UHF use on the Canning Stock Route

Submitted: Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:34
ThreadID: 104810 Views:6096 Replies:18 FollowUps:42
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Together with four other couples we travelled the CSR in July from north to south. What a great trip. The vegetation was something to behold. My wife has hundreds of wild flower photos to sort through. Thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the camp sites, the ever changing views and the company.
The only dark moments we had remembering that it is just a two wheel track, was when we encountered people travelling the other way who did not have UHF or did not know how to use it. We had several close calls on sand hills and in thick brush.
Each morning we reset our trip meter at the nearest well and then called on channel 40 to warn others of our location and direction of travel. At some point we would get a cackling reply only to follow up later and as the reply became clearer we became more cautious about charging over sand hills calling at the foot of each one and the other people would usually reply that they were in a valley and would wait our sighting. It all worked well. After the first 30 minutes it was possible just to call from every 4th or 5th sand hill. No great burden, so why is it not generally understood by everyone that the use of Channel 40 is a safety matter.
On returning home I reviewed the literature and whilst the use of UHF is advised it is not a strong mention. I think it is about time it became if not compulsory at least a strong recommendation to take and use UHF.
After all a head on in that remote location could be a trip stopper for who ever is our leader on that day. With at least 1000 vehicles using the CSR per year it is time to step up the safety a little. I did note that some of the people who we nearly hit were foreigners who obviously didn't have a radio or didn't understand our calls. Maybe the hire people have a roll to play there. (If they know where their 4 x 4's are going).
Powernut.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:54

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:54
Powernut, it is amaizing that people go on a trip like that, which obviously needs a lot of preparation, and don't bother with the protocols of the track.


IMHO the problem stems from the fact that there is no standard channel for 4wding across Australia, and it's about time the magazines, forums, 4wd clubs and us got together to fix it. It's channel 40 on the CSR, Channel 10 on the Simpson and others, some clubs use 12 or 16. Pick you channel. Even 18 if you are towing a camper.

Similar to the point you are making there should be a standard protocol.

1)Channel 10 for tracks
2)40 for sealed roads
3)People should know how to use and scan 5, 10, 40
4)Announce yourself regularly on tracks, especially sand dunes.

I advocate that everyone contacts their club, magazine etc to get together to set a standard. It;s a bloody mess right now.
AnswerID: 520110

Follow Up By: allein m - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:42

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:42
yes and when are they switching to 80 channel

we need some basic rules and keep the idiots out of the radio

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:55

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:55
allein, 80 channels have been around for nearly 2 years now.
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 20:49

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 20:49
The problem with 80 channels is that they are not compatible with the old 40 channel models.
This adds another problem to address when travelling like has been mentioned.
Do you have to have at least one 40 channel on a vehicle? What happens when you travel on your own? I scan all channels on my 80 when travelling, but I am not getting much traffic.

bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 04:32

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 04:32
Bill I am not sure why you can't get any traffic.

The first 40 channels are the same frequencies as the old 40 and compatible. You should be able to talk and receive on say channel 10 of your 80 ch unit to ch 10 of an old 40ch unit, same for all channels from 1 - 40.

The only difference is that the new one will be narrow band so it will sound a little softer to an old unit, and an old unit will sound a little loud on a new unit.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:59

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:59
I now have an 80 Channel and have no problem speaking with my mates who all have 40 ch units
I have just done a solo trip and left the unit on scan and had no problem picking up other travelers
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Reply By: wizzer73 - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:48

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:48
Are there any signs up at the beginning or along the track to state what ch on uhf to monitor? That would be a good start. I thought channel 10 was unofficial desert track channel?

wizzer
AnswerID: 520114

Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:49

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:49
Also, were you scanning all other channels? This does help to see if anyone else is nearby.

wizzer
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:05

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:05
wizzer, on both ends of the CSR there are clear signs about using Channel 40 on the route.

Also, if you're contemplating the CSR, one would assume most people would do fairly comprehensive research, most official publications and guides are clear on which Channels to use and why a UHF is recommended.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:58

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:58
Too right Scott

And this is where I gathered all my info. This forum and others and from videos. Both purchased, borrowed and on Youtube etc.

But as usual a lot of others can't read or have big egos and "don't need any wankers telling me what to do".

And I am lucky enough to still have some common sense. It's 1800 Kms in some of the most remote and uninhabited land in Australia. Bloody obvious to me to do my homework.

These days it seems that a growing number cannot spell or read beyond the word "App".

