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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.

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 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 (

UHF Radio Channel Allocation

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.

UHF Radio Channel Allocation

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