Which 4WD HF network to use and are they cross commected

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:24
ThreadID: 76836 Views:3470 Replies:10 FollowUps:17
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This may open up a can of worms but here goes.

I know little of the system but my son has just purchased a 4WD with a Codan HF system installed.

We see posts about VKS and other clubs and I would like to find out which one he should subscribe to.

The crux is this. If he subscribes to system A can he do the following
1. if needed call (for want of a word) in to System B base to say ask for a weather report. and
2. call someone subscribed to system A when he has subscribed to system B

And of course which one has the best coverage and facilities? This may be hard to answer. Please do not bag one. Maybe suggest a different one may be more politically allowed.

Phil (yippee - did a spell check - No errors)
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:37

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:37
Hi Phil
I am very bias towards the VKS network. I have been a continuous member since 1994 when the network was in its very early years, with only one base station in Woomera. At that time is was Australia's first and only dedicated HF Radio network for the South Australian four wheel drive clubs only. Since then it has spread National, opened its doors to other users, eg Police, National Parks, etc and has by far the most base stations spread right across Australia.

Stick with the one that has done all the hard work and made it easy for the other new comers to slip in.

My vote is like always, the VKS737 Network.


Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:35

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:35
Hi Phil
I should have also responded to your question 1, and the answer is NO.
When you subscribe to network A, you are only legally able to speak to members of Network A only, except if in an emergency situation.


Cheers


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Reply By: Member - Jan B (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:42

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:42
Hi vk1dx

We use and have for over 8 years the vks737 network and find it
most useful, have hfoz as well but hard to find anyone most of the times.

If you refer to thread no. 76819 it may help as well

Regards Jan & Peter
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Reply By: Member - Kevin B1 (WA) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:51

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:51
I would also endorse the VKS network, it is tried and proven over the years and has been an excellent tool for any serious 4 WD enthusiast. There are so many members spread all over the country at any time that if you run into trouble there just may be someone close to help. All base stations are computer networked so a contact at any base station will be seen all around Australia. The only one as far as I am concerned.
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:53

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:53
HFoZ is growing and has much better features then VKS737 ever will. I have both VKS737 & HFoZ. I have found it difficult to get a word in "edgeways" with VKS737 as I am not part of the 'old group' and am often ignored.

Having said that... if you do manage to talk to someone... then they are helpful.......

So it will depend on your needs as to what is best for you.
Do you research on what is available.
regards
Fred B
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan B (VIC) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:47

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:47
Hi Fred,
I am also on both, but last year when i scanning on HFoZ for nearly 3 months
when i was in the west and nt and only had only 2 responses, iam not knocking it but the network works great when people use it, i found people dont use the scanning system in there radios, people i talk to dont read the books of reference to there radio.

We leave again on the !st May for 5 months and will be scanning on HFoZ and VKS as will alternate during the day it works great that way

Sell call 9754 call sign 9754 on both.

Regards Jan & Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 13:13

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 13:13
Fred, I am really surprised that you would not be accepted as part of the 'old group' and be often ignored. LOL

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Cruiser 2091 - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 15:58

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 15:58
I am a newcomer to VKS 737 (member for 1 year) I have never been ignored. I have always made contact whenever and wherever I wanted.
VKS 737 provides an excellent service and is manned by experienced and helpful people.
Best regards Cruiser
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil B (WA) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 18:32

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 18:32
We have both systems VKS and HZOZ. They don't offer the same services, although there is some overlap. We also have a Sat phone.

If you want to talk to people and log in each day etc VKS is the only way to go. If you want to be more low key and send spot type messages or SMS people direct then HFOZ has these features and more.

In 2008 we were bogged then marooned by a flash flooding in the Rudall River area for four days With VKS and the sat phone we felt like help was at hand at the press of a button. The authorities thru VKS even offered to fly us out by the Telfer Mine emergency chopper.

When you're bush, broken down and isolated in the back blocks you'll wish you had everything possible to contact the outside world. My wife said at the time, ‘No amount of money in the bank could have made me feel more comfortable than being able to talk to help and family while we waited for the ground to dry out.’.

Just my thoughts.


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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 08:45

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 08:45
Hi Phil

How does receiving SMS messages work for you with HFoz?

Do you know of an information site for Hfoz

The normal linkhttp://www.hfradioclub.com.au/ just seems to come up with a password request window for me.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 08:53

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 08:53
I note there is a similar link www.Hf-Radio.com.au which appears to allied to it - would this be HfOz
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 09:40

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 09:40
No Robin, the HFradio club link is to the HF Radio Club. A somewhat unfriendly website for non-members who may be interested! This is the link to HFoz.

HF-Raduo.com.au is the business of David Collins, a real good bloke who tells it as it is. His website Q&A has good simple information for those looking for a HF radio.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:35

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:35
Thanks Allan - whole scene looks like a complex web - no wonder most I know just get a satphone.
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:40

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:40
Yes Robin, HF radio has its uses but also limitations. After experiencing it for a time I have elected to retain the HF but I also have purchased a satellite phone which provides me with more options in an emergency.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Cruiser 2091 - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:52

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:52
I guess it comes down to an individuals needs:

HF radio for reliable outback communications to emergency services and communications via a base. Also the ability to make phone calls.

Sat phone, a substitute for a mobile phone with almost complete coverage but not gauanteed to get through every time. It's portability is a plus though.

A HF radio is not complicated to use for it's bacic function of contacting base / emergencies. As with all technologies though consumers seem to want more "bells and whistles" which then requires more input from the operator.