Phil
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Reply By: TandCD - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:55

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 17:55
We are considering doing the Canning or some other stock route/track in the comming 12 months but was totally unaware of any requirements to use a particular radio channel on a certain track. I think it is a good idea.
But not being a member of any 4wd club where would one gather such info from ? And who decides what channel to use ?
I imagine that as a club member on a club excursion then club rules would apply. I can see where some folks just would not know. Would all clubs use the same channel for the same track ?
Exteme caution would need to be taken when approaching the top of a sand dune or any other rise where visibility is restricted where you have been in radio contact with others or not. Help being not always there when something goes pear shape.
So, with all this now in my mind can anyone direct me to the correct protocols and rule for this type of off road travel.

Cheers
Terry
AnswerID: 520115

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:26

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:26
Hi Terry

That is a very broad request. Are you after vehicle setup, safety, driving, route or communications etc? We approached it as if we would be doing it solo and had to be fully self sufficient.

Phil
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Follow Up By: TandCD - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:12

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:12
Hi Phil,

Thanks for your response. I'm sorry if I didn't make my comments specific but I was aiming solely at radio usage.
I/we would be in some small convoy when undertaking the trip. Which by all accounts should be fantastic.
I am pretty well experienced in off road 4wd work having had 4wd vehicles since 18 yrs of age, and that was 42 years ago...lol.
We also hope to do Cape York next winter. But that is another story.
Our vehicle this time is a Landcruiser 79 series double cab.
Please feel free to offer any advice you think we may need. I'm all ears.

Cheers
Terry
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:27

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:27
Hi Terry

We will have three uses for comms. First and foremost will be a satellite phone for emergencies. Next a UHF for group safety and third a UHF for chatter. I will be carrying the satellite phone. My car UHF will be on channel 40. My hand held will be on a channel which will be chosen at site. That way we will be covered for all contingencies.

The leader, mainly myself, will announce the presence of our group every now and then and warn us of oncoming vehicles and numbers. The leader will also stop and tell oncoming vehicles know how many are in our group. Tail end charlie will acknowledge leaders calls and let oncoming vehicles know he is the last. Bit mixed up there but I think that you will get the jist. We may even use 40 as a chat channel as well. Short overs though a must. That will allow us to put a hand held or other radio on scan to pick up any approaching group. And a closed up group will be the order of the day.

I am also assuming you know about sand flags. Not a big deal but if you catch an oncoming vehicle on the bull bar then it is a big deal.

When are you going and which direction?

Phil

PS: May not answer until tomorrow. Late for me and off to bed.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 12:22

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 12:22
I did ask you a question Terry. An answer might be nice

Phil
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Follow Up By: TandCD - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 14:42

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 14:42
Whoa there Phil. Take a valium mate.

This is my first return visit to the forum since my last post.
Unfortunately I cant be here 24-7.

But to answer your questions......maybe April/May and from South to North.



Cheers
Terry :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 15:48

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 15:48
Anchor is out and we are slowing down. I have asked people questions before and so many just take their answer and disappear.

Thanks At this stage no set dates. Still waiting to see how the weather goes. Wouldn't want to ru n into any unseasonal rain.

Cheers

Phil
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:00

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:00
Interesting topic Powernut. I was tempted recently to post on this issue after our trip up the CSR with 6 vehicles in July/August this year. This was a topic that sparked a number of campfire discussions amongst our group and for good reasons. A bit of background as to why.....

As I said, we were a group of 6 vehicles heading north all equipped with functioning UHF. Most of the way up we played leap-frog with a tag-along group of 10-11 vehicles all using UHF. Standing aside the fact that all of them were calling over every dune and tending to clutter the airways (sorry Jeremy :-) ) - there was no confusion where the groups were and which direction they were heading. Also a few other groups of 4 or 5 vehicles were in the vicinity heading north and using UHF correctly.

However there 2 or 3 solo vehicles also heading in our direction who had no UHF comms. Two of these were overseas hires (let just say Northern European) and one local. When queried as to why they had no UHF the usual answer was "I don't need/wish or see the point of talking to anyone". Basically bugger you jack - I'm OK. They blissfully continued on totally oblivious to the confusion and angst they were causing.

To say they created a degree of havoc would be understating it. At one point around well 41/42, they were 4 groups heading north and at least 3 groups heading south with the 2 of the 'solo' idiots in the mix - the local bloke and one of the Europeans. Both the leader of the tag-along and our daily leader were calling out warnings to the south-bound groups the presence of these solo radio-less travelers. Not being sure where they were except being "in the vicinity" the south-bound groups were not sure whether to wait or carry on regardless. Anyone who's been up the CSR would remember the large number of short and large sand-hills around well 42. If the solo vehicles had pulled over then the other s-b groups could be waiting a long time ..... carry on regardless - disaster waiting to happen. As an aside - neither of these solo vehicles had an effective sand-flag, not that I think that would have made much difference.

