Submitted: Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 15:45
ThreadID: 15501 Views:2833 Replies:13 FollowUps:2
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UHF radio's - of any real benefit to the solo traveller?

Or are they in reality, only of use to those who want group communication when travelling in convoy situations.

For instance, can they be successfully used in scan mode to monitor others travelling in the same area?
Or if one got stuck or needed help, would you really be likely to make contact with anyone or is the range of a UHF set, far too limited to make this in all reality a possibility?

For those about to reply with "If travelling alone, one should have HF radio" etc, I'm not talking about remote locations but just bush trips in general.

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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 15:48

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 15:48
Try situations like




yea they are worth it. Someone may only be a few klms out of eye site..

Work on the theory, is your family worth $400?
AnswerID: 72305

Reply By: Rosscoe - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 15:59

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 15:59
Truckster is probably right, but I've had my UHF radio in place for about 4 years now and never had the microhone plugged in. We don't travel in groups.
Got it there just the same if I need to call for help - pretty cheap insurance.
Invested in a satellite phone this year for my upcoming 10 week trip. Leaving Saturday week.

AnswerID: 72306

Reply By: Nudenut - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:12

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:12
as repeaters are very common your range is greatly increased many times over..
worth every cent for non remote locations...and even then local sheep/cattle stations may have a repeater that you may be able to 'hit'
AnswerID: 72307

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:39

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:39
Read the thread I started on Snow.

There was a bloke stuck alone up Mt Skene for overnight in the snow. 1x UHF may have got him out within few hours.

AnswerID: 72311

Reply By: Member - Andrew(WA) - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:48

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:48
you could just hire a Sat phone for the odd trip. I'm not sure of cost but you get nation wide coverage and 100% piece of mind!

AnswerID: 72313

Reply By: Member - Cocka - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:58

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 16:58
To answer the question in short - Yes.
The UHF is a two way communicator, travelling with radio on open scan you may hear a call for help from someone else (if your civic minded) and it's like insurance for yourself - you never know when you might need it.

example: I was in the nth NSW ranges travelling to Qld on logging/fire trails and got disoriented because we had maps that were conflicting, travelled a long way on a wrong track, missed another overgrown turnoff track on the way back then eventually came to a bridge that had collapsed into a chasm (no signs either - I stopped and built a barrier on the track to help slow down some other poor unsuspecting bug....er before they plunged off the edge). The fuel was now getting low and I figured I had only one shot to find our way out, but which way ? I drove to the top of the mountain where I could hear truckies on Ch40 through a gap in the ranges - I finally got one to stop, relayed our situation, gave him our co ordinates from the GPS and asked him to notify the SES or police. We were safe for the night & next morning two blokes on trail bikes turned up, had a cuppa by our camp fire, checked the collapsed bridge, then guided us out to the nearest servo on a track that wasn't even on the maps. I made a big donation to the local SES.

Good to ask the truckies when it is safe to overtake, ask locals for info, exchange info with other travellers.
AnswerID: 72314

Reply By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 17:40

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 17:40
I travel a lot of solo k's for work and wouldn't be without one. Find out road conditions ahead, overwidth vehicles, blind passing road trains in the wet or on dirt, decreases boredom levels etc.

In addition to the dash mount GME, I also carry 2 uniden hand held units in my car which I give to any vehicles travelling with me in convoy. Makes the world of difference on a long drive.

The chat can get a bit 'blue' from time to time, so maybe not so good for kids or the more sensitive among us.

