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HF Information

Vehicle, Koni and Communications

 

VEHICLE AND EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION

UHF 80 CHANNELS, EPIRBS / PLB's, SPOT &
GROUND TO AIR EMERGENCY CODES

Updated Feb 2016

 

UHF CHANNEL USE IN AUSTRALIA

 

   USED FOR    CHANNEL/S           COMMENTS
   Calling
   Established by Law
   11    To call or locate another station.
   Parties then switch to a conversation channel    
   General conversations    9
   12, 13, 14, 15, 16
   17, 19, 20, 21
   24, 25, 26
   27, 28, 39
   49 to 60, 64 to 70
   79, 80
   Open channels for normal conversation    
   Highway
   Communications
   29    Mainly used by Truck Drivers and other highway users on the Pacific Highway in N.S.W.
   & Bruce Highway in Qld.
       40    Mainly used by Truck Drivers and other Highway users Australia wide but not usually on
   the Pacific Highway in N.S.W. or Bruce Highway in Qld.
   Canning Stock Route also uses Ch40
   Caravans
   Campers
   18    Holiday Maker's communication channel, Caravan & Campers in convoy
   4WDs    10    Used by 4WD enthusiasts, clubs, convoys and in national parks
   UHF CB broadcasts    30    Early Warning Network emergency alerts via UHF CB radio
   Emergency Calling
   Established by Law
   5 & 35    Can be used by anyone in an emergency situation ONLY, monitored by volunteers
   Repeaters
   Established by Law
   1 to 8, 41 to 48
   31 to 38, 71 to 78
   In duplex mode, repeaters need two channels to work in order to re-transmit your signal
   giving you an extended potential range of up to 100 kms depending on your location.
   Repeater output channels are 1 - 8 (5 - EMERG use only) & 41 to 48. Repeater inputs
   are 31 to 38 (35 - EMERG use only) & 71 to 78 (selected automatically). To use, if
   within range of a repeater, you select a repeater output channel and your radio, when
   set to duplex, automatically transmits your message on the corresponding repeater
   input channel.These are paired, e.g. repeaters that use channel 1 for output always
   receive on channel 31 and so on.
   Operation in simplex mode on these channels is not permitted when within range of
   a repeater.
   Data Transmissions
   Established by Law
   22, 23    No voice transmissions allowed on these two channels

 

E.P.I.R.Bs or P.L.Bs

    An EPRIB is a compact, buoyant, self contained radio beacon which continuously emits a distinctive radio signal to a satellite for at least 48 hours when activated. A PLB is smaller and designed to be carried or worn and has a shorter activation time (minimum 24 hours). When the signal is detected (units with GPS will allow pinpointing of your location to within about 100m's depending on the unit) the Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra initiates a response using locally based rescue services. EPIRBs should only be used as a last resort when in imminent danger. Other communications such as a radio and flares should be used first.

Some important points about EPIRBs

    Make sure you register your device with the AMSA; it is free to register and includes your details as well those of your selected contacts.
    Ensure your EPIRB container is not cracked or showing signs of damage and batteries are within their shelf life.
    Use the test switch at least once a month to verify power and replace once the battery life has passed (batteries are not rechargeable or replaceable)
    Keep accessible
    Extend or release the aerial to its full length
    Do not store in high temperatures, or near magnetic sources or high pressure water sprays
    Once activated, leave the EPIRB on until told to switch it off by an SAR authority.

    As of the 1st February 2009 the global search and rescue satellite system only operates on the distress frequency of 406 MHz. Registered beacons on this frequency are much easier to locate as they are more accurate and also contain particular details about the owner. Consequently false alerts can be resolved by a quick radio or telephone call.

    They are available in compact sizes to enable them to be carried easily.

    It is important to remember that once activated the response to your EPIRB signal by a search and rescue authority may be many hours, especially if you are in a remote location.

 

SPOT DEVICES

    Small & portable, SPOT devices are available now at prices ranging currently from $200 to $240. Additionally you pay a yearly subscription of US$164.99 with extra features available for a further cost. See the website SPOT for more information.

    Basically they are a small portable device that, like a GPS, require a clear view of the sky in order to get the best signal through to satellites thereby not relying on mobile phone services (use with the logo-side up as the antenna is under the logo). They run on 4 x AAA batteries (Energizer Ultimate Lithium 8x recommended, or rechargeable) or via USB (the unit is not waterproof when run via USB nor does this charge rechargeable batteries). They recommend keeping your Spot at least 12 inches away from other GPS devices. When on 24 hours per day the SOS feature will run for about 13 days in optimal conditions. Tracking for 8 hours per day the batteries will last for about 20 days @ 2.5 minute tracking to around 156 days @ 60 minute intervals.

    Services on offer (one way communication only) -:

 

GROUND TO AIR EMERGENCY CODE

    You get into trouble in the middle of nowhere, set off your distress beacon and wait for the aircraft to arrive. What then? There is a set of internationally recognised distress signals known as the Ground-Air Visual Signal Code that can be used to convey simple messages to an overflying search aircraft where there is no other means of communication.

    However, there has been some confusion lately as to which signals are correct. The confusion has come about since some of the signals were either changed or withdrawn in 1986, the most significant being the changing of the X signal to mean 'require medical assistance'. The authoritative publication in Australia on this issue is the National Search and Rescue Manual and the relevant table is shown below.

Ground - air visual signal code for use by survivors

   NUMBER        MESSAGE    CODE SYMBOL
   1    Require Assistance    V
   2    Require Medical Assistance    X
   3    Proceeding in this Direction        Arrow
   4    Yes or Affirmative    y
   5    No or Negative    N

Note : If in doubt use International symbol - SOS

    Basically, these symbols can be made on the ground by using rocks or other material or using ready-made V-Sheets etc. You must ensure that the symbols are large enough to be seen by an aircraft flying overhead. The pilot will respond if the signal is understood by rocking the aircraft's wings during daylight or flashing the aircraft's landing lights or navigation lights ON and OFF twice.

    These signals are worthwhile remembering to indicate to a search aircraft that your party is in distress or, if the search aircraft cannot land close by, giving the pilot more information about the situation for relaying to a ground party or more suitable rescue aircraft that is making its way towards you.

 

 

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Email : Beadell Tours

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