Signal Mirror was first introduced to me when I attended a course Survival At Sea that thought us the importance of a Signal Mirror. Surprisingly the only place you can find Signal Mirror on a Ship is in the Rescue Life Raft.
When I started making my first Survival Kit, Signal Mirror was not in the list until later part. Mainly due to terrain in SE Asia where rescue are mostly done by foot. Having moved to Taiwan for the last 3 years and I realised that Signal Mirror is an important item to have in the kit. Most of the mountains here are very difficult for SAR to access so SeaHawk is often use for deployment. Last time I saw on Discovery Channel regarding the 88 Disaster and how a group trapped in the mountain tried in vain to signal a passing Seahawk. As you can see having a Signal Mirror will prove very useful in such situation.
I tried to search on the local Online Internet for this item and found that hardly anyone were selling. Is the local here so ignorance to having a Signal Mirror? I will do my part to contribute, here are the details on DIY Dog Tag SOS Signal Mirrors; a Stainless Steel, Aluminum Foil and Soda Can Version. I chose the Dog Tag size because I can carry it with me in my EDC, you can make a bigger version if you like.
Stainless Steel Dog Tag Signal Morror
This is the first DIY Stainless Steel Dog Tag Signal Mirror, I got it off custom made and later with the help of my friend's workshop, drilled a sighting hole and later buff off the surface to give a better mirror finishing.
Grind the side to make a cutting edge for emergency knife. Not a good idea if you are using with a Dog Tag Silencer as it will cut through the rubber.
Aluminium Foil Dog Tag Signal Mirror
Took an old CD and cut a Dog Tag shape out with a scissor. Initially I was thinking of making a CD Dog Tag Signal Mirror but somehow the CD coating layer started to peel off so I ended up making the Aluminum Foil version.
Using a thin double side tape to stick the Aluminum Foil to the plastic Dog Tag.
Next use a pilot drill to make the holes, one for the key holder and the other sighting hole. Finished off with a 3mm hole.
To get a better polish surface, I tried with a metal polish on the Aluminum Foil.
Stainless Steel vs Aluminum Foil reflection under a lamp
Comparing Stainless Steel and Aluminum Foil Dog Tag Signal Mirror.
Soda Can Dog Tag Signal Mirror
I was not happy with the Aluminum Foil surface finishing even the reflection was not as bad as the Stainless Steel, so I embark on a Soda Can version. Same method was used as above, double sided tape was used to stick the soda can aluminium to the plastic dog tag and later gave few finishing polish till it shines. When polishing, use a single direction and not circular motion.
Soda Can vs Stainless Steel
The Dog Tag Signal Mirror is meant to be with EDC, so it always stays with you, hang on your pack and on the reverse side you can place a reflective tape or write down your personal info. The reflective tape can assist in total darkness when SAR shines their light and personal info with blood type or other medical related will help in assisting your rescue.
Above is the Swiss Army Knife Signal Mirror which I keep in my Survival Kit, left is the Soda Can and right the Stainless Steel version. Overall the Swiss Army Signal Mirror reflects better as it has a wider surface area. However the Stainless Steel is more towards polished mirror. Remember to protect the surface, you can you a scotch tape of less adhesiveness.
|tape the surface to protect from scratches|
|reverse side with personal info, next of kin with reflective and night glow|
If you wish to purchase an Approve Signal Mirror, please visit this SITE to understand better. For us we do not required Military graded Signal Mirror that can signal 50km away.
Watch the vid on "How to use a Signal Mirror"