ExplorOz Newsletter - 308

Edition 308: 24th October 2013

Hi ExplorOz Reader,

We hope you enjoy this week's edition of our newsletter with all the latest information about what's happening on the website.

Avoiding a Head-on Collision

A recent Forum post this week about UHF use on the Canning Stock Route highlights some important safety issues for desert travellers. In outback Australia we have a number of well-used desert treks that have long stretches of sand dunes to cross. These include both the Simpson Desert and the Canning Stock Route. Both these areas can be traversed in either direction, so the opportunity to come across travellers head on is very real and likely, especially if you’re travelling during the peak season. Adhering to a couple of simple safety precautions is your best defence against disaster so we thought we’d mention them in this week’s newsletter.

When dune driving in remote areas you really must use a UHF radio with a high-gain antenna - get the best antenna you can afford. You should also have an effective sand flag mounted to your vehicle. Apparently, there are some travellers without either!

Using UHF radios appropriately includes using the correct designated channel for the area and limiting non-essential chit-chat on the open airways. On the Simpson, Channel 10 is the designated track channel, whilst on the CSR it is channel 40. Some people like to scan all channels as a safety backup to ensure that they will hear all nearby conversations as an early warning of nearby travellers. The problem with this approach, is that listening to chit-chat is very frustrating for the listeners. Long, unnecessary chit-chatting must always be avoided whatever channel you use. So our first safety advice is to always assume that others are listening and never monopolise any two-way radio channel, especially when touring popular tracks. For more information about UHF radios, see our UHF Radio Article.

The next bit of advice we have for you is to always know where you are in relation to a recognisable landmark (eg. “x” km from “y” track junction”). Out in the desert, this might seem a difficult task but you simply need to learn how to adapt to driving “aware”. This means using your odometer (or other readings) and knowing the names of track junctions and landmarks you pass. Knowing your position relative to a landmark in the middle of a desert takes effort and thought but is a great habit to develop and can make all the difference when communicating effectively with oncoming vehicles. Announcing your position from the tops of dunes periodically, along with scanning the horizon for dust that could indicate vehicles should be part of your conscious driving behaviour. If you hear no response to your calls, then continue driving. If a response is heard it is best to stop to ensure you can find out where they are before driving down into any swallows or valleys.

Driving with a sand flag mounted to your vehicle also makes you more visible as you ascend a dune. The idea with the sand flag is to give oncoming vehicles just enough reaction time to stop before you collide head on.

ExplorOz Trek Notes contain all the trip planning and preparation advice you need and include listing any designated UHF channels, permits, and other important facts. With over 170 detailed Trek Notes Australia wide, and coupled with our extensive range of detailed Articles this is the core content of what ExplorOz offers to our website users and it’s all free for online viewing or printing for your personal use. Information is periodically reviewed and updated to ensure accuracy and currency, plus links are given to travellers feedback, reviews, and related blogs from Members.

Trek Note Content Audit

We’ve had a good response to our Trek Note audit with a range of interesting contributions. Please keep the updates and notifications of any errors or omissions coming no matter how small.

Whilst all input is welcome, we are specifically focusing on checking track file data accuracy (plot file download) and urge anyone who has recently used a plot file from one of our Treks and found any deviations that need changing to let us know. Even if you don't have a plot file to replace/update the Trek Note, your feedback can be useful. Time is running out for public submissions of plot files however, with our deadline being October 31.

Please refer back to Newsletter Edition 307 for more details.

Members: Check Your Records

Every ExplorOz Member receives a new Member card when they renew. This is sent by Australia Post through the mail. To avoid unnecessary (and costly) reprints and duplicate postage charges and delays when we deliver to your “old address”, we urge you to keep your Member record up-to-date when your circumstances change. Also do not use a combination of post office box number and street address as this only causes confusion. For our purposes, your address just needs to be your mailing address. Simply check/change your address in your Member record (found on the "My Details" tab).

You should also ensure that your name and address details are typed correctly – with capital letters for the first letter of your First name, and first letter of your Surname. This is important because your Membership card and the address label for your parcel is printed automatically from your Member record and will appear exactly as you type it. All lower-case letters just isn't right!

Travel Alerts

The extensive bushfires in the Blue Mountains and, in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales are currently cause for great concern.

In Victoria it is anticipated that the seasonal road closures will be lifted on 1st November.

However the following tracks in the Alpine National Park will remain closed until 30th November 2013:
Golden Ridge Trk, , King Spur Trk,  Shepherds Creek Trk, Kings Plain Trk, Kelly Lane, Davies Plain Trk,  Long Spur Trk.

And in the Yarra Ranges National Park :
Forty Mile Trk, Mt Gregory Trk, Whitelaw Trk, Yarra Ranges National Park Rd,.and the Unnamed Trk will also remain closed.

In Queensland parks around Kroombit Tops, Barakula State Forest, Blackdown Tableland National Park, and the Tuan State Forest are closed due to high fire conditions.

For other reports please see the ExplorOz Road Conditions Report.

Latest Product News from the ExplorOz Shop

Shop Image All Books in the ExplorOz Online Shop are now 20% off for one week only. Our range is hand-selected by the ExplorOz team to provide you with everything you need to know when you're on the road, so don't miss out on this great opportunity to save on items for your next trip.

All book ranges are on sale including:

4WD Guides & Magazines, Kayaking Guides, Australian Stories, Log Books, Camp Cookbooks, National Parks, Camping Guides, Packs, Caravanning, Reference, Cycling Guides, Road Atlases, Fishing, Travel Guides, Gold Prospecting, Walking Guides.

This offer ends at midnight (EST) on the 31/10/13.

Huge Price Reductions On These Items


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