Great radar detectors as well;)
AnswerID: 72317

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 17:53

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 17:53
One other advantage with the little hand held numbers - the kids love 'em. Hide the UHF in a shoe or an egg carton and make a funny noise when one of the kids walk past. It's become a favourite now. A variation on the 'hide and seek' theme.
FollowupID: 332534

Reply By: Member - Jiarna (SA) - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 18:39

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 18:39
Even in remote areas, the UHF might get you out of trouble. For example, along most of the Oodnadatta Track, you are in range of one of the repeaters, so you can call for help if you need to. This happened to me when my trailer self-destructed last year. I called on the repeater (listen for the repeater pips on channel 1-8 duplex to work out which one is in range). The nearest cattle station answered, and sent someone to help.
Those who say something cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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AnswerID: 72333

Reply By: Pyalong - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 20:20

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 20:20
Agree with all above....also I have found it very handy when a couple of polite road train drivers on the tanami called on ch 40 to let me know the way was clear to overtake.
AnswerID: 72364

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Friday, Aug 13, 2004 at 05:50

Friday, Aug 13, 2004 at 05:50
Ahh yes....the blind overtake Smokey and the Bandit style. So many people don't understand the concept of 'prevailing wind' and ' undertaking' A potentialally fatal situation for the unitiated.

Used to pull double side tippers and a float behind an SAR Kenworth in my earlier days.
FollowupID: 332605

Reply By: rock hoper - Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 21:39

Thursday, Aug 12, 2004 at 21:39
me mate was in the forestry and one of his passengers was elergic to bees .
he got bitten by a bee , and started to swell up.
so he got on his uhf and called for help.
the opperator at ch1 repeater replyed .
and there was a chopper there in 5 mins.
it was 40mins drive to town.
i have one fitted to all my 4bys.
AnswerID: 72392

Reply By: ianmc - Friday, Aug 13, 2004 at 15:35

Friday, Aug 13, 2004 at 15:35
For a real emergency only WHEREVER you are an epirb at $200 with its 10year
battery life is great insurance but dont use it frivilously.
I am sure sat phones will become the go but how much do you or can you spend on stuff.
I go solo & have epirb & UHF
AnswerID: 72471

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Friday, Aug 13, 2004 at 18:20

Friday, Aug 13, 2004 at 18:20
Two yarns....
1) On Fraser Island last year, a fellow in another camping group fell over and gashed is cheek open quite badly. We and the other campers there provided adequate first aid, but with no mobile coverage and no-one answering any of the 40 UHF channels, we may as well have been on Gilligans Island. Luckily it wasn't a life threatening situation, although we were only an hours drive from the nearest ranger station, so could have driven him there if need be.

2) Coming back from Sydney last month a retired couple in a new Pajero and new caravan changed lanes on us, they had left room for the Paj, but not the caravan. I had been checking out the Paj luckily, so I saw his indicator come on and slowed down to give him room, as opposed to leaning on the horn. On the rear of the 'van was his nickname and channel number, I gave him a call and calmly explained what had happened and suggested that he leave room for his 'van as well as the Paj next time. He was very apologetic and we calmly discussed the length of his rig etc.... he learned something!

I think UHF is a must, whether solo or convoy, the only downside is the language on display around the cities, in Sydney there was much colourful language on almost every channel, it wasn't so bad on the open road.

my 2c worth!
AnswerID: 72500

Reply By: kiki - Friday, Aug 20, 2004 at 10:51

Friday, Aug 20, 2004 at 10:51
Hi quite an interesting thread going here. Last week I bought myself an old nissan patrol to take the kids out camping, the hubby was thrilled with the price(got it for a steal) but then I explained that we had to add alot of stuff to it to make it worthwhile......so yesterday we installed the uhf which I picked up for another steal ($299 at brisbane car sound) Recently we travelled from brisbane to melbourne without a hitch but on the return journey I had a bad feeling even though we had a lenghty stopover in dubbo.
We tend to travel through the night on long trips so the kids can sleep(5 of them) and we can concentrate onthe road.......all was going great and we followed a truck for a couple of hours until it turned off right b4 the Qld border then about half an hour after sunup and bang I had a roo in my face. We were in the mitsubishi starwagon and it has no bonnet so it was right there and gave us no reaction time we came off alright in the end but a motorbike following us come a cropper and the uhf would of been alot quicker that the mobile that kept cutting out
AnswerID: 73382

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