To say the rest of us (both North & South bound) were cheesed/p*ssed off would be an understatement.

Which gets to the topic of our camp-fire debates. We all felt that on a route like the CSR a UHF radio should be mandatory and be part of the permit system or travel passes. While acknowledging that this could be difficult to enforce, we also felt there should be an automatic liability clause in the permits which shifts liability and cost 'automatically' to vehicle without a UHF radio irrespective of the actual cause. Basically, you hit someone on the crest of a dune and you don't have a radio and they do - you're automatically at fault.

I know this could cheese some folks off, however those who've been in the middle of this sort of confusion and risk would probably see otherwise...

My 2 cents worth
AnswerID: 520116

Follow Up By: Iain M - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:27

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 18:27
I was with Scott on this trip and what he has said above is as it was.

I met the local chappy at a camp before the rest of our group arrived.
His reply to my question as why he had no coms? was;
"I am prepared to take the risk."

What about putting every one else heading toward you at risk?
They are not even aware they are sharing the risk with you!
Flamin dropkick.

Those that had coms were broadcasting his whereabouts which contributed to lessening the risks to each of them.
He probably was saying to his Missus; "see we don't need a UHF, we didn't run into anyone".

Funny thing when I spoke to him it was 4.30pm and time to set up camp. He was packing up as I drove into the area. We all thought he probably copped so much flak it was easier to go somewhere where he could be alone. Then again they might prefer their own company....

Strange couple.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:45

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:45
With our club only the leader and tail end charlie do the calling. The leader normally stops and lets the oncoming car how many vehicles are behind them. We found that it was easier to manage without all the others "tending to clutter the airways". I found it difficult when I hear a call to know if the car is coming up the other side or is still several dunes away. I know play safe but sometimes you need a little momentum. No not all times. Just some.

Sand flags: Why were the ones on the solo vehicles non effective?

Not picking - just asking. Okay.

Another good reason to have a good steel bullbar on the front not one of those smart plastic thingamys.

Had a good drive through the Simpson. Didn't see a car for the first three days. Great isolation.

With 1000 cars doing the CSR a year I don't expect this again.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:59

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:59
"Sand flags: Why were the ones on the solo vehicles non effective?"

In one case they didn't have one, on the 2nd it wasn't above roof height. Either way, I've long been of the opinion that they're not all that effective as :

1. by the time you see it, you're probably going to smack in anyway, and
2. most of the time you're concentrating on the track trying to stay in channel and avoid ruts and corrugations .... most of the big sandhillls or dunes it's all you can do to focus on the surface and what your vehicle is doing ... and
3. a sand-flag isn't going to prevent one of you having to back away and have a false run .. which a radio will.

"With our club only the leader and tail end charlie do the calling. " - same with us Phil - the leader calls out for oncoming and warns of possible diff wreckers - the tail end makes sure all of the group are clear and ready to proceed.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:07

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:07
I will be leading a group of four cars next year and one thing I want is a closed up group. I have been on trips that spread over more than a couple of kilometers. Bugger that. I understand about dust etc but I don't think that dust will be an issue.

My sand flag broke in the Simson. Silly me. I bought one from a 4wd shop and it just snapped. Got my eye open for a new one. Just need the mast.

Catchya

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:15

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:15
Phil, I got one of these:

http://www.kulkyne.com/au/Sand-Flag-2-4m.html

welded a base plate to the bull-bar (facing inward), bolted it in.

Bugger got smacked 1000 times on the trip and bent horizontal a quite a few times, lasted like a trooper.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:36

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:36
Not about to start welding stuff onto the front of the car mate but I will keep the link. I would prefer a bolt on system. I could use one of the CB antenna mounts.

Thanks

Phil

Gotta get some shut eye.
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 15:39

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 15:39
Iain M , aside from the fellas lack of brain cells regarding UHF use, if I was travelling alone in a remote area and a large group (or small one) lobbed into the place I had set up camp, I'd be pretty annoyed and pack up, or, encourage the group to keep moving, too.
Nothing worse when trying to enjoy the solitude and you get swamped by people .. ;-)

Cheers
Al
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 15:58

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 15:58
Hi Al. Mate I know what you mean. That was one of the reasons I am not taking any more cars. Four is enough. And I moved camp once on the OTL up on Cape York. We weren't fully set up so it was easy.

Maybe one should get a portable boom boom box and a flat cap and turn it up when any undesirables arrive. Love that ad. So tempting isn't it.

We mainly like to travel solo so even one car withing 100 feet is a crowd. Didn't see one other car for the first three days in the Simpson.

I have also joined a large group for a trip. You do feel a little guilty when you drive into a camping area and take all remaining space.

