UHF Radios

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 20:35
ThreadID: 134632 Views:2986 Replies:8 FollowUps:15
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I am ready to purchase a UHF radio for my planned trip along the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks. The choices are many and varied. Any opinions to help a new outback traveller would be appreciated.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 20:42

Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 20:42
Well, it's not needed on those and similar roads.

Oodnadatta Tk and Birdsville Tk 3 X, Strzelecki 2 X - never been called. Once tried to call another vehicle to give give him constructive feedback (not!) on his driving. Doubt his radio was on.

To quote Collyn Rivers, those aren't tracks, they're 3 lane dirt highways.
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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:30

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:30
OK thanks your view is noted.
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Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 21:12

Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 21:12
Gday

Put 'uhf' into the site's search (above the forum threads), and click on 'view all 1628 results' immediately below. Plenty of discussion there which should help.
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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:31

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:31
Thanks heaps will do.
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Reply By: Shaker - Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 21:20

Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 21:20
If it is only for that trip, why not buy a 5w hand held?
This could limit your spend to around $150.00.

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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:32

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:32
Thanks I had that in mind also.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 22:04

Sunday, Apr 09, 2017 at 22:04
If you just want somethIng for the occasional trip, then this kit from GME is ideal. I fitted one to our Falcon sedan and have talked to truck drivers I work with and they reckon the reception is pretty good. Compact, and it can be fitted/removed in a few minutes.



Bob

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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:33

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:33
Thanks for this. Someone gave me that brochure and it looks good.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 07:15

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 07:15
Was in BCF yesterday and noticed they have this same radio in a different kit. It has a longer aerial, about 6dB(?), and a aerial mounting bracket. Didn't notice any price but no doubt a few dollars dearer than the above.

Bob

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Reply By: RMD - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 09:01

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 09:01
Having an easily removable unit is OK if that suits better than a full install.

You will get far more distance IF the aerial is on the roof, not on a bullbar, far less distance.

Despite what some may say about never used one on those tracks, I have.
6 1/2 years ago a motorcyclist fell off while in transit to Finke Desert Race. He survived after 4 months in Hospital.

I used mine, roof aerial of course and talked to a station repeater 70 km away and immediately after, to Oodna Pink Roadhouse a distance of 45km.
You NEVER know when you may require some communication, even if it is to save someones life.

UHF isn't a total solution but is definitely helpful if it works well.

I have two GME UHF in vehicle and also a selection of handhelds for other purposes.
The two in car are used to scan local channels and also truck channels or talk to "that" caravan you are following which has Bob and Edith on the back, (if required).
AnswerID: 610101

Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:36

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 20:36
That makes good sense to me. I wear a life jacket when I'm out in my boat and I know I won't need it but it is good just to have it on.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 08:47

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 08:47
Well done coutaboat. You have asked a question and responded to most of the replies. When you help others it is nice to be acknowledged.

You call yourself a "new outback traveller" so assuming this is the first of many trips, the installation of a quality UHF I would strongly advise. If you travel with others it is a necessity. And even when you travel by yourself you may meet others on your journeys who you decide to travel with in the more remote locations for safety reasons. If you wear a life jacket when in your boat you are obviously very attuned to your personnel safety. A UHF can be very useful sometimes if the brown stuff hits the fan.

If you are travelling solo (one vehicle) in remote areas you should also very seriously consider a satellite phone and a PLB. If you want to know more info on these two items Mr Google is your friend. If you want to talk to someone about either of them ring Kevin White at SatphoneSales (an EO member) who is very helpful and happily gives no obligation information. For anything you do decide to buy, you will be uphill beating his prices and his service is excellent. You may also consider something like a tracking device like a "Spot" device which gives loved ones or a ground charlie real time information of exactly where you are. A "Spot" device is another thing in the same category as a life vest in a boat, and in fact if you have one, you would actually take it on your boat for additional safety.

If I see someone towing a coutaboat in some remote part of Oz I will stop and say hi.

Chris
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 13:30

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 13:30
I was thinking exactly the same thing! So any people ask a question, never acknowledge answers & never give a result.

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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 21:27

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 21:27
Thanks again. Yes I know Mr Google but he knows so much he sometimes makes you more confused. you guys have narrowed things down. I did think of taking my EPIRB with me just in case and you wont see me towing my coutaboat. It is strictly for the water.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 at 09:28

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 at 09:28
couta, just get yourself one of these for land (and water) use . . .
KTI PLB

This is still the best value PLB I could find on the market.

They are much easier to use in general than an full size EPIRB, smaller, lighter, you can take it with you if doing a walk etc.

Your EPIRB might be coming up to 10 years or whatever, better to have a newish start of 10 year type of unit for reliability out in the remote regions of Australia.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 at 15:40

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 at 15:40
Totally agree with Les. The KTI unit is just great, small and light. Got it from SatPhones Sales as mentioned in a previous post.
Chris
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 14:51

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 14:51
Some excellent advice by others, a fixed UHF will give the best result. GME, Uniden & Oricom are good brands. A good 6dba antenna is also the way to go. RFI & GME make good antennas, you don't need a 4m "broomstick", it is not the height of the stick, but the amount of wire wound around or in it that counts. A flexible antenna is less likely to be damaged in underground carparks or by low lying branches.

Also, certainly in Victoria, if the antenna is more than 30mm in diameter, it is regarded as an obstruction to the drivers view if mounted on the bull bar, and is therefore illegal. While you may get away with it for a while, it mar also bite you in the bum at some stage. Whilst mounting on the centre of the roof is the ideal for best reception, it is not always practicle. From what I have read, there is very little difference with mounting on the roof & mounting on the bull bar, so long as the tip of the antenna is higher than the roof of the vehicle.

From personal experience in the Simpson Desert two years ago, I was able to converse with another convoy approx 40 kms away from the top of a sandhill. My antenna is a flexible GME (not a broomstick) and is mounted on the bull bar. From base to tip, my antenna is only 950mm long.

You also need to remember that UHF is basically line of sight. So if there are any obstacles in the path of the radio waves like hills or thickly wooded areas, reception will not be as good.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 16:47

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 16:47
My "broomstick" antenna also makes a very good height gauge as it is a little higher than my roof rack, so if it goes under, I can go under!

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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 21:21

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 21:21
More great advice for the inexperienced. Greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 23:13

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 at 23:13
I was at my local 4wd club meeting tonight and was told that in NSW and ACT a UHF with a microphone wired to the unit is not considered to be illegal when using it whilst in motion but an unwired microphone is considered in the same category as a mobile phone thus it is illegal to use whilst in motion. Not sure about other states but this aspect may be worth considering if you are considering the purchase of a UHF with a non wired microphone. Supposedly handhelds are considered mobile devices also. Guidance from other forum members on this aspect is most welcomed.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 at 02:04

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 at 02:04
That would be right, when I was working as a Trackside Protection Officer for the railways in Qld., I had 4 different radios mounted in the car, and a hand held all on different channels, plus a hands free mobile phone.
The railway bought out this rule that you could not talk on a hands free mobile whilst in motion, but I could answer any one of the hard wired radios when on the move.
I would/could have got the sack for answering either the hands free mobile phone, or the hand held whilst moving.
If the hand held was a fixture and had a microphone attached within reach it was ok.

Cheers


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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 04:56

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 04:56
Sorry, but when I see revenant state rule regarding hand held 2 ways I will believe it. Any sort of 2 way radio has never been classed in with mobile phones.

What they may fine you for is not keeping two hands on the wheel but that would include any radio.
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Follow Up By: Member - coutaboat - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 20:36

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 20:36
Wow this is interesting. Thanks for the updates.
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