How I Used Ham Radio to Call for Help while Vacationing
I couldn’t help but smile and feel contented as our flight touched down Queenstown Airport in New Zealand. Like most of my summers since finishing colleges, I would team up with my friends and go for a vacation. Therefore the summer of 2013 was no exception.
My friends Ashley, Mike, Haron, Kyle and I had decided to go mountaineering and rock climbing in New Zealand after some inspiration of how great the sceneries of these emerald fjords and misted mountains of NZ were depicted in the Lords of the Rings.
The fresh air of NZ greeted us as we took a cab to the hotel where we had booked our stay. After some rest there, we contacted our travel agency to ensure all was well and after that we took a walk in this lovely city. We didn’t stay out much because we needed to have some rest as we prepared for the great adventures scheduled for the next two weeks of our stay in the region.
Climbing Mount Aspiring
This was our first place that we were scheduled to camp for three days as we mountaineer and rock climbed. Therefore after we arrived in the area, we never wasted any time as our guided tour took us through the best place to mountaineer. We had ensured all our safety gear as well as any personal effects that we might need were in place as well as camping materials.
Since all was going well as planned, we started climbing this amazing mount as we aimed to reach the horned peak by evening. The whole experience was not as easy as we anticipated. It was a real challenge even though our guide helped us note the best spots to mountaineer and once in a while the safest spots to try rock climbing.
Being an avid rock climber however, enabled me have an upper hand than my friends and thus they too relied on my expertise as much as they listened to our tour guide.
The higher we went, the more challenging it became while all the while becoming interesting. The sceneries from higher views were also so beautiful. Momentarily, we would halt to chat, take pictures and have some snacks as some histories about the mountains were explained to us.
A Call from Ham Radio Saved a Life
At midday, we stopped to have some lunch. I wasn’t feeling hungry so as others rested, I decided to explore the mountain myself. I went into the woods alone and after about 400 yards; I heard some yelling which came from a far. I stopped to listen and I was assured that it was a call for help. Instead of returning to tell the others, I decided to explore much deeper as I went towards the side where I had heard the shouts which had stopped.
That when I came upon an ugly scene whereby I found another rock climber on the ground writhing in pain after falling down while climbing. He was alone. He had tripped as he climbed and was badly injured. His right leg and arm had fractured and there was a pool of blood on the ground where he had fallen.
I immediately reached for my mobile to alert my friends but there was no signal in the area. That’s when I remembered that I had a mobile amateur radio in my back pack. I reached for it and made a distress call. After several attempts with no reply and I was almost to quit, I received a response from another ham user and explained what had happened. I then reached for my GPS and gave out the co-ordinates.
I then stayed with the injured climber as the ham receiver had promised to find some help. After about 30 minutes, I had my friends calling. My long stay made them to come looking for me. We helped each other administered quick aid to the injured climber. Shortly after, a medical chopper which had been dispatched to come carry the victim arrived and we helped the ER staff carry him to the chopper and continued with our expedition.