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May 1, 2008 Comments (0) How-To Articles

Where’s Waldo? Using a signal mirror to stay found…

Testing Signal Mirrors On The Mountain

Testing Signal Mirrors On The MountainWhere’s Waldo?  Waldo in this case is Mr. Terrill Hoffman, the man behind the mirror. During Practice What You Preach Camp VII; Terrill Hoffman, Garrett Lucas, and I spent some quality time together testing signaling devices – the small PSK sized mirrors are to be discussed in this post.

The plan was to send Terrill deep into the woods up the mountain via ATV, approximately a mile away. He would be armed with a standard computer CD, a BCB May Day signal mirror, a Star Flash signal mirror, a Victorinox fiber backed signal mirror from their SOS kit, a mirror fashioned from commercially available auto mirror replacement material, and the standard sized Adventure Medical Kits mirror from the Ritter Pocket Survival Pack. Garrett and I would stay back to record the event, keeping in communication with Terrill via FRS/GMRS radio.

Long story short, The clear winner of the flash-off was the AMK signal mirror from Doug Ritter’s Pocket Survival Pack. It outshined the others with the StarFlash, BCB MayDay, and auto mirror replacement material coming in about tied for second place.  The remainder were tied for “show,” with the exception of the compact disc which was rated as an “also ran.”

Lessons learned?

 

  1. There’s no substitute for a quality made, dedicated signal mirror. The compact disk signal was simply not quick to spot and didn’t catch the eye well enough. Even with it’s massive size in comparision to the 2×2″ and 2×3″ dedicated signal mirrors, the CD was easily outshined. Let this not go unsaid – if a CD is all you have, by all means, use it!
  2. The larger the mirror, the better the signal.
  3. The better the clarity of the mirror, the better the signal.
  4. Buying a mirror? Buy two. One to practice with, the other to keep protected and scratch free until needed in an emergency.
  5. PRACTICE! It takes a bit of practice to learn to use a signal mirror properly.

After this set of simple tests, my kit will not be without a dedicated signal mirror again. A decent mirror will signal for miles and miles under the right conditions and can be seen for a good many miles through haze. A dedicated signal mirror is an excellent investment in promoting rescue in the event of emergency…

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