Tag Archives: radio

Sparky’s Tip of the Week #8 – Safety Equipment

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Sparky’s Tip of the Week #8 – Safety Equipment

Tips by Sparky

Tips by Sparky

 

Safety Equipment is essential to having a good and safe experience. You can never predict when a disaster will happen.

“Be Prepared” is a Boy Scout’s motto, so always go prepared. Do not leave it in the vehicle either.

When mushroom hunting, you are most often off trail and in the wilds, so being prepared can save your life

On Your Body:

—   Polyester or wool clothes + (During hunting season, advise wearing orange or red)

—   Rain pants +

—   Rain jacket +

—   Sturdy boots, water resistant or water proof +

—   Hat – appropriate for conditions +

—   Gloves

—   Wristwatch +

—   Compass + & mirror +

—   Whistle +

—   Hand lens

—   FRS walkie-talkie radio (optional)

—   GPS (optional)

—   Gaiters

—   Flashlight (small) & extra batteries

For Collecting Mushroom

—   Container, basket or bucket +

—   Knife, brightly marked +

—   Waxed bags (optional)

—   Foam head paint brush

In Your Backpack

—   Good map of area +

—   Lunch +

—   Water +

—   Extra clothes +

—   Sunscreen

—   Insect repellent

—   Trowel & toilet paper +

—   Field guide and keys + (All the Rain Promises, and More… by David Arora)

—   Spore making equipment (white & black paper)

—   Notebook & pencil

—   Camera

—   Emergency blanket +

—   First aid kit +

—   Matches (waterproof) or lighter*and fire starter

—   Walking stick

—   Bring a permit for the respective National Forest, if needed.

               +  =  Essential equipment to take into the field.

Sparky’s recommendations:

Sparky says: bring at least all the + items above.

Sparky says: join Steve at www.tourswithsteve.com for a mushroom tour.      Click here for a free emailed brochure.

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Sparky’s Tip of the Week #5 – Maps

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Tips by Sparky

Tips by Sparky

Sparky’s Tip of the Week #5 – Maps

Sparky has decided to write his own outdoor column called “Sparky’s Tip of the Week”. He hopes you enjoy some of his insights.

Maps

Maps are one of the essential pieces of equipment you need when venturing into the forest. There is several types of maps you will need.

First is a road map;

 

Second is a USDA Forest Service map and/or Oregon Department of Forestry map;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third is USDA Forest Service Ranger District map. Each National Forest is divided into several administrative Ranger Districts. Each Ranger District has its own maps that are combined topographic and roads map. These Ranger District maps are most useful for off-trail navigation.

 

Fourth is for mushroom collectors, the USDA Forest Service provides a mushroom harvest map, which outlines areas open for collecting wild fungi.

Sparky’s recommendations: Make sure you carry all of them with you, especially the USDA Ranger District maps. Pay close attention to road closure posted at the Ranger Stations or website (see below). People every years head down closed roads and get stuck. We hear about them later on the news being rescued or worse deceased. It is dangerous and foolish not to get information and maps before heading out into forest. Sparky promised to bite me if I ever forget to do so.

The best place to purchase maps is at the local Ranger Station. For the one nearest you go to www.fs.usda.gov/  and for maps http://www.fs.fed.us/maps/

Sparky says: join Steve at www.tourswithsteve.com for a mushroom tour. Click here for a free emailed brochure.

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Sparky’s Tip of the Week #4 – GPS Receivers

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           Tips by Sparky

Tips by Sparky

Sparky’s Tip of the Week #4 – GPS Receivers

Sparky has decided to write his own outdoor column called “Sparky’s Tip of the Week”. He hopes you enjoy some of his insights.

GPS Receivers

GPS Receivers are high tech equipment commonly used in car, boats, cell phones and hand held units. The value of the GPS Receivers is to give real time location within 10 feet 95% of the time using a network of 24 orbiting satellite. In urban area, GPS units are usually very functional.

You can choose from many different models of GPS Receivers. They can be loaded with either road maps or topographical maps or both. If you are going off-trail, topographical maps are recommended.

