HF communications

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 19:08
ThreadID: 10486 Views:1961 Replies:5 FollowUps:11
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Don't know much about long range communications - always assumed it meant $4000 HF radio vs $???? satphone. Willem's post on a multi-tap aerial has me wondering - what would a good second hand HF with multi-tap cost ? How many frequencies do you need to use VKS737, RFDS and radphone. Presumably a $300 multi-tap covers it ?? Where would you go to get good second hand stuff (I'm a complete novice).
Many thanks,
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 20:01

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 20:01

Points to think obout

Have tou got the room to fit the unit in the vehicle?
Will your bullbar take the weight and size of the aerial?
Cost of unit?
Radio will be fixed in Vehicle
Can anyone use the radio eg in case of emergency can a friend use it with out any training?

Satphone is small and portable
Satphone can be used by anybody with a working knowledge of a mobile phone
Satphones can be brought for about $1000 and depending on plan calls from about $2.00 per min
When in mobile phone range the Satphone will switch to digital and calls charged at digital rates.

What do you want the long range communications for? Emergency Phone calls or communications.

I think you will see I am a little bias towards Satphones. Having used them on big trips they are a must.

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Follow Up By: Member - AndrewPatrol - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 20:14

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 20:14
I too am interested in Brad's question 'cos I like the amount of info that is available via HF, just listening. And you also get help if you call. A multi tap is a very light weight antenna so there is no problem (you can even remove the whip and carry it inside. As for cost, read the question again. If you get a 10 channel unit ( I think about $600) they are portable. Although I haven't used one, I doubt they aren't much harder than a UHF, perhaps an emergency instruction sheet can be stuck to unit.

Good Question Brad!!!!!

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Follow Up By: Brad - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 20:20

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 20:20
Thanks Wayne and Andrew.
I know there are pros and cons of both.
I have always been biased towards Satphones myself.
I'm interested though on how much a 'basic' HF could do and would cost, which wouldn't necessarily preclude renting or owning a Satphone as well for the 'big trip'.
Thanks again,
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Reply By: Clarry - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 22:17

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 22:17
In my view, judged against the whiz bang current radios for around $3000+, you shouldn't pay more than $6-700 all up for a radio and tap system. That might get you and older style, reliable radio WITH selcall capability (for the radphone). If you only wanted TALK functions, $400 would be the top all up. In a year or two, these systems may have virtually no resale value at all; the satphone prices will probably come down....some HF users will change to sat ....quite a few current whiz bang radios will be on the used market. I got my current model Barrett 950 system for $1500....just waited till it popped up. Know of a Codan 9323 system sold for $2000
(some people may prefer that model to the current NGT). The local press, and national trading post has the older style HF's popping up from time to time. Just make sure it has the features you want - if not, get a quote on conversion before buying it - it might be pricy to bring it up to spec. BOL.The car, the boat, the camper, the radios - is that all there is to life ?
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Follow Up By: Brad - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:07

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:07
Many thanks Clarry
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Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 17:24

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 17:24
Was that with arial Clarry, If so you lucked out as I just paid $2500 & I have been looking for months & that was the cheapest I could find .Regards Bob
Where to next
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Follow Up By: The Banjo - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 19:40

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 19:40
Clarry is busy - asked me to say that he paid $1500 for the whole shebang (outback traveller pack). 2 years old. Got a bloke to pick it up interstate - checked the serial numbers etc prior with Barrett in Perth - all cosher. Ran really well for a month, then the autotune played up - got it fixed under warranty at the factory (love those Barrett people) - it was still under the 3 years. Ended up with a new blue case. Probably owes him just under $1800 all up, with air freight etc. Goes like a beauty. Using Radtel and VKS737.Clarry's rationale was that with the OTP being $2995 cash in Adelaide, $2000 was the limit on used. The 3 year warranty is worth the diff in his view - if you look after it, it will last a lot longer than that. Clarry just struck a bloke who needed the money in a hurry.I need red sand under me.
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Reply By: Roachie - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 22:19

