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catch-22
5th January 2009, 08:34 AM
I am looking at upgrading my GME TX670 hand held unit upgraded as I find it near useless if there is more then one tree round.

I want a good unit. Doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles but has to work in the case that I am stuck somewhere and need help. I have heard that the Icom units are the gun....GME are Aussie which I always like to support assuming it works as well as the others..

Also, I do not have an aerial and would like at least a 6db gain. Any brand or should I buy a specific one?

What range can I expect from your proposed solution?

Cheers
Caine

weeds
5th January 2009, 08:38 AM
if there are lots of trees hill than maybe an antenna between 4db and 6db

what distances are you hoping to cover???

for a bit over $1000 you can be set up with a reasonable HF and you can talk across australia

catch-22
5th January 2009, 09:05 AM
I guess about 100k's....enough to get me out of the poo if and when I get in to the poo.

Can you please give me some more info on the kit for a bit over $1k?

miky
5th January 2009, 09:47 AM
Both brands of uhf should do you for short range, convoy use. If you do not have much room for mounting, get a unit with a removable head.
I suggest you get a ground plane independent antenna unless you are going to drill a hole in the roof. Go to someone who specialises in radio stuff and ask.

GME are cheapest. Icom 400 and 440 are pro/commercial units and can be programmed up to 25W output - but of course you can only use them on CB with 5W output :)

UHF is basically line of site but range is increased dramatically if you can "see" a repeater.

But that said... if you are not within range of a repeater you need HF or a sat phone. Under some conditions they don't always work either.

So... if you want 100km range, the question to ask yourself is: "Can I use a repeater?" If the answer is "no" then a UHF unit may not be suitable.
There are several web sites that provide information about repeater locations.

miky
5th January 2009, 09:50 AM
I should have added:
For HF information see the VKS737 web site (http://www.vks737.on.net/).

HF is not cheap though. Apart from the initial setup there is an ongoing annual fee.

weeds
5th January 2009, 01:28 PM
I guess about 100k's....enough to get me out of the poo if and when I get in to the poo.

Can you please give me some more info on the kit for a bit over $1k?

a uhf is not going to get your 100km

there is a guy on ebay, i think his name is dave, anyway operates out of brisbane and he had a heap of secondhand hf radios

i was going to buy one for the high country....still undecided

for about $1100 i was going to get a HF radio, programmed, antenna etc, i was going to get a hf set that cellcall and tell? call

and as miky sail there is ongoing yearly fees

waynep
5th January 2009, 01:51 PM
Presuming you're wanting this mainly for car to car communication on convoys etc, or car back to camp ? Plus you want something where you can always make contact if you get into real trouble ?

So an HF set probably won't help for part 1, because very few others will have HF.
I'd suggest for a good "all round" package for your $1000 you get a CB UHF for around $500 with antenna, and then buy a personal EPIRB for $500 - $600.

The GME UHF set will be fine and under $500 with aerial. Look at Andrews Communications website or some idea of prices.
It's the aerial and how it's mounted that will make the primary difference to your range. Use a ground plane independent antenna, keep your coax cable run short and mount the antenna as high as possible/practical. If you work through a repeater ( duplex mode ) this will get your 100km, but repeaters don't cover everywhere ( and are run by volunteers so not always up )

The EPIRB has no ongoing fees after initial purchase, ( the service is funded by the Govt. ) other than replacing batteries after 5 years. Of course it is something you hope never to use.

dmdigital
5th January 2009, 02:14 PM
With the radio, get one with a detachable (remote) head unit. GME TX3440 or ICOM IC-440 are the pick. ICOM is better as the speaker is in the hand piece. Neither will set you back more than mid $400's. These are much easier to install as you can put the base unit elsewhere in the Disco (e.g. kick panel under steering wheel).

A 3dB gutter mount aerial will do very well but won't get the most distance and a 6dB will be better. The higher up you can mount it the better. The RFI CD900 and CD5000 are both good robust aerials.

Everything else is pretty much covered in other posts.

steveG
5th January 2009, 02:28 PM
I guess about 100k's....enough to get me out of the poo if and when I get in to the poo.

Can you please give me some more info on the kit for a bit over $1k?

I picked up a brochure recently on a satellite based service that consists of a small hand-held device that has a couple of buttons - one to notify your position, and the other to raise an alarm.
According to the brochure its quite flexible in what you configure it to do on notification/alarm eg SMS, email, phone call etc.
From memory the device was only a couple of hundred $$ - I don't recall what the subscription was, but don't think it was too bad.

I know its not what you were asking for, but might be an option if you just want a way of letting people know where you are and if you're OK without setting off an EPIRB.

If you're interested I can dig out the brochure and let you know what the product was.

SteveG

catch-22
5th January 2009, 02:34 PM
Great thanks all. As always, some excellent information.

It's time I got serious with safety and recovery....

Cheers
Caine

Forest
5th January 2009, 05:26 PM
SteveG - definatley interested. Anything will do, website, whatever, as what you are describing sounds perfect.

Have a family of youngsters, often out of range, great to have that sort of backup to lessen the potential worries of being out of contact, "in case".

catch-22
5th January 2009, 10:18 PM
If you're interested I can dig out the brochure and let you know what the product was.

SteveG

That sounds great Steve......if in your travels you come across it, would be great to read about how it communicates.

Cheers
Caine

2002TD5Auto
6th January 2009, 08:44 AM
I am looking at upgrading my GME TX670 hand held unit upgraded as I find it near useless if there is more then one tree round.

