cb's etc - no knowledge in this area

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1711 Views:1970 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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As you will all soon figure out, i have no expereince with these things...i would like advice/recommendation on purchasing a preferably hand held type cb - would like it to run of the cigarete lighter if possible, and also if it would help it, would it be ale to connect it to an outside aerial if it helps boost the transmitting or receiving or whatever...are such things possible?? i have briefly looked in the d - smith catalogue, not much help there and looked at previous entries in this forum too...not much help either...so please if you can recommend a product - I would be greatfull - thankyou. Also which is more usefull AM - UHF - or - HF???
..it would only be used for emergency sake...which one for an amateur?
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Reply By: Steve - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00
The only usefull one you list is an HF radio for an emergency, I presume you are talking about travelling the outback ! If you have/get one of these and use the VKS 737 channel and service, you probably won't get into an emergency situation... An HF Transceiver is not cheap to purchase but that is where the costs stop ! the other costs (licence etc) are minimal .. Amateurs usually are the people who get in the 'soup' in the bush and rarely take advice !! If you go with out an HF get an EPIRB as a last resort !! This will be a last resort unit!
AnswerID: 5654

Reply By: voxson - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00
I am not sure how many people will agree with me but these are my findings with radios. Yes i agree, the HF radio is far the superior for calling long distance with an emergency but the cost of the units is extreme. The cheap ones are even close to $2000 once you have setup with aerials, but having said that you can also hire them from various places. I have a UHF and also a CB (27mhz). If you cant contact by UHF there is always the CB on side band as a second last resort. Of course the epirb is the last resort. I bought my CB through the trading post for $70 + $30 for a good aerial.
AnswerID: 5667

Follow Up By: Voxson - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00
PS. the handhelds seem to be way down on power output and need an external antenna. I wouldnt go for one unless you just wanna talk to your mates in the car in front of you..
FollowupID: 2452

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00
Before you decide what to buy, then you need to know what each type can and can't do.

UHFs are the most common CB and come in various types. The car mounted 5 watt units have an maximum range of 50 km (when there are no repeaters around), but more likely you would only get 10-20 km range in most situations. To get maxmum range you would need to be on a hill with a clear view to whoever you are calling. A resonable unit will cost you $350 + antenna and installation. GME are the most reliable UHF's and they are Australian made.

The handheld units that can connect to a car mounted antenna are nearly as good for range as they can usually transmit at 5 watts, but these units are $300-$500. The best brands are Icom or GME.

The cheap UHF handhelds can't be connected to an external antenna and have an average range of less than 1 km and max range of 3 km. They usually transmit half a watt.

AM CB (27 MHz) is fairly useless unless you are travelling with others that use it. SSB CB is better, but still not reliable. SSB CB is mainly used by hobbyists rather than travellers.

HF refers to SSB (Single Side Band) radios that can transmit on frequencies from 2 MHz to 27MHz and this range of available frequencies makes it the only reliable method of radio communication. You can usually talk to people from 100km to 2000km away by chosing an appropriate frequency. This system is used by the Flying Doctors and by organisations such as VKS737.

HF radios aren't really a handheld item and can cost $1000 for an older model, with new ones costing $3000-$4000.

You can also use HF radios to make Radphone (telephone) calls if you subscribe to a radphone service. But if you require private or noise free phone calls then a satphone would be better suited.

Do you require something for emergency communications in the outback or are you just after something to get you out of a spot of bother when on some local tracks?

AnswerID: 5673

Follow Up By: Kiwoka - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00
You guys realy dont like recommending Satphones do you. They are deffinitly a better option than HF for this person (No experrience & Cost) and most others.

This is what I beleive is a basic setup for the outback.

1. Satphone/GSM (Telstra $900)
2. UHF (Not Uniden) (around $400)
3. EPIRB ($250)

Cost all up $1550.00

You are then covered for everything. Emergency Assist (Epirb), Help request and chatting (UHF). RFDS & anyone else (Satphone)

Just my opion, what do you think?
FollowupID: 2458

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00
The question was about radios. A satphone isn't a radio, it's a phone.

If the question was about emergency communication or mobile phone coverage then I would have given satphones more than just a mention, but the guy was asking about "radios".

My definition of a radio is a device than can broadcast a signal to many others at one time. A satphone doesn't fit that definition. It is a different tool for a different purpose.
FollowupID: 2462

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2002 at 00:00
Yes I agree that carrying long range comms, a UHF and an EPIRB is the best combination for remote travel (that's exactly what I do). The choice of long range comms (Satphone or HF) depends on many factors, but I agree that if you don't or don't want to understand HF, then a Satphone may be the better option.

Price is hard to generalise on, because satphones have much higher ongoing costs than HF, but much lower purchase price. If hiring then satphone is simpler unless you are familiar with HF. If purchasing, remember that after 2 or 3 years (depending on calls made) a Satphone could easily have cost you more than a HF.

For me personally, HF is cheaper because I regularly chat with various friends all over Australia and there are no call costs. I couldn't afford to do that on satphone or even on a normal phone. Of course the conversations aren't private and at times it can be noisy, but we are able to have several people join in the conversation which wouldn't be practical on a phone.

The main point is this: If you are going into remote areas then you should seriously consider long range communications and make sure you know how to use the equipment that you choose.
FollowupID: 2464

Reply By: fred - Thursday, Aug 15, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 15, 2002 at 00:00
Bought GME TX 6000 handheld UHF 3 years ago
Works OK in convoy situation as handheld with its "normal" antenna
Have fitted external gutter mount antenna - cable screws on to set with no problem
Advantage is that you can take it with you when you are away from the vehicle in the bush
AnswerID: 5725

Reply By: sjaf - Friday, Aug 16, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 16, 2002 at 00:00
Thank you all for your advice, it is greatly appreciated...I would like to purchase an HF radio but will have to wait until the budget allows for it...thankyou once again
AnswerID: 5784

Reply By: Member - Mal - Monday, Aug 19, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 19, 2002 at 00:00
Nigel, Mobile telephones are radios that transmit in the UHF band of the electromagnetic spectrum (300MHz to 3 GHz) between UHF TV and GPS navigation. True, they are more secure than other radios but never think that others cant listen to your mobile phone calls if they really want to. Mal Try.
AnswerID: 5817

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