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2m Hamming Off-Road

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 10:01

It is great to be able to reach out to an Amateur Radio repeater when off-road

You recently got your ham ticket and are eager to experience ham radio while four wheeling.

Installing a mobile 2 meter/440 radio

You’re ready to make the leap to a mobile radio. Great! Even though this is your first rig, installing isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Of course, if you’re not comfortable buying the parts or doing the work, find a handy helper. Ask your Elmer or contact a local ham radio club.

This is not a step-by-step review. I just want to provide you on overview of the process and encourage you to do it yourself. Radio use and access is very personal. I want you to be happy and comfortable with your radio installation.

Take your time on planning and installing the mobile radio. Use the steps below to break your project up into discrete manageable parts.

  • Install the radio
  • Provide it with “clean” power
  • Add an external speaker
  • Install the antenna

HT

In the meantime, get on the air with a quick and inexpensive option using a handheld radio (referred as “HT” – short hand for handy talky) and removable antenna. Long term you want the big power from your mobile radio!

HTs are available from a variety of suppliers. Do some research to find the right one for you. Most today are dual-band, covering both the 2m and 440 MHz (70 cm) bands.

The products you need include:

– Handheld radio and at least one extra battery pack.

– Mag mount or window clip-on antenna. Either can be used with a mobile radio, too.

This arrangement is essentially plug and play. The biggest challenge involves locating the antenna. Many 4WD vehicles don’t have trunks or hard roofs, so you’ll have to experiment a bit.

Try the hood or a fender. Do you get static or engine noise? Try the side opposite the AM/FM radio antenna to create space between the antennas.  Some guys attach to the swing arm for the spare tire (extra grounding may be needed).

Mobile Rig placement:

You want the rig accessible but not interfering with your field of vision or any controls on the vehicle. The radio and mic should be within easy reach.

Does your radio have a detachable front panel? Many 4WD vehicles have “secret compartments” that are great for hiding the body of a radio. But you’ll also need a spot for the front panel. Place it where there is minimal eye movement.

Some generalities apply to any type of mobile radio:

– Keep it away from direct sunlight and source of moisture (like under a seat).

– Make sure there is sufficient air flow around the unit. Even at low power the radio generates a fair amount of heat.

– The 9-pin DIN socket, on the back of the radio, should be accessible for ease of programming. Keep away from the dash panel, shifter or other part.

– Mount into metal using bolts. That’ll be more solid than trying to screw into plastic. Keep as many wires as possible out of sight and neatly stowed.

– Ground directly to the battery. Grounding to the body with the multitude of computers and circuits in modern vehicle, can result in interference with the radio or the vehicle operation.

Do you need ideas on where to locate your radio? Google – Ham radio install <insert your vehicle> and click on images.

Use clean power:

By this I mean tap the battery directly, for both positive and ground leads. The 12v power outlet works fine for an HT, but won’t handle the power needed for a mobile rig. Make sure both leads are fused, too. 12 ga. wire or larger is preferred.

Anderson Power Poles

Consider using Anderson Powerpoles and RIGrunner connector blocks. Powerpoles have standardized red and black leads designed to make connections easy—and error free.

RIGrunners are like power strips used in the home. They’re designed for Powerpoles and allow you to connect multiple devices to a single power source (the battery, in this case). Mount the RIGrunner to the inside of the firewall or hide in the glove compartment. Attach Powerpoles to the radio’s power leads, and use a grommet any time you run wire through the firewall.

RIGrunner

 

RIGrunners come in various sizes. Right now you’re focused on installing your 2m/440 ham rig. But even the smallest RIGrunner can support several devices. You have the flexibility to add an HF rig, CB radio or other devices later.

External speaker:

An external speaker is all but a necessity for four wheeling. The radio’s built-in speaker doesn’t put out much volume, and can be really difficult to hear while bounding around off road. A separate speaker is inexpensive and can be mounted where it’ll do the most good.

Antenna installation:

Having used a mag mount antenna already, you should have a good idea where to mount a permanent antenna. Of course, you can continue using the mag mount; there’s no requirement that you change.

If you’re uncomfortable drilling a hole, find a buddy. Done right, there is minimal damage to the body and you won’t have to worry about rust creep.

