CSR - UHF radio questions - the second

Submitted: Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 21:20
ThreadID: 67269 Views:2859 Replies:10 FollowUps:5
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Hi @ll,

thank you very much for your answers to my UHF radio questions, regarding our Canning Stock Route trip in late May and June this year (was thread no. 67209).

Kathrin, one of the two persons travelling in the second car, has some more questions/wants some clarifications:

1. We will carry an Iridium satphone for long range emergency communication. Is a built-in 5W UHF still necessary? Or would two 2 W handhelds be ok for communication between our two vehicles and oncoming traffic?

2. If one car has a builit-in UHF unit with 5W and the second has a 2W handheld, would this be sufficient? Our would a second handheld in the first car be needed and if yes why would it be needed?

Would be great if you could answer Kathrins questions and give some recommendations/argumentation.

I have already made up my mind from previous answers, but Kathrin asked me to post her questions.

Thanks a lot,

Cheers from bloody cold and boring Dortmund/Germany,


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Reply By: Member - Phil B (WA) - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 21:50

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 21:50

I strongly suggest two in car wired 5W models not one of each. You will find the poor range and constantly having to keep the hand held charged or changing batteries a pain. Also the poor qualty of signal of the hand held will be an issue.

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Reply By: heldus - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 04:29

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 04:29
Hi Jürgen,

send me a mail (sorry I lost your address) or post your question on Australien-Info. I reckon you rent the radio equipment from TCC.

Ich dachte wir würden demnächst das Vic High County unsicher machen? ;-)

AnswerID: 356685

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 04:40

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 04:40
The 2 watt handhelds will be fine.

AnswerID: 356686

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 08:09

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 08:09

What I do is have 3 UHF radios, 2 are 5 watt in car and the other is a 5 watt hand held.
The two UHF that are vehicle mounted have long aerials that can pick up another vehicle from a long way off.
One of the vehicle mounted UHF is set on scan all the time and the other I use for convey chatter.
The 5 watt hand held is set to scan when ever I am away from the vehicle.

The sat phone will not pick up another vehicle coming over a dune but might help if a collision accrues to obtain help.

Any hand held UHF must be have the battery charged. This can be a problem. Usually cigarette lighter sockets, the main source for power supply for 12 v power in the vehicle, are limited on hire vehicles. By the time that the Sat phone, GPS, and a few other 12v appliances are plugged in the UHF might be forgotten to be recharged.

At least one vehicle should have the two UHF radios on all the time. I think it should be in the lead vehicle. If you are going to swap convey order between your two vehicles, then swap the hand held to the lead vehicle.

Juergen, what you are talking about is communication between your vehicle and any other vehicle that is in radio range. Being a Fireman you would know how important communication is. Communication on this trip, as with all trips, is very important and you should not be trying to cut cost in this area.

Cheers from warm and exciting Australia, one more trip in he Vic High Country and then heading north for the winter.

AnswerID: 356694

Follow Up By: farmer112 - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 09:36

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 09:36
Hi Wayne,

thank you very much for your excellent argumentation. I fully agree with you, as I am always very keen on safety. So is Harry. Both of us are not only volunteer firies, but also work as engineers in the fire protection field. And safety is an absolut priority in this matter.

I had my mind already made up exactly the same as you, but Kathrin wanted to hear voices of other people, cause she and Sandra are of the opinion that Harry and I would exaggerate the safety issues.

It's very good to have an expert opinion as a backup, makes it easier to discuss with the girls.


FollowupID: 624779

Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 10:29

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 10:29
A pair of 2 watt handhelds are fine for car to car chat & general recoveries. The speaker quality in the cheaper & smaller units does make it hard to hear at times with the road noise in a car.
Where the handhelds become useless is the range can be well over 50% less so should you need to separate for any reason or want to hook into a repeater station (Unlikely) they simply wont work over any large distance.
We found on the Canning with a tall high gain antenae we were at times hearing convoys coming the other way up to 40km.
Ideally 5W radios fitted to each car with decent antenae's & a cheap handheld for use out of the vehicle for recoveries/hikes.
Cheers Craig................
AnswerID: 356706

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 17:06

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 17:06
Yes, what he said.
FollowupID: 624822

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 30, 2009 at 16:11

Monday, Mar 30, 2009 at 16:11
"Ideally 5W radios fitted to each car with decent antenae's & a cheap handheld for use out of the vehicle for recoveries/hikes."

- I agree.

FollowupID: 625141

Reply By: pt_nomad - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:08

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:08

My experience has been thatin larger groups held helds do not cut the mustard - 4 + vehicles, or on trips where the vehicles are likely to be spread out.

The folk with held helds (esp chap ones) often think they a great. The folk with 5w radios and external antena's get sick of having to decipher garbled messages and releating message becasue th ehand held is not upto the job.

