which communciation unit to use?

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 14:27
ThreadID: 7979 Views:2162 Replies:9 FollowUps:10
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hi all

my wife, kid and i are driving from Sydney to perth via nullaboor in january, then home via perth - laverton - warburton - uluru - cobber pedy - broken hill (probably in late feb) . we have a jeep cherokee

being new to the 4wd trhing and suffering slightly from information overload, i was wondering if anyone could inform me of what best to take in terms of communications equipment. i have been reading the comms pages in exploroz...but i am not sure whther i need HF or UHF or Sat or anything at all!

your advioce will be greatly appreciated!
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Reply By: Tony - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 14:55

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 14:55
Worst time of the year for that area, but if you must, UHF & Sat Phone would be my choice. UHF for the Hwy part and Sat Phone for contact RFDS or what ever if you strike a problem.
AnswerID: 34605

Reply By: Member - Mal - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 14:58

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 14:58
Put a UHF in your vehicle permanently and hire a sat phone.

Mal T.
AnswerID: 34606

Reply By: rayc - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:01

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:01
thanks folks...wehere can i hire a sat phone, and why is it the worst time of year? just the weather?
AnswerID: 34608

Follow Up By: Ken - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:56

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:56
Landwide Adventure Equipment Hire http://www.landwide.com.au/default.htm
FollowupID: 24954

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:40

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:40
Search the archives this is a regular question..

UHF and HF is probably the minimum I would risk my familys life with, well me and my son anyway.. ;)

then join the http://www.vks737.on.net/
AnswerID: 34612

Reply By: Member - Oskar(Bris) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:55

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 15:55
We use an in car UHF constantly and wouldn't be without it.
For our recent trip into the Simpson we used a sat.phone and actually needed to use it.
You can hire them but sorry I don't know where in your case.
People have died in summer out there. But I'm not sure about recent times though.
OskarMrs Oskar on Big Red
AnswerID: 34615

Reply By: Willie - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 19:00

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 19:00
UHF , CDMA and or Satphone are good for comms. Driving the Central Road at the end of February is not a wise choice. You are looking at air temperatures around 45-50C and ground temperatures up to 80C. You are driving a vehicle which is not reknowned for having a great cooling system and you will have to run your aircon flatout to keep comfortable inside the vehicle. This would put a great strain on your vehicles operating performance and should you have a breakdown on the Central Road your closest parts dealer will be Alice Springs or Adelaide and then there is a problem of getting the bit to you. There will be very few people travelling out that way at the end of February. You can dehydrate within 5 hours in 45C heat and people who have not been well prepared have perished. Be warned!


Never a dull moment
AnswerID: 34630

Follow Up By: rayc - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 19:39

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 19:39
Hey willie

from the looks o your rig you now what your talking about...

Whats the deal with Jeep cooling systems (and why do I always pick them - my last car was a Ford hehehe)...???

Is there a good chance of the Jeep breaking down in those kinda temps?

Is there a better time of year to do the Central Road (I am getting the impression that now is actually the better time of year) - maybe we will postpone the trip...

As I said I am new to all of this, but i have been wanting to get out into the outback since i was a kid...so I will do it, its just a matter otf time, preparation and unfortunatley money hehehe

I must say though that from where i satand now at least, the lack of people being there in February is actually nice...I like being alone with my wife and kid so thats not a great issue (though I could see it easily becoming one if everything blew up!)

Is March any more leanient temp wise? or am i just pulling at straws...also...we have discusseda revised plan taking in Sydney -> Ceduna via Lincolmn and Flinders Hwys, then Ceduna to Augsuta vie Eyre, then maybe North to Birdsville, Betoota, Tibooburra, Broken Hill, Bourke Lightning Ridge, Dubbo, then home (we actually live in the blue Mountains) - would i still be facing the same treachery at that time of year in the Simpson Desert?

I hope I dont sound too naive...lol...just really keen to get out there early next year...

Thanks for your reply by the way!

FollowupID: 24984

Follow Up By: rayc - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:01

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:01
willie...your web site has some amazing stories in it...
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Follow Up By: Willie - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:10

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:10

I knew two Cherokee owners up in Darwin and their vehicles did not like hot temperatures. The Cherokees were always running hot up near the red line when labouring out bush. Out on the Central Road you will be driving in extremely hot conditions over endless kays of corrugations. Your vehicle may not like it.

