Hand held UHF radios.

Submitted: Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 09:00
ThreadID: 87313 Views:5534 Replies:10 FollowUps:9
This Thread has been Archived
My daughter and a friend will be taking two vehicles across the Tanami and around the GRR. They will have EPIRB's and a satellite phone but are looking at hand held UHF's (one for each vehicle) which can be used outside the vehicles if needed, just to be able to keep in contact while traveling. Would appreciate any feedback and comments on experience with Uniden, Motorola, Oricom (or any other that can be purchased in Oz) handhelds with ranges up to 10km, that can be charged in-car, which would be suitable for this purpose.
Thanks Poitr
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 09:28

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 09:28
Fit a proper in vehicle CB in, handhelds are a PITA for in vehicle comms unless they are full power (5 watt), have an external aerial connection and power connected. By the time you buy all the bits it may well cost more than an in vehicle setup.
The leads and cables hanging around will drive you mad.
Just a 1 watt handheld is virtually useless unless you can see the other vehicle and will always pick up more interference and noise from the vehicle and other sources.
Got to http://www.prestigecom.net.au/ for the best deals in Oz.
AnswerID: 458941

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 10:22

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 10:22
Certainly agree with that Peter.

Poitr , even setting up one vehicle will make a big difference - if can't install fully into a car then an external magnetic base antenna onto 1 or 2 cars can make a huge difference.
If you end up with 1 or 2 handhelds then putting them in a mobile phone holder such that their antennas can see out the windows will help also.
Robin Miller

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 732496

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 09:55

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 09:55
Hi Poitr, We have a couple of hand held Uniden that we purchased off Dick Smith about five years ago.

Ours don't require wires flopping about or aerials of any type to make them work, but they do need 240 power to charge them.

Ours don't have much of a range, "line of sight" generally, in open country, but our need is only to communicate with the vehicle travelling with us who is usually well within this range.

I believe you can purchase hand held units that are much better than ours that can be charged from the ciggy socket & that they are not expensive. Good luck & Cheers

AnswerID: 458944

Reply By: Member - Craig F (WA) - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 10:45

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 10:45
I have a built in UHF as well as a 5 watt GME hand held. Purchased from Prestige Communications it came with a 12V charger. On many occassion it has been used in a car without a built in radio (tag along). A built in radio is defenatly a plus but I dont think its a show stopper. As they have both a sat phone and EPIRB the radios are for convoy comunications and will work fine.
As noted many a time on this forum it wasnt that long ago that we used AM CB radios or no radios at all.

AnswerID: 458948

Reply By: garrycol - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 10:51

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 10:51
I have one of these handhelds off ebay - 5 watts, good range, long battery life - all for less than $100. Programmable for 80channels

THEY work exceptionally well and accessories such as spare battery, speaker mic etc.

They can be bought in some stores, or overseas but come up on ebay all the time.

Highly recommended why pay $250 - $350 for a similar performance radio.

Hand held FDC FD450UH B(CB)+4-001M

Site Link

Site Link
AnswerID: 458949

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 06:40

Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 06:40
I have a couple of these. They are a good radio if you know their limitations.

-The Scan function is not programmable from the keys and is VERY slow.
-They are not Ctick approved
-They are not properly programmed to work with repeaters.

If you understand this and use it purely for one to one comms they are great. If you want an general purpose UHF CB, especially with scan capability then you may find they come up short.
FollowupID: 732548

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Sunday, Jul 03, 2011 at 06:40

Sunday, Jul 03, 2011 at 06:40
Red ones
Bloody hell, they would have to be much better than my plain old Black ones..

Seriously though, they are a gr8 little radio.

I got 4 for $320 delivered

Can get singular, or basically any amount you want,....

FollowupID: 732609

Follow Up By: poitr - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2011 at 12:09

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2011 at 12:09

For the uninitiated, what is "scan capability" and how important is it?
FollowupID: 732775

Follow Up By: poitr - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2011 at 12:11

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2011 at 12:11
Meant to also ask, whats the significance of being able to work with repeaters?
Thanks again, Poitr
FollowupID: 732776

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Jul 06, 2011 at 06:54

Wednesday, Jul 06, 2011 at 06:54
There is a good article on this site. Here

Adding to that, wrt scanning. Generally you will chose a channel to communicate with others in your group, say 29. But you may want to hear other channels. Scanning listens to all or selected channels for voice traffic. If it detects a transmission it will briefly pause so you can hear it.

3 examples of why you might want to listen to other channels are
a) The Simpson Desert official channel is 10 but you may want to talk on 29 within your group so everyone doesn't have to listen to general car to car chat. In this case you would set your UHF to scan 10 as well as your selected 29. You would then be aware of other vehicles in your area.

b)if you are in a logging truck area that is tight and windy you could scan all channels to listen for any traffic. Trucks often announce their presence on these roads.

c)if you are on a tight track, you may want to scann all channels for oncoming traffic and to talk to them when you pass re the number of vehicles in each party etc etc.

