HF radio for big lap

Hey everyone,
I am aware there is heaps of information on this topic and I have been reading a lot on it. However, a lot of the information dates back a couple of years so I figured it might be good to get some up-to-date information :)

I am an international student and I am planning a big lap for 12 months (https://www.facebook.com/dannys4wdadventures). This is the first time I own a 4wd (or a car in general) and I have only been in Australia for a couple of years so you can imagine that this will be a great adventure. Obviously, safety is a big thing so I have been looking at sat phones. I found out that a HF radio might be a better option (read cheaper) so I have been looking into this.

The 'problem' is that as a student, I dont have 3000 to spend on a HR radio, so I am looking at a budget alternative. But what would be a budget alternative and how difficult will it be to install? I want to use the HF radio purely for emergency purposes although I am very keen on using the GPS-facebook option as well.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: racinrob - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:54

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:54
Danny, whichever way you go it is going to cost you serious $$. I know the HF Radio Club has second hand radios for around $2000 and would probably buy it back off you at the end of your big trip. The club has good coverage all over Oz and are very helpful with installation and how to use it.

racinrob VKE237 sel 6678
AnswerID: 537926

Follow Up By: Danny B3 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:59

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:59
Cheers! I emailed the HF Radio Club but they havent come back to me yet.
I looked around at gumtree and found some radio's but unsure if they are good deals/complete enough:
http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/mango-hill/other-parts-accessories/codan-hf-radio/1049373177

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/robina/other-electronics-computers/hf-radio-wagner-remote-head-vks-737-rfds-channels-21-tap-antenna/1053359216

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/capalaba/miscellaneous-goods/codan-hf-radios/1053085370

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/ipswich/other-parts-accessories/codan-hf-radio-9323/1049771899

Would you mind giving your opinion on these (based on the info in the adds)?
0
FollowupID: 822162

Follow Up By: racinrob - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 13:55

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 13:55
The Wagner with tap antenna is quite old technology but might be OK for the price, the Codan 9323 with the Autotune antenna is a bit newer and would suit you but I would keep shopping, others might have better advice.

racinrob VKE237 sel 6678
1
FollowupID: 822166

Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 15:35

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 15:35
A nice and cheap option would be a Codan X-2 programmed with VKS and a coiuple of RFDS frequencies, and a tapped whip antenna.
Using the selcall app on the smartphone will enable you to contact the VKS bases and also the RFDS in an emergency.

X-2's do crop up on ebay from time to time.

HTH
1
FollowupID: 822175

Reply By: Bludge - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:17

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:17
Danny,

Others on this forum will help with the HF set up and cost.

But from what you have said you only want the HF for emergency.
You state the HF cost of $3k plus you will need a license. I cannot see how a second hand Satphone for $500 plus call 'only in an emergency' is more expensive!

A UHF radio would be needed for local contact, car to car or listening for call points and trucks. A mobile phone for calls in populated areas, mobile internet as required or the local library or Macca's.

Just thought that I may be missing something.

But good luck with your planning and the trip.
TonyV

Cairns FNQ.

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 537930

Follow Up By: Danny B3 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:53

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:53
Good point. I thought you dont really have prepaid options for sat phones but I might need to look a bit more into it.
0
FollowupID: 822170

Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 20:38

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 20:38
Agreed re that point - I use HF radio and also volunteer as a base operator for a HF network, but we still have a Satphone (the 'other 50%' of our team doesn't want to use HF for emergencies!)..... we chose a Globalstar deal (they have a new satellite constellation now)- $500 for the phone, $15 a month for a casual service plan and $2 a minute for calls (rarely made). For emergencies, I think that phone deal is hard to beat.....the call clarity is first class and I'm told it's now a very reliable basic service, overall (the previous Globalstar satellite constellation was highly unreliable).
1
FollowupID: 822198

Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:42

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:42
From what info is in your post Danny I can't see that you need either - certainly not for the Big Lap.

HF radio is what I chose, a Barrett 950 setup which cost $750 used - earlier versions can be found on say ebay as per this link

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/BARRETT-250-HF-RADIO-CODAN-SELCALL-VKS737-Economy-/371121032085?pt=AU_Electronics_Radio_Equipment&hash=item5668898b95#ht_1944wt_1143

For emergencies you only need one channel 8022 and a simple tap antenna.

HF is more for those who want to get into this stuff and play and it can really work well and keep you in touch with the 4wd network.

A sat phone will have less overhead and basically cost no more.

Both of the above can have there issues.

But, I'd examine my real need again.

