Mount Stevens Columbia Valley June 5, 2020

Ascent ridges from summit.

Hike scramble near Cranbrook with Kevin P and Gary H. Some snow near tree line and along summit ridge.

About 11.6 km and 1370 m in 8 hours including time waiting while guys did Teepee.

Pics

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South Baldy Ridge, May 27, 2020

South Baldy from Ridge

Afternoon with Kevin P and Dave S.

11.7 km, 680 m and 4.5 hours

Pics

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Junction Hill May 24, 2020

Junction Hill Main East ridge from summit

Nice hike/easy scramble with Kevin K.

Started from the gate on East side of stream and went up grassy/treed ridges from highway and joined East ridge about 1/3 the way up at a weakness. Almost stepped on a 6 foot garter snake in the rocks.

Followed ridge easily to top with some easy scrambling on rock but probably avoidable.

Summit has big cairn. went down west ridge and lost trail in broken rock and trees. trail swings off to east side and then back to west. follow ridge down to saddle and then follow old road or various shortcuts down to road.

Loop is 8.7 km and 760 m in relaxed 4.5 hrs.

Pics

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West Wind Pass -Windtower May 16, 2020

Windtower from trail – no overnight freeze so heavy postholing despite packed trail in snow.

Mostly easy walk to pass with some snow in trees. Heavy snow there after with some spots well over 2 m deep. Lots of people and trails but no over night freeze so all falling apart.

Did about 550 m before decided to go home.

Pictures

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Exshaw Mountain Loop May 8, 2020

Parked at school park lot and went across new bridge and over to trailhead,

Dry to summit in 1 hr 15 min from car and then decided to do loop which involved slow post holing to waist in the rain/sleet down to col and then follow flagging down to Prospector MB trail back to trailhead.

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Quarantine Activities March 14 to May 14

Bike riding, dog walking, stairs and basement workouts.

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Mockingbird Lookout April 25, 2020

Mockingbird Lookout
Devil’s Head and Castle Point

Trail was hard snow so carried snowshoes to summit. 400m?

Recognized Steve Tober from his pictures and had a good chat. We both picked this trip because of Sonny’s report. Smaller world than usual.

Tested the tactical antenna and could hit Blue Hill(30+ km to North), Barrier Mtn(40km to South) and Moose Mtn(60 km to SE! – line of sight). Impressive. Buzzz Kachunk.

Pictures

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Baofeng UV-5R Tactical Folding Antenna Test, March 20, 2020

ABBREE 42.5 inch VHF/UHF Tactical Folding Antenna for Baofeng UV-5R (with one fold. can double fold see pic in previous post)

Test of Tactical Folding antenna(self isolating in my car)

42.5-Inch Length ABBREE SMA-Female Dual Band 144/430Mhz Foldable CS Tactical Antenna for Baofeng UV-5R UV-82 BF-F8HP Ham Two Way Radio

Very good range for VHF even from valley bottom. Can hit repeaters up to 35 km away even over mountains.  ZZZZZZZ Kachunk! Worth carrying the 140 g for emergencies.

The usual 16 inch whip also does reasonably well on line of site even in the car. Hit repeater on Moose from high points on Highway 1 like Scott Lake Hill(~25 km) and hill East of Petrocan (32 km)

Not bad for a cheap antenna.

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Baofeng UV-5R VHF/UHF Radios for Backcountry Ski Use March, 2020


Baofeng UV-5R 8W with 3800 Mah Battery and 16″ whip dual Freq antenna which is good for VHF and ok for UHF. Also 42.5 inch fold up tactical antenna for emergencies to hit VHF Repeaters. Regular 1800 Mah battery for comparison.



Baofeng UV-5R 8W with 16″ whip, 1800 Mah battery, case and heavy duty waterproof Mic with longer cord and jack for 3.5 mm plug in listen only headset for helmet.

 

Baofeng UV-5R VHF/UHF Radios for Backcountry use(Should get Ham Radio licence)

Obtained my Ham radio licence last year so decided to review some Baofeng radios for my friends. I have both UV-5R’s and UV-5R 8 Watts.

