Meteo info/warnings not broadcasted to 4WDer in North QLD +NT?

Submitted: Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 09:37
ThreadID: 31921 Views:4079 Replies:12 FollowUps:15
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At the moment we have cyclone Larry slamming into North Qld.
But until now not one Gvt Radio station like the ABC has broadcasted in the last 7 days
, the entire Gulf region +FNQ has been cut off by flood water in many places.
Are radio and news broadcasters getting blazer?

Also wandering if VKS737 still transmit accurate meteo info and warning?
In June 2003 we were in Cap Flattery 200 Kms north of Cooktown.
For 3 days it rained 75 mm every day + 2 days with 150mm every day.(515mm of rain in 5 days)
No one in Australia including ABC, Bureau of Meteo and VKS737 knew a cyclone centered
south of Solomon Islands, 1000 kms away, was affecting Cap Flattery in Australia,
by pouring 2 feet of water in 5 days.
(most people reading this post can not even imagine what 2 feet of water represent for a region)
My concern here is about transmitting accurate information to isolated groups of 4WDer in North QLD +NT using ABC radio and HF like VKS?

To me it seems that too many essential services/managers for NT and FNQ are based in Melbourne or Sydney? and have little clues of the vast region I am talking about?

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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 09:56

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 09:56
VKS will broadcast the weather info provided by BOM.
VKS extract the current forecasts from the BOM website. If BOM don't release any info (Warnings etc) on particular weather patterns then VKS won't be able to transmit it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 10:25

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 10:25
I'll give you 10 /10 for that post, well done old mate
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Reply By: Darian (SA) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 10:11

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 10:11
Bluey - re VKS737 - I'm a staff volunteer / base operator - under our license conditions we are not permitted to "broadcast info" in the general sense - that is not our role - that is the role of bonafide "broadcasters" who are licensed as such.
Sounds odd but that's Oz law. It is in fact a little "grey", so we have some latitude on topics for skeds. That said, while VKS737 is addressing the safety needs of members travelling in remote areas, we can broadcast weather warnings - its an option for staff when sked time permits (I usually cover these) - upon request from members in remore areas, we can provide weather forecasts for specific areas. Our info is of course straight off the BOM site, as we see it - public liability being what it is, we take all care but no responsibility. Staff are required to read a disclaimer at the commencement of each sked.
AnswerID: 161633

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 10:24

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 10:24
Of course, the other huge benefit of VKS 737 and other similar outfits is that the comms are two ways. That means that although the BOM may not have announced a particular area of chitty weather, there is nothing stopping a VKS member from calling in with a warning that there has been 500mm of the wet stuff over the past 5 days and that certain rivers are known to be running a banker.

I was involved in a situation a few years ago (very minor by comparison to cyclones etc). We had been holed-up at Birdsville for a few days, awaiting the "Track" to be re-opened had been closed for about 4 days due to rain. One morning the track was re-opened and we headed off southwards, me listening to the skeds from Alice. A group of blokes were around Longreach and had radio'd in to Alice asking whether the "track" had been re-opened yet as the answer would be the determining factor as to whether they continued towards Birdsville or headed west along the black-top. The operator at Alice advised that his info was that the track was still closed, but I was able to call in straight away and advise them all that the track had been opened up about 30 minutes earlier. IMHO this is what being a member of VKS is all about.


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Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 11:31

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 11:31
Blue Sky, I don't know what radio stations you are listening to or whether you are even in the north of Queensland but I think you are way out of line. I am sitting in Birdsville where I monitor Radio, TV, Austar Weather and BOM weather sites all the time. We have known about this cyclone for days - Ch 7 and Ch 9 also on their morning news programs flash these warnings across the base of their programs. ABC Radio here comes from Longreach - and since yesterday our ABC has been coming from Cairns - they hijacked ABC Mt Isa, Longreach, Townsville etc. because all these areas will be affected in some way by the cyclone. If no-one has informed you, you'd better move to higher ground becaue Cyclone Wattie is now formed off Fiji and is moving at 13 klms per hour in a west/south-west direction coming behind Larry, so you could get a wet backside.
And you'd better apologise to the service managers as well!
AnswerID: 161649

Reply By: Guy - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 12:10

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 12:10
135 people viewed the posting. only 3 replies and 2 follow-ups.

Say no more.

Has Australia lost the Australian spirit?
or are we now controlled by money?

What do insurance companies have to do with passing meteo info/warnings to remote 4WD_who haven't got acess to local radio/tv/etc?

(keep smiling - :)

AnswerID: 161656

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 12:30

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 12:30
Whats the issue?, The cyclone has hit the coast and if you are in the area you would know about it by now for real, if your not in the area I would suggest you turn your TV on.

"135 people viewed the posting. only 3 replies and 2 follow-ups"
"Say no more"

So what does that statement mean?