Perhaps just an EPIRB for those real emergencies is the max you need unless you really do wish to call home.








and its more for those who like to really get into places where the are no other vehicles

Robin Miller

Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 537931

Follow Up By: Danny B3 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:55

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 14:55
Good point, maybe an epirb would indeed be sufficient
0
FollowupID: 822171

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 22:25

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 22:25
Please don't solely rely on an EPIRB or PLB, if you have a flat tyre you don't really have a medical emergency and they can't call you back to ask so will deploy very expensive services.

If you are going remote, say Canning Stock Route or Simpson Desert (which you can hire a Sat Phone at either end and drop it off), then please get a Sat Phone or HF

cheers
2
FollowupID: 822219

Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 15:19

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 15:19
Or a 'spot'
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 537935

Follow Up By: Danny B3 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 18:58

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 18:58
After reading several cases where the emergency function didnt work on the spot, I am not a big fan of spot for reliability
0
FollowupID: 822189

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 09:24

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 09:24
You ain't the only one Danny.

A one way limited character service is no better than an EPIRB really.

I have a HF and love it but I seriously think if I was you I would do the following.

1)Get a second hand Iridium 9505A for say $600ish
2)Get a telstra sim for your phone and use that for an emergency, a little stuffing around but t
3)Never use it unless I have an emergency.
4)Sell it for $600ish when you finish your trip

Total cost is $0.

or get a telstra postpaid $10 per month SIM ( search for this subject on this forum - lots of info) Total cost is $10 per month.

Telstra is the only way to go for around australia and will get you out of trouble 95% of the time without resorting to the Sat phone anyway.
1
FollowupID: 822237

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 09:25

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 09:25
ERGHHH no edit on this forum.

2)Get a telstra sim for your phone and use that in the Sat phone for an emergency, a little stuffing around in an emergency but there is no monthly access cost for the sat phone.
0
FollowupID: 822238

Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 16:40

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 16:40
Danny, Go for the Satphone as Robin said HF are really for the enthusist and take a bit to learn how to get the best from them. If you choose a satphone make sure it has a reliable network like Iridium which is used by remote area Police, Ambulance, RFDS. A $20 a month plan from Telstra get the SIM activated for International Roaming and you can use it just like a mobilephone, yes calls are expensive but if only for emergency hopefully it wont cost other than the monthly fee
AnswerID: 537941

Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 16:56

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 16:56
Danny, looking at your profile on FB, your plan is to:

"The big plan:driving along the complete coast of Australia, a trip of around 25000km." - most of this trip around the coast will be on regularly traveled roads. Apart from the Simpson crossing, there should be regular traffic at optimum times (not the middle of Summer).

HF radios, though useful, are fiddly to install and learn and also come with the requirement to join an HF club or service before you can use them. Generally they're attractive to long term 4wd enthusiasts, remote solo travelers and commercial users and they're expensive to buy.

In your case would agree with the above posts. UHF radio a must as some tracks require use now (Simpson etc.). For safety an ePirb or PLB with inbuilt GPS (PLB's around $300 now) and a Sat phone if you feel the need for further safety.

Not saying don't consider HF, however a bit of pfaffing around and cost to get the thing set up
AnswerID: 537943

Follow Up By: Danny B3 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 18:56

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 18:56
Yeah you are right. Most remote will be some deserts and cape york
0
FollowupID: 822188

Reply By: Sat Phone Sales - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 15:34

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 15:34
Hi Danny, I can suggest a couple of low cost options.

You could consider getting an entry level HAM license (F call). It takes about a weekend of tuition to pass the exam. After that it is $78 per annum for the license. This gives you access to a lot of HF, VHF and UHF bands, but there is no "emergency" facility at all - only the good will of other amateur operators. Equipment is very inexpensive compared to land mobile apparatus.

Alternatively you could look at a cheap sat phone, we can supply a satellite telephone on the Globalstar network from $340 on a $15 month to month plan. There are no lock-in contracts or disconnection fees. You're easily reached too as the phone comes with a standard Australian mobile number making it easy and inexpensive for others to call you.

The Globalstar network is much improved over what it used to be. There's a whole bunch of new satellites serviced by 3 earth stations in Australia. The only network issue one may notice is reduced service availability as you approach the equator. Say 80% availability as you approach the Gulf and Cape York. It doesn't mean you can't make calls, just that you may have to wait 10 or 12 minutes to "jag" a satellite. Iridium also suffers from this effect but is not as noticeable as they have 50% more satellites in orbit.

Whilst the satellite phone option solves the communications needs the HAM radio option can be fun - sharing your travels with like minded operators on-air. You might like to go both ways!
AnswerID: 538029

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)