HF Radio / or / Sattelite Phone

Submitted: Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:16
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What is the BEST one to buy if you had a choice of only one Satt/CDMA and Satt/GSM you can use around town. Or HF Radio.

Love to hear your comments

dj
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Reply By: Footloose - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:24

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:24
Exactly why are you thinking of buying something ? i.e. what sort of services do you want to access ?
AnswerID: 173995

Reply By: djpatrol - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:28

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:28
Remote Travel, Security, Emergency, Breakdown, etc etc, I travel alone a lot of the time I only have a CDMA presently and they arent much good a lot of the time.
AnswerID: 173997

Follow Up By: djpatrol - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:34

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:34
Forgot to say I also have UHF tx3200
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Reply By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:46

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 16:46
If you are travelling on your own the HF is a great way to make some friends along the way and if you have a problem, then to talk with like minded people. Cheers
AnswerID: 174001

Reply By: Footloose - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:07

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:07
Basically for weather, peace of mind and mateship, HF.
If you simply want to talk point to point then it's satphone.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:10

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:10
Can I also add that with a HF radio you're never really "on your own".
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Reply By: VK3CAT - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:08

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:08
HF Radio. No contest.
Assistance may only be "around the corner".
Travellers in similar locations will give up to the minute road and weather reports.
Cheers, Tony.
AnswerID: 174007

Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:55

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 17:55
For me HF
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Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:30

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:30
Tony's point is spot on. A Satphone will get you recovered, but at the greatest expense. A call on HF may find someone who is near you (or even a day or two away) who can pick up a spare or assist you on your way.

Personally, HF with an EPIRB for the 'Oh bleep ' situation is the way to go.

Matt.
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Follow Up By: Mick - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:57

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:57
If assistance is around the corner, spend one tenth of the cost of HF and just buy a UHF. There are repeaters all over Australia (check this site for locations) and if you want to be able to call for help in an emergency get a sat phone.
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Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 21:09

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 21:09
That really depends where you are going. There are still plenty of places whee you will be out of reach of a UHF repeater, especially in the more remote parts, though it sure is changing quickly.

A UHF is definitely a must but it is no guarantee. HF is great because it gives you so much flexibility, but it can't be relied on 100% of the time. Sat phone is more reliable, but less flexible.

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Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 23:22

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 23:22
There are thousands upon thousands of hectares of popular areas in the Victorian High Country where a UHF is completely useless unless:

* you are using it to talk to your fellow convoyeurs
* you are at Craigs Hut on a sunny Saturday afternoon with every other 4wder from Melbourne :o)

Go the HF. I've got a Satphone and a HF and if I had to choose one or the other the Satphone would lose out every time.

When travelling alone or as a small group the scheds on VKS737 are great. The ABC HF service is very useful for the odd bit of news & the footy/cricket scores and I've helped several other HF users out who would have been buggered if I only had the Satphone.

You are never alone with a HF. Unless you want to be then you turn it off...

Dave
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 02:06

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 02:06
Hi Dave
I see the article you wrote for the VKS Mag has been reproduced in the latest issue of "Track Watch" the magazine of the Victorian FWD Association.

Good one.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:00

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:00
Noticed a few Repeaters in South West Qld Boulia,Birdville etc nearly all the area is covered so i decided to just give it a test , put a call , no response , so in the event of an accident , no help available , put out a call or sel-call a VKS Base and ....yep help on the way , I see it as a personal choice as to what system one wants to use , but I know which I want to use , the one that has good service , and one that has the good old Aussie approach , not some Radio enthusiast in India, or Chicago , also Each service will the good and the not so good, My last statement to this subject is that I was thinking about getting the Foundation Licence but have changed my mind, not because of the posts today but just ..well I don't think I have the use or room for any more radios , and I just like the welcome I get when I say Quebec 36 calling * * * * base ...over , People I have access to only 1 frequency , the whole of Australia knew I was bogged to the chassis in sand , later in the Day the whole of Australia knew I had extracted it myself and help was not needed , that's good enough for me
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:07

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:07
Sounds like you and your little dog have exactly what you need Doug - stay with it :)

Mike Harding

PS. The Foundation Licence will stil be there if you change you mind - and we'd love to chat with you on all the other frequencies available too :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:13

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:13
Mike
yes I do and mate all the radio's in the world could'nt make me as happy as he does , Your a good bloke Mike , fighting for your cause, the VKS members fighting for our cause and where are we all going ....no where , hey but its good clean fun , I have a DVD to watch and will be back later, so cheers to you all for a while
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:23

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:23
>all the radio's in the world could'nt make me as happy as he does

I know the feeling Doug - I miss my little dog lots, broke my heart when I had to have her put to sleep.