Many dedicated UHF CB's will do selective and all channel scans quickly. The FDC unit takes about 10 seconds to scan all channels and may miss some transmissions. Also it is very hard to set or unset individual channels.

IMHO the FDC is a brilliant SECOND CB for winching, hand held use or lending to someone in the group who doesn't have a CB, but for a primary vehicle based UHF it falls a little short.
FollowupID: 732844

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 11:03

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 11:03
Let us all know when you find a handheld which over flat country achieves 10km range, we all want one.

A 25 watt in vehicle UHF on commercial frequencies would struggle to achieve it at times. (Hill top to low land line of sight you would.)

A pair of good 5 watt portables will set you back a similar amount to 5 watt in vehicle radios if not more.

There was a cattledog floating around at work the other day from an autoparts store with a 5watt in vehicle for around $270.

You can temporary mount them and gutter mounts are not a bad option there either. We used to fit up convoys of test vehicles at Holden with 5 watt in vehicles run off cigarette lighter plugs with either on glass UHF antennas (if no gutter) or gutter mount antennas. Then pull them out before the vehicles got trucked back from the NT so that they didn't go missing on the transporter.

You will start to see cheaper 40ch in vehicle UHF radios such as the one in the previously mentioned cattledog now that 80ch is up and running. And the price on 2nd hand 40ch units on ebay should steadily drop as people upgrade & flood the secondhand market too.

I run an ICOM in my vehicle and carry a handheld for using away from the vehicle but unless we're winching the hand held hardly ever gets used. I wouldn't worry about it.

I'll be on the Tanami in three weeks and the GRR shortly after. We should have been leaving today but a name brand store look to have put a few litres of water or coolant into Dad's 4wd doing a long range tank install and he's still having problems that may or may not see a second injector pump failure in three weeks - $3500-7000 later we might leave Friday week. Grrrrrrr.

Might bump into them on the wallaby. Hope they have a good trip.

AnswerID: 458951

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 14:22

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 14:22
In-car and hand held UHF's both have their individual merits. Two good in-car radios, with ideal antennas roof mounted can't be beat for distance, but then a couple of good hand helds might do when mobile and also be very handy for other purposes (vehicle guidance when hitching and parking, as well as for bush walking etc.... even jobs round the home). I've got a collection of UHF's now (I need counseling), but if starting over I might well go with two good quality 5W handhelds. Any mainstream brand with local warranty support, 5W, 80 channel and 12 volt cig charger (most convenient method) could fit the bill. Prestige Communications in WA are a good guide to what's available and their pricing is keen. Other outlets might well have specials at times that are just as good though.
AnswerID: 458968

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 16:40

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 16:40
Go to ebay, and get a FDC 5 watt handheld radio
Frequency range from 400 to 480mHz
They are brilliant little radios, I have 2 left from 4 original, the other 2 I gave to mates.
Cannot go wrong

AnswerID: 458975

Follow Up By: poitr - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 17:39

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 17:39
Thanks everyone, for all the feedback. You guys sure know a lot about this stuff.

Bucky, is there anything technically challenging in getting these FDC's set up and operating?
Thanks, Poitr
FollowupID: 732522

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 06:53

Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 06:53
Only a litle bit.
You may be lucky enuf to get the ones with the Aussie chanels already set up.
But if not I can help you, via Skype.
But I warn you, we are off to Cape York in about 27 days

Cheers Bucky
FollowupID: 732549

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 22:42

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 22:42
Hi Poitr

As said, all UHF need 'line of sight' so in a dip between two hills, the signal would not reach a car the other side of the hill, but on roads like the GRR and Tanami, hand helds would do. I have a pair of Uniden middle of range, i think 3 w, which take AAA batteries - i use rechargeables or throw away ones. If using them a lot, they go through the batteries, but batteries last well if making occasional contact not chatting all the way. We use them between vehicles and get several kilometres contact between vehicles in fairly flat country. The clarity of voice is better through the built in - i sometimes find it hard to understand when using a hand held, but hand held to built in is fine. Being totally portable we can take spare batteries just in case, and use them anywhere, but again line of sight and not behind a hill.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 458996

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 07:59

Saturday, Jul 02, 2011 at 07:59

One last thing to bear in mind - We are now in a 5 (?) year transition phase from 40 channel to 80 channel UHF. If buying anything, make sure it is 80 channel, or capable of easy change from 40 to 80.

J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 459001

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Sunday, Jul 03, 2011 at 06:31

Sunday, Jul 03, 2011 at 06:31
FDC do
Just do it all yourself
FollowupID: 732608

Reply By: poitr - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2011 at 11:55

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2011 at 11:55
Thanks all, for the tips and info.

Bucky, I may take you up on your Skype offer. Just waiting on my daughter and friend to make their decision. Will get back to you ASAP
AnswerID: 459223

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)