Next is the issue of cable. Antennas come with coax, and it’s generally RG-58 (1/4” thick). You could augment that with a thin style, like RG-174 or RG-188. Run a short section (keep it short to minimize signal loss) under a door frame, lift gate, or tailgate. Buy a barrel connector, too, so you can attach to the antenna cable. This option can also be used with a mag mount or window mount antenna.

With all the bouncing around we do while off road, barrel connectors can loosen over time. The result is static on the radio. As part of the 360 inspections, check the barrel connector on the coax, too.

One thing I should point out. Regardless of the type of antenna you use, it probably will have to be tuned. This requires an SWR meter designed for VHF and above. Make sure you test under normal operating conditions.

Installing a 2m/440 mobile radio may at first seem intimidating. But if you break it down into the various steps, you see that it’s a fairly straightforward process. If you still need help, there are numerous ham radio operators in your area willing and able to help. Ham radio operation adds an interesting and safety-oriented dimension to four wheeling.

#   #   #

Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

West side of Long Valley Caldera in CA

Summary of upcoming events.

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

We have new stock of all colors!

Yellow is back in stock! The Orange and Red went fast last time with blue not far behind so if you want a specific color order now while we have most of them available. The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready. Warning – the Bandana is not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in the Winching Recovery Bandana at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed. The original press release with larger graphics is on the website

73
KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

#####

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site?
You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4×4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2017, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Are You a Roads Scholar?

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 18:37

Borrego Springs, CA

 

Off-road vehicles aren’t exactly sports cars. In fact, just the opposite. We can’t safely drive then the same way as our family car. They take longer to stop, are less stable in fast turns, and sometimes have poor visibility. Poor drivers (the bottom 25%, or 1 in 4) don’t realize this. They often don’t allow us space (much less a semi) to stop, turn, etc.

Anecdotally, I figure I drive only about 10% of any four-wheeling trip off-road. That means 90% of my driving time is on paved roads. That’s probably true for you as well.

This means we must substitute reading terrain and picking lines with defensive driving and avoiding road rage for a greater distance.

Our defensive driving philosophy

To another driver on the road you are not a person but just a vehicle occupying space traveling at a certain speed. So, if you get cut off it is not personal. They are not talented drivers like you are. They are all idiots and they are likely to make mistakes (errors in judgement) right in front of you. And who is screwed if they make a mistake?  You are. But as a brilliant driver it is your responsibility to make sure you pay for fewer of other people’s blunders by leaving more space.
Do you really want to drive close to idiots? Leave space. Practice defensive driving!

When someone cuts you off or takes aggressive action that says, “my time is more valuable that yours”, does that frost your butt? Do you want to signal your displeasure? Before your let road rage take over, Think about this.
Do you believe that your action will teach them anything?  They are already idiots!
So, leave space, be polite, and try to anticipate the actions of other drivers.

Leave Space:
Ok – so we know, vehicle after vehicle is going to try to fill in that front space! But try to keep at least a 3-second gap between you and the vehicle ahead—much longer during inclement weather. Double the space in front if someone is tailgating your vehicle.

Anticipating actions of others: This is the fun part of highway driving! How often can you detect impending situations, subtle behaviors of the driver or the position of the vehicle and correctly call out the action? Why is the driver in front and one lane to your left continuously looking over his right shoulder? If he changes lanes without signally, did you call it? If the front right wheel of the vehicle beside you is creeping over the center divider, is he drifting or about to cut in front of you? Score if you get it right! Double score because you avoided an accident. But of course, watch for turn signals, brake lights and other signs of an impending move. If traffic is bunching up, it could indicate an accident or road condition up ahead. If at a lighted intersection, pause for a second or so after getting the green light. Make sure all the cross traffic is stopped or visibly slowing down, no one is running a red light, or thinking of turning in front of you. Watch for bikes, smaller motorcycles and pedestrians.

Aggressive drivers: This was the leading cause of accidents until smarts phone popped “distracted driving” to the top of the list.   Don’t let aggressive drivers get to you. Let the idiot pass so he can get out of your space. Stay focused on your drive, and avoid the temptation to offer the one-finger salute. You risk escalating the situation to a case of road rage.

Speaking of smart phones, don’t pick the highest risk area (like approaching intersections) to succumb to temptation and look at your messages!

