Outback Communication

Travelling in isolated locations doesn’t necessarily mean you’re isolated. There are several options for communicating in Outback Queensland, and it’s important to stay in touch in remote areas.

Thankfully there are easier ways of communicating than this display at the Quilpie Information Centre!

Thankfully there are easier ways of communicating than this display at the Quilpie Information Centre!

Mobile Coverage

Longreach, Mount Isa, Charleville and Birdsville have coverage from Telstra and Optus networks. Outside of these towns only the Telstra Next G network is available, usually within a 20km radius of towns. There is limited mobile phone coverage in the far South West corner of the region, west of Quilpie to Bedourie. Public phones are available in all towns, and satellite phones are recommended for extended travel in this area.

Satellite Phones

Sat phones connect to orbiting satellites rather than cell towers on the ground, giving access to communication in areas where there is no mobile coverage. There are a range of options available with varying degrees of performance versus cost, be sure to research the best option for your needs and your travel plans.

UHF

UHF CB is an abbreviation for Ultra High Frequency Citizen Band Radio, UHF CB Radio is freely available to all Australians and does not require a license or registration to use. Ensuring you can communicate from your vehicle to other vehicles in close proximity is essential for safety reasons (eg. warn oncoming vehicles when visibility is impaired), can aid in navigation (convoy procedures), and call to nearby travellers for help. Handheld or in-car UHFs are available, though radios have a limited range of around 5km to 20km and good reception is heavily dependent on terrain. Hilly or densely vegetated areas can reduce transmission considerably. Using this type of radio on a high hill or tower can also increase its range.
A handy list of properties and their UHF channels is included in the rear of the Atlas of QLD and NT Pastoral Stations, by Terrence Alick Mapping (http://alickmaps.com.au/).

 

UHF Radio Channel Allocation

 

 Channel:

Frequency:

Use:

 Channel  1  476.425  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  2  476.450  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  3  476.475  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  4  476.500  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  5  476.525  Duplex – Repeater Output – (Emergency use only)
 Channel  6  476.550  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  7  476.575  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  8  476.600  Duplex – Repeater Output
 Channel  9  476.625  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  10  476.650  Simplex     4WD Drivers – Convoy, Clubs & National Parks
 Channel  11  476.675  Simplex     Call Channel
 Channel  12  476.700  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  13  476.725  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  14  476.750  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  15  476.775  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  16  476.800  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  17  476.825  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  18  476.850  Simplex     Caravan & Campers Convoy Channel
 Channel  19  476.875  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  20  476.900  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  21  476.925  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  22  476.950  Data Only (No Voice – No Packet)
 Channel  23  476.975  Data Only (No Voice – No Packet)
 Channel  24  477.000  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  25  477.025  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  26  477.050  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  27  477.075  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  28  477.100  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  29  477.125  Simplex    Pacific Hwy (NSW) & Bruce Hwy (Qld) Road Channel
 Channel  30  477.150  Simplex   UHF CB Broadcasts
 Channel  31  477.175  Repeater Input
 Channel  32  477.200  Repeater Input
 Channel  33  477.225  Repeater Input
 Channel  34  477.250  Repeater Input
 Channel  35  477.275  Repeater Input     (Emergency Use Only)
 Channel  36  477.300  Repeater Input
 Channel  37  477.325  Repeater Input
 Channel  38  477.350  Repeater Input
 Channel  39  477.375  Simplex     Conversations
 Channel  40  477.400  Simplex     Highway Channel

Channels 1 to 8
Repeater Channels Press the DUPLEX button on your radio to use any available repeaters.

Channel 5 & 35
Emergency use only – Monitored by volunteers, by law no general conversations are to take place on this channel.

Channels 22 & 23
Data transmissions only (Excluding Packet)

Channels 31 to 38
Repeater inputs – These channels are received by a repeater and re-transmitted on channels 1 to 8 to help increase the communication distance.

The Australian Government has legislated that channels 5 & 35 on the UHF CB Band are reserved for emergency use only.

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