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UHF Channels in remote areas?

Discussion in 'General 4x4 Discussion' started by jessehmn, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. jessehmn

    jessehmn New Member

    Hey guys,

    I'm new here (though I've been reading this forum silently for the last +-6 months) so excuse me if the thread's in the wrong spot.
    Planning to drive up to Alice through Mildura --> Flinders Ranges --> Marree --> Oodnadatta starting this weekend. After Alice heading to WA to travel for a month there. Will be my first big 'offroad' trip so preparing a lot lately to get the most out of it, but moreover, be safe.

    Though I see a lot on videos that in remote areas travellers communicate through their uhf's with roadworks, occasionally cattle stations and sometimes roadhouses / police stations to be up-to-date about the warnings in the area. Whether it's the roadworks, road conditions and weather conditions. Now I know there are 40 CB channels and know exactly which ones I am allowed to use, and which I am not. But how do I know on which channel I can communicate with those roadworks/stations in the area? As in, is there a main channel in Australia that is being used for these things, or is there a sign when I enter a certain area which tells me to switch to a certain channel? Of course I'd like to have a chat with other people in the area for fun, but mainly want to be up to date with roadworks/conditions and/or stations nearby me.

    Are there any other things that will be helpful to use my UHF for when travelling?
    I'm totally new to the UHF scene so really have no clue how to use it properly, other than just picking an available channel (which I am allowed to be on) and have a chat.

    Thanks in advance! Keep up the good stuff here, love reading the threads!
  2. Swaggie

    Swaggie Moderator

    The best thing you could ever do out there is keep your speed right down for starters. Kangaroos, Camels, Wombats (animal and vehicle's)
    Your not guaranteed to make contact with anyone anyway.

    There are actually 80 channels all up.
    I'd also suggest you have your radio on scan just in case another person nearby is on another channel...

    Google UHF channels, channel 40 is generally trucks.

    I'm sure there's plenty that other members can add..

    jessehmn likes this.
  3. jessehmn

    jessehmn New Member

    Hi Swaggie,

    Thanks for your quick reply! What you reckon would be a good speed? Thinking to keep my tyre pressure around 30 psi, maybe a bit lower, but am driving with two others in the car and pretty heavy load seen the extra (emergency) supplies and second spare. Most people say don't go fasther than 90, but I got the feeling I would feel comfy at just 60-70. Reckon that's a fine speed?

    Forgot there were 80 channels, thanks. This has only been introduced a couple of years ago, am I right?
    Have checked the UHF channels so I know the ones for Truckies, 4wd convoys, campers, etc. And the one for emergencies. Just don't know if the last one is being used for what I meant as well.
  4. Tink

    Tink Well-Known Member

    Reduce your speed by the same percentage that you reduce your tyre pressures. Simple rule which has served me well over many years.
    The “correct” pressure is what is right for the terrain and your vehicle. It is not a one size fits all approach. Will also vary depending on tyre brand and tyre construction. But as a starting point suggest 28 dirt/corrugations and 18 sand. Be prepared to go lower for a comfortable ride, or higher depending on your tyres and load on the dirt. Will probably need to go lower on the sand particularly if it is hot.
    Mr Rum, boobook and Big Rig like this.
  5. hiluxdriver

    hiluxdriver Well-Known Member

    I've found most roadworks use channel 40. In my travels I rarely change from 40. No need to communicate with stations and they can use any channel that suits them.
    Mr Rum and jessehmn like this.
  6. itlldoo

    itlldoo Well-Known Member

    not going to tell what speed mate cause that changes day to day and you should drive to the conditions, not too what was, "a suggestion"
    learn about your uhf radio and the best channel is SCAN that way you hear most of the conversations, for emergency's a GPS tracker is the go (spot is a good one) or sat phone.
    the best thing you can take is TIME, the more time you take, the better it is.
    jessehmn likes this.
  7. jessehmn

    jessehmn New Member

    Ah okay thanks! So I don't need to 'report' when I'm driving passed 'close' to a station or property?
    Heard that I will cross some properties (such as cattle stations) as well, and can imagine that the owner wants to know who's in it.

    Thanks heaps for the replies guys, reckon the 'scan' mode is indeed the way to go :) Hopefully won't get spammed too much haha
  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    jessehmn likes this.
  9. hiluxdriver

    hiluxdriver Well-Known Member

    I've never called out over a UHF if I'm going past a station. If you know in advance you want to go through a station using station roads I would definitely make an effort to at a minimum call the homestead to check if it's ok first, then stop in on the way through as they love a yarn with new people.
  10. jessehmn

    jessehmn New Member

    Thanks! Very helpful, will try to find one of those pdf files about the PARs in WA.

