KIMBERLEY Trip Preparation!! Recovery and communication

I am heading to the Kimberley for a 8 week trip through the North West and Top End and have been considering my options to add a winch to my ARB bar for the trip.
I have a well equipped Nissan Navara with all options except for a winch and want to ensure that I am covered in all situations large or small as the Kimberley can have its vast conditions. I will be getting off the tourist routes and will be travelling through some remote spots and out to some communities areas.

Should I consider buying a winch?? I have had one quoted with the main cost being for taking the bull bar off the ute and fitting it back on with the winch again.


Communication - Is a big discussion point on what is best for each individuals needs. I have considered two options Sat Phone or HF radio and I am swinging toward the HF radio as the best option for me mainly as sometimes I do travel alone and would have the assistance of a third party if needed to arrange assistance, the option of making calls and log in location and destinations.
The down side of it is the cost to set up but it is a cheap insurance I think.
Should I consider? If you have a HF radio I would like to hear form you.

Cheers
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Reply By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 19:58

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 19:58
Johnny B Good,

Don't bother with the winch, unless you are going in the wet season. My experience with my PTO winch is that I've only ever used it to help out others, and when I needed to get out of a sticky situation myself, there were no trees close to a lake that I had gone a little too close to.

If you are on a road or track, a winch is not necessary. If you're going exploring into areas where lockers aren't enough, and you need to winch yourself up a hill, then I'd suggest you shouldn't be doing it by yourself no matter what equipment you have.

I enjoy the HF and regular skeds. Helps you think that you are keeping in touch and someone knows something about you. However, atmospheric conditions can sometimes cause interference to the point that the HF is unusable. The thing I find most enjoyable with the HF is the sense of community you get, hearing of what others are doing, and the weather reports.

Never had a sat phone. Many people use both a sat phone and an HF. In particular if you travel alone, as we do, and are able to contact a third party. This way you can quickly tell the third party on the phone what you need and they will make all the phone contacts and arrange things for you, telling you what you need to know as the rescue progresses. Otherwise you have to do all this via directory assistance or a preprepared list of all numbers for all eventualities.

Please consider a SPOT device. They can be set up to mark your exact position on a map for all to see and track your whereabouts. The vast majority of the time, you are okay, the people at home just need reassurance. And seeing your tag move from point to point will reassure them. And in the case of an emergency, you hit the 911 button and it sends a signal to Search and Rescue and a fully equipped medical helicopter appears over the horizon in ten minutes..... give or take....

And the in between setting is - "I've got a bit of a problem here" - and a preprepared message is sent to your backup contacts who will then implement the 'leave him there to rot' plan, or alternative more caring approach. The modern SPOT's can connect to a bluetooth mobile phone and you can send a text out too. Brilliant devices for their flexibility. And you take it with you when you venture away from the vehicle, which you can't do with an HF, and are unlikely to do every time with a sat phone. If you fall down a cliff, it is much easier to press one button on the SPOT to call for help, that have to dial numbers on the sat phone. I've used a first gen SPOT many times hiking for days away from civilisation and find it very reassuring, light, easy, and low tech.

My 2c

Tim

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Follow Up By: Johnny B Good - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 04:17

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 04:17
Hi Tim,

I have got a PLB (personal locating beacon) which is the new 27Mhz becon now avaible in very small compact and fully waterproof. I always carry it on my person when hiking away camp. For any one reading this I do highly recommend them.

Thanks for your feed back.
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:05

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:05
"Please consider a SPOT device. ....etc"

There is another device which is a bit like a SPOT on steroids.The Delorme inReach is a tracker like SPOT but with greatly enhanced communication abilities. You can send and receive short emails and SMS messages outside network coverage, though they're having problems with the SMS at the moment.

I think the plans are more expensive than Spot's, but the communication ability is far superior.

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 22:43

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 22:43
I would say forget the electric winch, grab a tirfor. You won't need a winch.

Get a Spt Connect. Great functions and not too expensive. Have a look in the ExplorOz shop.

Steve
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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 20:04

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 20:04
Hi Johnny B Good,
To Answer the Communication question, Sat Phones are cheaper than HF radio and you can get prepaid.
As for a winch it will depend on what time of year you are planing to travel. I was in the Kimberly's last year in September and didn't even look like needing a winch and went to some off the road places.
If you are planing a trip up their in the wet season that would be a different story.
Andy
AnswerID: 503031

Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 20:29

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 20:29
Hi John

You have some great answers that I would totally agree with.

