Oodnadatta Track -> Uluru

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 11:50
ThreadID: 69908 Views:3439 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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Hi there

We're embarking on our first big trip with our kids in our new Subaru Outback to Uluru & Kings Canyon via the Oodnadatta track.
We're pretty well up for gear, good tent, equipment etc... but I have one question regarding communications equipment.
We have a Telstra NextG handset and considering a car kit with external antenna. We know there will be plenty of places with no NextG coverage...alot of people on this site talk about the neccessity of a UHF radio...we anticipate doing more travel to places such as this...is a UHF radio a "must have"???

We welcome advice from experienced travellers.

Thank you.

SubyBlue
Blue Mountains, NSW.
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Reply By: Member - Wim (Qld) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 12:29

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 12:29
Subyblue.

If your concerns are related to communications in case of an emergecny, I would not worry too much.
The roads you are travelling are quite busy and you would not have long to wait if you had some sort of failure.

UHF is realy only line of site comms. Handy if you are in a group or travelling in dune country.

Regards and have a good trip.
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 13:02

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 13:02
What do you have for tyres? You really should have A/T tyres for that trip. You may be ok with low pressures and slower trave speeds.. You could buy a 1 watt hand held UHF with scanning ability, better than nothing.. Michael
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 13:19

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 13:19
Hi SubyBlue
Do not waist your money on a car kit for the NextG. A lot of the places that you are travelling will have no phone coverage at all. When you do get to an area that has NextG, you phone will pick it up with no problems what so ever. You will get good coverage at various places, usually within about 20 kilometres from the repeater, greater if near major centres.
Re UHF??
Like mentioned above, you are travelling on well travelled roads that see a lot of traffic. By the sounds of things, you will be travelling during the Children's School holidays, which means that there will be a lot more traffic on those dirt roads than usual. For a solo travelling vehicle, if this is your first and only trip, the choice is yours. You will be able to talk to, and hear other people in the areas that you are travelling and if in trouble and someone is near, then you give a call for help. If you are travelling with other vehicles, then they are a must. Any convoy travel without these means of communications and you will have the group going in all different directions, not knowing where the next vehicle is going.


It is your call, but if it was me, I would rather put the money into a UHF rather than a complete waist of money on the car kit for the phone.

Have a great trip, as when in that areas that you will be going, it is impossible not to have a great time.

Cheers

Stephen
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AnswerID: 370503

Reply By: JimDi - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 15:15

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 15:15
SubyBlue,
We did that trip last year and we have the kit fitted that you are talking about. From memory I dont think we had any coverage on the Oodnadatta rd at any time. Uluru and Kings resort okay but in between I doubt if we had any coverage for most of the time.
There is no shortage of traffic on any of the roads you mentioned so any mishaps you should not have to wait too long.
As you have your family with you we found Coward Springs above Lake Eyre south to be a nice comfortable camp at a minimal cost with some nice amenities.
Enjoy your trip.
Jim
AnswerID: 370515

Reply By: DIO - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 18:08

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 18:08
If you are really concerned and a bit afraid of the 'unknown' why not consider teaming up with other travellers heading in the same direction. Most people, once your situation was made clear to them, would most likely be only too happy to have you join them. Good luck.
AnswerID: 370544

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 08:31

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 08:31
2nd that.

If we are travelling by ourselves, sometimes talk to others in camp or on the road and we keep and eye on each other. UHF makes that easy. Have picked up a novice before now when we are by ourselves and travelled sort of together for a day or sometimes two. If we are heading for the same camp, we sometimes make sure we both get in that night.

A lot of these areas have repeaters for UHF, check the repeater list on this site.Repeaters will double or triple your range on UHF. Not the best to rely on in an emergency, but better than nothing.

No, we don't have VHF, but we don't travel the remote tracks that much, just tracks like the Oodnadatta, birdsville, strezlecki etc which have regular traffic of at least a couple of cars a day.

Have a good trip. Love that area.
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Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 18:20

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 18:20
Hi. As others have said, your mobile will be more use as a paperweight, and a UHF radio will be little better, except that (a) you can talk to wide load escorts (often useful) and sometimes (b) fellow travellers, especially if you are in a convoy situation.
Please forget about the UHF being any use at all as an emergency radio. If the other person can hear you, they can just about see you as well!!
We can tell you stories, but let me just say, if you really want emergency comms, you've really got nothing short of Satphone or 'real' HF to choose between, and they are both expensive.
We bought our UHF for the desert, in a convoy situation, but, after several years of travelling around with the van on the back we can say the UHF isn't worth having most of the time, and certainly isn;t worth a cracker as an emergency device.
AnswerID: 370545

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