Phil
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 20:26

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 20:26
Mate I hear you loud and clear, I had a bloke run into me in the Simpson as a result of him not having a radio. His reply to my tirade at him for not having a radio was that it is not the law and that he was beeping his horn at he crested the dunes to warn oncoming vehicles.
He was not the first vehicle in the desert I havecome across without a radio either.

What is wrong with these idiots that with all the $$ they spend on vehicles and fuel they cannot spend $200 on such an important accessory that jeopodises there's and others safety
AnswerID: 520130

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 21:05

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 21:05
This topic rears its head every so often. One issue previously raised is the problem with the distance a UHF can transmit and be received and if a person says they are about to climb a dune - which dune? Our well travelled desert tracks have thousands of them. So this issue can cause confusion. I know that I'd be advertising my position whenever it was appropriate to do so, but that's just me.

Possible solution to this, but very expensive, time consuming and would no doubt lead to souveniring would be to number the dunes. use a star picket or similar with a metal plated number attached, bit like they do with power poles. That way you could say approaching dune number 10, 20 , 1000, whatever.

Know it's a bit crazy but crazier things happen. Dare I say maybe a job for Track Care (sorry Ben).

cheers

Dunc

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AnswerID: 520136

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:22

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:22
One of the issues with UHF CB is that peoples attitude and understanding varies.

some people treat it as a toy and play thing, this gives certain people the idea that it is useless.

Years ago CB radio was the preserve of the enthusiast, thus most users had some idea of radio protocols and realities of two way radio.

We also had radio inspectors that actually inspected and prosecuted misuse of the radio. People where tracked down and prosecuted for swearing continuously, running over powered rigs and a variety of other things.
These days CB radio is a completely unregulated, free for all, with no enforcement of any type.

these days there are many people who know barely enough to drive their 4wd and have never had any exposure to any form of two way radio.

So many people don't even seen the need to identify themselves or the person that are calling.....they just chat like its a phone....and the chat, with nothing important to say.

Worse particularly around the cities, there are idiots who seem to think that CB is their own personal joke and cant seem to grasp that some people may actually have worthwhile information to transmit and others who would benifit from hearing it....especially on channel 40

It is important to tell people who you are, ( not full details) enough to know that your sucessive transmissions can be linked as being from the same person, and so your associates know its one of them calling.

Its important to say who you are directing your calls to, so people know the call is directed to them.

if you have been involved in marine radio, or taxis in the days of voice working, you will undersand the importance of knowing where you are at all times.....so you can say where you are with some accuracy.

That idea of numbering the dunes is a very good one.
Calling GPS references may be a little clumsy.....but its better than nothing.

Lots of heavy transport roads in the US have mile markers...and that can be important.
In the city we have cross roads, otherwise we have to use what ever land marks and signs are available.

Calling dune 25Km west of well 26......is certainly better than something vague.

What realy annoyed me and several other people.....back when I did a 4wd training course, the instructor flatly refused any sort of discussion on radio protocol, inspite of being chalenged on the matter several time by several people.

There are certain poeple out there who realy believe that CB should be informal and there is no need for any protocol or even any manners.

Unfortunatly CD radio is undervalued.

cheers
AnswerID: 520145

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:45

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 22:45
I'm all for appropriate Comms on this type of track, but it does require some way of being able to precisely identify where the person is, and earlier Duncan has suggested a marker system.

My only concern about making it mandatory is that whether it creates a false sense of awareness that means if nothing is heard then there is no-one over the next dune? What if a radio fails?

First and foremost, taking care and looking out the windscreen is the first line of defence and ultimately the only one you can comfortably rely on.

But yes, hard to understand why you wouldn't have one...
AnswerID: 520148

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:10

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 23:10
not disagreeing with you Landy, however they're better than not knowing someone is around. Most of the people traveling the CSR are in groups so they'res a better than even chance someone will have a functional UHF.

Otherwise we found a bit of common sense was the best approach. If the reception was fuzzy or non existent in the swales or hollows, then they're probably not that close, when you pick them up consistently, the you're probably close.

We found the easiest way was for one group to wait at the bottom of a dune and then call the oncoming over their next dune. When they call clear and you don't see them, then you ask them to wait while your group clears the next dune and so on until you see each other. It doesn't delay progress much, and is fairly safe.
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Reply By: Iza B - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 06:34

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 06:34
On a recent crossing of the Simpson, I found club groups to be the worst behaved in a couple of ways. I make general calls/announcements every 3 or 4 dunes and that seemed to work well in contacting oncoming travellers in plenty of time to establish relative locations and then to arrange for both groups to pass while crossing the swales. Three club groups completely failed to respond to my calls and then got all het up when we met nose to nose on the dunes. The other issue I had with the club groups was the many examples of wanton destruction of the tracks and massive fires using locally collected wood. I am getting off track but I would have thought a club trip would have had some UHF protocol.

