OUR VIDEOS GALLERY MEMBER SPONSORSHIP VENDOR SPONSORSHIP

User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22

Thread: Amateur Radio & Outback Communications

  1. #1
    Missing in Action VK2FMIA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Nandewar Ranges, NSW
    Posts
    374
    Thanks
    1,000
    Thanked 1,256 Times in 257 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Amateur Radio & Outback Communications

    I have been involved in Amateur Radio (Ham) for a few years now & have found that having good radio communication is invaluable while travelling the vast outback areas of Australia. With little or no mobile coverage other options for communication is needed. Satellite Phones are an option but can be expensive to operate. The VK - 737 HF network is also available but has limited capabilities, only having a few available frequencies.

    Most of my trips into central Australia have been solo, so the need to be able to keep in touch was high on my list of priorities when setting up my Patrol. A friend had introduced me to Amateur Radio several years before & I thought this would be a good option as I would be able to keep in touch with him via HF when not in mobile phone coverage.

    Getting an Amateur licence is a lot easier than it used to be, no more having to learn Morse Code & an entry level style licence has seen an increase in numbers to the hobby over the last ten years or so with around 15,000 licensed operators spread over the country.

    With a little electronic & electrical knowledge the first licence level is very easy to achieve & will allow a wide range of activities & options for communications from UHF to HF, giving the ability to communicate with others a kilometre away or with someone on the other side of the world. The cost of obtaining a licence is around $300 dollars & $51 per year to renew.

    After 4 weeks of casual study I sat my test & obtained my Foundation license without too much trouble. For around the same price of a Codan or Barret HF radio & mobile antenna system I purchased a good quality UHF/VHF/HF/LF transceiver (ICOM IC-7000) with AM, FM & SSB, tuner & antennas which would give me a wide range of options.

    The UHF band would be good for car to car comms, similar to CB but with greater range. VHF would be used as well for comms with even more range & the ability to connect to the repeater network in most major towns & cities, some are linked together giving several hundred kilometres of range. With HF distances would be much greater depending on what band & time of day anywhere from 50 km to 1500 km during the day & worldwide at night.

    There are several travellers “Nets” that operate around the country on the Amateur HF bands that you can check into while travelling. You can leave details of where you are headed or family can leave messages to be passed on if needed. Daily social nets also run that you can call into, several have been running for many years & are a great way to let someone know where you are or if you need help.

    APRS ( Automated Packet Reporting System) which can be operated on the VHF & HF bands through the repeater network is a tracking & messaging service available to Amateur license holders. Vehicle position can be viewed on Google Maps in real time, giving family & friends the ability to see where you are.

    There are also Amateur Radio Satellites passing overhead on a regular bases that have VHF repeaters that can be used to make an emergency contact if needed. A simple App on your phone will tell you when they are due for a pass & what frequencies to use.

    Images can be broadcast over HF bands as well & decoded on a laptop, handy for getting the latest weather maps. Being up to date on the weather situation in the outback can make a huge difference to your trip.

    I have had many interesting conversations on HF with other amateurs over the years, one memorable one was with a guy in Canada just on dark as I was driving into camp near Uluru. He was heading out on a Moose hunt at around 3 am. Another was a contact with a fellow in Hawaii in the middle of the afternoon while I was camping in the middle of nowhere & I have a regular contact with a guy in Tahiti from my Patrol.



    Contact with AH6WX in Hawaii on 21.244 MHz SSB from the Patrol while in Tapin Tops National Park, NSW, Australia.

    I have heard many times of people getting into trouble while travelling & the Amateur Radio community has come to the rescue. With around 15,000 operators in Australia there is always somebody on the air if you need help. Somebody will know somebody else nearby that might be able to help or to get in contact with emergency services if needed.

    Although I only hold a Foundation license & am limited to a few bands & 10 watts of power, this has been ample to make contact anywhere in the world on the HF bands. The option to use Sideband on UHF & VHF increases the range as well. Echolink & IRLP (Internet Repeater Linking Program) via VHF can be used to link repeaters all over Australia & the world.

    There are many aspects to Amateur Radio, far too many to get into here. If you are interested in getting your license the best place to start is the Wireless Institute of Australia which has links to a club near you.
    2005 GUIV DI ST 3.0L Wagon 2 Inch OME lift. ARB Rooftopper, Annex & Awning. Rhino Racks, 60 Litre Engel Fridge/Freezer. ARB Dual Battery System. Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF. Uniden UHO15SX UHF. Uniden Bearcat Scanner. Samsung Netbook running Oziexplorer. Mickey Thompson STZ`s. GPS Dashcam. Reversing Camera.
    Amateur Radio....the original social network.