“Stale” green light: Cruising at 60 mph you’re coming upon a green light you didn’t see change, but wonder if it’ll change soon. Contrary to popular instincts, you don’t accelerate. There are clues to help you decide if there is still time or it is about to turn. If the road ahead is clear and the on-coming pack of cars is well past you, the light has been green quite a while (at least in the life cycle of a green light). If traffic going in the other direction is piling up at the red (6 or more) or the left turn is stacking up, it has been green for quite a while. In these cases, you have only 1 – 3 seconds of green left. Just a few seconds left and you’re not quite to the intersection. Do you take it or slow down for the yellow light you know is coming? At what point do you make that decision?

We put a lot of stress on our vehicles off-road. Critical parts can be a hair away from failure. For all problems, you find there are others for which no visual check can detect before getting on the road. These parts failures and the remote highways we drive, means you’re going to face challenges while behind the wheel. There are many, and I’ll address a collection of them here

No brakes: Normally we find the broken lines and leaking fluid in our 360 checks of the vehicle before getting back on the road. (BTW, there are 2 absolute items you very much want to check – that you can steer and stop the vehicle!)

There are problems that will not show up in a 360 check. Hard lines running the length of the frame can be rubbed thin after 300,000 miles of hard use. Drum brakes packed with wet sand will grind your brake pads, making them ineffective in as little as 100 miles.

So, quickly determine if anything has rolled behind the brake pedal. Pump the brakes to help build pressure. Stab and hold the brake pedal while downshifting. Apply the emergency brake, and steer off the road. As a last resort, scrape the side of the vehicle (another advantage of having rock sliders!) against the guard rail or roadside brush; this could slow the vehicle. If there’s an exit lane on your side of the road—especially a truckers’ runaway lane—take it. I have always wanted to try one of these but without the terror of really needing it!  Coast to a safe spot off the road.

Steering failure: This can be scary at 60 mph in the middle lane of a 3-lane highway. Grip the wheel as steering will be difficult. Apply steady pressure to the brakes, and find a safe place to pull over. Steering failure can be caused by several factors, including loss of tire pressure, as well as a broken belt, hose, tie rod end or track bar. The worst is a tie rod end disintegrating or a track bar letting go. Without these items as a fulcrum, turning the steering wheel has no effect. There are known cases of an adjustable track bar braking in half where the threaded rod was welded into the bar. I assisted a driver, who lost the bolt on one end while driving 65 mph on the interstate. Luckily, he made it to the shoulder. All I did was provide a new ½ x13 bolt so he could get home.

Tire blow out: And speaking of steering difficulty with loss of tire pressure … God knows we abuse our tires off-road. For a tire blowout accelerate slightly to maintain speed. (Yes, I know this sounds odd.) Counter steer to offset the pull caused by the blowout. Once in control, slow down and look for a place to exit. Pull over on the same side of the blowout so you can safely replace the bad tire.

Sudden acceleration/stuck throttle: Stab the accelerator several times, and shift into neutral. Stand on the brakes—use both feet if necessary. If the vehicle goes into neutral, it’s best to leave the engine running so the steering and other systems continue running until you are in a safe spot.  Newer “drive by wire” vehicles may not respond to shifting to neutral so try to kill the ignition. A built in override of 3 jabs on the start button might do it. If that doesn’t work, press and hold for several seconds (check your owner’s manual – now– not during the crisis).

Animal collisions: Take extra precaution if driving in an area or at a time when animals are likely to be on the move. Reduce speed at dusk and watch for wildlife along the roadside (and the telltale shining eyes). If you see a large animal by the road, lay on the horn—deer, in particular, will often flee.

Do you see the Deer?

Don’t take unsafe evasive action to avoid an impact, except for large animals like moose and elk – well maybe skunks too. Reduce your speed as best as possible, and aim for where the animal is coming from. You’re hoping for a glancing blow. Let off the brakes just before impact.

 Crisis stop: Our 4- wheel drive vehicles are designed to turn off ABS when we engage 4WD. Some turn it off for both 4 high and 4 low. Others only for 4 low.  Remind yourself which mode you are in. If your vehicle has ABS active, stomp and hold pressure on the brake pedal. Try to steer clear of the situation. If you don’t have ABS active, you can simulate it by pumping the brakes. Keep a solid grip on the steering wheel so you maintain control of the vehicle.

