Daily Archives: August 31, 2014

Non-Ham Radio Options for Being Rescued

Although I’ve been an amateur “ham” radio operator since the late seventies, people interested in getting rescued in a disaster or from being lost in the woods are not always interested in taking a test to get a ham license.

An option I hadn’t considered on this topic is the use of the aviation emergency “guard” frequency of 121.5 MHz. My otherwise unrestricted dual band VHF/UHF transceiver will work out of the ham band, but alas not on 121.5 nor the UHF 406 MHz frequency. So don’t think your $40 Baofeng will save you with this method (it’s still a fine ham radio).

The handheld aviation band radio pictured has the most important feature stressed by Steven Harris in an episode about radio preparedness on The Survival Podcast, http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/1322-harris-on-radio-preps.

From a description of the radio model found online:
“One-Touch Emergency Frequency Access. Just press the [121.5] key for instant operation on the VHF airband emergency frequency.”

Most aircraft monitor that frequency, and Mr. Harris will tell you how to make it more likely you’ll get a useful response to your distress call. He also provides a phone number you should write on the radio (taped or silver marker) to give a pilot to call for a very serious emergency help desk that won’t let you down.