  2. The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to VK2FMIA For This Useful Post:

    4bye4 (21st October 2016), Avo (21st October 2016), DX grunt (23rd October 2016), jskogsta (21st October 2016), mudnut (24th October 2016), MudRunnerTD (25th October 2016), NissanGQ4.2 (22nd October 2016), the evil twin (21st October 2016), Touses (21st October 2016)

  3. # ADS
    Circuit advertisement
    Join Date
    Always
    Location
    Advertising world
    Posts
    Many

     

  4. #2
    Beginner
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Mt Martha, Victoria
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for that! Very insightful. I am going along the same path as you. My callsign is VK3FNOR, and have an intent to take the standard license, but never got around to it yet. Though would be interested in your experiences of getting that system mounted and operated in the car. Do you have a way to move it between your car and home, for it to serve two purposes... e.g. would be quite interested in your kit and setup really! Any issue using then any of the HF networks, and are you maintaining any subscription with them etc? I also have a GU Patrol, which I want to use this in. Cheers!

  5. #3
    Missing in Action VK2FMIA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Nandewar Ranges, NSW
    Posts
    374
    Thanks
    1,000
    Thanked 1,256 Times in 257 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jskogsta View Post
    Thanks for that! Very insightful. I am going along the same path as you. My callsign is VK3FNOR, and have an intent to take the standard license, but never got around to it yet. Though would be interested in your experiences of getting that system mounted and operated in the car. Do you have a way to move it between your car and home, for it to serve two purposes... e.g. would be quite interested in your kit and setup really! Any issue using then any of the HF networks, and are you maintaining any subscription with them etc? I also have a GU Patrol, which I want to use this in. Cheers!
    The Icom IC-7000 that I am using has a separate head unit that I have mounted on the dash using Velcro so it can be moved when needed. The base is mounted behind the center console with the LDG Z100+ tuner. I leave the whole setup in the vehicle & when at home just plug up a Multi-band Dipole that is strung up between some trees. I mainly work portable though, like to get away from the noise from Tv`s, Solar Panels etc & generally use a G5RV or just a 1/4 wave end fed wire when out & about.

    No subscription needed with the nets, all run by volunteers. The Travelers Net website is at http://historic.vk6.net/arg29travel.html

    The Coral Coast net is run out of Rockhampton, Sydney & Bundaberg on 7.060 MHz from 5:00 am every morning.

    The Kandos Net is run out of Kandos, NSW & Brisbane at 4:30 pm Monday to Friday on 7.093 MHz.

    Call into the Coral Coast or Kandos net anytime, great bunch of blokes & very welcoming. Another great net is the 7.130 DX net on Monday, Wed & Fri nights at 8:20 pm on 7.130 MHz if you are looking for international contacts. There are a whole range of nets on different bands but I usually stick to the ones on the 40 meter band.

    Inside the Patrol


    Icom IC-7000 on the dash, 2m/70cm dual band portable, 40 channel UHF with 400-520 MHz scanner, Samsung Netbook for Digital decoding, Oziexplorer & Internet.

    Plenty of choices of transceiver out there from Kenwood, Yaesu & others. Ask any questions you need, only too happy to help!

    Catch you on the air someday!
    2005 GUIV DI ST 3.0L Wagon 2 Inch OME lift. ARB Rooftopper, Annex & Awning. Rhino Racks, 60 Litre Engel Fridge/Freezer. ARB Dual Battery System. Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF. Uniden UHO15SX UHF. Uniden Bearcat Scanner. Samsung Netbook running Oziexplorer. Mickey Thompson STZ`s. GPS Dashcam. Reversing Camera.
    Amateur Radio....the original social network.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to VK2FMIA For This Useful Post:

    NissanGQ4.2 (22nd October 2016)

  7. #4
    Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    259
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 70 Times in 52 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not a VK yet looking at doing it up at kariong here on the central coast .........

    i used to run yasue FT101 and a Kenwood TS520 o chook band in the late 80's earlie 90's 5/8 ground plain and a 11 element yagi on a rotator......

    for a UHF in my trol i use ICOM no other UHF will come close to it ..... and being a naughty boy i just got a Stryker 10 meter radio with 11 meter band in it 40 watts on am 90 on ssb PEP