Radios are great for intergroup communication and are really useful if group splits up, skiing in pairs, tree wells, wind, thick trees, accidents, etc.

Still best to have a In-Reach, PLB or Spot for satellite emergency calls. Simple and reliable can be good.

VHF radios can use repeaters for longer distances but can be complicated to use and program. Repeater use is not legal except in emergencies.

Radios can speed up response time/accuracy if can talk directly to Rescue or Heli.

The new SAR IF (Inter agency frequency 149.080 MHz) has promise but not yet in wide use.  SAR, Heli, Parks, Airforce, EMF can all talk together.

Relatively easy to use  keypad in frequency mode to setup several frequencies as Simplex (Tx and Rx on  same Freq) to use for a group communication.

Best to use Chirp  software on a computer to program and name multiple channels(up to 128 CH) with designated frequencies, offsets and tones and then use channel mode.

Create master file and use chirp to clone to all radios so consistent. Update changes on master file and re-upload to all radios.

Repeaters are Duplex -(Tx and Rx on different Freq with offset and tones) and are difficult to program manually.

All the commercial users and park repeaters have unique FOT (Frequencies, Offsets and Tones) for both uplink and down link and the use of their frequencies is banned except in emergency.

Parks, SARs, Guides, and Ham radio frequencies are also off limits except in emergency.

These radios are technically illegal to use unless have Ham License but not illegal to own or to listen.

Complaints about use are unlikely if stay off commercial frequencies/channels and use Frequencies like Family Radio Service(FRS) and GMRS channels in backcountry.

Usually no one else out there but if someone is using a FRS/GMRS channel then just move to another channel or frequency as the 5 or 8 Watts transmits will drown them out.

Privacy Codes, PL, DCS, CTCSS, etc are just Tones or digital squelch and I recommend backcountry skiers not use them as it prevents others from talking to you even if they can hear you.

If you have a problem or can see another group in trouble, then it will suck if you can hear a nearby group but cannot talk to them.

Many FRS radios have a default Privacy Code for each Channel which you should reset to none or off if you want to talk to other groups.

FRS(.5 Watt) and GMRS/BCA Backcountry Link radios have 2 watt max and have fixed frequencies and fixed antennas to prevent use or interference on commercial and Ham frequencies.

Remember to keep your radio and mic away from your avalanche beacon due to possible interference but properly working electronics are on quite different frequencies. Radios and devices that have been dropped can cause interference. AVI Transceivers are 457 KHZ; Cell phones are 824-894 MHZ, and PLB are 406.025MHZ

Baofeng  UV-5R are Dual Band 136-174 MHz(VHF) and 400-520MHz(UHF). VHF is better line of sight and UHF better in urban although concrete and rock stop anything.

Note VHF 148-174 MHz is commercial, 144-148 is Ham VHF, 430-450 is Ham UHF and the FRS/GMRS/BCALINK are all UHF 462 or 467.(see table below.)

UPDATE: March 20, 2020 

Test of Tactical antenna(self isolating in my car)

42.5-Inch Length ABBREE SMA-Female Dual Band 144/430Mhz Foldable CS Tactical Antenna for Baofeng UV-5R UV-82 BF-F8HP Ham Two Way Radio

Very good range for VHF even from valley bottom. Can hit repeaters up to 35 km away even over mountains.  ZZZZZZZ Kachunk!

The 16 inch whip does reasonably well on line of site even in the car. Hit repeater on Moose from high points on Highway 1 like Scott Lake Hill(~25 km) and hill East of Petrocan (32 km)



Here are some links to Baofeng Radios at Amazon.com. (Best to buy a pair.)

Easiest to buy ones that ship directly to Canada which are the cheapest UV-5R and the more expensive BF-F8HP. (Note can bulk buy from Baofeng direct)

Most people should just get the cheap UV-5R which works great as a inter group “walkie-talkie” with 4-5w output versus the 2 watt GMRS/BCLINK radios.

