Communication Dramas...to have or not?

Submitted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 11:20
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Hi everyone, Just a quick question, we are leaving in 6 weeks to drive from Ipswich to Coober Pedy and then up to Uluru and Alice Springs and across the Plenty hwy then down to Birdsville, go across the Big Red and then back home from Birdsville...now the question ..would anyone in their right mind do this with out any kind of communication eqip? We have been to Windorah and up to Longreach and my other half has gone to Alice without anything and he is of the same mind now..I on the other hand have 4 children to think of and think this is just insane, how can i convince him the "she'll be right mate " is just crazy? Is there anybody out there that does do that kind of travel with out anything? I'll take any advice..Thanks!
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 11:27

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 11:27
I won't

I am sure there are other people out there that do trips over and over without proper communication but I think it's silly. I have never done that trip but get yourself a Sat phone or HF for the sake of your family.
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Follow Up By: rob w - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 11:53

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 11:53
Hi
That is my thoughts exactly...now if I can just get that communication happening at home! The kids and I might have to stage a mutiny :)
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Follow Up By: Member - RFLundgren (WA) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:20

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:20
Hi there

As Troll sasid, there would be many people who do it with no comms at all. Some of these you will read about in the news but most will be ok.

Personally I wouldnt do it. I also have 4 kids (only 2 come camping now) and my wife would not let me take them anywhere without the comms gear. Even with the gear that I have she is still very wary of us going to some of the places that we wish to go to.

I have had a HF radio for about 4 years now, and have not had to use it in an emergency situation, more just for road reports and letting people know where we are, and it has been great.

Prior to getting the HF if we did any remote kind of trips I used to hire a sat phone to take out. Probably your best option at the moment I would think, unless of course you are planning to be doing ongoing trips for the next x years, then may be wise to invest the money into either a sat phone or a HF radio. Both have pluses and minuses.

Cheers

Richard

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Follow Up By: rob w - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:52

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:52
Hi Richard
Thanks for the good advice..I have to admit I am at the "we are not going anywhere remote without something stage" It's not working to well for me but its early days lol! I think I may have to take charge of this and just go the phone hire lane!
All the Best
Richeal
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Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:09

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:09
A UHF radio is an important safetry aid when crossing the Simpson particularly in busy times as you will experience it. By monitoring oncoming vehicles you reduce the chance of meeting head on at the crest of a dune. Cheap insurance, and foolish to do the Simpson without it.

VHF radio is good for calling for help if you need it, finding out about road conditions, good places to stay and lots of other travel tips. With 4 kids, although its more expensive, again its great insurance and peace of mind.

We did our early trips without comms but would not be without either of these radios now.

Val.
J and V
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Follow Up By: rob w - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:19

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:19
Hi
Thanks for your advice...we were going to cross the Simpson ,but I won't do it without any comms, hence the grand plan of going to Birdsville and just crossing Big Red and straight back to Birdsville. My grand plan will be for him to read this thread and realize how important it is to have something!!:)
All the Best
Richeal
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Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:29

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:29
Get some comms. Hire or buy a satphone or Hf radio. It's insurance. While both of you might be fit, as you know, children get sick at the most inopportune times. A doctor on the end of the line can be such a reassurance.
What if one of them wander off in the night?
What if heaven forbid, one of you suffers a serious injury?
And, here's the kicker for a HF radio, what if he wants to listen to the FOOTBALL results ?

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Follow Up By: rob w - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:47

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:47
Hey There Footy..
Now if that last line you wrote doesn't convince him ..nothing will!! :)
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:31

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:31
Just reading your post I get the notion your only going out ti Big Red from Birdsville and then return to Birdsville,
If your not going all the way across the Simpson Desert then all other roads /Tracks you will traverse a GME UHF CB Radio would be all you require, See the link I have added for a list of GME radio's. more important information can be found here on EO in the TAB Topics / Communications

GME Transcievers

ExplorOz Communications

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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:33

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:33
You can also check out the Repeater lists '

UHF Repeater Map
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Follow Up By: rob w - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:55

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 12:55
Hi
You're right we wont be going across the Simpson, and I am planning on staying on most major roads/ tracks. Thanks for the links..I'll check them out now
Richeal
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Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 17:29

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 17:29
Could always get an EPIRB for that life threatening situation.