UHF is good for car to car communication.

I can not speak highly enough of VKS 737 but certainly cannot say the same about HF oz.

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Follow Up By: Outback Tracker - Sunday, Apr 11, 2010 at 18:18

Sunday, Apr 11, 2010 at 18:18
If you want value for money, friendly service and all of the services that VKS and HFoZ offer on one network then I suggest to join HF Radio Club

$65 dollars per year
$0.50 per min Phone calls and no monthly fee.
$0.20 SMS to Mobile messages
Free Unlimited GPS Logging

And your family and friends can see your GPS positions via the internet at NO CHARGE at any time.

Skeds run twice per day from the east cost and west cost with a central logging system.

Brand new, State of the art Telephone Interconnect Systems.

Have been with them for years and they are the most helpful club of them all....

They also are developing new systems to complement there current network which we will see before the end of the year.

HF Radio Club
www.hfradioclub.com.au
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Reply By: Stu & "Bob" - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:25

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:25
Here is another vote for VKS737.


.
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Reply By: Member - Mudduck (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:36

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:36
Hi VK1DX from VK2UD,

I am a member of vks737 also, my reason for this is that there are more members and bases to use. I also as a ham use the 14.116 travelers net and ham radio for general chatting.
Cheers Steve VK2UD
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Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 16:53

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 16:53
When "on-air" with VKS737 maybe it is possible to appear to be ignored.

During Skeds, communication is permitted only between mobiles and the base station not mobile to mobile (unless relaying). Sometimes the base station may not hear a call from a mobile and appear to ignore it. Keep calling and perhaps reposition your vehicle. The base may eventually hear the call or another mobile may volunteer to relay.

Outside of Skeds many mobiles switch off unless they need to transmit so there are less receivers to hear your CQ or broadcast call. Also, base stations have higher gain antennae than the mobiles so other mobiles may not hear your call or you may not hear their reply due to the vagaries of HF propagation and it could seem that everyone is ignoring your call especially if you are not yelling "mayday"!

The VKS base operators are a really great bunch of chaps. Never judgmental and always cheerful and helpful. They would never ignore a call that they heard or were advised of by another mobile. Likewise the mobiles are always happy to help out in assisting contact and in providing assistance wherever they can.

HF radio does have some shortcomings but ignorance of operators is not one of them.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 18:13

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 18:13
Well; where do I start.

I understand loyalty and the inability for some to appear ignored. I also understand the appearance of being ignored when the "regulars" have a go. That happens everywhere, even at the bowling club. I am disappointed though, but understand why it is so, about not being permitted to call a "different" system to the one to which you subscribe to. But having said that and recently having had a chat with a radio inspector about the system I understand. I also noted that equipment, apart from mobile antennas, is not an issue. Every emergency must be acknowledged regardless of the service it is received on.

I do have a preference for more modern up to date networks and services so if we were in convoy with our son I think I would be looking elsewhere than the one the majority suggested above. I have a considerable number of options from the amateur equipment I carry and would therefore supplement my sons setup quite nicely should propagation be a problem.

But he needs something when they are out there and should not rely on Dad.

So I will pass all these responses and the link on to him and we shall see which way he goes. His first major trip is with us and another son to Cape York. He wont need it for then as I will provide all comms but if he heads down the CSR on his own, as we will one day soon, he will need it.

Thank you one and all.

Phil (to VK2UD - Remember VK1PJ Hi)
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 18:15

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 18:15
Can a user who subscribes to VKS chat to a subscriber to HFoZ?

Phil
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 19:54

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 19:54
Well.... VKS737 to HFoZ is out by virtue of the VKS user licences....I assume the reverse is out too. Not saying it's right - just a fact :-o). I was advised anecdotally sometime back that the HF networks can decide whether they want to permit inter-network calling at the time of their licence setup with the ACMA - some choose to fobid it.... no further comment). Re being ignored ? Hopefully not on my skeds :-o) .....(I'm a base operator for VKS).... say g'day anytime. I bob up on Adelaide, Alice Springs and on occasions, Charters Towers).
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Reply By: Mike DiD - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 09:53

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 09:53
To transmit on HF you have to have a Licence issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for that frequency.

VKS737 has an ACMA Licence and allows Mobile users to operate under their Licence on their frequencies.

RFDS etc also have a Licence that allow Mobiles and homesteads to operate on their frequencies.

You have to operate under the conditions the Licence owner dictates - and none of them allow communicating outside their network - even though some networks have shared frequencies.

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:30

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:30
Too true Mike. I was not sure of the details for the user as opposed to the holder of the licence. So, until I ran into an RI, I thought I would put the question forward over the weekend.

Phil

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Reply By: Mike DiD - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 09:56

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 09:56
"Please do not bag one. Maybe suggest a different one may be more politically allowed. "

It's really sad that the behaviour of a few people on this Forum, forces someone to ask an unemotional question with this rider.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:25

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:25
Oh how I miss the days when you could openly speak your mind. It was about the same time we could leave the house locked.

There are too many out there who do not have any idea how to use the english language and good grammar to criticise something without offending them or any forum and sissy society rules. I just did not want them to get into strife.

Don't I know it. I wanted to try and get an honest quantified response.

I think I will suggest he gets his ham licence after all. At least we would have satellite coverage.

We shall see.

Phil
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:31

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:31
It should have read "leave the house unlocked".

Oopsie Phil done did it again

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