Here is some common features on GPS Receivers

  1. Tracking waypoints & routes
  2. Built in memory
  3. Camera & video
  4. Water resistance
  5. Barometric altimeter
  6. Wireless communication
  7. Tracker/Satellite messaging units
  8. Adding additional maps

When choosing a GPS Receivers you must consider what your main purpose is; off-trail or road or both.

Sparky’s recommendations: If you have been reading Sparky’s recommendations, you know by now to stay away for all the bells & whistles. Get a unit that will do exactly what you want to do. That is to get you from point A to B and back again. Make sure it is loaded with road & topographical maps of where you want to go. Units are generally not preloaded with topographical maps. If you are a road hunter, you may not need topographical maps.

The best thing about GPS Receivers is you still need a map and compass. Yup! That’s right. If you batteries fail or you are unable to get a signal because of tree cover, sunspot interference or you are at the bottom of a canyon, what good are GPS Receivers? You are probably going to have to take a class to learn how to best use your GPS Receivers units.

Bottom line is if you like playing with new technology, get one of these units. If you want to find your way around the wood and make it back home, stick with the reliable analog baseplate compass. Take a map & compass class; it will be much more useful.  For more info on compasses, see Sparky’s Tip of the Week #1.

Additional note: Many smart phones include GPS apps but these do not offer the same mapping and route planning capabilities as entry-level GPS Receivers.

Expect to pay $89 to $600 at any good outdoor store like REI, Cabellas, L. L. Bean.

Sparky says: join Steve at www.tourswithsteve.com for a mushroom tour. Click here for a free emailed brochure.

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Sparky’s Tip of the Week #3 – Two-way Radios

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- Tips by Sparky

Sparky has decided to write his own outdoor column called “Sparky’s Tip of the Week”. He hopes you enjoy some of his insights.

Radios for the forest.

When going out into the forest with a group (more than one person) mushroom hunting, a radio is very helpful.  Being able to communicate easily saves your vocal cords from having to yell “Hey, I just found the Mother lode!!!” Instead, you can say “Code 4” which means ‘Hey, I just found the Mother lode!!!’. It is much easier. So what do you look for when you purchase a two-way radio?  Here are some questions to ask:

Does it have?

  1. Waterproofness
  2. Headset Jack
  3. Battery life
  4. Type of battery
  5. Combo w/GPS
  6. Combo w/weather channel
  7. Range (i.e. Watts)
  8. Type of channels GMRS or FRS
  9. Number of channels
  10. Belt clips
  11. Repeater function
  12. Weight

Sparky’s recommendations: Let see, you go out with your main squeeze hunting mushrooms and she is hunting in the next county so Sparky recommends you get a radio with 100-mile range. Let us get real here folks, you might get ¼ mile or so away from someone so why get something you can bounce signals off the moon.

A FRS radio has up to a stated 2 mile range (do not believe it, it is more like 1/2 mile). This is usually adequate. A radio with FRS channel does not require a special FCC license.

If however, you do not plan to stay together or you are into POWER, it is recommended to get a more powerful 2 to 5 watt radio with a stated range up to 36+ miles(perhaps 5 miles).  A GMRS radio with longer range requires a FCC license. Visit www.fcc.gov for more information on licensing (Form 605). Current cost for license is $85.

Here is the reality about radio’s. Terrain, weather and obstruction are going to have a bigger influence on reception than anything else does. Those manufacturer’s mileages are based upon talking with a clear line of sight with no interferences.  If you are in the woods, mountains, trees, rock and even your body are all going to interfere.

Waterproofness is nice but Sparky make me keep my radio inside my jacket on a lanyard. I have not had a problem.

I like rechargeable batteries because I am cheap and it is a good green alternative. Nevertheless, I always carry extra alkaline batteries as backup.

As for the other features, let you budget rule. Having a weather channel is fine if you are planning a multi-day venture. You should be checking the weather before you head out.  Remember a smart phone is often not effective in the forest, unless you are in a urban forest. Where Sparky goes there is usually no cell phone coverage. This is why a good 2-way radio is essential.

Expect to pay for a pair $30-$445  at any good outdoor store like REI, Cabellas, L. L. Bean

Sparky says: join Steve at www.tourswithsteve.com for a mushroom tour. Click here for a free emailed brochure. (Roger! over and out!)

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