Otherwise allow for being self sufficient for a few days until some one comes along. Most are major roads, so they do get used daily, or so.

Best thing is good trip prep, and getting the vehicle checked out before going.

Wife and I are thinking of both of us updating our first aid knowledge before we go. She doesn't feel my lack of CPR knowledge will save her at the moment. :o)
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 22:06

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 22:06
Yes Doug that's how I read it also.
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 22:14

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 22:14
Ruth
What's that saying......Great minds think alike....

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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 22:25

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 22:25
Ruth
Check this out

My Special Photo

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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 09:04

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 09:04
Oh Doug - that's beautiful Photo makes Dusty look as big as wolf.
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 13:07

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 13:07
Ruth
Yes it is eh, He is just so special.

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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 13:38

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 13:38
Doug,
I liked the one where Dusty was wearing his hard hat and safety vest.




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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 14:28

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 14:28
Stu & Bob

You mean this one

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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 18:49

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 18:49
Doug,
Yup, that's the one.

Regards
Stu
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 13:40

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 13:40
Hi Richeal

I think the key to these types of questions is not wether you need communications equipment but wether you can expect help within a reasonable time.

The answer to that question is mainly determined by wether or not their is traffic on your route.

From the route decribed there will be traffic and hence a lesser need for comms gear.

Some gear though like UHF cb's mentioned above is very low cost though and hence cost effective.

If you have nothing at the moment I would get both a car UHF and a handheld, but if budget doesn't permit get a 2 pack of handhelds with minimum of 1watt power.

The biggest likely need of assitance would be a breakdown where you may wish to call a passing truck or other car.

The second is someone getting lost in a shopping centre.

In both cases Hand helds can be really useful.

I presume you will have a telstra mobile phone.
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Follow Up By: rob w - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 13:55

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 13:55
Hi Robin
I am going to push when the moth gets home for a UHF..it would be a shame not to go just because of this communications debate...and as to someone getting lost in the shops...if only...just kidding..serriously I watch them like a hawk, so no drama there! I do have a telstra mobile, not sure how reliable it will be, but its there! :)
Thanks
Richeal
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Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 14:06

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 14:06
G'day Robin,
Isn't a 'wether' a female sheep???




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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 15:11

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 15:11
whether, wether, weather. I think you must be a wether Signman, not to know. LOL A wether is a castrated male sheep. You better write the definitions of each above, now below

whether = do I *do* or not?
wether = male castrated sheep
weather = day to day climate variable
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Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 15:20

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 15:20
Touche' John-- Guess I was thinking of a ewe...not a you !!!!



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Reply By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 18:28

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 18:28
>now the question ..would anyone in their right mind do this with
>out any kind of communication eqip?

Yes they would - although a UHF CB would be well worthwhile, take Robin's advice (above) on this matter.

It doesn't sound as if you're planning to head on a direct compass route between the places you mention so I assume you'll be taking the established roads? At that time of year those roads will have sufficient traffic flowing upon them to provide emergency help in the event you run into a major problem.

If you're _really_ worried buy an EPIRB (about $500) otherwise, in your area, the UHF CB and flagging down passing traffic will be OK.

Don't become paranoid just because you're a few hundred kilometers from a town - it's not hard to exist unsupported for a few days :) Carry plenty of water, food and a First Aid kit and, before you depart, read some books regarding how to survive in the bush if things go wrong - that's it really :)

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 18:51

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 18:51
What about heart attacks, a broken leg/arm or other serious injury.

Some roads don't have alot of traffic.

Can across some people stuck with a camper trailer 180K out of Broken Hill towards White Cliffs, they got stuck before 3pm on the Tuesday afternoon and we can through 11am the next morning and pulled them out....

Hire a sat phone as well as BUYING a UHF.

Some people might say that they can't afford a $1500 sat phone or HF radio, if thats the case how are you going to afford a $5000 funeral?

Regards Richard


Regards Richard.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 19:52

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 19:52
>What about heart attacks

Indeed! What about them! I think they might kill you. Every day I rise at 5.30am and think... "what if I have a heart attack today...!"

>a broken leg/arm or other serious injury.

Neither of those are serious injuries in a group situation and if it’s not a group situation (as mine rarely is) take an EPIRB.

