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Amateur Radio Saves Family in Death Valley National Park


Death Valley National Park is in a remote desert in southern California, where mobile phone networks are spotty at best. On Saturday, April 6, a radio amateur and his family were enjoying the park when their vehicle became stuck in mud in a dangerous area. Without access to a cell network, the ham called for help on the 10-meter band.

According to a news release from the Black Swamp Amateur Radio Club, Caleb Gustwiller, KD8TGB, jumped into action.  

Gustwiller was monitoring from Ohio when he picked up the distress call. He was able to hear the call sign and the general location of the ham in distress. He lost the signal to the noise, so he wrote a post in the Parks on the Air® Facebook group asking for other hams to listen for the calls.  

Several hams contacted emergency officials in southern California, which led to the ham and their family being rescued within a few hours by park rangers. The club stated in their Facebook post: "Without Caleb hearing this distress call, it could have quickly become a very deadly situation for the operator and his family."



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