uhf radio..which one?

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:24
ThreadID: 56443 Views:3593 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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We have no idea about uhf radios - we travel outback on our own with a satellite phone, but with the likes of desert crossings etc we feel we need to have a uhf radio as well. What types are there? Are they all much the same? Is a basic one all you need for emergency needs? We will not be using it much as in a convoy situation, only as the need arises while crossing dunes etc.
Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: John R (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:42

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:42
Three major brands that pop to mind; GME Electrophone, Uniden, & Icom. A bit like cars, everyone has their favourites, but frankly they're all much of a muchness. (We use GMEs.)

It sounds like you're only after something basic which can scan. I'd have a look at the GME 3220 (basic model about the size of 2 cd cases stuck together, which can scan etc), or the 3420 (has a detachable head unit).

As for emergency needs . . you are probably aware that UHF radios only cover short distances, so aren't to be relied on if you're in strife. Obviously that's why you've got the sat phone.
However, when you're out and about it's handy to stick the UHF on scan so you're aware of who you're about to run in to.

Check Prestige Communications as they tend to have pretty good prices.
I'd use the AE409L antenna because you can screw the aerial off the base when not in use, or replace with a rubber antenna.

AnswerID: 297440

Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:54

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:54
Have to agree with John 101%, GME make very good gear and there radios are made in Australia.

We use a AE409L mounted on the front guard but we use a commercial Icom IC-2010 radio.

You will find you will use the UHF more then you thought especially when in convoy.

Regards Richard
FollowupID: 563449

Reply By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:47

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:47
I bought 2x Icom Handhelds at about $340each Delivered

Fantastic dealRadio Warehouse
AnswerID: 297443

Reply By: Member - SNAKE (RAOUL) QLD - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:55

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 20:55
HI, As stated above they are much the same in what they do,just keep in mind the GME is an Aussie product.Cheers Snake and Josie
AnswerID: 297445

Reply By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 21:07

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 21:07
I agree with the above, having owned both GME and Uniden, both pretty easy to use and instructions easy to follow.

A mate has an Icom, nothing wrong with it, but all he can do is talk on it as it is too complicated for him. I have read the instructions and tried to set up some things for him and I too find it more difficult that the others to use other than just talk on it.


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AnswerID: 297449

Reply By: Hilux03 - Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 22:42

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008 at 22:42
Gday - i'm in the same boat and have been looking around for a few weeks now. As mentioned the GME's are a basic and reliable unit. Im leaning towards the 3220.

Once youve decided on the radio you then face the decision as to what antenna...

Have a look at my recent thread for info on antennas.

Good luck with your choice.

AnswerID: 297478

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 08:30

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 08:30
Hi Jeff and Debbie
Like Above. GME 100% Australian owned and made. Uniden 100% made in China. Sorry not sure where Icom are made.

Stick with the one that keeps Aussies employed......GME


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AnswerID: 297522

Reply By: KSV. - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 09:45

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 09:45
If you need it only “now and then” then I would recommend starting with good hand-held unit. 5W hand-held performs virtually as 5W in-car, providing you lift its antenna as high as car’s one. In some situation you can lift it even higher then car by climbing on rock or tree. Some allow connection of external antenna – if you do, it will perform exactly as in-car one. UHF mainly use for car-to-car communication and in-car unit does not have that mach advantages over hand-help 5W one without external antenna – it is more about convenience rather then performance. UHF not much in use for emergency due to UHF nature broadcast only in line of sight. There are some repeaters around to improve coverage, but you still need to be very lucky to contact someone in case of emergency. Avoid incredibly cheap unit and get only CCTS compatible one – it eliminate annoying noise, but you can communicate only with those who use the same sub-channel. You can add in-car unit later if you feel you need it and have a bonus – hiker to car communication.

AnswerID: 297537

Reply By: Jeeps - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 13:14

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 13:14
Agree, get a unit with CTCSS as all the good ones come with it nowdays.

Re icom, they're made in japan and are definately a better radio than GME or Uniden for build quality but they are more complicated.