    9ft stainless ant for that gotta get a new uhf areial
    I never go into the outback with out a decent supply of water,
    and the general rule for how much you'll need is three litres
    per day , per person, per man per degree over 25 degrees
    celcius, per kilometer if walking on foot, in the winter months
    dividing it by two, plus... another litre... at the end .... Russell Coight

  8. #5
    Missing in Action VK2FMIA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Nandewar Ranges, NSW
    Posts
    374
    Thanks
    1,000
    Thanked 1,256 Times in 257 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Makka View Post
    Not a VK yet looking at doing it up at kariong here on the central coast .........

    i used to run yasue FT101 and a Kenwood TS520 o chook band in the late 80's earlie 90's 5/8 ground plain and a 11 element yagi on a rotator......

    for a UHF in my trol i use ICOM no other UHF will come close to it ..... and being a naughty boy i just got a Stryker 10 meter radio with 11 meter band in it 40 watts on am 90 on ssb PEP

    9ft stainless ant for that gotta get a new uhf areial
    You should be able to get your licence pretty easy seeing that you have already had a bit of experience with radio. They do a coarse for them at the Wyong Hamfest in February every year, might be an option.

    Plenty of Amateurs still using the FT101 & TS520`s, seem to be pretty popular radios. Use a few yagis as well, mainly for UHF/VHF, all home made. Do a bit of Radio Contesting (yes there is such a thing ) with another Ham, we can legally run 400 watts PEP through them & get up to 1000 km on VHF SSB if the conditions are good. Got a 3 element wire Yagi up for the 40 meter band, it`s a monster, 20 meters across & 30 meters long. It`s to big to be on a rotator though, permanently pointed to the US & Canada.

    Still a bit of activity around on the chook band, haven't got one myself but other hams still use them so you might hear some on the air. Might want to check out Mobile One antennas at Camden, they work pretty well & are reasonably priced as well as being Aussie made.

    Yep, can't beat an ICOM for quality thats for sure, mate put me onto them. The IC-7000 I use is a great unit.
    2005 GUIV DI ST 3.0L Wagon 2 Inch OME lift. ARB Rooftopper, Annex & Awning. Rhino Racks, 60 Litre Engel Fridge/Freezer. ARB Dual Battery System. Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF. Uniden UHO15SX UHF. Uniden Bearcat Scanner. Samsung Netbook running Oziexplorer. Mickey Thompson STZ`s. GPS Dashcam. Reversing Camera.
    Amateur Radio....the original social network.

  9. #6
    Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    259
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 70 Times in 52 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    well im booked for the 10th december at terry hills seams that they dont run the course at Kariong any more .......

    i will end up with my standard i want to run power

    i just bought a camper trailer i will add more solar and batterys to it for a mobile base with some sort of tower or colapsable hiost

    when my 10 meter arrives i will throw up a photo of it it is that Stryker995 from all reports it is a very stable radio on am ssb and fm with out the frequency wobble you get with most multi mode radios
    I never go into the outback with out a decent supply of water,
    and the general rule for how much you'll need is three litres
    per day , per person, per man per degree over 25 degrees
    celcius, per kilometer if walking on foot, in the winter months
    dividing it by two, plus... another litre... at the end .... Russell Coight

  10. #7
    Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    259
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 70 Times in 52 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    the FT101 and the TS520's are great very nice radio's to operate on HF the only thing is with them being vac tube you do need to know how to tune them with the float and plate voltages. and bottles are getting harder to find.....

    from memory the last of the 101'S the E was a solid state back end and did away with the bottles so they were alot more user freindly especially with people who were not used to the tuning of bottles......

    lucky for me my father was a tech he repaired radio's but was not a ham and useing his occiloscope and wave gens and sig gens we where able to do alot of the work our selves...... i miss doing DX used to chase it all the time...

    oh one thing the TS was ssb fm and CW no am the FT had all modes
    I never go into the outback with out a decent supply of water,
    and the general rule for how much you'll need is three litres
    per day , per person, per man per degree over 25 degrees
    celcius, per kilometer if walking on foot, in the winter months
    dividing it by two, plus... another litre... at the end .... Russell Coight

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to Makka For This Useful Post:

    VK2FMIA (24th October 2016)

  12. #8
    Missing in Action VK2FMIA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Nandewar Ranges, NSW
    Posts
    374
    Thanks
    1,000
    Thanked 1,256 Times in 257 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Makka View Post
    well im booked for the 10th december
    Best of luck for the exam, let us know how you go.
    2005 GUIV DI ST 3.0L Wagon 2 Inch OME lift. ARB Rooftopper, Annex & Awning. Rhino Racks, 60 Litre Engel Fridge/Freezer. ARB Dual Battery System. Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF. Uniden UHO15SX UHF. Uniden Bearcat Scanner. Samsung Netbook running Oziexplorer. Mickey Thompson STZ`s. GPS Dashcam. Reversing Camera.
    Amateur Radio....the original social network.

