While traversing the country, there can be kilometres of open land between towns and if something was to go wrong, you could be waiting quite a while for help from a passerby.
If you’ve gone wheeling in the bush, down steep declines, through river crossings and across the mountainous ranges with a convoy of mates and suddenly another vehicle is coming up the track towards you, being able to give your convoy the heads up and get everyone pulled over to allow safe passage could save you time and headaches.
In order to save yourself in these or plenty of other situations, install a UHF radio in your vehicle before you head off on your next trip. This article covers some of the things to consider when looking at buying or using a UHF.
There are two different radios, a 40-channel and an 80-channel, with an 80-channel being the more common and modern version. The difference between the two, other than the number of channels, is the band width. A 40-channel radio works on a wide band, expecting signals of 25kHz, whereas an 80-channel radio works on a narrow band, expecting signals of 12.5kHz. Both versions can contact each other; however, the transmission can be skewed if coming from a different bandwidth. An 80-channel receiving a 40-channel could be significantly louder and distorted and a 40-channel receiving an 80-channel could be quiet and difficult to hear. For best results, using radios with the same bandwidth will receive and send concise and clear transmissions. Below is a list of Australian channels for use:
All other channels are for general use.
ADVERTISE YOUR CHANNEL
If you are spending most of your days on the road (i.e. living in a caravan), it pays to advertise your channel to other road users via a sticker in your window or likewise so people can contact you if they need to.
Before beginning a trip, do a radio check to make sure everyone is on the same channel and their radios are working correctly. Finding out mid-trip that Barry took a wrong turn because he wasn’t on the right channel will be more hassle than a quick check at the beginning.
Scanning channels will pick up any activity on any available channel on your radio and pause briefly if found. It is recommend that you take note of the channel numbers it pauses on because if you do end up needing help, you can make contact with someone close to you.