VKS can only pass on what is provided by the BOM, VKS does not operate a weather forecasting service as Ruth said the warnings for this cyclone have been around for quite a few days.

Its got nothing to do with "The Australian Spirit" in fact the Australian Spirit is alive and well with the Volunteer Operators of the VKS network who freely give of their time to provide assistance to remote area travelers and you hanging $hit of these people with unrealistic expectations of weather forecasting is pretty despicable in my book.

I get the distinct feeling that you are not even a VKS member.
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Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 16:59

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 16:59
Why are both the original post and the reply by Guy signed off as Bluesky ???

A bit off using this particular subject as a troll.
FollowupID: 416390

Reply By: Raymond from Wanderin 4 Wheelers - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 12:29

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 12:29
VKS737 Adelaide sked last night gave out upto date information on the cyclone complete with an on the spot report from a member in the area.

Ray V2010
AnswerID: 161659

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 13:54

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 13:54
"........ we were in Cape Flattery 200 Kms north of Cooktown.
For 3 days it rained 75 mm every day + 2 days with 150mm every day.(515mm of rain in 5 days)"
As Cape Flattery is 70KM away from any major town & probably has a regional population of less than 100 it would be an unlikely location for any broadcaster to give an accurate wheather forecast. When heading into a remote area I like to make my own arrangements to find out whats going on. By speaking to locals & specifically asking the VKS radio opperator for a local report I've always been able to keep abreast of bad conditions. One can't expect a detailed city forecast for a remote area. You just take what comes & sit it out if need be.
Cheers Craig...........

AnswerID: 161681

Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:37

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:37
Well I'm about 2,000 KM away in South Qld and every news bulliten on every radio station has had the cyclone as top story for 24 hours. Not on VKS, but I do tune to ABC whenever it is available in remote areas. Never had a problem getting this sort of info. Struggling to understand the problem here.
AnswerID: 161727

Reply By: Guy - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 20:43

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 20:43
Helllo Norm C. interesting omments which contracdict the specs from the ABC Australia.

It obvious most of the people who answered previously don't know where Cape Flattery is and have no idea how the ABC transmits.
I better to precise the difference between ABC Radio Australia and the rest of the ABC broadcast.

Cape Flattery is 218 Km North of Cairns ABC AM Radio station in straight line

The ABC clearly mentions the range and location of their radio stations

I quote the ABC website
-1) Medium Frequency (MF), which broadcasts on frequencies between 531kHz and 1602 kHz. MF AM radio began operating in Australia in 1923. MF broadcasting relies on radio waves which are transmitted radially and follow the ground contours of the earth. This usually provides GOOD COVERAGE UP TO A 40 to 80 km RADIUS.

- 2) FM radio signals have good immunity to electrical interference and provide consistent quality reception during the day and night. The geographical coverage area for a HIGH POWER FM TRANSMITTER CAN BE UP TO 100 kilometres, but MUCH LESS FROM LESS POWERFUL FM transmitters.

Which means you can not listen to "local AM / FM ABC" in most remote areas of Cape York, FNQ, around the Gulf of Carpentaria and NT because the "local" ABC transmitter does not cover these areas. Each transmitter covers less than 100Km in radius and even less than 100km if the transmitter as less power.

Cape Flattery is 218 km from Cairns ABC transmitter..

YES, I can listen to HF ABC because I have a short wave receiver (HF Frequencies)

Again I quote the ABC website
-3) High Frequency (HF), usually known as "short wave" radio, broadcasts on frequencies between approximately 2 MHz and 26 MHz. For over sixty years, the ABC’s Radio Australia short wave broadcasts have been used to reach overseas audiences throughout Asia and the Pacific. Programs on the international short-wave band can be received with a short wave radio receiver and an appropriate antenna system.

As you can see Radio Australia does not give the local weather even in Australia, even if a cyclone has been taken legally under the control of the Bureau Of Meteorology.

Radio Australia does not present a weather report of the remote Australian regions I am talking about , including Cape Flattery.

Which means the cyclone has to be only few hundred of Km from the east coast of Australia and the cyclone of june 2003 was in the Solomon Islands (1000km away).

[I am not talking about the cyclone Larry].

Radio Australia dioes not report meteorological events, this is where VKS has an important role to play.

What the previous VKS postings mentioned are personal views which do not reflect what is happening on the ground in these remote areas.

In other words ABC Radio National does not care about meteo report for the remote areas of Australia I mentioned.

Interesting, everyone has an opinion/agenda/hearsay/myths but no one has bothered to check out on the ABC wevbsite and on the ground of these remote areas, what the reality is like.