I was recently looking into a second radio, as mentioned in an earlier post. I was initially looking to use a 5w heand held wit hexternal antena. The issue with fidling around and charging batteries soon lead me down the line of another fixed radio.

I dont' so muck distinguish between handhelds and fixed unts. Its more an issue of adequate power and antenna. A 5w radio with external antenna, be it fixed or hand held, will do the job.

Low powered hand helds ar often OK as receivers in a larger group, but dont cut it when they want to talk.


AnswerID: 356718

Follow Up By: P7OFFROAD Accredited Driver Training - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 14:35

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 14:35
I'm with Nomad.

Those with the handhelds rarely see (or hear) the problem, because those around them are using 5 watts.

Hardwired 5 watt units with quality external aerials gives you flexibility, a couple of cheap handhelds for other duties.

I have an Icom 400 on the convoy channel and a GME TX6000 hardwired with an external aerial on scanning duties, both with quality aerials.


FollowupID: 624806

Reply By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 19:57

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 19:57
Hiya Juergen

I have 2xIcom IC-40S, 1-5 watt Handheld radio's,one is connected to a RFI CD900 6db or 4db (its interchangeable)..I believe you have been misinformed about the range of the Handheld radio's and i think its a shame..I have found that the range can be better (High Country) than a hard wired GME 3440 with 6db aerial,how do i know he was behind me about 40 metres as a guess.It came through crackly yet he did not hear it at all,i let him know. the other person (sending message,basically i was in the middle) was way in front of me out of sight..Guys i know there is heaps of variables too.

I have come through crackly once because we were close by each other the previous day i put it down to 1 watt,the next day when we were apart i forgot to up it to 5 watts..

I have never had an issue with keeping it charged,2000mah batt in cradle connected to ciggy lighter..13.5 hours with power save on.

Its been great to take out at anytime when exploring or checking tracks out of vehicle,lend it to someone else in the group who hasn't got one and still get out of my vehicle with it..Girlfriends been sunbaking near lake,Ive walked off out of site exploring tracks you still have communication...Theres heaps of benefits rather than fixed..

In one forum a guy that has the same radio doesn't even hook it up to the external much anymore,he is happy how the range is..

People will generally let you know if your not coming through or crap and hasn't been the case (well once out of all the times its used).

Now i agree to keep clear of the cheapies if you can afford it..GME or Icom are the ducks guts as you say..



AnswerID: 356750

Reply By: Member - Ron M (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 20:50

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 20:50
We only use 5w hand helds .. but remember they are line of sight only

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AnswerID: 356758

Follow Up By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 22:34

Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 22:34
**but remember they are line of sight only**

Hiya Ron

I dont know what type of Handhelds you are using Ron but mine are not like that,Dont forget you can use repeater towers if available in the area your in,and there are a lot of them Australia wide..

FollowupID: 624860

Reply By: farmer112 - Monday, Mar 30, 2009 at 10:54

Monday, Mar 30, 2009 at 10:54
Hi @ll,

thank you very much for your valuable and very helpful comments!



German by Birth, but Aussie by Heart!
AnswerID: 357017

Reply By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Monday, Mar 30, 2009 at 14:45

Monday, Mar 30, 2009 at 14:45
Hi Juergen,

I agree with most everyone here regarding the use of UHF, I have two. A 5 Watt vehicle mounted unit and a 2 Watt handheld.

I can also see why Wayne has two vehicle mounted UHF as he leads trips such as the one you are planning and must not only know what his convoy is doing but what other convoys on the track think they are doing.

I've had a thought on how you can sell the safety angle to the ladies. You might like to point out the following to them,

Australia has a very unique place in the travel world, we offer free population control to mostly Germany and Japan with the odd Romanian, Pole and the occassional Pom thrown in for good measure.

What that means is we hire vehicles to ill prepared tourists to wander the desert in summer as a service to your home governments. If you survive you are certainly of stout breeding stock and can return home. If you don't survive, well don't leave your mess as it spoils the desert horizon!

Bondi Beach has been known to offer the same water based service!

You may find a rather endearing local term for German tourists in hire 4WD's, you'll be a "Fritz in a Britz" named after seemingly the most popular 4WD hire company in the country, Britz. Of course if you do something very left hand drive in our right hand drive country you may well become an "Effing Fritz in a Britz"

Really as you and your mate know from being firies, you don't actually need the big red truck. It just comes in really handy when things go wrong.

Just like the safety equipment we all carry. I've never actually used a lot of mine in anger but I certainly wouldn't get rid of any of it for almost any amount of money.

I do hope you took my comments about population control they way they were intended, as a joke.

Have a great trip,


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