As a veteran driver, you most likely have faced many of these situations. (I know you’ve encountered aggressive drivers!) Take the time to thoroughly read and internalize this information. Visualize how you would react should you face any of these situations. That mental exercise can pay dividends. You can’t do anything about other drivers or nature’s hazards, but you can put the odds in your favor with proper education and preparation.

#   #   #

Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

West side of Long Valley Caldera in CA

Summary of upcoming events.

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

We have new stock of all colors!

Yellow is back in stock! The Orange and Red went fast last time with blue not far behind so if you want a specific color order now while we have most of them available. The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready. Warning – the Bandana is not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in the Winching Recovery Bandana at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed. The original press release with larger graphics is on the website

73
KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.#####

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site?
You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4×4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2017, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

San Rafael a Swell of a Drive

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 15:59

The Little Grand Canyon in the San Rafael Swell

Sometimes the best 4WD trips are those taken mostly on a whim. Such was the case with my recent visit to the San Rafael Swell of Utah. It is a fascinating area, and one that offers a tremendous amount of four wheeling opportunities.

Running right up the interior of Emery County in central Utah, the San Rafael Swell is part of a large and intriguing land mass. Tens of millions of years ago massive upheavals in the planet’s crust created a “dome” of rock—a swell in scientific terms. Over time the elements carved away at the rock leaving valleys, canyons, mesas and other formations. The heart of it all is called San Rafael Swell. Imbedded in the Swell is a section called Little Grand Canyon for its resemblance to the more famous attraction.

This land form, covering about 2,000 square miles, is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. In addition to the San Rafael Swell, the area boasts San Rafael Reef, Goblin Valley State Park on the south-eastern end, and numerous other natural features.

Bordered by state highway 24 and US 191 to the east and state highway 10 to the west, the entire area covers about 2,000 of the county’s 4,400-plus square miles. Several communities surround the Swell, with Hanksville to the south and Price on the northern end two of the larger towns. Emery County estimated 10,631 souls in 2014.

I was vaguely familiar with San Rafael Swell when I set out in May. My destination was Moab. But if you know me, you know I can’t pass up the chance to check out some new terrain. If I can add another tour to my list, that’s even better. I love introducing new trails and excursions to my guests.

Over the course of three days, I put on more than 500 miles. Driving conditions varied from fairly easy dirt trails to very challenging boulder climbs. In the north, the San Rafael River was running too deep to cross safely. I was forced to back track on the trail.

While you can enter parts of the natural area from highways 24 and 10, I-70 that bisects the county in an east-west fashion provides quick access with at least three exits that take you into this unique area. From there you can explore using established routes like Moore Cutoff Road and Cottonwood/Buckthorn Wash. The whole point of this exercise was to challenge myself and find new places. So most of driving was on the smaller, unmarked trails.

I saw the two arched bridges that span I-70 up close and personal—from down below. Stopping at the Wedge Overlook afforded me a fantastic and memorable view of San Rafael Swell. It does look a lot like a mini-Grand Canyon – only better if you have only seen the Grand Canyon from the south side!

From the mid-1800s into part of the 20th century, assorted families eked out a living in Emery County. You get a sense of their livelihood in the names of features you encounter. You’ll find Rod’s Valley, Swasey’s Cabin, Clyde & Neil’s Pond and Justensen Flats, to name just a handful.

As for trails, you can try Devil’s Race Track, with its “most difficult” rating. (I didn’t try that one; might hit it the next time.) Or Fixit Pass, so named because, according to legend, every time you drive through it, you have to fix something.

Several tunnels allow off-road traffic to cross under I-70. However, you have to be careful, because they’re not that large. One was only 8’ x 8’—just wide and tall enough for my lifted Land Cruiser to squeeze through.

Not all the time was spent on the trails. Hankering to visit Hanksville, I popped into that community, located in the southern end of the county. While there I also spent some time in Goblin State Park. Back on my first day, I dropped in on the BLM office in Price for some maps and good advice.

It was a whirlwind tour, but very much worth it. Having just scratched the surface, I know there’s a lot more to discover in the San Rafael Swell area. Remote with some campsites and campgrounds sprinkled about, this destination offers a great escape for anyone looking to travel the back trails of America. Meaning, it’s ideal for a 4WD excursion.

