Recommend a good UHF??

Submitted: Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 10:43
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Hi. Can anyone recommend a good UHF system for us. We will be travelling around Australia from May - going from Adelaide to Darwin, then along the WA coast, then across the Nullabor to the East Coast - with our 9 yr old twin daughters. We have read that a UHF is good to have to talk to other caravanners or when trucks want to pass us. Do you think its necessary to have or a waste of money? We don't want to spend too much but have no idea what they can and can't do so would really appreciate it if someone could explain the system a bit (in basic terms of course). We are going to the Caravan & Camping Show tomorrow so would like to be a bit informed as they probably have some specials there.

Thanks in advance for any advice given :)
Leanne
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 10:50

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 10:50
GME is the way to go for reliability and value for money. Have a look at Prestige Communications for your homework and don't warry about the cross Australia delivery. I have had delivery in country Victoria, the following working day.
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Follow Up By: Time - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:25

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:25
Yep, agree good GME is quality that will last you a lifetime for what you want to use it for, Prestige Communications have the best prices I've found on the net and free delivered to Canberra in two working days.
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Reply By: Member - bushfix - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 10:54

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 10:54
G'day Leanne,

there is an excellent link on this site under the "Topics" menu at the top of this page. Select "commununcations."

yep, UHF is a good idea for comms up to around 8km further with the use of repeaters or ideal terrain. But be aware that it does get abused by others as you approach the populated areas, so be warned as the "content" on air may offend. In addition, there is a channel protocol wrt which channels are used by who, important to respect that.

UHF sets don't cost too much, from $200-450 thereabouts. GME and ICOM are worth looking at but Uniden are not too bad for the money and there are ususally specials on at Dick Smith etc.

I would reccommend reading the articles and talking to Prestige Communications in Perth. They know their stuff and are well priced.

have fun.
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Reply By: spinifex - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:20

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:20
A cheap hand held will suffice for overtaking manoeuvres. Check Ebay

Regards
Spinifex
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:28

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:28
Take a look here:

http://www.andrewscom.com.au/site-section-02.htm

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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:41

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:41
Leanne,

Don't forget the aerial.

A UHF is only as good as the aerial. The aerial that I have found that work for all types of terrain is the GME AE 4705 and the GME AE 4706. The spring base allows the aerial to bend back under trees but will remain straight when driving. This will give the best reception.

For where you are going a GME AE 4706 will give you the maximum range and will not wobble about. This wobble is the major cause of breakage.

The aerial is long as seen on the passenger side of the vehicle in the photo. It is also good for the sand flag when crossing sand dunes.
On the drivers side is a shorter version that I use in timber areas like the Vic High Country. That is a GME AE 4705, same type only shorter.






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Wayne
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:54

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:54
Are you trying to compensate for something else there Wayne? ;)~
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:58

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:58
Wayne
Great photo. I dunno but there's something about a Troopy that just looks the part, TOUGH, with real Outback appeal.

.
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:46

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:46
Truckster,

8 aerials, long, short and some flat. I think that I have over compensated.


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Doug,

Not only do they look the part but they do the job.

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:30

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:30
Wayne
YES.... they do, mine has been doin' it for 718000+ , Still runs like a dream
.

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:18

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:18
Leanne
I have spent many years travelling Oz as a Truckie, and until just recently retired as Pilot/Escort owner/driver after 5 years, Over this time I have learnt to identify the difference and quality between GME and ICOM to Uniden, ( and I don't want the crap feedback from Uniden owners, This is an answer to Leanne for her benifit only, )
As Pilot/Escort I would talk to every oncoming Truck/Roadtrain, and 4x4/Caravan if they had a set all day every day, and when recieving incoming signals from Uniden users they always sounded distorted and hard to understand, Take note of what I have told you and you will understand when you yourself hear it after you get a GME or ICOM, Both good radio's but as a 1st timer the GME will be more simpler for you to use,
Using a GME your transmission to others will be crystal clear reception to other's recieving your signal.

