HF Radio Training....Who's puting it off ??

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:09
ThreadID: 30305 Views:3342 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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I am not looking for any responses from this post ,,, i am just making a comment...
Before i make this comment let me say that i was the number one offender of thinking i knew it all about how to work a HF radio....

I bought a Barrett 950 HF radio and have listened to the skeds and even called in a few times and thought what a great thing to have in an emergency...
So i thought if an emergency ever arose whilst i was driving along on the remote outback i could just call an RFDS base and have all the medical help i could ask for....Just by picking up the mike and calling....
HOW WRONG COULD I HAVE BEEN...

I learnt unless you are calling Pt Augusta RFDS during business hours by voice you wont even get anyone because they are all answered by computer which in turn makes the operator aware you are calling...

So firstly you have know how far away the base you are calling is and then send the appropriate ALARM tone to it...
You need to always have your LIST of where all the RFDS bases are and what frequencies they are on and then depending on whether it is day or night or inbetween time,,,you then have to choose what frequency you use to send the alarm on......

It is so involved but in turn it is so easy,,,,, and it could be so easy to have all this technology at your fingertips and be faced with an emergency and still be helpless...

So if you are puting off your training .....GO AND GET IT......You never know when you need to perform with no time to spare.....

I also used to think that a sat phone was the be-all and end-all,,,,In an emercency a sat phone would be handy but if you needed to have a doctor on the other end of your communications whilst trying administer first aid to a dying person as a doctor is on the way by aircraft or whatever,,,,, sometimes you need to communicatecontinuously with these doctors and a sat phone would prob go flat after 20mins or so where a HF would go on and on and on....

Anyway... I just thought i would write what i was thinking...
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:13

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:13
Yep all on Selcall watch these days, even VKS outside of sched's.

I guess it's a problem for non Selcall enabled HF's.
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:24

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:24
Selcall can be added to any HF with a Jenal microphone but they aint cheap.

http://jenal.com/
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:28

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:28
There you go that problem solved. ;-))
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:32

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2006 at 23:32
Got my list

Have VKS

Have Darwin, Port Augusta, Alice Springs, Meekatharra, Charters Towers, Mt Isa RFDS channels with 20 tap aerial and Ch 2020

Have Satphone which can be powered by vehicle Battery

Be prepared and travel with caution so as to avoid getting yourself in to trouble.
If you to get in to trouble stay calm and use your radio.

Asking a hypothetical question "What if?" does not come in to the equation.

If all your precautions fail, you are stuffed anyway. Take a morror with you to alert overhead planes

If all else fails DON'T PANIC!!!!! :o)
AnswerID: 152189

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 00:40

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 00:40
Same set up as Willem. Gives a lot o peace of mind knowing that you can contact the outside world in an emerency but the original advice about knowing how to sellcall RFDS is good advice. We had to use our satphone on our last trip to help a couple who had been stuck on the side of the NW Coastal Hwy for over 24 hours in the middle of nowhere after their vehicle broke down. Plenty of cars and trucks wizzing by and offers of help but in the end it took a direct line of communication to the tow company and several other calls using the satphone to get a rescue organised. Just proves that you certainly don't need to be in the outback to have need of some long distance communications.

:o) Melissa
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Reply By: Footloose - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 00:34

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 00:34
Your rear or side mirrors can also be used to attract aircraft in a pinch. In desert regions take a sheet. If broken down, get rid of your gear except a hat, and wear the sheet. Ever seen how guys in the Sahara dress ? It isn't just a culture thing. (although you won't win any fashion awards). Dig a hole in the sand under the vehicle for shade if you've nothing better.
On a trip expect to have to stay in the one spot for a while. (breakdowns, weather). Take a book, cards etc.
Most vehicle accidents occur because people don't take it easy. It's your holiday, enjoy it.
And remember that your safety is your responsibility. Hf and satphones are for emergencies. Only you can make sure that the emergency isn't yours.
AnswerID: 152206

Follow Up By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:56

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:56
Dig a hole in the sand under your vehicle which probably weighs close to 3t on a trip , and then get in it . Very good advice !! NOT.

As if you would just happen to go on a remote trip without even a tarp , and you could get shade all around the vehicle without getting under !

?
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 20:54

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 20:54
Good one Glenn. Let's see, if the solo traveller has broken an ankle, how is he going to get the tarp out ?