>Some roads don't have alot of traffic.

I know! I live in fear of being out of contact with civilisation for a day or two - damned if I know why I go bush!?

>Can across some people stuck with a camper trailer 180K out of
>Broken Hill towards White Cliffs, they got stuck before 3pm on the
>Tuesday afternoon and we can through 11am the next morning and
>pulled them out....

My God! 20 hours without contact! They were lucky to be alive!!!!

Just use a bit of common sense, people – you don’t need to be loaded down with electronics; indeed they can offer a false sense of security – the major thing is to know how to survive in the bush when all the toys fail – there are plenty of books to advise how to do this.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 21:30

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 21:30
Mike tell me this, you are 300 k from the nearest major town on a rough dirt track and someone with you who is very fit and healthy get stung by a bee and goes into anaphylactic shock and they have trouble breathing and it get worse. Bering in mind they are like the rest of use who don't know if the next bee sting will be fatal.

What do you do Mike you have a uhf radio and a epirb, you have to get vital medical assistance.

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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 17:26

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 17:26
Life is full of risk Richard, what we continually do is assess the level of that risk and act accordingly. In my opinion the risk to a normal young family in the circumstances described is negligible. If they want a warm fuzzy feeling an EPIRB should provide one. If it were an 80 year old with a heart condition posing the same question my answer would have been different.

The straw man situation you describe (bee sting) could happen anywhere – I might drive onto a lonely (but not remote) beach and become bogged then be stung by your bee.

So many Aussies have an irrational fear of “The Outback”, a fear of isolation, of not being able to cope if they have to survive away from “society” for a few days. Yet many (most?) of us on this forum know that fear is unfounded however, strangely, this forum expends a considerable amount of energy spouting safety paranoia? Sometimes I wonder if the people who do that spend more time on internet forums than in the bush?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 18:04

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 18:04
No Mike I think some of use take it more seriously then others.

An Epirb and a uhf radio are going to do jack s%*t when you need medical assistance.

My life is worth more the $1500.00 it seems some others aint.

It's not a matter of being scared of the outback but understanding the risks involved and acting on them sensibly.

It's called risk minimisation.

I think any one who thinks remote is 500 kilometers from a town need to re address their thoughts.

30 Kilometers from a town can be remote.

Unfortunately a tough person can die just as easy as a weak one.

So Mike you never answered my question ...what would you do?





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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 18:45

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 18:45
>So Mike you never answered my question ...what would you do?

I would have swatted the bee before it stung, Richard.

Mike Harding

PS. I think you need to look up the term "straw men".
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Reply By: KiwiAngler - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 19:40

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 19:40
If it were me I would have:

a nextg/GSM mobile
a UHF
a SPOT messenger
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Reply By: lifeisgood - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 21:51

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 21:51
I think for peace of YOUR mind you should check out the Sat phone Hire cost as a back up to Telstra (next G preferably.)
I bought one for our trips and though very expensive it was nice to have for insurance. And it was handy when the fan belt broke 220 km from anywhere useful. And when that 4wd and van went over the embankment near Coober Pedy (no mobile range ) it makes you think. I dont think an epirb is the best solution for this trip but fellow travellers will always help a motorist in distress.
If something happens --take a deep breath and think it through.
Most things are not fix it now life threatening. You are probably carrying enough resourses to deal with things till help comes along.
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Follow Up By: rob w - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 09:25

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 09:25
Hi
Just read your post, can you tell me about the 4wd going over an embankment at Coober Pedy? Is it a dangerous area? I think I was a girl guide in anthor life...we have enough to last for some time :) Fear though is starting to set in...stupid really, as you say take a deep beath and think things through....must be the worry wart in me comming out!!
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 11:19

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 11:19
Gday,
I think I'm going to be the odd one out here but what the hell.
I would go where you have suggested without communication.
Sure its safer to have comms. but if its not in your budget don't panic.
People have travelled this country for years without comms. and without dramas.
The golden rule is let people know where you are going and what time your expected to arrive at your next location.
UHF for the Simpson is a good idea though.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: rob w - Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 17:32

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 17:32
Howdy,
Thanks for your reply, your fourth line has come out of my partners mouth quite a lot latlely... :) As to what we will do ..Im unsure... Im just ready to get away...!
All the Best
Richeal
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