If it's for a first radio then i suggest GME for sure.

AnswerID: 297563

Follow Up By: John R (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 19:29

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 19:29
CTCSS is a very handy feature, but I'd suggest that as Jeff stated he's not planning on using it for convoy work, it's probably not a feature he's likely to use.
Having said that, most vehicle radios that I'm aware of have that ability now anyway.

Out of interest, using CTCSS in a convoy has great advantages . . . until someone from outside your group wants to speak to you (beit to tell you of upcoming hazards, let you know how many vehicles in their convoy, let you know they're overtaking etc). Do you use it much in convoy work, and do you think the infrequent downside could outweigh the benefit, or not??!
FollowupID: 563688

Follow Up By: Jeeps - Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 01:02

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 01:02
I personally use CTCSS very often. I have an icom in each of our families vehicles. My wife and i often convoy as we work together and are picking up and dropping off work vehicles regulary and we usually have our 2y/o with us. Living in the country (but not remote) means we often have a long drive and CTCSS allows us to chat if need need be without our daughter hearing any desirable language. I also have an icom handheld which i use around our property to keep in contact with the house. Although i don't get much riff raff at our property it's used anyway.

I also use CTCSS almost exclusively on 4wd trips with mates as we're on main highways on the east coast which are full ot babble.

A friend owns several commercial repeaters and CTCSS is required to talk on them. Most commercial and emergency repeaters/freq use CTCSS as although they are the only ones using the frequency by using CTCSS it also helps block unwanted signal overload from non-cb electrical equipment. I have a handheld scanner (icom) which has a tone decoder so it only takes me about 5-10 seconds to find out which CTCSS tone a radio is using.

I am an Icom person through and through but i also own several commercial icoms as well as my 400pro's and 41s :)

However on extremely remote roads i wouldn't use CTCSS and would use a common channel like ch40.
FollowupID: 563756

Follow Up By: John R (SA) - Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 08:36

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 08:36
Thanks Jeeps!

We use CTCSS also and are often a bit beyond uhf range of the home block/bases. I often think it would be handy to be able to stick in a uhf repeater, only accessible with CTCSS. I haven't bothered looking in to it though as I'd assume it's not allowed.
FollowupID: 563776

Reply By: Jeff and debbie - Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 19:25

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 19:25
Thanks to everyone for all your advice, this gives us a much better idea of what we are looking for! However, from some of your feedback we are now wondering whether or not we really need one?? We only thought it might come in handy in case we get into trouble to see if anyone is nearby? Or as suggested to check for oncoming traffic. Do you think it is a necessary piece of outback equipment or should we save our cash??

Thanks again to everyone!
AnswerID: 297840

Follow Up By: DarrynJ - Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 20:00

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008 at 20:00
Guys once you get one and use it you will see the advantages of having one. Handhelds in a car are a compromise and quite often a pain in the you-know-what. Get a GME as they are top quality and easy to use and get someone to explain how to use it and to explain the channel usage as well as how repeaters work. Most people get a UHF and don't really know the best way to use them and the limitations of them or how repeaters work.

Cheers Darryn
FollowupID: 563900

Reply By: rredbeak - Friday, Apr 11, 2008 at 21:46

Friday, Apr 11, 2008 at 21:46
go with GME UHF cb,and YES you need one. maybe not for yourself but to put it on SCAN and listen while you drive the outback. others may have an emergency and you might be the only one in range to help them...we all should scan while we tour the outback,one of us might be the next emergency...by one that has scan function OS/GS [open scan/group Scan]. you'll also hear lots of farmers ,travellers etc to chat to if your car radio is out of range of music...
bhe considerate of other travellers and scan...cheers... PJ
AnswerID: 298048

Reply By: bushy04 - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 15:57

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 15:57
go with uniden. my son-in-law's semi got written off in a head on. The uniden survived but the car driver didn't. Its also handy for finding parking bays and traffic alerts whilst travelling. If you can afford on, try a sawtron......
AnswerID: 298115

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