  13. #9
    Patrol God mudnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    SW Vic.
    Posts
    6,657
    Thanks
    7,284
    Thanked 3,628 Times in 2,280 Posts
    Mentioned
    58 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    This is the information I have been looking for, for quite a while. I used to have an SSB set up in my shed and car. I had a directional antenna and the original idea was to be able to contact my father in Bendigo. Unfortunately I couldn't raise him from here, but a bloke at Heywood could chat with Dad often. It was very frustrating, because I could talk regularly talk to Hawaii, Esperence, Tassie, and Queensland, NSW and New Zealand. I got sick of all the BS and meaningless chatter so gave all the gear back to Dad.

    Are the bands being use used by liscensed operators clear of the trash talk and meaningless chatter? I do know that there are a lot of people out there with radios that they shouldn't have and there are some who love to spoil it for everyone else.

  14. #10
    Missing in Action VK2FMIA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Nandewar Ranges, NSW
    Posts
    374
    Thanks
    1,000
    Thanked 1,256 Times in 257 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mudnut View Post
    This is the information I have been looking for, for quite a while. I used to have an SSB set up in my shed and car. I had a directional antenna and the original idea was to be able to contact my father in Bendigo. Unfortunately I couldn't raise him from here, but a bloke at Heywood could chat with Dad often. It was very frustrating, because I could talk regularly talk to Hawaii, Esperence, Tassie, and Queensland, NSW and New Zealand. I got sick of all the BS and meaningless chatter so gave all the gear back to Dad.

    Are the bands being use used by liscensed operators clear of the trash talk and meaningless chatter? I do know that there are a lot of people out there with radios that they shouldn't have and there are some who love to spoil it for everyone else.
    The HF bands can be a funny thing, you were probably too close to your father & the signal was going over the top (skip). AM might have worked better. I have the same problem contacting a mate only 120 km away, can only get him on the VHF repeater.

    The amateur bands are a bit more civilised but still have a few rogues out there. 80 meters (3.5 MHz) is a bit of a chitchat band of a night, 40 meters (7.0 MHz) is pretty good, 20 meters (14.1 MHz) is the "gentlemen's" band.

    Most of the time it`s pretty good but as you said there are a few pirates out there that cause a bit of trouble but they are usually dealt with by the authorities pretty quickly. Most of the chatter is usually radio related, discussing Politics, Religion etc. are usually frowned upon. I mainly stick to the 40 meter band, good coverage for half of Australia during the day & worldwide at night, even on only 10 watts of power.

    The first level (Foundation) of licensing is pretty easy & you get access to the 80, 40, 15 & 10 meter bands on HF as well as the 70 cm (UHF) & 2 meter (VHF) bands but limited to 10 watts of power & can build & use your own antennas. Ok if you just want to get on the air

    Second level (Standard) gives you a few more bands, digital modes & 100 watts. Also can build & use your own gear.

    Highest level (Advanced) - 400 watts & use of all the Amateur bands & modes.

    Couple of links for you.

    Wireless Instatute - Info on what you need to get started - http://www.wia.org.au/

    List of clubs in Victoria - http://www.wia.org.au/clubs/vk3/http://www.wia.org.au/clubs/vk3/

    Anything else you need to know only too happy to help.
    2005 GUIV DI ST 3.0L Wagon 2 Inch OME lift. ARB Rooftopper, Annex & Awning. Rhino Racks, 60 Litre Engel Fridge/Freezer. ARB Dual Battery System. Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF. Uniden UHO15SX UHF. Uniden Bearcat Scanner. Samsung Netbook running Oziexplorer. Mickey Thompson STZ`s. GPS Dashcam. Reversing Camera.
    Amateur Radio....the original social network.

  15. The Following User Says Thank You to VK2FMIA For This Useful Post:

    mudnut (24th October 2016)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •