VKS 737 is this still the first choice of users?

I ask simply because whilst I have been a paid up member (till end of 2013) for some 12 to 15 years or so my membership lapsed when renewal received whilst away from home.

Notice stated late renewals and you lose your callsign and get new one.

I emailed them 3 weeks ago stating I would renew and explained reason for lateness....requested my callsign be retained.....no response to email... 3 weeks!

Tried phoning them twice in last few days.....no answer......so is this org. declining and is it out of favour as there are now more options? Until this recent experience I had not considered going elsewhere.....but revising my opinion atm

Appreciate members experiences of both VKS 737 these days......also some options

thanks
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 16:23

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 16:23
Head office staff are currently on leave Bungarra - I have alerted one of the network's volunteer coordinators - he may be able to respond soon.
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 16:24

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 16:24
That is a disappointing response/non response.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 14:46

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 14:46
Its very common over the Xmas break - people deserve to have holidays.
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Reply By: prado 01 - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 16:43

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 16:43
I reckon most travellers are going for satphones nowadays.
That's not to say HF is lousy it's just a sign of the times.
Loads of posts here showing pro's and con's.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:15

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:15
Hi

I think bungarra (WA) was asking which HF radio group (there's a few) is currently regarded as most popular/best..not so much what means of communication is preferred...that's a completely different kettle of fish.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:55

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:55
yes Greg spot on. I have both and for good reasons
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Reply By: blue one - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:11

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:11
Afternoon Bungarra,
Been down in Antarctica for the last 12 months. VKS more than helpful with mothballing the account and then helping with on going membership.

I would say they are still the first choice for me.

Cheers

Steve
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:19

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:19
VK Portable lists, with descriptions, some alternate HF networks.
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Reply By: Member - Noldi (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:32

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:32
2 members of the Out and About 4WD club have joined a club based just north of Perth, around 18 months ago. They both enjoy the new club and I think they said it was cheaper. We did the Connie Sue in September, neither of them had any troubles checking in. Can't remember the name of the club but I believe the main organiser is called Roy, maybe someone here knows the name.

In saying that I was a member of VKS and didnt have any problems
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:12

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:12
Roy Watkins, Austravel Safetynet. Email royandjane at bigpond.com adjust the email address accordingly.
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Follow Up By: Member - Noldi (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:15

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:15
Thanks Rod, memory is not what it was
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:38

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:38
I used to look forward to Roy's web based reports on outback road conditions. I checked almost daily and sometimes there was no updates for months.
Then EO came along :-)

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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Reply By: racinrob - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:45

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 17:45
Just check out the HF Radio Club VKE237, much more for less $$$.
Direct link to RFDS plus many other benefits the others don't have.

Rob VKE237 Sel 6678.

Helmets on, incoming fire.
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 08:47

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 08:47
HF radio club (VKE237) gets my tick also
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Reply By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:27

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 at 18:27
Hello

This website offers a brief review of all/some (?) of your options...

Radio Communications for Travellers.

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 00:28

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 00:28
VKS has been very strict on renewals for quite a few years now.
They regularly warn members via the magazine etc about ensuring renewals are sorted if you are traveling during renewal time.

I've never had an issue, service always good and the network is excellent with very good scheds run by an excellent team of operators.


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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 22:09

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 22:09
John

They certainly have been very strict.

I inadvertently paid my renewal twice a few years ago. Instead of getting a refund I just asked for them to keep it for the following year's subscription. The next year, because I didn't submit the renewal form (despite having paid) my callsign was gone in a flash, almost as if someone had been waiting for a chance to grab it.

I wonder why a small organisation like this needs to be such Nazis when it comes to cancelling callsigns? Frankly, its a PITA to have to change your radio, learn a new call sign etc

I've been a member since the very early days. Even that doesn't seem to cut any mustard with this mob.

I am in no way critical of the actual service provided, just the administration.

Bob



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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 23:28

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 23:28
I do tend to agree with you Bob, it wouldn't hurt to hold the Selcall number for say 3 months to cover the few that are late before re issuing it.


