Business Radio

Submitted: Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 01:50
ThreadID: 32877 Views:2126 Replies:8 FollowUps:10
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Hi,
My father is running a welding business that contracts for the National Parks and Sydney Catchment Authority. As part of OH&S and legal requirements stated in his contract he has to set up effective communication between his Base and his vehicle at all times (this has nothing to do with the SCA and NPWS radio network, it has to be totally seperate). He has given me the job of figuring out what to do. I have some radio knowlege but not a great deal. The Rx and TX needs to cover from Thirlmere (2572) down to burragorang valley and yerranderie. He currently has 2 X Tait 2020 radios, one being UHF and the other being VHF-Low, and both capable of 25watts. How could it be possible to get this system working effectively using the radios he currently owns??? At this point in time the cost is not an issue, we are just trying to get some ideas. Is it possible to access repeaters etc to transmit and recieve that distance and cover the rough terrain between the two points or would it be better just to have a simplex system using a huge ass antenna on both the vehicle and base.

I hope i have given you sufficient information to understand what i am going on about.

Thanks in advance
Dane Coulter
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 03:13

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 03:13
Hi Dane

What distance are we talking here? a good UHF with a good aerial will only get you around 30km in a straight line if you are in a hilly area then it will be around 5-10km if that. BUT if you have a repeater in the area you could get up to 300km range but can be a pain because of high traffic. Have a look here for a full list of repeaters Site Link

AnswerID: 166962

Reply By: Morgan VIC - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 03:21

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 03:21
Have you considered PTT (Push To Talk) on the CDMA or GSM network
We recently had a similar situation and PTT on CDMA was the satisfactory answer for reliability, portability, safety and cheapest solution if there is good coverage in the area.
AnswerID: 166963

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 11:35

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 11:35
To my way of thinking, the only sure way is a Satelite Phone.
Bill


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AnswerID: 166996

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 19:27

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 19:27
Looks like pretty hilly country and about 30km as the crow flies (or the radio waves travel).

From my experience with our VHF in the vic high country most of the time its almost pointless and our guys when mobile are trying to get out to VHF repeaters not base to base. For example a crew going in through Sheepyard to Bluff Hut for a retrieval will struggle much of the way, once they leave the the Mansfield Buller Rd to get back to us even though there are repeaters on Mt Buller, Mt Glenrowan & Mt Terrible.

The SMR network is of more use but you won't have acess to gov't equipment from the sound of it.

Try a couple of secondhand Codans with SelCall (8528 or 9323) and look into a frequency license around the 3.5 to 4 Mhz range. This would do what you want, with the added bonus that you then have a radio that you can use on the VKS737 4wd Radio Network when you are travelling.

It may sound a little out of left field but the distance definately won't be a problem and the setup cost should be cheaper than shelling out for commercial gear and repeaters, and the running costs are less than satphones which are $2.00 per minute for calls.

I wouldn't go down the VHF track until I knew someone who was successfully doing what you want to do and you knew what frequencies they were using.

Dave
AnswerID: 167048

Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 19:42

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 19:42
It's a business requirement - so it's writable-offable. Satellite Phone using a GSM SIM will do the job and fulfill the contract - I can't remember the details but Telstra or others on this forum will tell you.

Then again... one could have all sorts of fun playing with the term "effective communication" - carrier pigeon? Smoke signals? Australia Post? I just love messing with pompous authority on these issues - as if you didn't know :)

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 167050

Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 20:44

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 20:44
The pic is an elevation profile from Yerranderie to Thirlmere. It's pretty obvious it will not be possible to cover this path without the help of repeaters. If communciations are required on a very casual basis perhaps the satphone option will be ok without being too expensive for call charges otherwise a local radio business may be able to set you up with radios and repeater access.

click pic for large image



AnswerID: 167062

Reply By: Dane_Coulter - Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 22:51

Friday, Apr 14, 2006 at 22:51
Thanks to everyone who has replied. It has helped me heaps and i really appreciate it. The communication between the base and the vehicle will have to be made at 2 hour incriments if not more frequently. I think this would mean that satellite would be far to expensive. Does anyone know any sydney based companies that run repeaters and hire out frequecies to business's? or what companies would you suggest for purchasing equipment?

Thanks Again
Dane Coulter
AnswerID: 167079

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 04:51

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 04:51
That makes the 2 Codans look a lot cheaper :)

VKS737 Channel 5 and the second radio "must" also be a mobile (wink wink)

Dave
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FollowupID: 422112

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 07:43

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 07:43
I doubt VKS737 permits business traffic - it certainly shouldn't.

If you don't want sat phone then it will have to be a private frequency on VHF or UHF (I don't think you can rent frequencies on any lower band, can you?) and given that contour profile Mad Dog posted you're probably going to have problems at those frequencies.

