sat phone + UHF radio

hi all i am a new-bee to this 4x4 stuff
taking the kids to Yulara from Perth next April need advice on CB radio (? hand-held for convenience) and sat phone or general advise in what is required
cheers Bob
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:43

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:43
Hi Bob

A hand held UHF two way ill be adequate to keep in touch with trucks around you on Channel 40.

Satellite phones are discussed very frequently so a search will pick up a lot of ideas for you to consider to meet your planned usage needs.

Are you going via the Great Central Road?



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Follow Up By: gizza - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:58

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:58
thanks Motherhen your my first
yes my plan is Great Central to Yulara then kings Canyon onto Coober Pedy then Ceduna via (? port Augusta or Ann Beadell and Googs track not quite sure if confident enough about the track or just stay on bitumen) then on to Eyre, Norseman then back to Perth
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 17:16

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 17:16
Hi Gizza:

Two pieces of gear serve two separate purposes.

The CB (UHF) radio is mainly for vehicle to vehicle communication, esp if you are travelling in a convoy. The added bonus is that you can also talk to the truckies (Channel 40). Be aware that many of the truckies on Channel 40 can use very colourful turns of phrase which may tend to confuse young ears. One can never tell what they may repeat in the quiet surrounds of a restaurant. But these same people (truckies) are invariably helpful and will call you around once the road is clear if you find yourself stuck behind one for any period of time.

It becomes your choice then as to whether to get a hand held or have one installed.. As with everything, you get what you pay for, but if I was going hand held I would probably want a 5 watt radio for the extra coverage it might offer. If you get one, make sure you learn a little about the various channels/duplex/emergency etc. No radio if any good if you cannot get a signal out to whomever you need to talk to.

A satellite phone will allow you to make phone calls (Doh!!), but you will do so at greatly increased cost (I think $3 a minute on some). You would normally have to use one if you have an emergency and your normal mobile has no signal. You can hire Sat phones. Let Dr Google be your friend.

Finally, and as if to confuse you further, there is UHF radio, which is another whole minefield. Very good for those that have it and you can call up people across Australia, but it's 'arm and a leg' stuff unless you are going to use it a lot.

If you are just on the main roads, your mobile will probably serve you well. The CB could make the trip a bit more fun.

Hope this helps you a bit more.

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: racinrob - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 18:27

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 18:27
Jack......Typo error in your almost last paragraph, UHF radio is only good for basically line of sight, HF Radio will cover the whole country if the conditions are right.

rr VKE237 Sel 6678
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Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 19:22

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 19:22
Much obliged Rob. Thanks. I must try and buy a keyboard that can spell as well as I can :)

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 19:16

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 19:16
hi vke237 sel 6678
from vke237 7661
catch you on the skeds
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Saturday, Aug 03, 2013 at 18:24

Saturday, Aug 03, 2013 at 18:24
Hullo Gizza
We have UHF, HF (VKS737), satphone and SPOT - all useful in their different ways.
As to bad language from truckies on UHF Ch 40, we are just completing a trip of some 13500 kms around the western half of Oz and in all that time - and we have Ch 40 on all the time - I have only heard bad language once and there was no evidence it was a truckie. Indeed, it was highly likely it was a psychologically disturbed troll. Urban areas is another issue though - just turn it off!
As well facilitating trucks passing us, we pick up a lot of useful info re road conditions, wide loads, accidents, delays, etc. Have also alerted others re doors not shut, loads about to fall off, flat tyres and so on.
There are some who prefer to travel in their own cocoon, which is their choice off course. When I try to contact these drivers because of an issue with their vehicle - and they don't reply - I just shrug a g go on my way --- their problem!
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Reply By: Member-George (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 18:53

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 18:53
Hi gizza, In my view a UHF radio is fine if you intend to stick to the main roads. However, if you are planning to go off road into remote areas, either a sat phone of HF radio are essential bits of equipment, especially if you are travelling with the kids. If your choice is HF radio, it is advisable to join one of the HF radio organisations. My choice there would be VKS-737. You can google their website for some good info. Cheers and good luck
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Reply By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:37

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:37
I agree with all the other feedback.

There is a whole section that addresses your question in most comprehensive ways as part of this site. The link is:

I always travel single vehicle. I have an HF, and enjoy the regular skeds. The HF is good most of the time and if the vehicle is upright, not down a gully, overturned or on fire.

For emergency I carry a SPOT and can activate an emergency beacon if needed by pressing one button. The SPOT also loads my position to my blog so others can see where we are at any particular time, if they are interested.

I also use a UHF to communicate with other travellers on the road, short distances.