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Reply By: Luke2 - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 07:26

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 07:26
very happy with VKS737, been with them for about 15 years, I have 2 licenses for 2 4WDs. they have excellent base operators, selcall when I've used it is always answered with a smile. Mobile 2786 and 2787
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Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 08:18

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 08:18
The VKS radio service if very good and professional but their admin side leaves a lot to be desired...... Ive seen small social clubs run better, we had BIG problems a few years ago with a renewal, the payment we sent them got deposited and banked (paid by cheque) but they said we had not renewed our membership and lost our selcall number. ( funny how it came out of our bank account and showed a transaction into their account).

It seemed they were right and we were wrong, eventually they sent our money back after a few months of arguing, its not a good way to run an organisation is you don't reconcile accounts and know where to allocate money.

If i can't get hold of a business or organisation after several attempts I start to wonder how good they really are and in most cases look else where.

So sit tight and they will contact you when the time is right for them and I think you'll loose your selcall number........ Ours got reissued within a few months to someone else.
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Follow Up By: racinrob - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 10:24

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 10:24
A bit off topic but the HF Radio Club will give you the sel number of your choice providing no one else has it. Many members belonging to both VKE and VKS use the same sel number.

Rob VKE237 sel 6678
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 16:29

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 16:29
...I think you can do the same with VKS i.e. request a specific number if available (well you could). The issue being discussed (losing selcall number for not renewing license) would appear to be aimed "encouraging" people to pay their subscription before expiry. I can only assume the VKS admin people got really peeved off at having lots of unpaid "members" needing to be reminded of the simple task of paying up months after they should have. Bit harsh for those that missed paying for a more legitimate reason I suppose..as you do get attached to your "number".

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 18:13

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 18:13
The thing is; nearly everyone has an email address and it's not hard to set up an automatic reminder to be sent for those who have forgotten.... integrated CRM based software for doing this is reasonably priced.

If they take a proactive view instead of an inactive view they would get their money quicker, cause less headaches for all involved and keep happy customers.

They use technology for the telephone inter connectors and scheds so maybe a bit of technology in the admin side may be a bit overdue.

When the back end of a business doesn't run right it eventually filters through to the front end.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 22:02

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 22:02
Yes - that is indeed is what one would expect in this day and age and would have saved some of the people who legitimately forget to pay on time. I do however wonder how many would still "forget" even if they got an email ..or two...or three.

A direct debit system may be another option..not sure if that is available for VKS, certainly is for other groups I am a member of....though it would also appear that filling out the renewal form is also a required part of the process (to ensure your details are up to date).

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 11:04

Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 at 11:04
I think VKS is a bit like Telstra Bungarra - but in the end for best performance one should be with them if going seriously out there.
Actually mine was renewed just past expiry but came back with same call sign.

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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 20:42

Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 20:42
UPDATE !

20 days after sending my email re membership I finally get a response...see cut and paste

quote

Good Afternoon,

I acknowledge receipt of your email. should you wish to subscribe to the VKS-737 Radio network services please forward your completed and signed application form (refer attached) and payment to Head Office.

Subject to your payment method completed applications returned as emailed attachment / faxed will be accepted.

NB: Your previous selcall number has been forfeited, VKS-737 issuing policy is next available selcall/callsign number from our system will be issued.

end quote

Well I struggle with this attitude I really do. All these years of membership and that one liner response........If I have to now notify those people over the years that have my callsign and may recognise it that I have a new one...and in reality I don't know who has it as far as a total list goes...........

..if I need notify people of a new one then I guess all options are open as to membership

I really struggle why, with the choices out there of different organisations, why a voluntary organisation would be so user unfriendly and in fact down right negative to their member........

I was 21 days late to renew (because I was away) when I emailed querying my retention of my call sign when I paid...they take 20 days to reply.....with the above

Attitude like that can only cause the other HF groups to grow their membership...maybe little wonder why alternative HF groups commenced despite VKS being the originator and the largest

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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 20:46

Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 20:46
I should have mentioned that it is the Administration staff that seem to need an attitude change over this

The volunteer operators have always given a great service and deserve more accolades than they ever get...I have nothing but praise and appreciation for them over the years

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 21:22

Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 21:22
..Sounds like they need a members revolt informing them that their current administration methods are unacceptable to the majority. While I think I understand why they have initiated the policy, it seems exceptionally harsh (especially on long term members) and not working in their favour.

Cheers
Greg
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