Barrett HF Radio Review

Submitted: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 00:00
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What is the cost of calls made on the Telstra service from a HF radio? I am trying to decide between a Sat. phone (calls are expensive) and HF radio and can not find any rates. I am leaning towards HF. Has anyone had experience with both?
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 00:00
Bob, What a good question, I think I will add these details to the trip prep pages. Anyway to the answer.HF Radio:I could rave
about the services for hours and bore you but, the low cost services available on HF far out
weigh the satphone services. If using a HF radio you have access to road conditions, weather reports,
safety position reporting, emergency messaging and radphone. Weather reports, road conditions and emergency services are all available on the 4WD Radio Network (as detailed in the feature), Radphone is via Telstra. As with everything to do with Telstra it is complicated. We are about to subscribe to radphone so I have all the forms with me. Basically as I see it you have three options - 1 Pay as you go or 2 - enhanced pay as you go and 3 - pay a fee and call for free.1 - The pay as you go rates are selcall rego $22/yr and then connection $6.05/call then $3.85/minute.2 - Enhanced pay as you go is selcall rego $108.90/yr and then $6.05 connection then $1.705/minute.3 - Pay a fee and call for free (We are going here) selcall rego $108.90/yr and then a monthly usage fee from 1 mth $66 to 12 mth $594 - You make and receive all your calls using Direct Dial.Confused?
Well Telstra is good at that. You can get your own forms faxed to you or additional information from Telstra Radio Services on 1 800 253 271 or Satphone:Well you do not have access to the 4WD radio network which will really handle 95% of your communications requirements.
This means that if you want road info, weather, safety reporting you will have
to do it on the phone (very costly - when for $50/yr the 4WD network gives it to
you). Anyway the call costs and monthly fees are in the same ball park
range for radphone and satphone, but you miss the excellent information from the
network. Who are you going to call if you break down in the middle of the Simpson Desert - the 4WD radio network has a direct sellcall connection to Birdsville Auto etc. For us the HF Radio is the only answer for true autonomous outback communications.Good Luck!
AnswerID: 413

Reply By: Allan - Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, May 03, 2001 at 00:00
I agree with the Exploroz team. I joined the 4WDRN because of the great service they provide but use Telstra Direct Dial radphone for making phone calls. The reason for our decision to use Telstra was the wider range of frequencies and different stations that you can call through. (Unfortunately HF signals can sometimes be ‘scratchy’ and the ability to change to another frequency or go through another base station or operator if required is a bonus). We elected for a 3 month Direct Dial Radphone subscription starting 1 month before our big trip just to get comfortable with using it. After paying the subscription, calls are free (except international)
Satphone is just another box you need to carry that can not be used for anything else but making phone calls. They are however private and clearer than HF but that just makes you talk longer & cost even more. I could not justify it.
AnswerID: 419

Reply By: stephen mills - Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 00:00

Saturday, May 05, 2001 at 00:00
I have just been through all this and have purchased an HF Barrett 950 Transceiver, I believe it is the one truly usefull ( expensive!) piece of equipment as unlike a phone you must know who to call etc, the radio can be listened to and call contacts as and when you hear something that concerns you. With the phone you are still basically isolated even though you may make contact, you may not whom to contact about what, if you can see what I mean!
AnswerID: 424

Reply By: Stephen ashley - Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, May 10, 2001 at 00:00
I whole heartly agree with all the other replys. A mate of mine and I bought Codan NGTs and joined the VKS737 network and the Pay as you go Telstra network. I also have one of those small Emergency Locator Becons, for use in a real disaster. HF give you a lot more.

Interestingly I have a Telstra mate who spends many hours out bush (Alice Springs Area) as a service tech. One guess which comms gear he (and his work mates) can relie on and like the most, and yes their 78s and 75s have both Sat-phones and Rad-Com. Seems the sat-phone not his favorate comms tools.

Alice Springs,
Outback Oz.
AnswerID: 448

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