending trainings is my job. For the rest of the team; David Chapek and Tony Gaier are tied for the lead with six trainings each, Bob Baker, Mike Dugger, are tied for number two with five trainings each and Kevin Mohr and Tom Russo are tied for third with four trainings each. Of course, these numbers will change after Tom's training on the 21st. The disqualified number one will still be number one (and still be disqualified) since I do not intend to miss Tom's training!

I also want to thank those of you who have volunteered to do trainings. As the team has probably already figured out, the guest trainers do a lot better job than I do. Looking back on the schedule I recall Tony Gaier's superb night navigation training and Larry Mervine's outstanding litter training complete with "injured" subjects compliments of Tom Russo. David Chapek, Mike Dugger, and Tony Gaier also did a great job on pre-meeting trainings. Thanks to these folks and all of the others who contributed to the training program. Without your help, the training program suffers...a heart-felt thank you!

Of course, an article by me is not complete without my obligatory plea for more help. As we enter the second half of 2003, I need your help to shape the rest of this year's training program. I still need guest trainers. You guys have skills the rest of the team need. Please sign up for a training date and share the wealth. The team will be stronger for it.

Back to Top
Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes by Joyce Rumschlag, Secretary

Minutes of the 8 May 2003 Business Meeting

Pre-meeting mini lesson was the viewing of two films for CEs: Airway management and Toxicology.

President's Report

Steve Buckley reported for Aaron Hall. There has been no Land Nav. Standard Committee meeting yet. However, a statement of objectives has been circulated to the members of the committee. Orange shirts are in. Please pick them up. The team litter has arrived. Tony Gaier has installed new padding, new wheel and webbing. He'll take it up to the fire station to replace the old one. As far as pager 1 and 2 are concerned, there have been complaints that the pagers are old and no longer working properly. Lili Ziesmann will look into what it will take to replace them. Tony Gaier said he would just go ahead and replace the pagers out of the equipment budget. We will continue to think about pagers for all members, but there was no further discussion.


Steve Buckley reminded team members about the 606 Helicopter training on Saturday, May 17. He has invited various SAR related groups to join in the training. AMRC would probably not attend since they are holding a used equipment sale on the weekend. There would be an eco-challenge the first week in June sponsored by AMRC if anyone is interested in observing or participating


David Chapek reported that we have a new perspective member, Tom Rinck.


Lili Ziesmann reported that we did not have much income this month and that the United Way checks are varied when they arrive. She reminded the members about the $10. raffle tickets and membership cards. Lili also suggested that we think about attending the NMESC meetings. She agreed that it was a big commitment. People attending ESCAPE last weekend need to get their receipts to her today or send them to the P.O. Box.


Joyce Rumschlag read the minutes of the April meeting and corrected them to read that Lili Ziesmann set up the contribution page at the web site with the help of Tom Russo acting on the idea of Mark Espelien.


Tony Gaier has purchased 2 sets of snow shoes and 2 pairs of poles. Perhaps team members could sign them out next winter. He will be removing them from the locker for the summer to make room for other equipment. He also has one new rope.


Mike Dugger reported that he has 6 people interested in the WFR course which will be held in late August 2003. He will contact other teams to get enough for the class. The full blown class with recertification will cost $400. We also discussed reinbursement of 50% of the cost.

P.R. Committee

David Dixon reported that he was the only who attended the last P.R. meeting. He and Francis Robertson did their 10 Essentials talk to a group of hearing impaired 3rd graders at Hodgin Elementary, He read a very pleasant letter from one of the students that included a picture of a bear. He explained that bears are an important issue with children this age. Upcoming P.R. events in August include 23rd-Open Space Sunset Chat, 24th-Open Space Hike and 29th-UNM Day recruitment booth.

New Business

Adam Hernandez showed the team a patch that can have embroidered on our shirts from Silva's for $4.10.

Comments were taken from the floor pertaining to ESCAPE. Some of the classes commented about were: Fire behavior, Land Nav. Desert Survival, Climbing for ground pounders, Alzheimer subjects, Skeleton I.D.

It was again mentioned that there was not enough participation on our part in ESCAPE and next year we will get in early and be involved. It was stated that if we wanted to be involved, we should start now. If anyone has any more ideas on this subject, contact Steve Buckley.

We need to think about what type of equipment we need to require for people wanting to be on a snow team. We also need to find a new supplier for patches.

Steve Buckley commented on the upcoming mock search to be held in September 2003. Last year he worked the ICS end of it; this year he will focus on the teams. The main item will involve an airplane crash with injuries and fatalities. A committee was formed to work on the mock search. Steve Buckley will head the committee. Members include Robert Baker, David Dixon, Terry Hardin,Tom Russo, and Aidan Thompson. Adam Hernandez suggested that we somehow combine a BBQ with the mock search.

Meeting was adjourned at 2030.

Back to Top
Web News

The team website can be accessed at http://www.cibolasar.org/
Back to Top
Hamming it up, part 1. by Tom Russo

Amateur radio, or "Ham" radio, is ubiquitous in Search and Rescue. In this series of articles I hope to introduce Ham Radio to you if you haven't heard of it before, encourage you to get your license if you were sitting on the fence, and encourage you to get more actively involved in the Amateur Radio Service if you've just gotten your license but not done much with it.

Needless to say, this is meant to get your interest piqued enough to come to the training on the 21st.

What is the Amateur Radio Service?