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 19:15

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 19:15
Hello Doug - how do you know that an incoming radio signal (good or bad) is from a specific brand of radio without asking everytime?

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Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:11

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:11
Greg
I said in my post what I did was answer a question , not to get into another 4 day debate with you, However you did ask me a question and I will answer that, Of course I did ask some truckies what brand they had when I heard a distorted signal and 100% times the answer I got was "Uniden.......Why" As I said I have done the test many times , always the same answer, One day I heard a "distorted" bloke talking to a woman, she was clear to understand , so I picked up the Mike and mate your using a Uniden and she's on GME , ...."hOW THE f***** hell did you know that, I was satisfied I got it right and said no more, No it's not bloody antenna faults either, now there you go Greg, something for you to dispute again,

NO MORE COMMENTS ON THE SUBJECT,

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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:32

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:32
Doug, that isn't always right. I was in our local town the other day and I could hardly understand the sets I could hear. I knew they were GME as they were all our farm ones. The Phillips have all gone to the rubbish tip in the sky and when they were going they were good except for our house one for the last two years. So GME sets can cause distortions too.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:37

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:37
Sorry Doug - just curious, but would have thought you would need to identify the make, model, age/condition of unit/mic, antenna specs/condition, distance from caller, terrain, weather etc of ALL calls received before making a statement on what single brand is good or bad.

I was just clarifying methods you used so I can determine what weighting I can place on your advice.

If you didnt identify origin of all good calls it is obviously not impossible for some of them to have been Uniden's (agree?). A one off call from one person is unfortunately not admissible as evidence. You may well be right though and your suggestion of GME is of course a good one.

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Member - Jason S (SA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:22

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:22
icom is top of the tree and will set you back about $460 with aerial. Nice , nice radio! ( icom 400 pro )

If you are having a space crisis on where to intall it, look into the GME detatchable head unit models. GME is Aussie made and hard to kill on the road.

Uniden make nice units but are made OS. If you , like me , are a fan of good Aussie stuff that is price comparable I wouldn't buy them. Don't get me wrong, they are solid units.

The man to speak to about the Aerial is Link . Don't expect masses of conversation out of the Lad. He is not the cheapest but I recon the best out. He did a radio of mine (27meg ) that is 25 years old and was clapped. Tell him I sent you ( I am the guy with the Pearce Simpson 27 meg. He will remember ! ).

The other alternative is Electric Bug . These guys are very good and cheaper.

Avoid dick smith or tandy's. This is an advice thing and you will not save any money.

The best place for any Aerial is on your roof . This gives a solid plain for the signal to 'radiate' and will dramatically increase your range. Front bull bar mounts are okay but you loose a whole bunch of range.

Image Could Not Be Found

The gutter mount is about $20 and the aerial was about $30.

Yes I should put the hi lift jack on the other side I know but .....

I find that this little one gives me about 8k's in city and about double that in the bush with line of sight . I have had 30k's plus but that is rare. UHF mobile is basically vehicle to vehicle. Saying that I would not be without mine.

Install is pretty easy but looks better if prof done.

The shorter your cable from the aerial to your radio the better. They are low power ( 5 watts ) and need all the help they can get.

good luck and I hope this helps!

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Follow Up By: Member - Jason S (SA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:40

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:40
And forget Ebay. Cheaper else where
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Reply By: DIO - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:36

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:36
I see you are starting from Adelaide. If you live there I suggest you take a trip down to Electric Bug, 199-203 Torrens Road, Croydon. They have a very comprehensive display of new and used radio equipment. Yoou will find them very helpful and they should be able to 'de-mystify' UHF radios etc for you. They also do installations. Not connected with them, have used them over the years when in town. Always happy with their prices and service. Have a look at their site Link
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Reply By: Moose - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:21

