Amateur Radio Helps Rescue Injured California Outdoorsman
A relaxing weekend of camping and fishing did not go as planned when a member of a California outdoors club fell and broke his hip.
The Old Goats Mountain Club (OGMC) had worked their way along an old Forest Service Road into a rugged, off grid location in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Dave Johnson, KL7DJ, said his friend slipped and fell while trying to reel in a catch. The injury was so severe that the man could not be moved safely with a trip that could take at least 2 hours over the rough terrain.
Johnson is the only licensed amateur radio operator in the group and using the California Amateur Linking Radio Association (CARLA) system, he was able to call for emergency help from this vehicle. Greg Stamback, KD6VEN, located in the San Francisco Bay area responded and contacted the Shasta County EMS which dispatched a REACH 5 rescue helicopter from their base in Redding, California.
The entire rescue took about 1 hour and before the helicopter landed a local ambulance company arrived and was able to stabilize the injured camper. After surgery and 3 days in the hospital he is now at home recovering.
Johnson’s wife Linda, KL7ISN, helped coordinate getting their friend’s vehicle back to Redding. Using pre-planned contact schedules for Friday and Saturday and, after several makeshift auto-patches, the car was driven to a nearby highway where two other club members were able to take the car safely back home.
But the weekend was not over for amateur radio help. While the rest of the group was making their way out of the mountains on Sunday they were flagged down by a stranded motorist. His car’s gas tank had been punctured and his cell phone would not work. He was taken to a small community along the way where there was a landline, and he was able to call for help from AAA.
Johnson said the motorist was thankful for the help and another member of the OGMC suggested the motorist might want to consider getting an amateur radio license.
While waiting for a tow truck to arrive, Johnson and a couple of OGMC members talked about amateur radio and how it had helped over the last few days. One member suggested maybe even he should have a transceiver installed in his vehicle. Johnson plans to make sure his friend, and the motorist, get a complete demonstration.