Like any trip, preparation is key. Pack as you would for any drive to a remote area. Buddy up with at least one other vehicle, and tell your family where you’ll be and when you expect to return. Because cell coverage is spotty, an alternative communication device would be handy.

National Geographic publishes a really good map of this area. It’s available at the BLM office for about $10. Made of waterproof and tear-resistant paper, it uses the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) mapping system. It was easy to incorporate the information into my GPS and pinpoint my location at any time. Very cool.

The San Rafael Swell area is one of those undiscovered gems you hope for while four wheeling. Since returning, I’ve spent a lot of time digesting all that I experienced. One thing is certain: I will be back. Perhaps you can join me next time.

#    #    #

Finding a Professional 4WD Training Instructor

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:22

With the growth in off-road recreation there is an increasing demand for quality 4WD training. There is a huge difference in driving a 4WD off-road and driving a passenger car on the street. A great deal of skill is needed and many intuitive reactions need to be re-learned so they are immediately available to safely navigate hills, ruts, mud, sand, snow, water and off camber situations.

Currently anyone can hold themselves out as a 4WD trainer. How do you sort out the back yard want-a-bes from the professionals? Your life might depend on the quality of the training you receive so it is worth investigating your potential 4WD trainers. Knowing how to avoid a roll over might save your life and those of your family. Receiving good instruction up front can save you hundreds of dollars by avoiding the purchase of poor quality or inappropriate equipment.

4WD clubs are a great opportunity to share your enthusiasm with friends, find new trails and provide an agenda to get you out wheeling on a regularly basis. However, don’t be lulled into thinking that a friend or the club you joined will supply all the training you need. Most clubs do not have training as a primary goal. You often learn by trail and error as they drag you through obstacles way over your ability. In 3 to 5 years you will have assimilated enough information to become competent in skills, preparation, environmental impact,vehicle dynamics, and safety involved in this sport. A professional can provide you with the instructional quality necessary to begin your off-roading experience with confidence and advance yours skills over a much shorter time frame.

Perhaps you have the good fortune to have several 4WD Training Providers in your region, giving you the opportunity to compare and choose. To overcome the want-a-be who is looking for some pocket change from his or her weekend hobby or the person who is not fully committed to their task, the first step is to look for a Trainer who is certified by the International 4-Wheel Trainers Association. Trainers who are members of I4WDTA are rigorously tested and must demonstrate a thorogh understanding of 4WD skills, vehicle dynamics, repair, environmental ethics, navigation, first aid, teaching methods, and much more. If the instructors at the school you are considering are not members of I4WDTA you need to probe into why they are not certified and ask a lot of questions. It should be easy to determine if they are I4WDTA certified. Most schools are proud of the hard work and commitment resulting in certification and will advertise it in their brochures and on their web sites. Check out Badlands Off-Road Adventures 4WD Training School..

The second issue is that while some trainers are certified, they are not fully committed. 4WD training is not their primary occupation. You want a dedicated school with a regularly published training schedules. The school should have general liability insurance and all required permits required by Federal, State and local land managers. An I4WDTA certified instructor is required to have extensive First Aid training in an accredited 72 hour Wilderness First Responder course.

And finally, select a 4WD school that has depth of course offerings that you can progress through. Don’t be surprised if your first experience with a qualified trainer turns into a long term relationship with repeated contacts. It’s like that with a good instructor!

Badlands 4×4 In The Media!

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:18

Check out the full list of all the publications Tom Severin and Badland 4×4 Training has been involved with. Tom Severin has contributed to many great publications like 4WDrive – a Canadian off-road magazine, In Gear – California 4 Wheel Drive Association’s Magazine, Off-Road.com, Four Wheeler Network and many others. In addition to his direct contributions, Severin has had multiple spotlights done on him, his business and classes by many editors across the print and online publication world. 

How To Properly Abandon A Vehicle

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 11:12

As Trail Leader, you should plan for issues and problems. Some plans are generic since you cannot predict the exact situation. You apply your skills, tools, and techniques to the problem. A first aid kit is a good example. For some issues you can speculate what might happen and develop a specific contingency plan. One that falls into that category is the need to leave your vehicle behind.

