Communications

With the advent of internet communications a few decades ago, public access grew, and the world about us gradually appeared to become smaller.  Physically, distances haven’t changed – but technological distances sure have.  Our capacity for communication in business, and between communities and individuals has made travelling through Australia a much less lonely and isolated experience than it was for those adventurous souls just a generation ago.  

Staying in touch

Technologies such as social media and communications apps, access to UHF radio devices, mobile phone, satellite phones and V.A.S.T. Free To Air satellite have made it  easier to stay in touch with family and friends, and the happenings of the world in general.  The days of letter writing and mailing are not over if you want the personal touch, but the impact of email, internet and social media, has certainly changed the way we connect with people more immediately, and spontaneously.  Even banking has changed.  The stodgy bank managers of old would be rolling over in the grave if they could see today’s internet banking and shopping habits. 

Here’s a little information about a some of the technologies that can make your life on the road a bit safer and comforting.

UHF Radio

Whether you are planning a trip into the Australian outback, towing a caravan on black top or are a weekend 4WD adventure, a UHF Radio is definitely a beneficial communications tool to have.  UHF (477MHz) radios have nearly replaced the older 27MHz CBs.  This is mainly due to their considerable price drop over the past decade, and the extended range offer by repeaters located throughout Australia.

UHF CBs use Frequency Modulation (FM) to transmit/receive. Since UHF signals generally travel in a straight line, the terrain impacts how well the signal is transmitted or received.  For example, UHF CB radios will perform poorly in hilly or forested areas and perform well in flat open countryside.  UHF CBs can also access repeater stations that re-transmit the signals on another channel which can provide much further coverage (see Repeaters for more information).  Want more?  Read more

Repeater Station locations   –  An interactive listing of all licensed Australian UHF radio repeaters.  You can search locations by clicking on a map, by town name or postcode, by call sign or by state.  Site users can update the current operational status, and link to maps of the repeater locations are provided.

Satellite Phones

Top 10 Sat Phone Tech TIPS  (Provided by MGLSAT)

  1.  Getting Connected

TIP:  Only open the antenna outside, after you have turned it on and can see the blue screen.  Always be outside with a clear view to the sky and as much of the blue stuff as you can get.  Stay clear of objects like towers etc that may block and interfere with the signal getting to the satellite.  After all its 37,000 km’s away so give the signal the best change possible by being patient and clear of objects.  Again, only open the antenna after you have a fixed standing position and the handset is powered up and the screen message is “deploy antenna for use”.
Click here for heaps more

Radio Talk  VKS 737 Radio Network, a division of the Australian National 4WD Radio Network Inc have  heaps of information regarding HF radio.  Go ahead and explore their site as part of your journey.

Internet and mobile phone communications

Discussing mobile phone and internet can be likened to opening a can of worms.  The lead contenders are Telstra and Optus.  Though Telstra do have the market with the broadest coverage, Optus appear to be catching up with their cheaper pricing.  It’s a personal choice over costing vs coverage.  In the past, there has been rife stories of woe and misleading sales pitches.  These seem to be on the downturn as the public are becoming more aware of the shortcomings of the teleco services.  Lets be honest,the fact is that  Australia is a big country with vast areas of minimal or no population.  It does cost a small fortune (1/2 to 3/4 million $s) to install and commission each telecommunications tower – some for negligible return.  So what options do we have?

 

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