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.
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.
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 (http://alickmaps.com.au/).
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||476.425||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|