These are complex radios so all the extra features can be too much unless you are planning to get a Ham license or spend time studying the radio.

Access to an Amazon.com radio Shopping list with comments – hopefully you can view it. Go look at individual items for more detail.


Easiest to buy accessories in Canada except the 771 whip Nagoya antenna($17 USD versus $50 CDN)

Links to Radio accessories at Amazon.ca  with comments.

Consider programming cord,  2 pack of batteries(1800mah) or larger batteries(3800mah), waterproof mics and cases for both sizes of batteries.

Consider both sizes of cases to accommodate both battery sizes although can put foam block in large case if using the smaller battery.

Depending on transmit time/use/power, should get 15 to 18 hour with regular battery.

Various charging systems so can recharge from power bank or maybe easier to just have/carry spare batteries for multi day trip.

This will cover your basic needs for inter group communication..  If you get any of these may need someone to program them for you.


If really care about best deal then need to ship to USA address. The recent exchange rates are negating these deals.

A good deal is the UV-5R 8 W with accessories as the best package.(Best to buy a pair)($43.99 USD each)

(The BF-F8HP is better radio but costs more and is more complex but better manual)

(they do not ship the best deals to Canada but I have used a warehouse service in Eureka)

For USA delivery only I use https://www.montanashipping.com/ and register with them first.

Then use your name (not Montana Shipping) and the Eureka address which is just over border on way to Whitefish/Kalispell.(or use Sweetgrass address)

Small charge per item and may be some charges at border depending on item and how long you are in USA.

Legal for Ham radio(amateur radio guys) to import this stuff with no duties but not sure if just working on Ham license.

More info on radios and comparison charts, etc at  https://baofengtech.com/



Note VHF 148-174 MHz is commercial, 144-148 is Ham VHF, 430-450 is Ham UHF and the FRS/GMRS/BCALINK are all UHF 462 or 467.(see table below.)

Here are the FRS/GMRS/BCALINK Frequencies that I have programmed as channel 101 to 127. The 2 watt GMRS/BCLINK radios are in common use and work ok. The UV-5R can easily be set up to communicate with them. The UV-5R are complex but the higher power and the better antennas make them a better choice even if they are used just as walkie-talkies.

FRS/GMRS/BCALINK are all UHF 462 or 467 Simplex (Tx and Rx on same frequency – only one can talk at a time.)

Note the BCALINK have preset Privacy codes(Tones) that you need to match to talk to them and most FRS can be programmed with any code. The UV-5R can scan a frequency for the code that is being used and then you can match it if you really need to talk to someone. Note need to enter both TX and RX codes in the UV-5R to match the single code on the FRS/BCALINK radio.

Can be appealing to use privacy codes for inter group talk(they may beat us to that sick couloir) but then cannot talk with other ski groups in emergency unless reset the code. Recommend no codes to keep it simple.

Note this Table has been updated as earlier version had some typos.


Made up some radio cards for everybody on latest trip. Customize for each trip based on the area repeaters, Park, etc.  Emergency info checklist.

Print out, cut up and fold. Laminate if multi-day trip.

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Diana Lake Feb 28 to March 2, 2020 Backcountry Ski Cabin Trip

Lasagna. L to R. Les, Mark, Mark, Dave, Mike, Andy and me. Pic by Rory. Kitchen to left and bunks to right.

Dave skiing trees.

Alpine. The Judge Mountain to right. Steeper aspects had slabs so we skied trees. like right side of pic.

Typical terrain in trees. Dug a pit at tree line(HS ~ 6 -7 ft) and could not get a Ruschblock to fail with 250 lb guy jumping on it.

Backcountry ski trip to Diana Lake Lodge https://dianalake.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/dianalakelodge/

https://www.instagram.com/dianalakelodge/

In to cabin on Friday and out on Monday.

Some very good snow and skiing.

Cabin has been upgraded and was very good for our group with 6 in the cabin and 2 in the custodian building.

Alpine was considerable so mainly skied trees which had good snow and good lines.

Pics

 

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