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Nall Fnk
(nfink) - F
Compass/Heliograph on 11/26/2006 18:29:25 MST Print View

Is there any company that produces a good sighting compass with a mirror that doubles as a functional heliograph? It might be possible to modify a compass mirror for sighting, but would the average mirror be large enough to provide an adequate signal?

Anybody tried this?

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Compass/Heliograph on 11/26/2006 19:39:35 MST Print View

You mean like this:
or if you're a real gadget guy, like this:

I have the latter, it's very nice, and very heavy!

Terry Boldt
(TeeDee) - F
signal mirror on 12/03/2006 16:05:29 MST Print View

The major problem with using the compass mirror would be sighting on a target. Unless you can see the light reflected from the object you want to signal, signaling a party at some distance would be very difficult.

You would be far better off using a signalling mirror that allows you to "aim" such as these mirrors:


being able to "aim" the mirror insures that you are actually signalling the party intended.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Compass/Heliograph on 12/03/2006 16:45:53 MST Print View

The size of the mirror on my Silva Ranger works well for this. I'm not sure why any quality mirrored sighting compass would be inadequate actually.

The aiming method I use:
Hold mirror in right hand, near your head. Extend left arm out and make an L shape w/ thumb and index finger, to "box in" your intended target (get the target to appear, say, 1" from the web of your palm). In most conditions its easy to see the mirror's light against the back of your hand, angling the mirror side to side so that it flashes light onto your target. Of course if your light source is a headlamp rather than the sun, then you'd have to strap the lamp to a trekking pole, or have a friend.

I should state I've never signaled aircraft this way, but its been visible to members of my party from maybe half a mile away. Realistically, in most parts of the US at least, I wonder if one could count on an aircraft crew member responding in ANY way to only a flashing light on the ground. Expecially since one has to stand still to aim the mirror. A pattern of serious signal fires, and a guy lying down making frantic snow-angels in the dirt, would probably send a clearer distress message to low flying planes, etc.

Edited by PA_Jay on 12/03/2006 16:49:58 MST.