The Federal Communications Commission has defined the Amateur Radio Service as a voluntary, non-commercial service, established for the purposes of "recognizing and enhancing" the amateur's value to public service and emergency communications, "continuing and extending" the amateur's "proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art," "encouraging and improving" the advancement of skills in "the communication and technical phases of the art," the expansion of the pool of trained radio operators, and the "continuation and expansion of the amateur's ability to increase international goodwill." That's a mouthful, but it says a lot: the service has been set aside to encourage some pretty good stuff, and you can be a part of it.

Amateur licensing

There are currently three classes of Amateur Radio license: Technician, General and Amateur Extra. The Technician license grants access to all amateur frequency bands above 50 MHz, and requires only that the applicant pass a written exam. If a Technician class licensee passes a 5 word-per-minute Morse code test then there are additional privileges granted: the licensee gets limited access to a few pieces of the 80, 40, 15 and 10 meter bands. The General and Amateur Extra licenses require the 5 word per minute code test and more extensive written exams; you must take the written exams in order, and can't get the higher level level license until you pass all the exams for lower level licenses.

Most amateur radio exams are now administered by "Volunteer Examiners" (VEs), and there are many opportunities to take the exams. Here in Albuquerque there was once a monthly testing session for the Technician class license, but this appears to have been reduced to a once-every-two-months session. The best way to locate an exam session is to go to the ARRL web site and use the navigation bar to access the "Exams" sub-menu of the "Licensing" menu.

Amateur Radio activities

Many members of this team and around the SAR community get their licenses so they can use Ham radio on rescue missions. This is the tip of the iceberg as far as what you can do with a ham license, and I really believe that it is a disservice both to SAR and to amateur radio to restrict your activities to keying the transmitter on a rescue mission.

Amateurs particpiate in many activities that could interest you. In the area of public service, amateurs provide communications support at races, parades and other special events. Amateurs organize to provide emergency communications support; Search and Rescue is just one form of this, but disaster communication is another Ham specialty --- many amateurs train to provide short and long-distance communications in the event that communications infrastructure is knocked out. Lastly, between disasters and special events, working with radio can be a fun hobby. Chatting with strangers is popular on the internet, but Hams were there first --- "rag chewing" is probably the most widely enjoyed aspect of the hobby. Operating contests provide nifty chances to earn awards while honing your ability to pull signals out of the noise or reach half-way around the world and pick up a contact from someone in Lower Slobbovia. The annual "Field Day" operating event is a combination of a contest and an excuse to practice operating in emergency-like conditions --- set up a station somewhere away from home, rack up contacts, pass traffic and earn points. In fact, this year's field day will be the week after our ham training.

Everything you do to further your enjoyment of the hobby in these regards will gain you some measure of knowledge and experience that will only help you as you work to become a better SAR communicator. I encourage you not to sell yourself short.

Getting started with Amateur Radio

It is not difficult to pass the Technician class amateur license exam. The question pools are available on the internet, there are books with all the questions and answers in them. You can pick one of those up and pass the test in a weekend if you really want to.

I have always been of the opinion that the approach in the last paragraph isn't the right one. Getting a license by learning the answers to a pool of questions earns you the same privileges that you'd get by learning the material the questions are meant to test you on, but after you're licensed you're missing out on lot more if you do it the fast way. Even if you prefer to get the testing out of the way first, I highly recommend that you take the time to start learning what all that stuff actually meant. Pick up a copy of "Now You're Talking" from the ARRL and read through it in your quiet moments.

After you get your license, there's more learning to do. A time-honored way to get that knowlege under your belt is to find an "Elmer." An Elmer is a more experienced ham who is willing to help you learn the ropes, get the most out of your equipment, and get the most out of your license. Joining an amateur radio club could be a good way to meet one.

Of course, having a license is only one step in the process of being a ham. Another important step is actually having radio equipment. If you've got cash dying to burn its way through your pocket, there are plenty of mail-order and internet stores where you can buy shiny new radios. If not, you can start looking for used equipment at "swapfests." These are held fairly often in our area, and I try to post info on them as I learn of them. Another good place to go for deals is the Duke City Hamfest, held every year in August. And each week there is a "swap net" held on all the Upper Rio FM Society repeaters in the state --- this is a great way to hook folks who want to sell used stuff up with folks who want to buy used stuff.

While not entirely the best approach for SAR work (where VHF FM tranceivers reign supreme), a time-honored way for hams to get equipment is to build it themselves. Naturally, this is an aspect of the hobby that takes some extra learning, and you usually start small, probably from kits. Home-built equipment is more likely to be found among the equipment you'd use for hobbyist activities, but it can have its place in your emergency communications tool bag. As a simple example, some members of Cibola have been building APRS trackers to enable them to transmit their locations to incident base directly from their GPS units.

In future installments of this series I hope to get into more detail about various communications modes, emergency communications operations, and to harp endlessly on the theme of "the more you learn the better an asset you are." In the mean time, please dust off your radio if you already have one, dust off your study guide if you haven't been reading it, and start getting into Amateur Radio.

Back to Top
Disclaimer and Copyright notice the Editors
The contents of this newsletter are copyright © 2003 by their respective authors or by Cibola Search and Rescue, Inc., and individual articles represent the opinions of the author. Cibola SAR makes no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in these articles, and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. Articles contained in this newsletter may be reproduced, with attribution given to Cibola SAR and the author, by any member of the Search and Rescue community for use in other team's publications.