>fighting for your cause, the VKS members fighting for our cause

No, no, no, Doug - it's not a competition, VKS737 is a fine network and has lots to offer it's members but there is no reason anyone cannot also gain an Amateur Licence and enjoy the benefits that has to offer too.

Go well Doug - enjoy the DVD :)

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Hairy - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:13

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:13
I use HF but probably would not replace it if it died, I would go with a SAT phone.
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Reply By: Footloose - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:30

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:30
By the way, I also travel alone. You may not find any fancy tyres, reversing cameras, dashboard screens etc (or stickers) in my vehicle, but you will find an EPIRB, UHF and HF and a sat phone.
AnswerID: 174028

Follow Up By: djpatrol - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:42

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:42
Good thinkin footloose, Im slowly gettin there a little at a time but I need other things too and I am wondering which is the best to get first,Cost is not much different, As I am thinkin of a second hand HF .
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:55

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 18:55
By crikey, this is a familiar question ! :)))))))))
Basically buy the best that you can afford, as your life may depend on it.
Just remember that a good aerial is essential.
Try and get a radio with selcall. Not only is it more comfortable to travel without having to listen to everyone when you are waiting for a friend, but selcall is used to "wake" the network base stations up. This is essential if you need them for help at odd times of the day or night.
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:04

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:04
Amateur Radio licence - the new Foundation Licence is well within the reach of non technical people prepared to do a weekend course

http://www.wia.org.au/foundation/foundation%20licence%20information-v1.pdf

and it gives you access to a whole heap of HF frequencies - you have a much better chance of contacting someone in an emergency on the Amateur bands than you would on VKS737 - don't take that as a "put-down" of VKS737, it's just an objective view of the situation. VKS737 has much to offer - but less so to the Radio Amateur.

Additionally some naughty people also subscribe to the VKS737 network and use their Amateur Radio sets for that purpose but they will receive a "very stern talking to" if they are ever found out doing such a dastardly deed.

On top of all that an Amateur Radio licence would let you use proper radios for local comms rather than the, technically limited (and severely intellectually challenged by many of it's users) UHF CB.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 174035

Follow Up By: Atropos - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:53

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:53
I think for the "Gray Nomads" like the XYL and I will find that the 2mtr repeater networks very useful, coverage is extensive, and I think that once the news of the foundation license spreads the take-up within this group could be quite high.

A great way to explore oz and to meet new people along the way...
And the equipment is not that expensive,, in fact a good Yaesu 2mtr rig can be bought for less than a UHF CB.....

If 2mtrs was demonstanted at the Caravan show for example I recon heaps of people would consider entering the hobby....

Oh well counting the days till the license arrives in the mail :-)

73s
john
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:22

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:22
I think I would rather put my trust and my life in the hands of a VKS-737 Operator than any Ham radio Hobbyist, Most of the VKS operators have been outback and know what's what, I always seem to be able to get to one of the skeds and it does not matter if its Perth or Charters Towers or Alice Springs there is always someone there, Don't read me wrong Mike but if I ask an Operator for a particular part needed on the Canning Stock Route They will know what I want , find another member going that way and get the part to you Amatuer Radio is good for Amatuers and VKS 737 is better for Outback Travellers.
OK let the Hornets loose
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:43

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:43
Hi Doug

You're at the mercy of propagation conditions on a very small number of frequencies with VKS737 - most times you'll probably find sometime to talk to - but there is no guarantee, HF radio is like that - what works today may not work tomorrow.

