Emergency Traffic Relayed over AO-92 Satellite

Terrain in Big Bend National Park & Ranger response. W5PFG photo.

On August 27, 2019, Clayton, W5PFG, and his father Jack, AC5DI, were traversing the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, when their vehicle became stuck in mud from recent monsoon rains.

Being stuck up to the axles, they were unable to self-recover from the situation, requiring assistance from Park Rangers. August temperatures in this desert reach upwards of 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no mobile phone coverage outside park headquarters.

Clayton made contact via AMSAT satellite AO-92 with Kevin, KK4YEL, in Florida. During the satellite pass, stations stood by while Clayton relayed emergency traffic to Kevin. This information included details about the situation including precise latitude and longitude, the phone number for Big Bend National Park, vehicle description, and welfare of the party.

Other stations listening to the pass including Brian, KG5GJT, contacted the park headquarters. Within two hours, Park Rangers arrived on scene and recovered the stuck vehicle. No person was injured, and no equipment was damaged.

Clayton and Jack were traveling to DL88jx, a maidenhead grid square highly sought after by many ARRL VUCC members. Clayton had previously  made two successful trips to DL88jx. Both Clayton and Jack are very grateful to Kevin, KK4YEL, the responsiveness of the amateur radio community, and to the Park Rangers and staff of Big Bend National Park.

Incident discussion via Twitter quickly provided recordings of the AO-92 satellite traffic:

Recording courtesy of KQ4MM

Recording courtesy of CO6CBF/W5CBF

[ANS thanks Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, for the above information]