The other issue we had was the number of travellers who would put out the call "Westbound crossing dune now" as their warning for oncoming travellers.

I am sure it would be useful for all those outback tracks, but a general call to announce your presence every ten minutes or so must add to the possibility of safety for all.

Iza
AnswerID: 520155

Reply By: Member - powernut (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:45

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 07:45
Yes Wizzer there is a sign on the south end and I think the north end to use channel 40.
As to those who queried the effectiveness of knowing where you are, we just zeroed at each well and then were able to quote a distance south of well xx group of five moving south etc.....
As to the question of range. That I think is a strength of the UHF on the Canning. If the signal is week be aware but not alarmed. If it is getting stronger be more aware, and when it is as clear as can be you are only 1 or 2 K's from the other person and need to talk about who is going over a hill next.
We did get one problem when you get more than two groups in range. It is helpful then to call yourself a group name. Can be as simple as green group or red group but if you use it each time you call everyone else within range knows exactly which group is calling.
There have been a lot of doubts raised since I posted the forum yesterday but let me simply say, using a UHF with regular calls is simple, others get it and respond in an orderly fashion and safety is maintained. Lets not get bogged down in side issues that don't exist out there.
Just a hint, keep any chatting within your group to a minimum and change down a channel if a couple want to have a long chat, just keep the leader on channel 40.
Powernut.
I am an apprentice retire. Its looking like my most successful career to date.

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AnswerID: 520157

Reply By: Candace S. - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:38

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:38
As someone who relies on hired 4WD's when in Oz, I'm curious which hire companies are allowing their vehicles on the CSR!?

Britz explicitly forbids their vehicles from going there. Further, they have a list of other places that require written permission before you may take their vehicles there:

(See 16.2, paragraphs c. and d. for lists):http://www.britz.com.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDFs/AU_Britz_RentalAgreement_Camper-Car_1314_English.pdf

I don't know if they have any sort of tracking devices to monitor their vehicles. Of course, ultimately the biggest deterrent to ignoring their rules is the risk involved if you were to break down, have an accident, etc. in a place you weren't supposed to be...
AnswerID: 520161

Reply By: Candace S. - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:46

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 09:46
Oops, mean to add this question to the post above:

If a hire company won't equip their vehicles with the radios, then what is the driver supposed to do? I presume hand-held units are available. But I doubt they have much range (either receiving or transmitting) while the radio is inside the vehicle.

Ideas?
AnswerID: 520164

Reply By: Mark T6 - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 15:35

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 15:35
I did the CSR with 3 other vehicles, also July-August , and heading south to north.....probably crossed paths with Scott M at some point.

I remember the "Northern Europeans"....and oh yes that big Tag Along (that's another story).

I concur 150% with all of the above, and overall it worked very well BUT there were moments for sure.

We took turns leading and one day I came the closest I have ever been to a head on when leading the group about the well 33-34-35 area.

I was constantly (every 5-10 mins) calling ahead on Chan 40 and making sure of vehicles coming our direction. At one point I came around a corner at about 60 KPH only to see a Nissan Patrol (I drive a Prado) coming straight at me.....I went left (towards a big tree which I only "just" didn't plow into), he went left and fair dinkum I reckon our mirrors touched (yes we were that close). How we didn't collide I'll never know and in all my 40 off years of driving I have never been so close to a major ding!!

Following just behind him were another 5 or 6 vehicles.

We backed back up and he told me he was the tour leader for a Tag Along and asked me why wasn't I broadcasting on 40......HELLO I said I have been broadcasting on 40 every 5 minutes and I haven't heard you either mate!!

By this stage my fellow travellers had pulled up behind me and his behind him, and we proceeded to argue about who was right and who wasn't....I knew I was right and my 3 mates confirmed that they had heard me call forward just 2 minutes before we met.

His Tag Along people could not confirm as they were on a different chanel.........SO

Makes me think he was talking to them on Channel 18 (the people behind told me that only the tour leader was monitoring 40 they were all using 18 so they could chat non stop) when I was doing the calling.

NOW

Would you not think that a tag along leader would have TWO radios....one set on 40 to monitor what's cominbg towards him and the other on the nominated chanel to communicate with his group????

Apparently not!!

We had several other encounters with people who,

1) Didn't even have a radio
2) Didn't speak the lingo

Just imagine the ramifications of a head on in the CSR with one or two serious injuries and one or two seriously damaged 4WD's.....scary isn't it!!