I want a good unit. Doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles but has to work in the case that I am stuck somewhere and need help. I have heard that the Icom units are the gun....GME are Aussie which I always like to support assuming it works as well as the others..

Also, I do not have an aerial and would like at least a 6db gain. Any brand or should I buy a specific one?

What range can I expect from your proposed solution?

Cheers
Caine

OTa little but can you please advise what the TX670s were like? I am looking at buying a pair for use on the ski slopes.

Also what about for convoy use?

Rosco
6th January 2009, 09:09 AM
On our recent ill fated trip we found a max range for UHF was about 20 km, but you had to be on top of a hill so it was virtually "line of sight" as previously stated. And that was with the squelch cranked up to max.

I think it was a 6dB aerial ... maybe 4, as its about 600mm long.

waynep
6th January 2009, 09:28 AM
That sounds great Steve......if in your travels you come across it, would be great to read about how it communicates.

Cheers
Caine

The device you are referring to is called the "Spot" messenger. Google it for their website. There's also a thread on AULRO about it. I was looking at these, but I still think a proper EPIRB is a better way to go. Reasons : The Spot Messenger uses a commercial satellite network ( Globalstar) which is old and has reported reliability issues. EPIRBs use a new satellite network specifically built for the purpose. There are ongoing service fees for a Spot, whereas an EPIRB there is not. Spot emergency calls go to an overseas commercially run help desk, whereas the EPIRB ones go directly to the Maritime Rescue centre in Canberra. ( I think it's Canberra ). I just think the EPIRB would get a faster response than a Spot. The Spot does have the ability to send "I'm OK" email message to your family or friends, or a "Help Needed" message for non emergency situation, whereas with an EPIRB you can only activate it in a full on emergency.

Drifting off topic a bit, sorry.

steveG
6th January 2009, 09:51 AM
SteveG - definatley interested. Anything will do, website, whatever, as what you are describing sounds perfect.

Have a family of youngsters, often out of range, great to have that sort of backup to lessen the potential worries of being out of contact, "in case".

Will see if I can find the brochure tonight. Pretty sure it was Rays Outdoors that I picked it up from if anyone else knows what the product is.

SteveG

steveG
6th January 2009, 09:55 AM
The device you are referring to is called the "Spot" messenger.
Thats it.
SPOT Satellite Messenger (http://www.findmespot.com/australianewzealand/index3.php)

Slunnie
6th January 2009, 10:49 AM
If there are other 4WDers in the area then there is just about always other vehicles with UHF's that you can contact. There is a scan function, so if anybody talks within range you will find them pretty much straight away. Even mainstream remote touring locations have a lot of 4WD's around, though not some of the more off the beat tracks where HF and Satphone are the only way (IMHO). Intergroup communications is almost exclusively UHF these days.

How I like to setup my 4WD is so that it looks as close to standard and factory as possible. I really hate things cluttering the place up and looking tacked on. Based on this I used the GME remote head UHF, so there is only the small radio face in the dash and I've mounted it under the cup holder. If I was to do it again I would use the GME unit that has all of the controls on the handset and all of the headunit is hidden under the dash. Admittedly its harder to hear the radio when under the dash so I have recently added a remote speaker that hangs off the roof - I'll take some pics today. Anyway, what I like about the new unit with the controls on the handset is that again you dont have to have anything on the dash and it remains clean so to speak.

In terms of unit I use GME personally and Icom handhelds professionally. Both are reliable.

In terms of tx/rx, I saw a test in one of the mags a few years ago where they compared GME and I'm pretty sure it was Icom. The differences in them was absolute minimum, marginally better performance from GME, but really there was *nothing* in it.

For aerials, when I originally setup I used an GME AE409L which could be setup as 6 or 9db. I almost always used it as a 6db because the 9db setup flexed too much on the car. What I find now is that the GME AE4700 series aerials are excellent, with the AE4705 4.5db glass aerial to be an excellent allround aerial for the bush and eastern highway work. I turn it off when I get to Sydney, but it works well there also. It's glass construction also makes it really strong but it is not the most discrete aerial on the planet. I use the GME AE4706 6db glass aerial when in the planes, desert etc and this one booms out - I have not come across an aerial out there that performs better than this one in that situation. All of the aerials that I use are GME (like the headset in the car) and all fit the 4700 series aerial spring base, so interchanging is a literally a 30sec job.

mcrover
6th January 2009, 11:06 AM
If your wanting to get more than about 50kms then UHF is not what you want.

You also dont want a 6Db gain aerial if there are tree's and hills around as all you will be doing is talking to trees and hills as the higher the gain the narrower the band.

But in saying that the lower the gain the shorter the distance thus your hand helds problem.

If your serious about it and have a grand to spend then put and external aerial on for you hand held and go buy a sat phone on the pay top use system.

Costs about $1k to buy outright and the calls are horribly expensive but your nearly guarenteed you will be able to contact anyone you want.

Either that or go the HF like previously stated or even a good SSB AM unit and learn how to use the skip :D

Xavie
6th January 2009, 11:39 AM
even a good SSB AM unit and learn how to use the skip :D

The good old days. I wish the 27mhz units were still used.

THE BOOGER
27th January 2009, 03:35 AM
27 meg is still used and ch 35 ssb has people on all day and night. i regularly get 1500 km as a mobile set up.
look up andrews communications he often has good second hand gear.
i have both uhf and am cb,s in my s111.