UHF Repeaters useage

Submitted: Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 10:54
ThreadID: 31833 Views:4696 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
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Good Morning Group,
We are heading out to the Painted Desert then returning via the Oodnadata track next week. We have just bought a UHF radio per all the advise you read about doing a trip in the bush. I have one question regarding the use of repeaters, are they for emergency use only or is it only the listed channel that is for emergency use and the repeater boosts all 40 channels? We bought the Track Series book which lists all the emergency channels down the track, but as you can see we are first timers and don't really understand how it works.
Any advise on the track and or uhf useage will be greatly appreciated. We would like to stay at Arckaringa Station but have been unable to contact them, I'm hoping we will have more luck from Coober Pedy where we may find more information on the Station. Has anyone stayed at the Station? what is it like? it appears to be the closest point to the Painted Desert, We want to take sunrise pictures of the area.
Thanks in advance for any help forthcoming.

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Reply By: Atropos - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:03

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:03
Hi Ozscot

Repeaters on Ch 5 are generally for emergency use only, other repeaters on ch 1, 2, 3 ,4 , 6 ,7 ,8 are normally for general use

repeaters recieve and transmit on different channels

ch 1 and 31
ch 2 and 32

And so forth so remember not to use the reverse channel for simplex (normal) chat as it could block repeater traffic

A repeater works by retransmitting a signal so it can be heard over a wider area , normally repeaters are located as high up as possible so the have "line of sight" as far as possible

Hope this helps


AnswerID: 161111

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:04

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:04
UHF CB repeaters are accessed on Channels 1 through to 8 with Duplex switched on.

Have a look at this for a complete list of repeaters -

Channel 5 is specified by law to be used only for Emergency purposes.

Channel 10 is generally used by 4WDs, Channel 18 by Caravanners and Channel 40 by Truckies.

AnswerID: 161112

Reply By: Member - Coyote (SA) - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:06

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:06
There will be plenty of 'expert' opinions coming shortly no doubt, but in laymans terms. No.. the repeaters do not relay all 40 channels.
The easiest way to use them is to press the 'duplex' button on your radio, then switch the radio to scan. (I believe repeaters only work on Ch1-10) but by scanning you will hear the repeater test come up every few minutes.. Each repeater works on different channels (there is also good info here on Explore Oz.. check out the UHF article) By doing it this way.. as your radio starts to come into range of a repeater it will pause on the channel it is hearing the repeater test tone.. when it does this, you know what channel you can use. (N.B to transmit using the repater you need to be 20 channels up from the one your radio is recieivng on.. by using the duplex thing I was telling you about the radio does this automatically.. ie you press the talk button and it will transmit on Ch 24 even though the screen says it's on ch 4 (in this exampe thats the channel the repeater is transmitting on.)

comprende? sorry if I have confused you more.. perhaps some of the other experts will dazzle you with 'boffin ' talk..
AnswerID: 161113

Follow Up By: Atropos - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:14

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:14
Just a correction repeaters transmit on ch1--8 and recieve on ch 31--38
(set you cb to duplex and this happens automaticly) if you dont set to duplex mode you cannot use the repeater

ch 1 rx ch 31tx
ch 2 rx ch 32tx
.....ch 8 rx ch 38 tx

rx recieve tx transmit

dont work simplex (normal mode) on ch 31--38 if near repeaters operating on ch 1--8

normal chat is best on ch 9--30 and 39 and 40

FollowupID: 415852

Reply By: Atropos - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:30

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 11:30
perhaps this can be made clearer :+)

Channels 1--8 and 31--38 are used for repeaters

When in duplex mode your cb transmit a signal to the repeater on channel 31--38 depending on which channel you have selected 1--8

The repeater then "repeats" your signal by transmitting it in channel --1---8

so when you set your cb to duplex mode on ch 1 you transmit on 31 and recieve on 1.. or 32-and 2 , 33 ,3 ... and so on up to 38 and 8

sounds complex but its quite simple to use

The golden rule to remember is to pause every so often so if anyone else is trying to use the repeater that can get a chance.

AnswerID: 161117

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 13:50

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 13:50

I think you have sufficient replies to your UHF query?

I'm planning a similar trip to the Painted Desert mid May.
Don't know whether you have looked at the Treknotes on here. Well worth a look and you can even print them for reference "on the go".
Have a look under Treks - South Australia - The SA Desert Region - Painted Desert.

Just one small "detour" to the Treknotes I would recommend.
Instead of heading directly out on the Mount Barry track, head up the Stuart Highway a couple of kilometres and turn right to the Breakaways. This track loops back on to the Mount Barry track and includes a lookout over the Breakaway Range.

If you are up there, you may as well see where the Mad Max movies were filmed and the view is worth while.


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AnswerID: 161144

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 07:46

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 07:46

I stated above to head up the Stuart Highway for a couple of kilometres to the Breakaways turnoff.

Well, in checking the map I am working off, it is actually 25 kilometres to the Breakaways turnoff, then 11 kilometres to the lookout and a further 16 back to the Mount Barry track. (actually named "The Kempe Road").

Still, out there, 25 K's is only a couple anyway:-)

I may even get conscientious and record the trek for the side trip option through the Breakaways, on OziExplorer.