We still had a great time but this was very much a difficult part of the trip, how you overcome it I don't know......we talked to many (like us) experienced 4WDers, but gee we also talked to a bunch of first timers / novices and overseas visitors.

Interesting topic isn't it!!
AnswerID: 520189

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:23

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:23
Mark, we probably crossed paths - we were the group who identified as the "emus"

as I said below ... "in defense of Jeremy and the tag-along despite my humorous dig, he did have dual radios, however one of them had crapped itself, so he had to take the only logical option and swap the group to channel 40. However at times in very close sand-hills it did tend to clutter the airways, however it couldn't be helped."

As an aside, we did hear that one of the solo "Northern Europeans" had managed to miscalculate his fuel load by a significant margin and was busy trying to scavenge fuel from other travelers, however without much luck. The perils of poorly planned hires I suspect........... which sort of re-enforces my original point about lack of preparation.

Funniest one we came across was some bloke and his missus stopped on the road about 3-4 k's south of the Kunawarritji turn off with his camper trailer, kitchen, tables and chairs etc. all set up on the track. Turned out he'd joined the CSR at Well 23 and was planning to head off on the Wapet road and had run out of fuel about 4 k's short. Had been sitting there for 2 days without anyone stopping - we gave him 10 liters out of one of our jerry's.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 03:50

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 03:50
Mark sounds a bit like a run in I had on the CSR a few years back.
I run two UHF radios, one was on 40 and was used between myself and the other vehicle I was traveling with, we obviously could hear others using 40 and contact & coordinate position etc as required.

The other radio I keep on scan, this system works very well on other tracks also such as the Vic High Country etc.

Anyway, I heard a group on 26 during the scan, signal was low so I knew they were still distant.
I warned my lead vehicle of possible approaching.
I tried calling them on 26 but someone was actually reading a chapter over the radio on native flora, I finally managed to break in and advised them of our position.
The position they gave in return was quite a number of Km's from us but their signal strength was getting quite strong by now, I told my lead that I didn't believe their position and we should wait in the next swale for a bit.
Turns out they crested the next dune a couple of minutes later.

I asked the so called professional tag along leader why he wasn't using 40 and advising position, he said he switched to 40 and listened periodically for other travelers.
Pretty piss poor for a "professional" is my thought.
Little cost to have a second radio and maintain a proper transmit procedure & listening watch.
I also told him he was way out on his claimed position and distance from his previous well.
Oh and his flag was 3 feet above his bulbar!!

Moral of the story, even the so called professional operators can be bad news.

A good procedure is to stop periodically on the top of a dune and just listen to the radios for a minute or two whilst enjoying the serenity and if in doubt about the approaching vehicles position, just wait somewhere safe for awhile until you can be sure of their position and intentions.

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Reply By: garri - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 15:41

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 15:41
a one way system is the best solution
AnswerID: 520191

Reply By: Member - powernut (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 16:26

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 16:26
Mark T6 sounds like you had similar experiences to us. When the UHF is used by all on the day no dramas. I too would question a tag along leader being able to monitor both channels effectively. Especially when his own tour channel would be the dominant one.

We had an experience when leaving a well, a large group came charging along and hadn't heard our call or we theirs if they had made one! The leader gave a quick apology and it was only then I realised he was monitoring two channels as a tag along leader. Using two channels like that has an advantage of keeping channel 40 free for calls between groups, but it must also be a distraction. It only takes one mistake to create a dangerous situation.

As for making the CSR one way? Good luck with that. We all have our reasons for doing it the way we did. I think we just need to make the use of UHF and channel 40 a more important requirement than it is now. Maybe a note with the permits would help. Those who do their homework will always find out the requirement. The fact that there are people out there charging up or down the CSR having done so little homework just amazes me.

We were loaded to the hilt yet I saw a troupe with no luggage above the window line, and nothing on the roof, no external wheels or jerry cans? Others spoke of that vehicle also and wondered seriously if he had enough fuel to even get to the fuel point!

I guess we all meet individuals who make life interesting, I just wished they also made life safe for others as well.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:12

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 17:12
powernut, in defense of Jeremy and the tag-along despite my humorous dig, he did have dual radios, however one of them had crapped itself, so he had to take the only logical option and swap the group to channel 40. However at times in very close sand-hills it did tend to clutter the airways, however it couldn't be helped.
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Follow Up By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 22:45

