On the Memorial

Cima Evidence Search


Morongo Desert Run

It's almost time again for MBSAR's (Morongo Basin, Unit 218) annual fundraiser; the "Desert Run". This is our 37th year and the event takes place on the 1st weekend in October. The actual Run this year is on Saturday the 1st of October but MBSAR members will be preparing all week for this popular event. We have the whole weekend planned for your enjoyment!

There' will be affordable meals available along with off-road games such as a vehicle "teeter-totter" competition and an "articulation ramp". There'll also be some vendor sponsored off road exhibits at our "Base Camp". This a family event and not a race and all types of 4-wheel drive vehicles / ATV's / UTV's /  Dirt Bikes / "Buggies" & "Rat Rods" are encouraged to show up and participate. The event takes place on and around  the famous Means Dry Lake off Hwy 247 in the BLM Johnson Valley OHV Area.  Just think "King of the Hammers" but on a small, friendly & local level. So pack up for an off-road camping weekend and join in the fun!

The event is an off road course approximately 15 to 20 miles long and will have an "easy" and a slightly "harder" path (both clearly identified) for you to navigate around to 5 check points. We'll have MBSAR members serve as "rovers" & manning checkpoints to help keep you on course. This is a poker run so you'll play a fun & easy  game at each checkpoint to get a card which will formulate a poker hand. The course takes approximately 4 to 6 hours to complete. We have a trophy and cash for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers with the best hand.  In addition, you'll be given an entry ticket for a drawing held after the event with several dozen quality prizes to be given away. As if that wasn't enough, you'll also have an opportunity to enter into a cash prize drawing ("1/2 & 1/2") that has yielded upwards of $1,200.00 at past Desert Run events! 

You can register at the event on Friday, September 30th at our Base Camp or you can pre-register online at and get a $5 discount. We have a schedule of events and a Menu for the weekend in a flyer that's available at our website ( can also visit us on Facebook: desert run - morongo basin search and rescue. Also, the flyer will provide you with any other information that you may want to know about the event. Or you can call Renee @ 951-203-6816 or Josh Lewis @ 760-275-8514. Thanks for your support of the Morongo Basin Search and Rescue Team. All profits go toward support and training of the Unit! 


Blue Cut Fire Area Closed For One Year Beginning Sept 3, 2016

The burn area of the Blue Cut Fire and some of the surroundings have been closed. Please check out the map, as the area closed is larger than the burn area. Click the map to download a PDF.

Download the Forest Order
Download the Map


Bluecut Fire Over 30,000 Acres

Fire information is available at


2016-2017 BMC Lecture Date Update

The formula for determining the lecture date for the Basic Mountaineering Course has changed. In the past it was held on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The new formula is to hold it on the weekend directly following the second Friday of November. Hence this year it will be held November 12 and 13. Please spread the word and mark your calendars. More details concerning signups will be distributed via email and online out as we get closer.


Heart Bar Cleanup June 2016

Thanks to those SAR members who donated their time to keep the Heart Bar training facility looking sharp. Thanks to Shannon Kovich for submitting this video.

HeartBar Cleanup 2016 from SBSAR on Vimeo.


Rope Rescue Operator Class Graduates 14

SAR members representing West Valley SAR, Cave and Technical Rescue Team, San Gorgonio SAR, SB Mountain SAR, Morongo Basin SAR, and Wrightwood SAR completed the 2016 Rope Rescue Operators Course. Congratulations to the 14 rescuers as they continue to expand their responsibilities and continue to serve the citizens of San Bernardino County and the state.


Is GoTenna Ready for SAR?

After many months of waiting, I was finally able to get my hands on a pair of GoTenna devices to field test. These devices are VHF radio transceivers that pair via Bluetooth that enable two phones to pass text messages without requiring any cell service. The required phone app allows for text messages, pinging connectivity between devices, and the swapping of location using the phone's onboard GPS to fix position. There are also downloadable base maps to display position data.

 The pairing process was quick and easy with the Android phones used in the test, and the software and hardware performed without any difficulty. The interface is similar to most of the available messaging apps. Although, only text can be sent, so there is no photo sharing or other file sending available. 

While testing one person attached the device to his pack according to the suggestion of the manufacturer, and the other person placed it in his pocket and started off on his mountain bike. We communicated via 5 W VHF radios with rubber duck antennas to compare the coverage. Obviously, as long as the GoTenna was in the bike rider's pocket, the connection was severly compromised. Periodically the rider would stop, remove the device, and attempt to communicate. This was done until we could no longer maintain a reliable connection. As expected, the most reliable communication came with optimized antenna location. If both ends of the communication held their devices high, and vertically polarized, the likelihood of a reliable connection increased. 

In the environment tested (shown on the map to the right) the furthest that we could maintain a connection was approximately 0.6 mi. This was challenging RF terrain, however. The blue shading on the map is a line of site layer, so we were able to maintain some modicum of communication outside of this region. By comparison, the 5W VHF radio allowed reliable communication greater than 1 mile in this same terrain.

We were operating in the MURS band with the voice radios. A bit of testing shows that the GoTenna may be operating on MURS channel 1 (151.82 MHz), so we avoided this channel, and used MURS channel 5 (154.60). We noticed that if you were transmitting with the 5W radio on channel 5, it would interfere with the GoTenna messages. This may be something to consider since much of our SAR work is in the neighborhood of this portion of the spectrum. 

Given the additional overhead of having to pair a smartphone to the device, and the limited range, the GoTenna doesn't seem to provide any significant communications advantage over, or in addition to, the typical portable radio. Still, this is the first generation of such a device, and for those of us who are attracted to all things RF, it is most intriguing.


Rope Rescue Operator Class (Formerly TRBC)

The Rope Rescue Operators Course (formerly the Technical Rescue Basics Course) begins April 8. To sign up contact Volunteer Forces at 909-387-0641. Check out the flyer for details.

BMC Re-Certification Criteria