not so Outback Communications

Submitted: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:11
ThreadID: 12788 Views:1740 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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both swmbo & myself have CDMA phones but have noted that in central Queensland we wont get coverage. So do we fit a handsfree kit with a 6db gain antenna, fit a radio.. if so what type. Any advice most welcome.. would I need a licence for the radio option and who would I call apart from the flying doctor? As an aside I did check with Holden roadside assistance & they claim that they will assist in the event of breakdown as long as I'm on or at the side of a "made & recognised road that apears on a map" but not if I am on a desert track or island...if I was on an island I'm sure some nubile near nude woman with diesel knowledge would assist...
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:21

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:21
I usually wait for the nubile nude women when I have mechanical problems .... especially those with knowledge of diesels. Saves the cost of a phone call for starters.
The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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AnswerID: 58221

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:32

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:32
Don't ever rely on CDMA etc for genuine outback travel; not even with an in-car kit and 6db external antenna. I have one of those set-ups and you might get a signal 20klm further out, but not reliable.
You have 2 choices (and then some!!!).
#1....Sat phone....great if you know who you want to call in time of need.
#2....HF Radio.....(this is the way I went with mine). With this option, yes you do need a licence; but you automatically get that when you join a radio network (I'm a member of VKS737....they have a web
Picture this scenario.......You're out on the Gibb River Road and you hole your fuel tank. No worries, you're well prepared and carry gear to fix a hole of this nature. However, with hole fixed you've now got no fuel to get out. With Sat phone, you phone local servo (just 500klm up the road!!!) and they kindly offer to bring some fuel to you.....for 3 grand!!!) However, with the HF, you make a call to one of the Network's bases and when you outline your plight, there is a damn good chance that another network member will hear you and come your aid....they could be only a short distance away and would settle for a carton of coldies. It has happened.
With the HF, you also get to listen to all the banter that goes on (bit like the "forum of the airwaves") during the daily "skeds".
These "skeds" are daily scheduled sessions from various bases (eg: Alice Springs, Charters Towers, Sandstone, Adelaide, StMarys) wherby you can call in each afternoon and advise of your safe arrival at a certain spot etc. Before you leave on a trip, you can advise relatives etc of a phone number for the network so that they can phone you in the case of an emergency (if someone has died) and the network will broadcast the fact at the beginning of each session that there is a message for a particular member.
Sounds complex, but works easier than the way I've explained it here.
You can, if you wish, also use your HF radio to make radio phone (ie: "radphone") calls, but you need to pre-arrange this (I haven't bothered with this).
Just my 2 cents worth.
Membership of VKS network is about $70- p/a
You can hire both HF and Satphones if you are only likely to use them infrequently, but I'm not sure of the respective costs.
Good luck,
AnswerID: 58223

Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:40

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:40
goodday roachie
how do you go talking toother members outside of sked times i havent tried it as i did not no if it was allowed or not hoping to buy my own set soon but in the meantime we hire one when we go away an d i just wondered about this side of talking between members

ps i have uhf for intercar
FollowupID: 319932

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:49

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 at 20:49
No worries talking to other members out of sked times. In our club we've found that channel 5 (3995kHz) is the best for relatively short distances (say up to 400klm). It's always polite to listen to a channel for a few minutes to make sure no-one else is using it.
Also, if making a Selcall to another member, protocol dictates that you should announce the fact that you intend to make such a call beforehand so as not to inconvenience other members (but not too many people actually do this from my experience).
A few of us were returning from a Anzac Weekend trip down Hwy One south of Pt Augusta recently. One of our members headed east towards Willmington (g'day Pesty!!) and we kept talking on Ch.5 for as long as we could as we kept heading southwards. However, once he got into the real hilly country, we lost him altogether.
FollowupID: 319933

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 06:33

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 06:33
Rick roachies reply was spot on. I was also looking at getting the antenna and going down that path . I have a hf but expensive and coplicated to make phone calls and a bit scratchie .
I found a better choice for me was the sat phone bought through ebay works out about the same as antenna cost and acsess to hf phone call net work

All the best
AnswerID: 58265

Follow Up By: Rick Blaine - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 07:43

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 07:43
Ok.. Sat Phone sounds ok.. so how much did you have to bid to get it, connection costs, call costs etc
FollowupID: 319972

Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 06:44

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 06:44
Rick, where in Central Queensland exactly? Makes a difference to the answer.
AnswerID: 58266

Follow Up By: Rick Blaine - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 07:41

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 07:41
Around Carnarvon Gorge....then Midge point etc where I think CDMA will work
FollowupID: 319971

Reply By: The Banjo - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:11

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:11
Rick.......there's a Satphone / HF info page on a few of the pro's - con's re HF and Satphone usage. Contact vks737 head office if you need more advice ... see the contact page at the site.
AnswerID: 58298

Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:22

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 11:22
Ok Rick, I don't believe you need to go to the expense of any of this, especially not the HF radio - unless of course you are a radio nut. carnarvon Gorge has Rangers and telephones. Do you have UHF? You will mostly be on good roads with plenty of people passing by. If you are uncertain you could hire a Sat phone. Have a great time anyway, up in Carnarvon you should be too busy walking and birding to worry about the phone!!
AnswerID: 58300

Follow Up By: Rick Blaine - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 12:39

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 12:39
No Ruth im not a radio nut... I have hand held UHF which have about a 1km range and are great to communicate car to car on the road or person to person eg when I have to be called back from the beach....It is actually my wife who has the phone fetish.... she even has the talking clock engaged.... Thanks for the info though I had a gasp at the prices for a HF radio setup this morning... & there are sat phones on Ebay at sensible prices but I would still need a sim to get it working and the call costs would dictate emergency use only... she who must be obeyed may not enjoy having to forfiet her 2 hour gasbag to each of her freinds each day... I did try & explain that we were "going on holiday"... Oh well thats life...Im looking forward to this little adventure... they tell me that I will be able to sing the theme from the sound of music.. Mount Every Climber at the gorge so that may be interesting...
FollowupID: 320011

Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 18:01

Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at 18:01
As you are not a radio freak and not going too far into the unknown I think I have come up with an answer to your problem/dilemma, Rick.
Until you leave on the trip, put a tape recorder on the phone and record each one of SWMBO's calls to her girlfriends, then when you are on the trip - hand her the phone, play back the tape and she can have 2 hours on the "phone" each day. LOL
AnswerID: 58349

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