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 22:45
We were loaded to the hilt yet I saw a troupe with no luggage above the window line, and nothing on the roof, no external wheels or jerry cans? Others spoke of that vehicle also and wondered seriously if he had enough fuel to even get to the fuel point!
powernut,
How many in the troopie,?
if solo or even a couple in a lightly loaded troopie ( even the V8)with 2 x 90 litre underbody tanks will do the distance wiluna - kunawaritji then Kunawaritji -Billiluna
the fact you didnt see anything on the outside means little
I have carried up to 280 litres of fuel under my 79 series ute (2 x90 tanks and 5 JC under tray)with no external tyres/jerrycans /roofrack in sight.
on our 2010 trip a mate with a V8 troopie didnt even fill right up at well 33. I brought my V8 cruiser 4 months later I was so impressed.
will admit I carried 2 x jc on 2012 trip but that was heavy loaded for 3 1/2 months touring.
cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 11:25

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 11:25
Powernut,
Was that the 'green' troopie? We were warned that he was coming toward us but didn't show. Don't know where he ended up.
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Follow Up By: Member - powernut (SA) - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:32

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 17:32
DingoeBlue, no it was more of a mustardy/yellow, but who knows, apparently my colour picks are usually off.

I guess my comment re being able to see no gear above the window line is more about what we take on a two and a half week trek. I understand you can store a lot of fuel under a troupe but just camping gear, food, water, clothes, tent or swags, vehicle spares, tyres all fitted below the window line of a troupe! Possible but that is what I call travelling very lite. I would very much admire some one who can do it that lite.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:07

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:07
What fuel usage did you get?

We have a fairly heavy 100 series 4.2TD auto and I am banking on 20Lts per 100. That way I could just do it without carrying fuel in cans. I could then put a second spare on the rear bar instead of jerrry cans.

I don't have a lot of room on the rack as we have a roof top tent. A spare will go up there but it would hang over the front of the rack. And I would never be able to get it back up there. I have a winch (jack strap type) system for the tyre carrier.

I don't like "just doing it" either. It is still in the planning.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:10

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:10
I have a 105 series TD which was heavily laden with 100lt water and 100lt extra fuel on top, two fridges, camping gear, 2 spares etc.etc. We averaged 14.48lt/100km. (Wiluna to Kunawarritji) The 80 series petrol l/c was using close to 20lt/100km.
As a rough rule of thumb, the consumption I get while travelling on bitumen fully loaded at 110kph is very close to what you get travelling slowly in 4WD.
This rough guide has been confirmed in my previous vehicle also. (HJ60)
I also estimated fuel requirements for the CSR at 20lt/100km
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:31

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:31
That's pretty much what I hope to get. If I get better than 20 lt/100 between Kunawaratjii and Wiluna then all will be good. Maybe putting one jerry on board would be best. We will be getting fuel at Kunawaratjii. The 1000 kms bottom section below Kunawaratjii is my concern. Top part is fine with 215 litres total in the main and long range sub tanks.

Tyre pressures can effect it a lot. What did you do?

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 18:22

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 18:22
Hi Phil,

It's only 642km from Kunawarritji to Bililuna but I didn't fuel up until Halls Creek. You'll make it easily with 215lt. Be aware that fuel at Kunawarritji is $3.40/lt.

You might enjoy an early day at Stretch Lagoon just before Bililuna. Makes the next day to Wolfe Creek Crater and Halls Creek an easy one.

I ran 18 and 20 for the whole trip. Pumped up at Halls Creek. Good all round pressures for corrugations and rough stuff and also the dunes. Leaves a bit of room if you need to air down.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 18:27

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 18:27
Thanks Ralph

Thanks for the pressures.

We are actually starting from Alice. Up the Tanami to Wofle Crater for a night then back to Bililuna and south.Stretch lagoon may be a little close.

I have a feint memory or reading that camping at Stretch Lagoon requires a oermit. It that true?

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 21:26

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 21:26
Hi Phil,
You are correct, permits are required for Stretch Lagoon but you'd need to arrange prior to visiting. There's nothing at Stretch other than a long drop, a few cattle yards and of course, the Lagoon.
Wolfe Creek Crater didn't seem like much of an area to camp but you're on Carranya? Station so I guess there's not much choice for camp spots
Apparently the Tanami is a good road and not particularly inspiring. I've not had reason to travel it so maybe some other EO members could enlighten you on that score.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 21:44

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 21:44
We are thinking of having a Halloween night at Wolfe Creek. Bit on the gruesome side we know. Any excuse for a party. I need to find some eerie sounds to give us a bit of atmosphere. God help anyone else there when we rock up. Can you imagine. We may get an immediate evacuation and have it to ourselves. If any reader is there please don't worry. It's only the first bite that hurts.

I better let this thread get back to normal. Thanks for the info. All good stuff

Phil

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Follow Up By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 09:01

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 09:01
John Jarrat might show up....
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 09:41

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 09:41
I like your thinking. . . .

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Reply By: Mark T6 - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:01

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 18:01
Overall it was fine.