One of the toughest decisions a four-wheeler has to make is whether to abandon a vehicle. Fortunately, abandonment is a rare occurrence in the 4WD world. Even so, you should know what steps to take in case you as Trail Leader are faced with the issue.

If you must leave your vehicle after exhausting all other alternatives–including towing it—consider these issues:
  • Generally what kinds of items to take and what to leave.
    • Firearms, electronics and other valuables should be removed. While theft on the trails is rare, it can happen.
  • How to secure the vehicle and the contents left behind.
    • Decide what to do with a trailer, if one exists. Can another vehicle tow that, or does it stay behind as well?
  • Plan to recover it later
    • Mark your position on the GPS, and write this down. Do not try to rely on memory. Landmarks and terrain appear different from various positions and angles.
    • How long before your return. Leave a note if appropriate.
  • Can it be moved so it is not blocking the trail?

We are not talking about an emergency abandonment of the vehicle because your life is in danger (vehicle on fire). This is a planned abandonment when you have other transportation: Your vehicle is disabled and you have decided to press on for the benefit of your guests.

Modify the list to suit your needs. Click for larger image.

Most of us have many small items (and backup items) tucked here and there throughout the vehicle wherever they will fit. Sometimes items are spread out over several bags and containers. These are bags that are always with you. But what happens when you leave the vehicle behind? You have to leave some gear behind too. There is likely not enough room in the support vehicle(s) providing you with transportation.

In the rush to clear out the disabled vehicle, it’s easy to forget the everyday stuff: batteries (especially if in the glove compartment or other hidden spot), sun glasses, hat, boots, and such.

The probability is that you will forget to take all the essentials. A simple example is replacement AA batteries. You remember to take your GPS, camera, and radios but forget to pull the 12v charger out of the socket. You have three or four places with backup AA batteries (the center console, in a spares case in the back, in the radio bag, etc.). None of these batteries made the transition. You decided to take only one bag and that one does not have batteries in it and didn’t think to look in the center console. BTW you forgot your sun glasses too.

The Go Bag you carry (you have one, right?) makes a very nice container and starting point to gather all the additional items you need.

Assess the supplies and tools the other vehicles have. You might feel it is not necessary to bring your recovery gear but might feel uncomfortable relying on a first aid kit you are not familiar with.

Preparation for this contingency is as simple as preparing a check list.

With the multitude of potential problems for which you can write a contingency plan, why did I choose to share Abandon Your Vehicle?

As a Trail leader, it revolves around having a customer mind set and customer focus. The loss of your vehicle (hopefully temporary) should not be a show stopper for the outing and the customer experience. As long as other transport is available, you can continue as the Trail Leader.

Your vehicle can be dealt with after the trip, after everyone is in camp for the night, or by your tail-end gunner. The key is the checklist. Use it to ensure you take the necessary items for your comfort, health and hydration, along with the tools needed to safely manage the trip and take care of your guests.

How To Properly Abandon A Vehicle

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 00:00
How To Properly Abandon A Vehicle
Need parts!
Click on the picture for a large image.


As Trail Leader, you should plan for issues and problems. Some plans are generic since you cannot predict the exact situation. You apply your skills, tools, and techniques to the problem. A first aid kit is a good example. For some issues you can speculate what might happen and develop a specific contingency plan. One that falls into that category is the need to leave your vehicle behind.

One of the toughest decisions a four-wheeler has to make is whether to abandon a vehicle. Fortunately, abandonment is a rare occurrence in the 4WD world. Even so, you should know what steps to take in case you as Trail Leader are faced with the issue.

If you must leave your vehicle after exhausting all other alternatives--including towing it—consider these issues:
  • Generally what kinds of items to take and what to leave.
    • Firearms, electronics and other valuables should be removed. While theft on the trails is rare, it can happen.

  • How to secure the vehicle and the contents left behind.
    • Decide what to do with a trailer, if one exists. Can another vehicle tow that, or does it stay behind as well?

  • Plan to recover it later
    • Mark your position on the GPS, and write this down. Do not try to rely on memory. Landmarks and terrain appear different from various positions and angles.

    • How long before your return. Leave a note if appropriate.