AnswerID: 161759

Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:35

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:35
I'm not exactly sure what your problem is - but you have no right to assume anything - least of all that people do not know their geography.
To anyone else who reads the drivel posted above - don't bother replying - it will just make him worse.
FollowupID: 416441

Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:38

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:38

I agree. Bluesky/Guy is looking more and more like a troll to me.
FollowupID: 416443

Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:41

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:41
Yep - needs watching closely - then the AM chop.
FollowupID: 416445

Follow Up By: robak (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 09:57

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 09:57
Check out his other posts in the archives. Like where he's searching EXACTLY which law talks about removing seats and putting in storage drawers.

GO SEE A LAWYER BLUESKY. They can tell you exactly what you want to know.

FollowupID: 416516

Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:54

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 21:54
If anyone has a genuine problem with AM reception in remote areas, it can generally be overcome with a decent antenna. Long wire is simple and works well, but you need a decent tree for it.

Another very simple solution can be found on this link.
AM Loop Antennas

Reception over many hundreds of KM is possible with little effort in most areas. Just takes some planning. I have no comment on Cape Flatttery; perhaps it is in a dead spot.
AnswerID: 161784

Reply By: Guy - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:34

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:34
Lets talk about real example here.
We are Tuesday 21 March 2006 10 am.
The cyclone Wati is 800 km from Mackay and moving towards the east coast
NOT one TV or Radio station has mentioned that this cyclone " will produce gale force winds initially off the coast between Bowen and Fraser by Wednesday morning"
What has been mentioned by Radio and TV is not to worry about Wati.

Why do Radio and TV stations filter the BOM infos from Wati?
What's the agenda of these stations?
Still nothing about Wati on Radio National?(HF frequencies)

If I am 4wdriving and pitching my tent Tuesday night(tonight) along the coast between Bowen and Fraser , even inland, believing the Radio and TV I will not be worried.
(the same If I am a boaty and decide to spend the night on an island next to the coast of QLD, between Bowen and Fraser).

I'll certainly get a big ferocious windy surprise on Wednesday morning and if at sea I may loose my life and the one of my friends.

To me it looks very much cyclone warning are not taken seriously

I find answers to this posting negligent/dangerous/stupid about this serious topic of cyclone warning.

Trivializing cyclone and cyclone warning is not a smart idea.

May be if you've been in cyclonic conditions you're attitude wouldn't be so casual and irresponsible.

For the one who care here are the info
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre

For 0500 EST on Tuesday the 21st of March 2006

At 5am EST Monday, Tropical Cyclone Wati, category 2 with central pressure 975
hPa, was located about 850km east northeast of Mackay. It is moving towards the
west southwest at 25 km per hour and should intensify over the next 24 hours.

Wati is expected to maintain this track until Wednesday morning when it is
likely to turn towards the south southeast and move parallel to the coast. This
will produce gale force winds initially off the coast between Bowen and Fraser
Island. Large seas will develop along the southern coast during the week.
AnswerID: 161889

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:59

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:59
How many IDs have you got on this site Guy / Bluesky/ Insert Name Here.
You can't expect us to have a serious discussion with you when you crop up using different names. In this case, you seem to be posting under two different identities on the same thread.

But I'll try (for the last time). I am not in your listening area, so can not comment on your complaint, but here on the Gold Coast, Wati is getting sufficient coverage, such that only a nut would venture far out to sea over the next couple of days.

Perhaps you should be taking this up with the radio stations you have a beef with directly. It seems few here are experiencing your difficulty, so you can't expect much support. It must be a very 'localised' problem.
FollowupID: 416535

Reply By: robak (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 13:06

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 13:06
I am in brisbane and the warnings about wati began about two or three days ago when it was starting to develop.

The world is not here to look out for YOUR safety bluesky. If you're going to a remote location, by its very nature, is dangerous and you must prepare for your tip. Including communication.

You seem to always want to palm off your responsibilities to someone else (not only on this post). Well guess what? It costs time and money to look after you.

If this communication thing really irks you, why don't you do something about it. Set up a base with a web site and telephone where people can register where they are going. When there is a cyclone you simply contact them by whatever means possible to get the hell out of there.

Naturally, you would do this voluntarily for the good of the comumnity.


AnswerID: 161912

Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 14:19

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 14:19
Guy, the BOM have a HF fax service for people in remote areas. Set yourself up with a laptop a simple radio/laptop interface and a free fax prg from the web and you can receive all kinds of maps and warnings via HF

They also have a HF voice service where warnings for coastal areas and the high seas are updated every hour.

There are no excuses guy, the service is there, use it.
AnswerID: 161925

Follow Up By: Guy - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 15:27

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 15:27
Hello Mad Dog

Absolutely correct.

Mad Dog you seem to know everything about HF weather connection.

What about if you help me to set it up properly.

Have you listen to the voice or have you downloaded the weather fax?

By the way Mad Dog which HF receiver have you got?

