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On March 6, 2004, DCS participated in providing relay communications for the California Region Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) recertification exercise.  This was conducted at the Firestone Boy Scout Camp in Tonner Canyon which is in the Southeast corner of Los Angeles County.  There were fifteen search & rescue (SAR) teams from various parts of Los Angeles County along with teams from as far away as the San Francisco Bay area to the San Diego area.  The host team was San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team.

DCS handled many modes of communications ranging from amateur radio 2 meters, FRS, MRA frequencies and LASD Sheriffs' radio.  It was a great exercise for us to hone our radio handling techniques using the various modes of communications as well as working with the various teams .  Paperwork was an additional part of the exercise in which we logged all the radio traffic utilizing the SAR radio log.

Many SAR members camped overnight at the site.  Lory Jefferson (W-05) brought his tent trailer to the recertification site on Friday evening and spent the night with the SAR teams.  Our DCS team arrived  at 0600 hours on Saturday morning.  At that time we discussed what needed to be set up and who was going to be assigned where for the day.  We had a total of eight operators available so it was decided that six would go to the relay site and two would remain at the IC (Incident Command) to relay traffic from the field units of the SAR teams to the various ICs at the base camp.  

We took our radio truck, 88H, with us for this exercise and established a relay point at a point above the canyon.  Lory Jefferson (W-05) took the lead of the group at the relay point.  The group set up the antennas and got the radios powered up and operating prior to the first scenario.

Our main mission was to provide radio relay between the IC and the field units during the ELT (Emergency Locator Transponder) exercises.  Three ELT scenarios with five teams each were scheduled throughout the day.  Each scenario lasted a maximum of two hours each.  We also provided relay communications for the other SAR teams not involved with the ELT exercise throughout the day.  The other scenarios were tracking, grid search and medical.

The new captain of the San Dimas Sheriff's Station, James Curtis, along with representatives of the San Dimas Station Boosters paid us a visit at our relay site and checked out our radio truck along with observing how we handled radio traffic.  Their visit was very much appreciated by all the DCS members.

The DCS IC was led by Keith Prebble (W-03).  Traffic originating from the SAR team ICs was either funneled through the DCS IC or directly to the DCS relay team to their field units as required.  Mostly logistical traffic was handled between the IC and the relay team.

LASD Air 5 paid us a visit by doing a flyby and conducting a short demonstration for all the SAR members to see.  After the demonstration, the Air 5 team did a low flyby down the canyon over the teams ICs.

We were used by many of the teams that were there which made the exercise a productive one.  We found some things that we need to work on and we have created an action list to address items.  Many of our team members have never actually used 88H so this exercise provided excellent training in a self-sufficient environment.

Many thanks go to those Walnut/San Dimas and C.A.R.D.S. DCS members who participated in this event:

David Cioni
John Davis
Dan Hyatt
Lory Jefferson
Carlos Perez
Keith Prebble
Wayne Pritzlaff
Ted Wong
W-118 (C.A.R.D.S)
W-39 (C.A.R.D.S)

Below is a copy of the local net message that was broadcast during the Monday night net on March 8, 2004:

Routine: 03/08/2004 1930 hrs.

To: All Walnut/San Dimas & C.A.R.D.S. DCS Volunteers

From: Keith Prebble W-03, Lory Jefferson W-05, Carlos Perez W-104

A special thanks to those who participated in the San Dimas Mountain Rescue MRA recertification exercise last Saturday. Our DCS group provided radio support in the field for fifteen Search and Rescue teams participating in the exercise.  Our operators, using 88 Henry, our 4 x 4 mobile Radio Center, handled traffic relays throughout the day in an exercise that required operation as a self-contained unit in real-world disaster conditions. 

Our efforts didnít go unnoticed judging by the feedback that we have received from the new San Dimas Station Captain, James Curtis, San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team, Sgt. Wineinger, Deputy Smail, San Dimas Station Boosters and many others.  A job well done!


Page Updated On March 30, 2004

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