Consider RADTEL or whatever it's currently called - this is telephone service over HF radio, I think Telstra have stopped doing it but I believe others still do. Also get some costs on the sat phone option before you write it off including the possibility of using SMS via sat phone.

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 422119

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 17:55

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 17:55
Yeah, I realise that but if it's only calling up to say you are still in situ at a location and you are okay then I can't see that it could really be seen to be any different from any of the other users that have husband/wife or a couple of radios registered to the same family or group using them for the same purpose.

RADTEL is a good idea. You ought to be able to get a very good signal into Newcastle base in most conditions. That way you'd get away with only one radio as well as you are ringing a phone. You'd need a radio capable of direct dial such as an 8528, 9323 or NGT (or Barrett 550 or greater). At $1.00 per minute it's half the price of Iridium and the yearly cost is a couple of hundred cheaper than having a Satphone sitting on a $30 a month plan.

If mining companies and the like can "rent" a frequency at lower (ie. HF) frequencies then anyone else should be able to also but I've not looked into cost. Obviously the cheaper option is to tag onto someone elses system.

An outpost license for RFDS frequencies is only $36 a year. Given the lack of use of their channels now, I'm not sure what is allocated to chat etc. or what conditions govern it's use.

Dave
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FollowupID: 422191

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 20:46

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 20:46
>Yeah, I realise that but if it's only calling up to say you are still in
>situ at a location and you are okay then I can't see that it could
>really be seen to be any different from any of the other users that
>have husband/wife or a couple of radios registered to the same
>family or group using them for the same purpose.

Until a couple of thousand businesses discover that you can get remote area HF communications for $70 per year from all over Oz... at that point the five VKS737 HF frequencies are stuffed.

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 422223

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 22:54

Saturday, Apr 15, 2006 at 22:54
Very true Mike, I agree. But from a couple of conversations I've heard it's already happening.

A Tag-a-long tour company using VKS737 would already be operating a business on the network wouldn't they?

Out of curiousity, & I haven't asked Steve Johnson, but do you know what the intended plan for the other 7 channels they don't specify on the network map is?

Dave
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FollowupID: 422248

Follow Up By: Dane_Coulter - Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 10:24

Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 10:24
I agree Dave, I have seen Coach tour companies use the HF for communication to their base when they are in the outback.

I have found a guy that owns a fully licenced 66-88Mhz private repeater station all we need now is the location and apparently the best location would be at Nattai, he said if i can get a location i can access the repeater for free.

This would be perfect i think.

So Mike don't panic i wont take your HF away from you ;-)

Thanks guys
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FollowupID: 422459

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 16:18

Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 16:18
Should be a reasonable choice of frequency depending on what power the repeater is. We run up around 170MHz at 25W and that's our problem. The powers probably okay but the frequency is still too high for the terrain. Out on the western side of the divide it's fine.

Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

Dave
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FollowupID: 422494

Follow Up By: Dane_Coulter - Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 17:04

Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 17:04
Aparently the repeater is 50W and yes its somewhere in the 66-88Mhz. Do you know who i can talk to about coupling into the Nattai repeater? OR I just need an area around the nattai area to set it up because i think this is the only location that will allow the signal to carry through the valley.

Thanks
Dane
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FollowupID: 422503

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 20:10

Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 20:10
>So Mike don't panic i wont take your HF away from you ;-)

No worries Dane - that wouldn't happen anyway because I'm not a member of VKS737 but have an Amateur Operators Licence which gives me access to a whole range of frequencies from 1.8MHz through to 25 giga hertz and we hunt pirates down with a vengeance :)

Seriously though: you guys may need to keep an eye on the VKS737 frequencies it sounds as if there may be some wider use of them?

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 422566

Reply By: signman - Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 12:32

Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 12:32
If he is contracted to the SCA and NPWS why can he not use the SCA (VHF) service and/or the NPWS vhf or uhf system. I know the SCA VHF in that area goes all the way to Katoomba, incl. the Fire towers near Tahmoor, Appin etc. and all of the Burragorang Valley to Yerranderie. If he is in fact contracted, the relevant authorities have a duty of care to him.
If you have any probs.- I could set up a VHF repeater for him at Nattai and that would get coverage he's after.
AnswerID: 167345

Follow Up By: Dane_Coulter - Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 12:46

Monday, Apr 17, 2006 at 12:46
Thanks signman, muchly appreciated, if this doesnt work out i will let you know, can you pleas give me an email with your details. My email is dane_coulter@optusnet.com.au

how would i go about coupling into the current Nattai repeater tower, who would i have to contact?
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FollowupID: 422480

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