Comms and recovery in Fraser

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:51
ThreadID: 30336 Views:2183 Replies:11 FollowUps:3
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Hi All,

As some of you already know, I´m planning a trip to Fraser Island for a week in March as my first "real" 4wd trip and have a couple of question about how "remote" is Fraser...

I was wondering which sort of communication equipment do I need... Is Satphone or HF necesary? or would a handheld UHF CB and a CDMA phone be enough?

I was also wondering what sort of recovery equipment should I take.... I´m a little worried about going just with a snatch strap and then having no one else to pull me.... Would a manual winch be a better choice?

Really appreciate any comments,

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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 23:23

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006 at 23:23
Let your tyres down to 18psi to start with and goto 15 if you're not getting enough traction. I heard that theres CDMA coverage now in the east beach and definitely around Eurong, I would also take the UHF and have it on scan. Lots of others there around to give you a tug esp if you have your own strap, I personally rather use the boggee's strap than my own, but you should be ok. If its really dry sand dont be scared to stick the boot in and soon you'll workout how much is enough and how much is too much. Inland the tracks are easy at 18psi so I wouldnt be too worried.
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AnswerID: 152400

Reply By: hopscotch - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 00:14

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 00:14
Driving conditions on Fraser can vary considerably from track to track and the length of time since it rained but with normal common sense driving you should have few problems. Getting to the barge at Rainbow Beach and negotiating Hook Point can be almost the worst of it. Mate lives on Fraser and runs a Hilux with skinny tyres. Seldom even lets them down and on the last three trips I have done with him he is in 4WD for less than 10% of the time. Once on the beach it is a matter of watching the tide and taking care with the washouts. As a general rule follow the tracks and be prepared to use 2nd gear a lot in the dry sand.
The 4WD tourist buses can make a messof the cross island tracks and they have little regard for the 'little wheels'. They tend to take right of way all the time.
I have UHF which I use only on occasions - too noisy when the crowds are in - and CDMA which seems to work at Eurong, Happy Valley and Kingfisher but when I'm on Fraser the phone is the last thing I want. Great place. Enjoy.
Kevin J
AnswerID: 152413

Reply By: Member - Jack - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:20

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:20
Fraser Island Track Conditions.

CDMA will work around Eurong, Happy Valley, and on the western side of Fraser (within sight of Hervey Bay).

I always take a Sat Phone in case of emergencies. YOu can hire them from rental places. UHF may get you heard, but I have spent up to two weeks there with the radio on "Scan" and hardly heard any radio traffic, so I'd not rely on that too much.

If you have a snatch strap (which you should) you won't be stranded. Having a snatch strap ensures you will get a "drag out" as there is a growing movement that many people won't use theirs to save yours.

But, making sure your tyres have been deflated to 18-20psi will go along way to making sure you don't need any assistance.

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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AnswerID: 152429

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:56

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:56
We always take a sat phone when we go to Fraser, or anywhere that is semi-remote. A few years ago a fellow camper injured himself near us and luckily he was able to be "first-aided' successfully...... but if we had needed outside assistance in a hurry, we were an hours drive from the nearest help. So to me it is worth the effort and expense of taking a sat phone.

Have a rated snatch strap and two RATED bow shackles....... and rated recovery points on your vehicle. There is always someone willing to help you if you're set up and prepared.

18 psi in the tyres should be fine, the dune at Indian Head is a place that catches a lot of people out, usually though these are people who are towing boats/campers etc or don't know what they're doing. Last Thursday we drove up and down Indian Head twice weaving around stuck troopies full of back packers who sadly are given little or no instruction on what they should be doing. One of them I am sure was in 2WD!

Finally, the rule that I stick to and so far it hasn't let me down, is use low range 4WD in soft sand and high range 4WD on hard sand.