"As if you would just happen to go on a remote trip without even a tarp , and you could get shade all around the vehicle without getting under ! "

Yeah, right. The 2 blokes who perished near the CSR last year didn't have an appropriate tarp.
AFIK the kind of tarps carried by many can result in sunburn and dehydration if used over an extended period.

Scooping out a hollow under the vehicle isn't going to compromise your safety unless it's in a precarious position to start with. I've seen clutches replaced by doing just this.

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Reply By: Mulga Bill - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:00

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:00
Hmmmm........ in the case of VKS737 members, there are hoards of listed telephone interconnects for a wide range of authorities and services - they can all be selcalled any minute of the year - from any network base - so, any radio with selcall would opt that way instead of running the emergency button. Seems that voice-only radio users should therefore have planned another strategy for those times when the chips are down...... as you say, the old days of RFDS being "at the desk" 24/7 (or awake and available somehow) are gone ....... most of the people who live and work in the outback just pick up a phone, like we do.
AnswerID: 152228

Follow Up By: kesh - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 15:30

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 15:30
We listen to vks 737 on our portable radio. (especially the morning sched. from C/Towers)

However, there always seems to be some need for relay stations to help out, especially when its a sort of emergency (murphy's law)

Our Westinghouse satphone works all the time, every time. All emergency numbers programmed in, call 000 if need, OK, it costs. But what is the price of an emergency?

Reckon will stick to this formula, just listen in to the 737 chitchat and help out via satphone if needed.
kesh
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Follow Up By: Mulga Bill - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:08

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:08
Indeed Kesh - if it works for you, that's a formula - hope your phone is smaller than our kitcheen freezer but.
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Follow Up By: kesh - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:25

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:25
Haha Bill, how true. It is a quite bulky item. Two boxes about 250x250x60 each, but at least fit behind the seat of the 75s L/C

This system also draws 12a. on transmit, so well out of the hand held size!

Red sand and red wine ? for me, not enough of both!
kesh
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Reply By: Gossy - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:34

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 16:34
I spent 11 years in communications in the Army with HF and VHF mainly. I have noticed that one part of training lacking is antenna knowledge. If you can't get through on your whip antenna, then what!
I think people should be tought the different types and how they work with different terrains. Dipole, Inverted V's, using reflector wires etc etc. 10 mins putting an antenna in a tree could be the difference between getting through or not. Also frequency knowledge. Why does one freq work better than another at night or day etc.
This type of knowledge hasn't seemed to have leaked thru to the civilian radio network though which is a shame I think.
AnswerID: 152305

Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:03

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:03
Gossy, a lot of 4wd people with a radio only use them as phones, and rarely think of life without the aerial. They simply aren't interested in emergency aerials, NVIS, dipoles, quads and yagis. They have a basic idea of what "conditions are bad " means, but have no interest in why its so. They just want to use their radio.

There are some good basic texts around for just such people, one availiable from the 737 network I believe.

A lighter side of radio operation for non techs can be found here. http://home.iprimus.com.au/jimshire/plain_english.html

Bit like a 4wd really. I am mechanically challenged to an extent. I really don't need to know the physics of a diesel engines operation, I just want to drive the vehicle :))
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Follow Up By: Mulga Bill - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:22

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:22
Its true that you can own an HF and know bugger-all about using it, but in VKS737 (I 'm a staff volly) we do try and school members up to a useful extent... those that want to engage in it, that is. Plenty of info is offered on making/using a temporary wire antenna, and which frequency to try for various bases at various times etc... there are some books published privately by key members too. For people wanting the all important practical demo, a chat with staff at any of the bases should result in referral to an experienced staffer or member in the indicated region.
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Reply By: Shaker - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 21:14

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 21:14
Don't you have to have a Radio Operators Certificate of Profiency to operate an HF Radio, which in turn gives you your call sign ???
AnswerID: 152362

Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 21:53

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 21:53
If a member of an appropriate network , your callsign is allocated by them without you having to have any certificates. If you mean amateur radio, yep that's correct. There is a new entry class license for hams these days btw.
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FollowupID: 406079

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 01:46

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 01:46
Speaking to Peter Dwyer from Telstat tonight at our club meeting they are going to run a HF Intro day soon which I'll be going along to.. sounds good
AnswerID: 152423

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