For communication I have a sat phone that works really easy. Send voice or text messages. Prepaid. Gets a signal really quick. Use it like a mobile phone. Bought it off this mob. Pretty straight forward and easy transaction.

And I lived in the NT for years and driven all over including the Kimberleys and don't have a winch.

http://www.clientsat.com.au/inmarsat-isat-phone-pro-pre-paid/

Serendipity


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Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 21:50

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 21:50
I only pay $89.00 for 100 units.. from TC Communations, and the phone was $699.00.
Andy
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Follow Up By: Johnny B Good - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 04:19

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 04:19
Your not wrong there Serendipity, some great feedback coming through

thanks for that
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 21:02

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 21:02
Hi Johnny B Good

When will you be going? Will you be travelling solo or in convoy? If in a convoy one of the party with HF and another with a satellite phone for emergencies would cover all bases. Be sure everyone in your group now how to use the equipment as the person who knows may the the one injured or ill.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Johnny B Good - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 04:28

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 04:28
Hi Motherhen,

I will be heading off June July.
I will be traverling solo for some parts of the trip but will be on main routes out to destinations were i will then meet up with friends.

I have heard this advice before a very sound advice.

Cheers
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 21:30

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 21:30
Like the others have said. We travelled in June, July and August 2011 and covered just about all of the Kimberley and never thought an electric winch would be handy. (We just carry a hand winch and the usual recovery gear.) Lots of people up there anyway if you do get into trouble. Hard to find a true remote place in the Kimberley in the dry season. But a brilliant place. Kevin
AnswerID: 503041

Reply By: Member - Chopperair - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 23:29

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 23:29
I have been using a sat phone for 10 years plus while traveling. In the Simpson once came across a person with a stuffed gearbox. He was trying to contact Mt Dare via HF via Adelaide due to atmospheric conditions, was a circus.
Lent him my sat phone and he arranged everything including getting a box from Alice delivered to Mt Dare and arranging being towed to Mt Dare. He told me he was selling the HF and buying a phone as it was easier.
I pay $30 month on a phone contract with Telstra and consider that cheap insurance considering my wife and I travel on our own nearly all the time in very remote areas.
In regards a winch, yes you can go years without using one, but its like insurance it's there when you need it. Have probably only used a winch 10 times in 30 years , but having it sure a hell saved a lot of stress.
If no tree avaliable there are many ways to create an anchor point, just takes time.
Over the years some of the tracks have become relative freeways in comparison to how many people used to travel outback so you will probably find in the areas you are going there will be someone around in the course of a day if you have a problem.
1st thing to do if you have a problem is boil the billy, have a cuppa, think about the problem and take you time.
God luck and have a great trip






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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 23:33

Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 23:33
You say....
"I will be getting off the tourist routes and will be travelling through some remote spots and out to some communities areas."

Where, exactly?

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome.

AnswerID: 503048

Follow Up By: Johnny B Good - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 09:54

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 09:54
Around the Kulumburu and surrounding areas with some contacts I know from the area. I don't know till I get there so I cant tell you.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 20:16

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 20:16
Maybe you could ask your contacts if you need a winch?
Cheers,
Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Reply By: pepper2 - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 08:32

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 08:32
Are you aware that you can use your hf radio to make telephone calls as well as radio calls,various companies offer reliable cost effective phone services,check out Radio Data or other listed on vks website.

Used mine last friday as a remote location at the bottom of a deep valley with tree cover and heavy cloud cover no problems.
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Follow Up By: Johnny B Good - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 09:47

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 09:47
I am aware of this and was one reason I am looking at this option.
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Reply By: Member - John and Regina M - Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 13:43

Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 13:43
You will never be far from anybody June/July in the Kimberley.
In fact, it's like flies on a dunny...unless you're really really adventurous, you will have neighbours. And their usually noisy over equipped urban cowboys.

And guaranteed they will have all the kit you don't.

As an aside, keep in mind the dry isn't the best season to see the Kimberley. The wet is. But it's a little problematic getting to the places that look like the best place on Earth to be.

You could save your money, or pool with friends and chopper in to the most spectacular gorges, waterfall, fishing, accommodation and sight seeing Australia has to offer. It's far different in the dry. Prices are cheaper, water is flowing, it's cooler, there are no flies, the crocs are cheekier.

I think you get the idea.
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