  • Can it be moved so it is not blocking the trail?
We are not talking about an emergency abandonment of the vehicle because your life is in danger (vehicle on fire). This is a planned abandonment when you have other transportation: Your vehicle is disabled and you have decided to press on for the benefit of your guests.

Most of us have many small items (and backup items) tucked here and there throughout the vehicle wherever they will fit. Sometimes items are spread out over several bags and containers. These are bags that are always with you. But what happens when you leave the vehicle behind? You have to leave some gear behind too. There is likely not enough room in the support vehicle(s) providing you with transportation.
Modify the list to suit your needs.
Click on the picture for a large image.

In the rush to clear out the disabled vehicle, it’s easy to forget the everyday stuff: batteries (especially if in the glove compartment or other hidden spot), sun glasses, hat, boots, and such.

The probability is that you will forget to take all the essentials. A simple example is replacement AA batteries. You remember to take your GPS, camera, and radios but forget to pull the 12v charger out of the socket. You have three or four places with backup AA batteries (the center console, in a spares case in the back, in the radio bag, etc.). None of these batteries made the transition. You decided to take only one bag and that one does not have batteries in it and didn’t think to look in the center console. BTW you forgot your sun glasses too.

The Go Bag you carry (you have one, right?) makes a very nice container and starting point to gather all the additional items you need.

Assess the supplies and tools the other vehicles have. You might feel it is not necessary to bring your recovery gear but might feel uncomfortable relying on a first aid kit you are not familiar with.

Preparation for this contingency is as simple as preparing a check list.





With the multitude of potential problems for which you can write a contingency plan, why did I choose to share Abandon Your Vehicle? As a Trail leader, it revolves around having a customer mind set and customer focus. The loss of your vehicle (hopefully temporary) should not be a show stopper for the outing and the customer experience. As long as other transport is available, you can continue as the Trail Leader.
Your vehicle can be dealt with after the trip, after everyone is in camp for the night, or by your tail-end gunner. The key is the checklist. Use it to ensure you take the necessary items for your comfort, health and hydration, along with the tools needed to safely manage the trip and take care of your guests. # # #

Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Badlands Off-Road Adventures in Saline Valley DVNP
(Click picture for a larger image.)

Sign up now for the Wilderness First Aid Class scheduled for June 3 & 4 near Gorman, CA

It is not too soon to sign up for the Rubicon Trip in August and begin to prep your vehicle. Sign up for a Rock clinic as well!

We plan to schedule a number of Tire repair clinics once we find room for them. Send us an email if you want to be put on a wait list.


Summary of upcoming events.

Yellow is sold out
Click for higher resolution image Yellow is sold out!

The Orange and Red went fast last time with blue not far behind so if you want a specific color order now while we have them all available.

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull.

Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready.

Warning – the Bandana is not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in the Winching Recovery Bandana at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

The original press release with larger graphics is on the website

73
KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2017, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Wilderness First Aid Training Valuable On And Off The Trails

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:59

Caught by a sudden gust of wind, the Jeep careened into the cement retaining wall in the median.

We were returning from the Easter Safari at Moab. It was a nice drive that Saturday: sunny and warm but gusty. Soon after turning onto I-15, my radio crackled. Tim, one of my friends, excitedly reported a “major accident” involving a vehicle that had just passed him in the fast lane.

Caught by a sudden gust of wind, the Jeep careened into the cement retaining wall in the median, then bounced off into the guard rail on the other side, flipping several times in the process. Tim managed to narrowly miss being involved in the carnage.

I stopped as quickly as I could. Grabbing my first aid bag, I hurried to the scene. The Jeep came to rest on its side, with the roll bar pinning the driver underneath.

As I began my initial assessment, I glanced up and saw Tim. Reaching the vehicle first, he had made sure 911 was called, stopped traffic, turned off the vehicle, and checked if there was a possible passenger. “I felt so hopeless,” Tim said. “I did everything I could but I had no idea what to do medically.”

Value of Wilderness First Aid class

Tim’s response was very typical (and I don’t mean that in a critical way). Without the proper training, individuals don’t know what to do when they come upon an accident or other serious incident. I am certified as a Wilderness First Responder and have taken numerous recertification classes over the years. So, my reaction was somewhat more measured based on a plan drilled into us.