I live a tad south of the areas you are speaking of and the temps get to 48C in February. Have lived in Alice Springs and when it is hot it can be unpleasant. No, I did not say that your Jeep will break down or have a problem but you are increasing the risk factor if you travel out there in those very hot temperatures.

I love being alone in the bush. What I am saying to you is that if you should have a problem out there then the chance of someone coming along to lend a hand is remote.

The best time to do the Central Road is from May through to September.

By mid March the temps start to cool down a bit. If you could leave your trip till the end of March then your revised trip should be a lot more comfortable and enjoyable. There are lots of nice beach camping spots on the Eyre Peninsula Coast and if you are outside of school holidays you will have most camp sites to yourself.

Oz is the best place in the world for travel and camping. Do the research as you are doing now, make your choices, and you will have a great time. It is better to be on the side of caution when you travel into the outback and be prepared. If you have everything you need with you then usually you have a good time and nothing goes wrong. Happy travels.

Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 24988

Follow Up By: rayc - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:27

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:27
willie...thanks, your advice has been priceless....and after reading some of your travel stories its pretty clear you know where you are coming from...

how old were those cherokees, just out of interest? mines a 1999...

one thing i noticed today is that the coolant in the coolant reservoir is dirty coloured...looks like a black-brown. I only picked the car up about 4 weeks ago, so its still under warranty. is this a sign of head gasket damage? or am ai being paranoid? it just doesnt look like coolant any more...

FollowupID: 24989

Follow Up By: Willie - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:48

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:48
No worries Rayc..........glad you enjoyed the articles on my site.

Those Cherokees were around the same vintage as yours as I was up in Darwin in '99 and they were pretty new then.

Check your engine oil. If it is discoloured then you have a gasket problem. It could be that somewhere along the line a previous owner ran water in the cooling system and it has accumulated a bit of corrosion, hence the brown appearance. Best to check it out. I would take the vehicle back to the dealer and tell them to flush the cooling system out and fill up with new coolant. Coolant should be changed over every 2 years in modern cars. Older vehicles can go a bit longer.
Good luck...Cheers,


Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 24991

Follow Up By: rayc - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:56

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 20:56
hmmm grumble...i will check it out in the monrning. i am getting an NRMA inspection done next week, before the warranty runs out (i have doen 3000 km already...) so i guess they will pick up on anything...

thanks heaps for your advice!

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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 21:43

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 21:43
Brown coolant could be rust which would be a worry in a 4yr old car...

Get the coolant flushed and changed then keep an eye on it.

Then there is some new coolant in different colors, so that is to HIDE rust in water!
FollowupID: 25006

Follow Up By: Member - Des Lexik(SA) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 21:53

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 21:53
RayC As always, Willies info is spot on. Personally, I would avoid inland areas until at least April. Temperatures can still reach the 40's in late march.ne cede malis
FollowupID: 25012

Reply By: Member - Errol (WA) - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 19:00

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 19:00
Agree with everone else , UHF and hire a Sat phone . Best chanel for uhf on the nullaboor is 40 , you can talk to the trucks and other road users , makes for a more interesring trip . ErrolWhy go overseas when you can ExplorOz
AnswerID: 34631

Follow Up By: chrisfrd - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 17:08

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 17:08

I've said that when I've seen the rest of the country then I'll see the rest of the world.
FollowupID: 25070

Reply By: Slammin - Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 23:13

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 at 23:13
Good question Ray, have to agree with sat and uhf but don't forget the EPIRB.

We did the central rd in Jan 2000 yes it was v.hot but nut unbearable. yes there was noone else, and yes we did have a great trip.
We were fuly kitted and v.cautious about flooding at that time of year.
I'm not saying to pack up the kids and do it now but remember that tastes differ the middle of the peak season is enuff to shrivel the crownies and keep me in bed all day.
I'm sure you'll have a good trip in any direction.
AnswerID: 34662

Reply By: Big Trev - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 11:20

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 11:20
I think it's strange that not many people think of AM radios these days, if you get a radio that has upper and lower side band frequencies, then if it all goes pear shaped then someone somewhere (albeit in USA) will here your cry for help. UHF is OK vehicle to vehicle (and further with access to a repeater) but that is it.

Modern technology such as sats phones are OK, but not always 100%, I have friends who have just spent 12 months in Timor, and a sat phone wouldn't work for them.
AnswerID: 34692

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