We passed 143 Vehicles coming south, and I'd say 120 of them were doing everything right...some much better than others but most had the right attitude.

Would NOT work one way, everyone has their reasons to start in the south like we did or the north.

I am sure we would have passed, or talked to a few of you.....we were a group of four

My Silver Prado
A white 100 Series
a Gold 200 Series
And a white late model Troopy

We stuck out like dogs balls as we have our wives with us.......we hardly saw another female (although we did strike a few).

AnswerID: 520255

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 22:01

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 at 22:01
Wow that is very busy, when we did it in March / April 2009 we probably saw no more than a dozen or so but there was a bloke in a Mitsi Canter getting assisted by the Hema maps couple over every dune. Apparently he was waiting for us at Kunawarritja for us, 2 x V8 cruisers, we avoided him as we did not want to be responsible for them.

Can't get over the traffic that is too much

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:24

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:24
That's enough cars to run a chook raffle.

Very true Mark.

We are doing it north to south because two are continuing on the Perth, personally it will be home from Wiluna - Kalgoorlie on the bitumen (time issue) and one is only doing half and then back to Alice from well 33.

It wouldn't work the other way as the start is in Canberra.

Phil
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Reply By: Mark T6 - Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 09:23

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013 at 09:23
We in fact had a competition amongst our group,we chucked in $20 a head and the two comps were,

1) How many vehicles will pass us
2) How many Camels will we see

Bugger me if I didn't say 145 (and we saw 143), and my wife said 20 Camels (and we saw 18).

Didn't really matter, we stuck the winnings on the table in Alice Springs and bought wine for everyone anyway but it was a bit of fun.

Yes add all the vehicles heading north and you probably had 300 or more on the CSR at the one time.

A number of Tag Along's (a few coming north to south and another going south to north that we allowed to pass).

But yes it was like Pitt Street out there at times!!
AnswerID: 520279

Reply By: daniel W7 - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 01:02

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 01:02
We had 2 vehicles heading south in July.
I carried a sand flag and surprised at all of the jerry built ones that were no higher than the roof rack of the vehicle. They might as well not bothered.

Most northbound parties were using channel 40 and were saying which well they were north of and what type of country they were crossing and distance from the well.

We met one bloke from Sydney in a troop carrier who had no flag, no radio, no sat phone and no maps.
One party had originally met him at cockle biddy where he was lost due to having no maps. If he got lost there, I don't know why he would attempt the csr without any maps.
He also only had the fuel in his vehicle tanks. Even if the range of your main and auxiliary tanks is enough it is wise to have some in containers in case one of your tanks or fuel line gets a leak. Just like we are all advised to not have all of our water in one tank.

A couple of years back a bloke was pulled over by a Fesa district officer on the csr.
He was patrolling it in readiness for the fire season, and heard a number of people warning others on radio about a 4wd that was doing in excess of 80 Kms an hr northbound around blind bends and over dunes, without a flag or radio, almost hitting other vehicles. When he came across him he chased him with the blue and red lights and when the guy stopped he asked him why the hell he was going so fast. His reply was that he wanted to do it all in less than a week from wiluna to halls creek. The DO was flabbergasted when the passenger door opened and out stepped they bloke's wife and two young children. He thought it bad enough that he was risking killing himself and other travellers, but was also placing his own family at great risk as well.
AnswerID: 520305

Follow Up By: Mark T6 - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 12:04

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 12:04
We were going at a speed to "smell the roses" but even so hard to imagine one could go that fast....60KPH on some sections was possible (we tried to do that over the corrugations as it somewhat smooths them out) but gee you could not keep even that speed up for long.

We aimed to do 100 Kms a day, and planned our stops based on that....some days we only managed 80, but caught up with a few 120 days later in the trip.

We ran into a guy, just by himself, no radio, no sat phone and worried that he did not have enough fuel...he was northbound as well...he used to get up at sparrows, drive about 40-50 k's and then pull up by lunch time, so we leapfrogged him a few times.

Considering the planning our group did, and the backups we had (UHF in vehilce and hand helds in case of a breakdown) plus several sat phones for emergency I am aghast at how some people just do these trips totally unprepared.

How you fix that I do not know.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 15:16

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 15:16
"How you fix that I do not know."

"Which gets to the topic of our camp-fire debates. We all felt that on a route like the CSR a UHF radio should be mandatory and be part of the permit system or travel passes. While acknowledging that this could be difficult to enforce, we also felt there should be an automatic liability clause in the permits which shifts liability and cost 'automatically' to vehicle without a UHF radio irrespective of the actual cause. Basically, you hit someone on the crest of a dune and you don't have a radio and they do - you're automatically at fault."
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