1) I have listen twice to the voice from Charleville or Perth (depending on the propagation).
Do you know where to get the GPS map they are talking about during the transmission?
This voice is not intended for a 4WD situation but for a ship of good size with proper positioning maps.
and experienced radio operator + proper equipment design for this transmission.

The robot voice is mono-ton and very difficult to understand.
After 3 minutes the voice becomes very boring and I had to switch off because the GPS position + other
codes mean nothing .

The robot voice does not tell you there the cyclone or low is and when it is coming but gives GPS position for hours with codes.

Unless you are an experienced navy or merchant radio operator ( which is designed to do) very little chance
to understand what's going on.

Please send me some information if you have any about the codes, the GPS maps and the equipment needed to listen to it?

I can see you know what you are talking about.
Daytime (7am-6pm) 4426 and 16546 Night-time (6pm-7am) 2201 and 6507 Anytime 8176 and 12365
Which frequency do you usually pick up?

2) You mentioned the weather fax

What FREE decoding software do you recommend?
I have one decoding software from Germany which is unstable after 2 minutes.

Mad Dog, which FREE decoding software have you got for Charleville or Perth Weather Fax?
Can you give me the URL?

Did you managed to get the name of a free software from BOM Charleville?
BOM never replied about FREE software because the software they recommend is about AUS $2000
plus a special computer which is not a laptop, which is about AUS$1500..

Mad Dog let me know if you find some info about a free software to decode the signal?

The other problem is to be able to have the weather fax downloading for 24 hours.
Because the transmission are supposed to me on time but they are not due to problem with the server which sometimes crashes.
Out of the 24 or more weather map produced every day only 2 are of value.

What is your trick to get the maps?
Which map do you use to guess the weather?

How do you understand the charts? and which chart do you usually read?

Have you spoken to BOM about that?
I have emailed but without there software + equipment what they're talking about makes no sense.

If you can pass me any infos it will be great.

As you know there is a map every 15 minutes for entire south pacific, which one do you choose and how do you
interpret the chart?

The problem is to have the weather fax connected 24 hours at the time.

I connected my second battery onto it and after 24 hours my battery went below 10 volts.
My laptop uses with the transformer only 80 watts per hour.
Plus the HF receiver connected to it, I am using 120 watts per hour.

Mad Dog let me know how you set yourself up with all this and if you managed to get some realistic answers from BOM weather fax?

FollowupID: 416574

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 16:42

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 16:42
haha, gee guy what was the question again.

You make it sound difficult but really fax is quite simple. I have decoded many hundreds of wefax transmissions from all over the world using a variety of receivers and tranceivers.

Special software from the BOM is not required, my favourite program was jvfax, there are many others and they can usually be used for a variety ofl modes.

Do a google on wefax. The web is awash with information about software and help decoding wefax.

I decoded my first HF fax transmission with little bother but I'm used to being around radios and decoding various digital signals.
FollowupID: 416589

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 16:44

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 16:44
oh yeah the voice transmissions. Sorry have never bothered to listen. I accept what you say.
FollowupID: 416591

Follow Up By: Guy - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 18:32

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 18:32
OK Mad Dog - I looked at JVfax.
This is what they say:
""To make FAX setup easy for you, go to the JVFax directory (default is JVFAX70) and (only once) run USECOM1 if you will be using Com1 or USECOM2 if you will be using Com2. This will set the normal fax defaults for you.""

This mean an interface plus this will change my GPS port setup.

On my Weatherfax German software I just plug into the audio pick up of the laptop but NO com1 or Com2.

With my setup straight from the external pick up of the external speaker of the Codan to the Laptop audio pickup.

Mad dog easy for you to say as an experienced amateur radio but how do you interface Codan 9323 to the RS232 of the laptop?
What's the wiring?

This is outside 4WDriving here, this is about experienced amateur radio stuff.

Can you help?

FollowupID: 416625

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 19:50

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 19:50
My apologies guy, jvfax is not soundcard software, I remember now I built a simple interface for it. However there are other soundcard programs that do wefax. I can't reccommend any off the top of my head. I have a few soundcard prgs on my lappy at home, not sure if the handle fax or not as I no longer play with that mode, most of these prgs handle numerous modes. I'll have a look tomorrow when at home and get back to you or you can search on "soundcard wefax"

Don't be concerned about any reference to rs232 connection with a soundcard program. This is only used to control the PTT (push to talk) line. You will not be transmitting data so this is not required, all you need do is pick up the audio from your 9323.

FollowupID: 416665

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 11:50

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 11:50
Guy, I searched and found a program wxsat that's free and suitable for receiving HF fax and weather pics from the satellites.

Use the fm 120 mode within the program and ssb on the radio.

I haven't tested the program yet but I will.

Take note that for receiving orbiting sat pics if you want to get into that the receiver needs to have a wide FM passband as the FM deviation is around 17 kHz otherwise pics will be severely clipped

FollowupID: 416868

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