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:21
Hello Leanne
You should have specified what "too much" is in terms of $ because that may well determine whether you get one that is vehicle mounted or a hand held unit.
The vehicle mounted ones are generally stronger i.e. transmit further but cost heaps more.
The hand held ones can be bought from the likes of Tandy, Target etc for bugger all. They are not very strong so the range will be limited but they do work. When we were down in the Vic high country recently the hand piece on my vehicle mounted one packed it in. We simply completed the trip using our baby hand held and we had no troubles communicating with our travelling companion.
So if $ are short do consider the hand held option. Ours did chew through batteries so as a long term proposition they are not really a good idea. But for occasional use they are great.
We bought a set of 2 for about $50 some time ago.
If you plan to leave the UHF on all the time then go for the vehicle mounted option. If $ are tight and you only intend to use it when overtaking or for the occasional chat when following another traveller then the hand held is worth considering.
Cheers from the Moose
AnswerID: 287629

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 16:33

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 16:33
If you are talking about the Adelaide Caravan show, I saw UHF specials at the Electric Bug stand (I have no affiliation) - I bought a hand held UHF from them last year at the show - the 5 watt, GME 6200 was my pick - $395 which includes a fast charging cradle kit - seemed great value to me - the radio has a slow charger as standard too. I've tried it in the bush, and that particular hand held seemed to have very good reach over a few kms, while mobile. The hand held might be all you need for the odd chat to trucks and vans nearby. Should you want to get out further, and via repeaters etc, an in-car unit might be best, because they have the constant power available and a much better antenna. Supply and install of a good in-car unit (GME / Icom etc.) might be around $650 - $700 I'd guess. I use an Icom 400 pro in the car - that seems a great performer - but we only ever hear good about GME on this forum though - they have several incar units to choose from - I'd be picking a unit with the most features and the biggest display screen - for basic use though, their simplest unit would probably have the same basic communications efficiency as the complex ones.
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Reply By: Skippy In The GU - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:11

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:11
Electric bug on Torrens rd should help you out, but I wouldn't recommend a monster white stick on the bullbar on the right hand side, you could get knocked off for that in SA. The higher you mount the antenna the better. EG: Gutter mount, Roofrack works better than the bullbar mounted antennas
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Reply By: dave_c - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:52

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:52
Gday Leanne,

We are doing the same trip with 9 and 6 year old. We are leaving early May from Melbourne. We are doing a figure 8 though. May see you in our travels.

We have a GME in car and GME hand held. Cant beat them. Doug T is spot on about reception. The cheap ones are exactly that.

Cheers David
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:02

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:02
Evening Leanne, if you are caravanning I would maybe suggest a twin set of handheld radios. Don't look at anything less than 1w radios. If your budget will allow go the 2w type.

Advantage is that when you are parking the van or reversing a fully loaded vehicle the passenger can give you directions from outside the vehicle using one of the handhelds.

Also if out and about take the radios with you that way if you go your way and he his or the kids want to go walk abouts you've got free comms.

Better still if you can afford get an in-car unit and a couple of hand helds.
Dunc
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:26

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:26
While they can be handy they are far from essential. for the normal traveller. I rarey use mine except if with other people.
Ive got a GME 3200 ittaks 2 screws to install it - any dummy can install it themselves. Wouldnt bother mcking around trying to run the cabelling for a twin head unit. when a 3200 is about the size of a pack of ciggies and jut ataches outof the way undr the dash
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark H (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 19:23

Sunday, Feb 17, 2008 at 19:23
I agree with Davoe with the GME 3200/3220 (new version). I bought mine at a show last year, GME had an offer with the head unit and 2 interchangeable aerials for around $320. I don't need the extra features of the bigger models or Icom that will cost you $400+ and extra again for an aerial. I also didn't want to pull out my stereo which is adouble DIN size, meaning I would have to buy another CD/DVD player as well. I have just screwed it under the dash, it's easy to reach, I can hear it crystal clear and I installed it myself in a caravan park as I ran out of time before I left. Simple to do.

If money was no option I would get the Icom-Pro and maybe learn about the extra features.

Cheers,

Mark.
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