Mountain Wave is a 501(c)(3) Oregon non-profit organization. All volunteer, 100% donation supported.
Wilderness terrain often obstructs easy radio communication, and many rescue situations occur beyond the reach of cellular telephones and modern public safety radio systems.
Compounding the problem of terrain obstacles, SAR communications are almost always hampered by incompatible radio equipment and frequencies. Large search operations can span multiple counties, and on Mt Hood here in Oregon, as many as 28 different agencies and organizations are involved in SAR responses.
Mountain Wave deploys people and equipment to overcome geographical challenges, and to link together all responding organizations, regardless of their standard radio equipment.
Our primary mission is to provide communications, 4X4, and backup medical support for search and rescue missions, ranging from tactical communications in technical rescue situations with a handful of rescuers, to large-scale systems for multi-day search operations covering large regions and hundreds of people.Our secondary mission is to provide communications and medical coverage for natural disasters and other emergencies.
Who Are We?
Our members are experienced 911 dispatchers, radio technicians, current and former public safety workers, and SAR field personnel.
But our field personnel are more than radio technicians - the wilderness SAR environment demands that they also be experienced in many other areas. We have members who are paramedics, EMTs or have extensive experience in airborne operations. More detailed member bio information is available on our Members Page.
What About Ham Radio?
Nearly all Mountain Wave members are also "hams" (amateur radio operators) and we often utilize amateur radio in the SAR environment.
But because our primary mission is to enable communications between all organizations responding to a rescue (ham radio is exclusively for the use of licensed hams) we generally operate on public safety frequencies of the agencies we support.
Our field personnel work with and alongside technical rescuers and ground searchers as part of the SAR team in the field, providing communications and thus freeing other personnel for technical rescue and medical aid tasks. For instance, we'll establish communications with aircraft for medical evacuations.
Our field personnel will establish radio relay points in remote locations accessible only by 4X4, quad, or on foot, either alone or with a rescue team. For instance, when EMS personnel need to drop into a canyon out of radio "view", our Tactical Relay will maintain a link to the trauma system.
The Tactical Relays are self-sufficient for at least 24 hours, and carry portable radios on all the frequencies we normally operate, as well as long-range antennas, batteries and spares.
To provide a more powerful relay station, we operate several 4WD communication vehicles with powerful radios on multiple frequencies, antenna masts, auxiliary power and computers for logging traffic. From these vehicles, we can provide manual relay and automatic relays (repeaters) across varied frequencies.
These vehicles also provide containment, audible and visible attractants to lost persons, and can remain on station for multiple day missions, if required.
We provide several mobile dispatching vehicles designed to complement the sheriff's mobile command post. Our Com vehicles are equipped with 911 dispatch positions, computers, radios on all frequencies, and Internet access.
We also provide radio equipment, mobile repeaters, an Internet hot spot, and a cache of portable radios and satellite tracking units for use by other personnel.
Our experienced staff can establish and manage LZs for helo loading and unloading, provide on-board observers, and maintain air-to-ground communications. With Portland Mountain Rescue, we have developed techniques to detect and RDF the Mt Hood MLU transmitters from aircraft.
Tracking & RDF Services
Our experienced staff can provide Cellular phone tracking for missing subjects. We can also provide sevices for locating Spot Sat Satellite tracking units, other PLB units, mountain locater units, Project Life Saver and ELT's.