This incident reinforces/emphasizes the value for four-wheelers—really, anyone—to learn first aid skills. And because four wheeling takes place in remote areas, I suggest participants take the Wilderness First Aid class. An added benefit is that this training hold you in good stead in urban areas, as well.

At the time of the accident, we were about 45 miles from the nearest community with a trauma hospital (St. George, Utah). Recall that our definition of wilderness is any place two or more hours away from definitive medical care. We weren’t at that distance this time, but it was still a significant distance. Authorities didn’t take any chances: They dispatched a helicopter to the scene.

Wilderness Medical Associates teach a Patient Assessment System that contains a 3-step process to evaluating an injury or medical emergency. I will tell you a bit about it but this article can in no way substitute for hands on training.

Scene Size Up

The first step is an assessment of the scene. Though you’re eager to help, don’t go rushing in. Spend a moment just observing. You’re looking for hazards that could endanger your life and anyone else’s. These include downed power lines or a vehicle on a precarious angle that could roll over on you.

When making your initial scene assessment, determine the method of injury (MOI). The three categories are trauma, medical and environmental. Although some incidents fall under more than one category, there is a predominant MOI.

Trauma refers to significant injury such as the car accident we saw. Heart attacks & strokes are considered medical conditions. Environmental incidents include severe allergic reactions (bee stings, for example), heat strokes, hypothermia and even asthma attacks.

Determine how many patients, how many rescuers, and by standers, etc.

Primary Assessment

Next, perform an assessment of the patient. Using the BLS (basic life support) protocol, you check circulation, respiration and the nervous system. Find any issues that will kill your patient if not fixed right now – e.g. not breathing, severe bleed. A broken arm is not urgent if he is not breathing.

Note any obvious bleeding or injuries. If possible—and with gloved hands—inspect the victim thoroughly for severe bleeding.

In the above incident, the driver was talking and moving about. It was apparent he was conscious and breathing, and (most likely) did not have a spinal cord injury but not worth taking a chance. Spinal injuries, by the way, are a big concern in vehicle crashes or other violent incidents. Try to keep the patient still. People often want to get up and move around. Unless they’re in imminent danger—say, the vehicle is on fire or they’re in traffic—keep the person still.

In an urban environment with EMS on the way, BLS is about all you can and have time to do. In a wilderness context, you move to the next step. You delay calling for help until you complete the secondary assessment so you know what help is needed and the level of urgency.

Secondary Assessment

The third step is known as a secondary assessment. There are three major parts. They are not always done in a specific sequence. The situation may dictate which step you do first.

At this stage, you’re trying to get more information from the victim. Details such as medicine they’re on, allergies, symptoms, pertinent medical history, what they recall about the incident, so forth. All useful information in determining your action plan and anticipated problem.

On my problem list was

  • MOI spine – anticipated problem spinal cord injury:
  • MOI Internal injuries – anticipated internal bleeding;
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – anticipated increasing internal cranial pressure (ICP);
  • Broken right arm – anticipated problem nerve and circulator issue;
  • and the weather (cool & windy) – anticipated hypothermia.

In the secondary assessment stage, you have time to check vital signs (pulse, respiration, level of consciousness, etc.) at regular intervals. Vital signs are one of a few tools we have in the field to determine what is going on inside the body.

And you have time for a physical exam head to toe. Inspect, listen, and palpate (means touch). Find out where it hurts or tender and to what extent.

Addendum

EMT showed up in 16 minutes with the helicopter just a few minutes behind. I briefed the EMT and left. He was flown to St George for care. I never found out the results.

Where to find a first aid class

First aid classes, among other training, are offered by a host of organizations. Two I’m familiar with are Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) and National Outdoor Leadership School. Courses run from two to nine days. A two-day course is a good starter. I have taken numerous courses through WMA, and highly recommend their programs.

Incidentally, I am sponsoring a Wilderness First Aid Course on June 3 and 4 2017. An instructor from WMA will teach the class. You receive hands on training in the patient assessment system. This is a good opportunity for you to get your first aid and CPR certification as the summer four wheeling season begins.

An emergency can occur anywhere and at any time. A two-day wilderness first aid course, though covering only the basics, give you the skills and confidence to assist in many situations. Whether my course this June or one offered by another organization, I highly encourage you to sign up. And take your spouse along. The more people in your family who get this valuable training, the better.