Amateur Radio operators have a much greater range of the HF spectrum (and greater power limits) to use. In a serious emergency I can use my Amateur set to transmit on the VKS737 or Flying Doctor or just about any other frequency I wish (and quite legally too) so I would say we had the best of all worlds. And, don't forget about those naughty Amateurs who are paid up members of VKS737 but use their Amateur sets rather than the Type Approved (and bloody expensive) Codans etc. They certainly have it all covered.

Finally, here in Victoria, I have very poor reception of VKS737 (I'm not a member so only listen) and the one time I needed a message passed on from a remote camp in the High Country I used another Amateur to do it.

Finally, finally :) as my son also has an Amateur Licence I know who I would trust above any other operator to consider my safety first - and good as the VKS737 people may be... you're not their Dad :)

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 22:40

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 22:40
Your son is only 1 person for you to get in contact with if your in trouble. HF & VKS 737 can if needed have all 10 bases up if its an extreme emergency. + you can contact RFDS in an emergency + Radtell as well. I don't think they would turn away a real emergency.

MY $ is with VKS 737.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 00:43

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 00:43
>Your son is only 1 person for you to get in contact with if your in trouble.

Can't argue with your logic there Rox.

However there are a few others on the Amateur bands too :) Even within the confines of Australia enough, I suspect, to make VKS7373 a little envious.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: signman - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 09:13

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 09:13
Mike
Your quote that:
You're at the mercy of propagation conditions on a very small number of frequencies with VKS737 - most times you'll probably find sometime to talk to - but there is no guarantee, HF radio is like that - what works today may not work tomorrow.

OK.. so VKS737 only has 3,5,8,11 & 14 mHz BUT there is bases all over OZ- Perth, Derby, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Charters Towers etc etc. If an operator has difficult copy, its only a matter of second and another base station can be activated. I'll stick my neck out here by stating I could get a beacon call- then a selcall response (another important feature) anywhere in Oz at any time!!
I am also a full call amateur (or whatever the regulations call it these days), but find I use VKS737 almost exclusively when on trips.
As for the claim of UHF CB repeaters being available when off the blacktop from another- you gotta be dreaming.
Regards
VK2EZY
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 18:56

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 18:56
signman:

Like I said; "you'll probably find someone to talk to" but it's quite obvious that given the wider range of frequencies available to the Amateur he/she has a better probability of getting out - additionally we don't have one "channel" on each of those bands we have dozens or hundreds?

I'm not knocking VKS737 - it's an excellent service (shame the kit is so overpriced) but the better option has to be an Amateur licence with a set widebanded to cover the VKS737 frequencies too, which is what naughty people do.

Additionally an Amateur licence allows you to chat to people overseas - most people would probably be amazed at how many overseas friends we make - there is a whole world of radio out there beyond Oz. and there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting around a campfire in the middle of nowhere chatting to someone in Chicago or Tel Aviv or Peru or London or Tokyo or Bendigo – made a lot of friends in Oz too.

I'm not trying to put people off VKS737 - I'm trying to put them on to Amateur Radio :)

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: wilko65 - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 19:16

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 19:16
The VKS network is a great network for people who think they need a sat phone, HF, GPS, uhf, high lift suspension, bigger wheels, diff locks and just about every other 4wd gimmick or gadget known to man to venture to the local supermaket.
I have had HF for many years. Lived, worked and travelled all over cape york for 10 years during the mid 80's and many other remote areas, as well as using it whilst employed by a large phone company as our main means of comms.
I still use it regularly and would upgrade from my 9323's if they died.
The VKS network is run via a telephone interconnect service and the person from Alice Springs, perth or CHtrs twrs may not even know where they are. In fact one particular base operator has not been even as far as the local river camping.
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 19:32

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 19:32
wilko65, Well I have been all around OZ & I operate a VKS 737 Base.

I know lots of other opps who have been out there & some are right now out in the bush/desert.

I am also aware of a non member in remote country who is at broken down with no Comms.