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 22:19
Blokes, Here is a scenario that happened up a remote track somewhere off the Tanami Track a while back. Fella holed his fuel tank, lost all his diesel. He had the gear to fix the hole, but no diesel to get him the 300 odd k's back to town. If he'd have had a satphone he could have made a couple of calls and some kind garage chappy would have loaded a couple of gerrys up and headed off to fix him up. Had that been the case, he was told later it would have set him back a grand or so.
In this case however, he had a HF. He radio'd the Alice Springs Base to see what they may be able to do for him. It so happened that another VKS-737 member was listening in and it turned out he was only a few sand dunes (about 20klm) away and was carrying a bit of surplus fuel. He called Alice Springs to let them know he was willing to assist and our mate was able to get fuel and get back to town for a few bucks and a carton of coldies.
With HF there are no "call charges" unless you NEED the radphone feature. Note that I spend most of the year with a phone glued to my lug-hole and I'm quite happy to be away from the phone for a few weeks. However, we all need to feel confident that we can be contacted if a relative back home falls off the perch or something similar. VKS-737 has this situation covered too.........
Before you leave on your big trip, let your family and friends know the phone number they can ring to leave a message for you. Then, each afternoon, during the daily "skeds", the various Base Stations will start off their session by putting out a call to all mobile units for whom they have a message.
It really is quite good listening in to where people are each evening. You get to hear weather and road reports etc as well. On my Barrett 550 set (with auto tune antenna), I have the capability to pick up many channels including Marine CB, AM CB channels, LSB CB, ABC stations at Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs etc, Radio Australia plus numerous others.
In an ideal world I'd love to have both HF and Satphone, but given the choice of only one or the other, it's a not brainer that HF is the way to go. The annual membership fee for VKS 737 is about $66-, which is your only outlay after you buy the radio. Re-sale value is very good too.
I bought my set from Outbacker Comms, back in 2001 for $2000-.
Please let me know if you want any further convincing......
AnswerID: 46529

Follow Up By: Brad - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:09

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:09
Many thanks Roachie
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Follow Up By: PETER - Saturday, Feb 14, 2004 at 08:38

Saturday, Feb 14, 2004 at 08:38
Rochie i'm with you.
love vks and all the support they share with me .
on the radio everybody is a mate and "close by" .
great to share experiances without even speaking- just listening for a change.
in my case who the devil would i sat - phone to check the track outside Winton

victor 4868
FollowupID: 308570

Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 22:23

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 22:23
I have a 6924 Codan OPR(Outpost Radio).....Allright, it is old technology, but it works. I carry it for emergencies only. I also have a CDMA phone and a UHF Radio.

You should be able to pick a 6924 up in good working condition for $150-$500
Your aerial and spring loaded base should cost around $400 and an annual operators licence is $30(correct me if I am wrong). You don't have to fix the aerial to the bullbar. Mine is on my roof rack. So for around $1000 you should be able to set yourself up with emergency communications and you may listen to and talk with variuous stations if need be. You could also buy later models from $1200 to around $4000.

A satphone is very handy but there is a monthly cost(around $28 minimum) and very expensive phone calls and one way traffic to a particular number.

It is a matter of choice. I wouldn't mind having a Satphpone as well as my HF.
In 30 years of outback travel I have had to use the HF three times. Twice to get parts flown in and once to relay an urgent message. I have also used it as a link between to mobile vehicles.

Out on the Gibber
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Follow Up By: Brad - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:11

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:11
Thanks Willem.
I presume your new aerial is for your 6924.
How many frequencies does it have ?
Does it cover VKS737, RFDS and radphone (or some other way of getting into the phone network) ?
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 20:19

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 20:19
Hi Brad,
The new HF antenna is for the 6924
The radio has 8 channels but I still have to have VKS fitted. I have never bothered with VKS or Radtel before as I do not need to phone anyone but I now consider VKS being a handy option as I am planning some remote solo( on vehicle only) trips.
Out on the Gibber
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Follow Up By: Brad - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 20:42

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 20:42
Thanks Willem - you've given me something to think about.
P.S. liked your website and description of Simpson trip.
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Reply By: Yo Sam - Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 23:28

Thursday, Feb 12, 2004 at 23:28
Living in Alice springs I am the closest you will ever get to anywhere in australia. I Have a HF and get vouche how great they are, I am a VKS737 Network member and swear by them, fantastic for listening to weather reports, and good goss and they are always very helpful.. I have also carried a satphone but have never used it, always used the HF for breakdowns, and relay other people's problems. On a side note and I probably shouldn't advertise here but I have a codan 8525 with VKS 737 Channels and a remote cell call unit, also have an older model autotune antenna. Have been thinking about selling it for a while but still use it everynow and then from home(ops I mean the other car..).

AnswerID: 46547

Follow Up By: Brad - Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:14

Friday, Feb 13, 2004 at 07:14
Thanks Yo Sam.
I'm probably not quite ready to make an offer for the gear :-))
In a few months , maybe.
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