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Follow Up By: gizza - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 17:03

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 17:03
Hi Tim great advise nice and simple looks like the way to go by the way have just joined the 4x4 community what are skeds
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Follow Up By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 17:35

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 17:35
Skeds are the Scheduled radio contacts, hence the nickname sked, which really should be spelt sched. is the HF radio network most people use. They have set periods morning and afternoon whereby registered users can call in to let them know their whearabouts. They also pass out weather information. You get to hear where people are and marvel at the range of the HF radio. I guess they are good for emergency contacts too, and are free to use once you've paid the licence fee. It's nice to have a chat to the operator if they are not busy and helps break the sense of isolation.

One thing I like is that your loved ones can leave messages if they need and they are broadcast to you when you log on. Everyone else hears them too, so nothing risqué!

The thing is Gizza that most of the time you are just fine, and it's the others at home that worry about you. Having a SPOT locator is excellent for this. Check the Exploreoz shop for buying one, there's a new model out.

You can trigger a signal that goes to a satellite and lets others know where you are. Or another button will send a 'help' message, which isn't an emergency. The modern units allow connection via bluetooth to a mobile phone so you can send a text to a predetermined contact. Very very useful.

Then there is the '911' button, which sends a message to search and rescue in Canberra, and ten minutes later the entire SAS search and rescue squad land next to you in a helicopter and cart you off to hospital whether you need it or not. Do not use this if you just need a flat tyre changed or have run out of matches!! This is a very flexible device, and much more useful than a standard EPIRB. Look up EPIRB in the Communications link I gave you before.

In determining what you need, you have to balance risk, cost, convenience. In the past, way back last century, I drove the same road you are heading onto in an EH Holden by myself with my dog, and another two times in an 1800cc Nissan Ute. Both 2WD. Both with standard tyres. I saw maybe one or two others on the roads outside the communities.

People knew I was safe when I knocked on the door to arrive home.

Hand held UHF are pretty useless unless travelling close in a convoy. One thing a pair of them are very very good for, especially travelling with kids, is to make sure NO ONE wanders away from the campsite without one. It is very easy to get bushwacked when you wander away for a pee in the bush - "oooow, they can still see me, I'd better go a bit further." Turn around three times and all that bush looks very very similar.

The biggest risk to safety is yourself and those travelling with you. Stern safety warnings are essential. Make rules and stick to them. Make a plan B, and make sure there is a Plan if the adult/s become incapacitated through vehicle accident, alcoholism, or a heart attack.

It's easy to be blasé, but you are a long long way from places to walk to. Don't fret too much, make sensible plans, and backups, and enjoy the challenge. Now a days, someone else is likely to come along in a few hours anyway, if not the next day.


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Follow Up By: racinrob - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 19:35

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 19:35
Tim. I really question your statement "VKS737 is the HF network most people use". The HF Radio club has over 500 financial members and as a sked operator I can tell you both the daily AM and PM are pretty busy with calls coming in to me in Sydney from most of eastern Australia.
Our regular get togethers attract fifty or so vehicles at places like Kilcoy, Elmore and Gulgong. Not after an argument, just stating the facts.

rr VKE237 Sel6678 Sked operator
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Follow Up By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 19:47

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 19:47
Yer whatever you reckon. I'm not here to promote vks737, I'm a member, have been for 7 years I guess. It's served me well. I've never heard of your group. Never get over your side of the country so never see your ads. Nor do I go to 4WD shows.

Good luck to your enterprise

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 23:28

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 23:28
Racinrob......are you saying The HF Radio Club has more members?

You have criticised Tim for his remarks but you have just done the same to Tim...... bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

Racinrob; so the HF Radio club has more members, how many does the VKS737 network have?

Invested interest aside. I'm with Tim , who cares!
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Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Saturday, Aug 03, 2013 at 11:38

Saturday, Aug 03, 2013 at 11:38
For everyone's information, VKS-737 has over 4500 members. Cheers
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Follow Up By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Sunday, Aug 04, 2013 at 14:47

Sunday, Aug 04, 2013 at 14:47
Just to get the story straight there are over 7 HF Radio providers of which VKE237 IS ONE OF THEM
Yes for a single provider VKS 737 PROBLE HAS THE MOST Members
but the other six have more members combined then VKS
Also VKS is the most expensive in per year and phone calls
The lest expensive is the HF Radio club that is VKE237AND VME469
This is a club which have proper get together where the committee have proper protection indemnity
This club also has scheds in the morning and night it also has direct access to RFDS THROUGH 000.
George you will see i am also a VKS737 MEMBER LOOK IN MY PROFILE AND find my sell call no
I hope this clears up the misinformation you have put in your post
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Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Sunday, Aug 04, 2013 at 15:04

Sunday, Aug 04, 2013 at 15:04
Hi Snailbait, I am happy that you are a VKS-737 member. However, I fail to see what misinformation I have made. Perhaps you can show me. Cheers
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