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FollowupID: 416051

Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:03

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:03
Just a word about the use of repeaters in the real outback. Some shires in Queensland have large signs advising you not to use certain channels as they are for emergency use only. Channels 1 - 8 and 31 - 38 are NOT TO BE USED by people having a chat to each other. Please use any channel in between. The reason being for this is in Diamantina Shire (2nd largest shire in Queensland) Channel 8 has been linked throughout the shire (and into parts of South Australia) so if someone was to be having car to car chat about how bored they were, or how many gibbers there were till the lunch stop - almost the whole of the Diamantina Shire could hear these conversations, and if there was an emergency such as the roll-over that happened this morning and the emergency crews needed to keep in touch via ch 8 they wouldn't be able to talk to each other whilst on the move to/from the accident because someone was hogging the repeater channel with drivel.
Do I sound as if I'm yelling - no, just trying to speak forcefully. This would be the norm pretty much everywhere in the real outback, not just Queensland.
Sorry to sound exasperated. I hope you enjoy your trip to the Painted Desert.
AnswerID: 161145

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 18:35

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 18:35
Afternoon Ruth,

How's things? Re the River, that early water at the Lakes was from the Mayne, and Potjostler Creek. Big falls on Brighton and Mt Windsor, with lots of run-off. Bit of fencing for us in the near future!

Can't cross the River here, and the water was over the Old Cork bridge, by about a metre yesterday. Not real enthusiastic about a good flood here, I'm afraid.

On the UHF input channel thing, we have a Ch.8 repeater here too, and struck some tourists using 38, as they passed here. Met them on the road, and diplomatically, I thought, told them that they would "light" up the whole Diamantina Shire, if they continued to use it, further down the River. While they appeared to take it alright, face-to-face, they were a bit snaky later on, on the UHF. Can't help some people!

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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FollowupID: 415932

Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 19:11

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 19:11
Bob, thanks for the info on the river. Ian and I were planning on driving up this weekend to walk in (?!?) and try and get pictures of the Lakes with lots of water. After walking in he thought we could then climb up Hunters Gorge and take aerials. Derek was right then about the red water from the Mayne!
Know how you feel about Ch. 8 - we had two couples in caravans last season travelling up from Innamincka chitter-chatter from south of Cordillo Downs on Ch. 38 all the way to Birdsville. I tried diplomacy also
whilst giving them lessons on the use of UHF. It didn't sink in so I demanded they used 18. They had been on 38/8 for 6 hours non-stop, couldn't break in at all - everyone in the Shire tried! Again, when they left on 18 they were going on about people in the town - not realising we all scan! LOL.
FollowupID: 415959

Reply By: Member - Clive G (Int) - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 20:43

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 20:43
Hi Ozscot
Dont know much about UHF in Aust. as the system in NZ is quite different. We stayed at Arckaringa Station last year. It's now run by Mount Barry station and a young couple live there as managers. A pleasant couple they were to, he is Jason, can't remember her name but the dog is called Bindy and very playfull. They have about 5 basic cabins and an exposed camping area with a covered dinning area, 230v power and laundry. I don't think you need to book unless it's school holiday time, just turn up. Got up early and went back to the Painted Desert for the sunrise, well worth the effort though even through the half flooded Arckaringa creek. (mud, hate the stuff)
Cheers Clive. (give Bindy a pat from me).
AnswerID: 161225

Follow Up By: ozscot - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 09:54

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 09:54
Hi Clive,
Thanks for the info. We will give Bindy a pat for you.
I would have thought you would be used to mud coming from NZ :-)
FollowupID: 416062

Reply By: ozscot - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 10:15

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 10:15
Thank you one and all for the information.
John, Mike Coyote & Atropos I think I will be able to use the radio with more confidence than before I posed the question, it is now a lot clearer and we shouldn't do the wrong thing now.

Sandman, - We done a trip last year from the Mornington Peninsula (Vic) where we live right up the east coast to Townsville then across and up to Darwin, then south down the Stuart and all the great places in between. In Katherine we met a couple in a caravan park who suggested we visit the Breakaways on our way south. They told us about the Painted Desert but we didn't have time to get out there. We did visit the breakaways and went back out for sunset, we think it is Australias best kept secret, what an awsome place. We will visit it again on this trip then head out to the Painted Desert. The couple in Katherine said when we got to the Breakaways take a good look then imagine the Painted Desert is even better, we decided then and there to return and visit it.

Ruth, - Maybe more people should do as we done and get the right information before using unfamiliar equipment, I think we are better equipped information wise thanks to everyone here, I can assure you we won't be hindering any emergency workers by using the wrong channel. If we ever visit the real outback we will be sure to drop in, to us anything north of Flinders Street Station is the outback ;-)

Once again thanks one and all, it is great to get a question answered by so many so quickly, what a great site.

AnswerID: 161311

Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 14:08

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 14:08
Ozscot - would love to see you if you get out this way. It's really nice when people do take the time to find out things - even if they just read the directions that go with the little hand held UHF radios. It's almost a shame that people are no longer required to hold licences for them - at least that way they were forced to learn a bit! Another problem we find out here - parents give kids UHF to use around the camp and from car to car not realising what a nuisance they can be! Old fashioned walkie-talkies would be a better idea for the kids. Sometimes 40 channels are just not enough. LOL.
Have a wonderful trip - you'll enjoy the Painted Desert.
FollowupID: 416563

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