Communication or EPIRB

Submitted: Saturday, May 25, 2002 at 00:00
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We are planning a trip to the NT and are wondering if it is necessary to get a Satelite phone or HF radio, or would the cheaper option of EPIRB be adequate for use in emergencies. We already have an AM and UHF CB installed, and therefore can communicate short range. We are planning on doing the Merinee loop road, Tanami Rd, Plenty Highway, Chambers Pillar, Kakadu, Litchfield, and Gregory NP. Thanks..
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Reply By: Nigel - Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00
Something to keep in mind - unless an EPIRB signal is picked up by an aircraft, it can take up to 2 hours for the satellite to pickup the signal (the pickup is shorter the further south you are). I carry one as a backup to my HF.

Not being familiar with the area you intend to travel, I'll leave it to others to give an opinion on whether there is enough traffic for long range comms to not be essential.
AnswerID: 3825

Reply By: Cruiser - Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00
Haven't been on the Merinee loop but for all the other areas you mention, your AM and UHF will be adequate. All of those areas get quite frequent traffic during the tourist season.
AnswerID: 3828

Reply By: Fay - Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00
Tim, I posted a question on the forum, I think it is now on page 2 or 3 regarding HF radio and do I need one. I have a Sat phone and UHF. Check out the answers I got alot of excellent info from those that replied.
We done the Mereenie Loop, (this is the loop out of Alice Springs isn't it)quite a busy road so I wouldn't think you would have to wait long for help. Have a good trip
AnswerID: 3829

Reply By: darian - Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00
Tim.....when way outback on these roads during peak times, you do see quite a lot of people, but you can still be a long way from settlements. While I have the CB's I choose old fashioned crystal HF radio as my back up, because I always have in mind that it could rain (take the last two years up there!), and you might have to stop and possibly see nobody for many days. While UHF won't help, the sideband on the 27 Meg CB might get out (depends on your set up and conditions) but you can't talk to anyone with the Epirb. Good, inexpensive HF gives you an added sense of security. I was in the centre last September - absolutely blown away with the herbage - like a botanic garden - flowers galore. Have a good 'un.
AnswerID: 3834

Reply By: Steve - Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 00:00
The trips you mention are busy roads in the season and a Sat phone would be un-necessary unless your secretary in the office can't bear not to hear you when not in the office... an HF will give you road conditions, and up to date info from travellers who are ahead of you in the territory that you intend travelling--- provided you are listening to VKS 737.. An EPIRB is something you 'detonate' when you are in your last legs and a short time from leaving this life !! Use this one un-necessarily and you may cop a large invoice...You will feel much more comfortable if you have an HF and communicate with VKS 737.. listening to up to the minute road conditions will give you a chance to avoid wet/bad roads etc .. I suggest that is really all you need..

steve
AnswerID: 3843

Reply By: Mike - Monday, May 27, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 27, 2002 at 00:00
Tim, for all the tracks you are travelling, UHF should suffice under normal conditions. A HF set is extremely valuable for emergency communications and through the wonderful VKS737, allows both messaging and road condition updates as well, but for the tracks you are travelling, they are expensive toy. A very useful toy, but not entirely naccessary. I believe they are more usefull than Satphone, as they allow you to both communicate and listen. Be aware that an 'EPIRB' is for EXTREME and LIFE THREATENING situations ONLY. Huge fines DO apply for the mis-use of these devices. With this in mind though, for the small cost and size, I would not go to the outback without one in my truck. They are the cheapest form of life insurance available.
Happy trails, Mike.
AnswerID: 3846

Reply By: Sean - Monday, May 27, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 27, 2002 at 00:00
Tim

I have 2 satphones and they are not 100% reliable buts - very good when they do work. I would not bother with one as a back up when you can use am, uhf or epirb.

Sean
AnswerID: 3860

Reply By: greg - Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 00:00
I have travelled all these areas and suggest that UHF CB is all you need. The best insurance when travelling is to be well prepared, drive slowly and travel with another vehicle. If you feel the need for emergency comms then either Satphone or HF but if you go really remote (hard to do these days) or cross country or travel by yourself then take an Epirb as well. Also remember if in trouble try and relax and stay with your vehicle.
AnswerID: 3866

Reply By: David - Sunday, Jun 02, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Jun 02, 2002 at 00:00
Tim my wife and I travel the outback quite a lot and we have used HF Radio communication in all sort of situations. Most of all to
help other out of trouble. We use the VKS737 Network and find that the friends we have made via the radio have made our trips
all the more pleasurable. Having said all this if the cost is a problem then a good UHF set installed with a good antenna will get
you out of trouble most of the time in a local area. If you wish to keep in message contact with family and them being able to contact you
then a HF Radio would achieve this. Have a great trip

AnswerID: 3967

Reply By: andy - Saturday, Jun 15, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Jun 15, 2002 at 00:00
Tim We regularly travel up into the gulf and outback. We hire a Codan HF from Mobile Communications in Brisbane for $50 per week. It is fitted with all Flying Doctor Channels and we usually check in on the chat session at 9am every morning. It is a great feeling to hear that voice out of the ether "This is the royal flying doctor base at _____" Your family can always leave messages with the RFDS and you can get them on call up. Worth every cent. Andy
AnswerID: 4203

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