AnswerID: 152435

Reply By: age - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:01

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:01
Digital phone coverage at Orchid Beach now (And Eurong I think). UHF repeater at Orchid as well - gives coverage to near Sandy Cape, but a bit flaky south of Indian. Can get digital signal to the tip of the Cape as well. There will always be somebody driving by if you are stuck, especially at Indian or Ngkala as the Boyo's will be sitting on the hill to cheer when you go by (or down).



AnswerID: 152437

Follow Up By: the real chopper - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:30

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:30
...are you sure about the digital coverage, unless it is very, very recent.

There has been CDMA coverage as far up the beach as Euring for years (digital too, but not as good) and in the last couple of years CDMA towers have gone in at Orchid and Happy Valley.

You can also get GSM coverage (and CDMA, but that goes without saying) on many of the higher points of the island (the Lake McKenzie carpark for example).

When I was operating over there with groups of school kids we'd always have a sat phone, but when over there privately I have never seen the need.
FollowupID: 406154

Follow Up By: age - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 09:26

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 09:26
Absolutely sure about digital coverage at Orchid - Tower went in middle of 2005
FollowupID: 406169

Follow Up By: the real chopper - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 09:33

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 09:33
Well there ya go, cheers
FollowupID: 406174

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:06

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:06
One more thing....... watch out for washouts on the beach... (any beach for that matter!) These are fresh water streams that cross the beach and empty into the ocean. They can be hard to see in the distance and then when you do see them they can seem harmless till you hit them and realise you have risked folding your front end! slow down for them, you'll see lots of other cars drive them at speed..... let them damage their cars..... it isn't worth the cost of being towed off the island!

Eli Creek is a crossing that can be "tricky".... it is north of Happy Valley and then mouth of the creek changes regularly depending on storms etc..... I always stop, have a good look at it and watch a couple of other people cross before I do... that way I learn from others which way to go.... or NOT to go!
AnswerID: 152438

Reply By: glenno(qld) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:49

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:49
Quote "I´m a little worried about going just with a snatch strap and then having no one else to pull me" . We aussies stick together and help each other out . Buy a compressor from a 4wd store . They will advise you on a good one .
AnswerID: 152446

Reply By: Redeye - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 09:10

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 09:10
There is digital coverage at the top of the island. Son was using the internet on his imode phone at Christmas around orchid beach. Also had signal "sometimes" at camp site near Mahino.

I had CDMA coverage a majority of the time with car kit and external aerial.

Let my tyres down to 22Lbs for the week we were up there. No problems at all with soft sand ( Nissan Patrol with Aussie Swag camper).

AnswerID: 152453

Reply By: Member - Peter D M - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 10:09

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 10:09
there is a cdma tower at orchid beach which gives reception from wathumba and up to sandy cape. haven't used my phone much south of here but with a tower at eurong i think most of the island has cdma coverage

regards peter
AnswerID: 152466

Reply By: dags666 - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 11:20

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 11:20
have a nice trip phones work the lower end of the island, public phones at all the resorts mate just one more thing to add, a tide book or print them of the internet and carry them always never leave them out of the car. If you ever get to the rainbow beach pub have a look at the hall of shame and you will see why knowing tide time is the holly grail to beach driving. Plan you days and trips around tides. but yeah get a snatch strap for yes a lot of us are sick of pulling back packers and how shall I put it, people who don’t listen or take advice nothing is worse than you pulling your gear out to help they leave while your packing up without even a thank you just because is a 4x4 they do break and they are only as good as the driver dags
AnswerID: 152485

Reply By: Stu A - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 21:11

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 21:11

What dates are you on the Island?

I am also up there for two weeks in March with the kids.
If you get bogged, I'll pull you out with my snatch 'em strap !

But like everybody say's, get yourself the folowing;
*Good snatch strap
*Good big shackles 2x
*Let your tyres down to 18-20psi (AND DO IT BEFORE YOU HIT THE SAND at INSKIP POINT)

The Island is not that remote anymore. Plenty of people around plus resources like Police and locals with tow trucks etc.

AnswerID: 152594

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