    Anyone knows if the channels 41-80 are being used much? Just found out they're spacing in between most 1-40 channels, but with 7 digits. My UHF can only go up to 6. So can't set the channels from 41+.

    What I mean is that for example channel 3 frequency = 476.4750. As my UHF only takes 6 digits, I fill these in as 476.475. The last digit with all frequencies up to channel 40 end on an "0" anyway, so doesn't matter it doesn't show up on the uhf. Reckon it is still right and automatically knows the digit behind the last one showed = 0. However, a Channel 43 has frequency = 476.4875. 7 Digits, but can only fill in the first 6 ones. So not the last '5'. Any idea how this works?
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Here it is attached*. It shows you the channels and repeaters the stations use - not that using them is necessary in the normal course of events IME. It lists SA PARs. Most of the non-gazetted roads you are likely to use are PARs and you have some rights to use those without permission.
    The higher UHF channels are still not often used as there remains such a large installed base of 40 ch units.
    *This PDF is now hosted on the Rawnsley Park's website.

    Attached Files:

    Gidgee likes this.
  12. Ditch

    Ditch Active Member

    What brand & model of UHF are you using?.

    40 channel UHF`s have a channel spacing of 25 KHz, so unless this can be changed to a 12.5 KHz spacing you will not be able to program the new frequencies in between the old ones.
  13. Mr Rum

    Mr Rum Well-Known Member

    Not that I know your exact route, but even though you’ll be within an unfenced station, you’ll most likely be either on a public road or public access route (PAR).

    If you want to camp or travel off the public roads, then you do need to obtain permission, but I’d be doing that before I left home. Short of driving to the private living quarters, there’s no guarantee anyone will be within UHF range for you to talk to most of the time anyway.
    The phone numbers of the stations are usually listed, and you should be able to find any you need with a quick google search (I only know this as I’ve phoned a few for advice during floods.

    I’ve also needed permission to traverse stations, and on one occasion had to even supply details via email for it to be all official, so wouldn’t have been able to do that via UHF.
    As stated above, 40 will be your go to channel for road works crews, trucks, and most other travellers, but it isn’t always the case. It’s the channel I’d call out in first anyway.
    Scan with 40 as a priority channel is usually my go to.

    Some advice I didn’t get before my first ever outback trip, would be to ask grader drivers and trucks what side they’d like you to pass on before trying to get around.
    The grader will know how he’s left the road in front of you, and can prevent you having to climb over a large pile of dirt at the end of the section he’s working on. Not a big deal in a 4x4, but I got caught out in my old Commodore Ute once, and had to turn around.
    In the case of big trucks, they’ll often be going slow, very slow, but they’re usually happy to act as a second set of eyes to help you around/through their dust cloud safely.
    After making sure they’re on channel, a simple “what side would you like me to pass on?” is usually enough.

    Good luck with your trip. That’s the same part of the country we explored the first time we went remote, and now we just can’t get enough.:)
  14. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    If there's serious roadworks on any of the standard outback roads they'll be signposted and regulated as per usual. In a few cases for works or for a locality the UHF that's being used will be notified on a signpost.
    A UHF isn't necessary for outback travel but it does offer some convenience.
    Mr Rum likes this.
  15. dno67

    dno67 Well-Known Member

    Just make 40 your priority channel and scan the others while traveling.
    Mr Rum and Swaggie like this.
  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    In National Parks or among convoys ch 10 is normally used.
    In some places like the Simpson's main tracks that can get stupidly busy but you need to stay on it for cresting alerts.
  17. boobook

    boobook Well-Known Member

    Thats a bloody good rule of thumb Tink.
  18. nightscale

    nightscale Active Member

    After just spending serveral months in remote wa id say just sit on 40. If your in convoy just use a handheld on another channel
    Mr Rum likes this.
  19. Chatty

    Chatty Well-Known Member

    In outback areas most roadworks sites (and graders doing road patrols) use channel 40.
    In busier areas they will typically be on 10,14 or 40, but they could also be using another channel. The only way you would be guaranteed to pick them up would be to scan all channels.
    Escort (pilot) vehicles for wide loads will always be on 40, except for the Pacific Highway (north coast NSW) and Bruce Highway (SEQ) where the call channel is 29.

    We have been known to set the fixed vehicle radio to UHF 40 (or 29) and set one of the handhelds to scan everything to pick up roadworks, etc.

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