1 Opp from Tassie has spoken to my kids from every base around OZ and done a fantastic job. Even taught them to speak phoneticialky. Should we break down/ loose consciousness my kids know how to get in touch with a base. They didn't go to school to learn it they had fun calling in on sked times just like dad.
Kevin
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Reply By: HJ60-2H - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:28

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:28
HF. More versatile. Sat phone if you cant handle buttons in an emergency.
AnswerID: 174040

Reply By: djpatrol - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:54

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 19:54
Looks like it might be HF as the odds are for them an little for Satt Phone not saying there is anything wrong with Satphone but I must agree overall costs are in favour of HF Radio,,, AGREE
AnswerID: 174050

Reply By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:28

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 20:28
djpatrol
Mate I would not be buying right now unless your going to go just Satallite Phone , CDMA and GSM both digital will be closed in a few months , And of course surely they will produce a Satallite / G3 system then and only then would I purchase a dual system phone , But I like my HF radio to much,
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AnswerID: 174057

Follow Up By: djpatrol - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 21:02

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 21:02
Thanks Doug I know about CDMA finishing ,But I think that I have chosen HF by the Response given on the forum.

HF was my pick before I put the question to air but now that confirms I was on the right track hope we meet on HF some day.

So now I have to see if I can afford a new set or find a good second.I have been shoppin around.

By the way Isa is one of my Favorite towns LOVE the joint.

Thanks
dj
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Reply By: Member- Rox (WA) - Monday, May 22, 2006 at 22:42

Monday, May 22, 2006 at 22:42
What state are you in?
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Follow Up By: djpatrol - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 09:27

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 09:27
NSW Mid North Coast
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 18:02

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 18:02
djpatrol,
No you don't need to sit a test but you apply for a (sub)licence to use the Freq of a particular network.
When you get a radio or try someone else's out, you can call up any base during Sked times & they will be very happy to teach you. It's Farly simple to use & that's what I like.
My Kids (8 &10 years) Did use the Radio All round OZ & Spoke to all the Opps & are quite proficient at using it. The Opps also know their callsign & voices. Should an emergency arrive they could call up a base or another mobile who could call up a base to get help. If the kids don't know exactly were they are at (should I be unconscious) the opp can look up the previous logs to see were I was headed & could ask " are you on the Connie Sue Hwy?"

I recon it pretty good that's why I became a VKS 737 Opp.
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Reply By: Darian (SA) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 07:17

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 07:17
see vks737.on.net..............there is an article or two on the merits of the various comms methods available for outback travellers. There's a link for Satphones on the front of the site - a link from there goes to further advice on the subject. I'm a volunteer base operator with VKS737.................HF is my pick, mainly because of the opportunity to tap into the network "club", when the chips are down.
AnswerID: 174134

Reply By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 08:57

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 08:57
Well this will be a stupid question to most however I'm asking anyway.

Why do you have to do a test to use a HF radio and whats involved in a two day course.

I am starting to do a number of outback trips and It seems getting a HF radio is the go but there seems to be more in getting one than simply buying. What else is there to owning one ie fees etc if any.

Brian

AnswerID: 174153

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 09:11

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 09:11
Two systems:

VKS737 - no test, expensive radio, limited frequencies available, "channelised" radio to prevent you transmitting out of band, power limited to 100W, annual membership fee of about $80?

www.vks737.on.net/

Amateur Radio - been around since Marconi, prime purpose is experimentation with radio et al, _very_ wide range of frequencies available, radio can be home made or a $20,000 commercial set, no "type approval" required, radios are not "channelised", power limited to 400W (I think?), easy to transmit all over Oz and the world, technical test required (3 levels of test available), annual licence fee of about $55.

www.wia.org.au/

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: djpatrol - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 11:48

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 11:48
Mike are you saying that you DONT require a Licence for HF Radio ...VKS & Radtel
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 12:03

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 12:03
Best thing to do is read the website to which I gave a link above.

My understanding is that paying a subscription to VKS737 permits you to use the frequencies which are licenced to that organisation by the government providing you use type approved equipment and use the frequencies for their pre-ordained purpose ie. " to serve Australian travellers (land, sea or air)". I am not aware you need a separate or additional licence.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:19

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 20:19
You certainly don't need an additional license. But you would be wise to read all of the instructional material on the site.
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