Travelling in out of the way areas? No cell phone coverage? No assistance if something goes wrong?
The New Zealand 4WD Radio Network is a group which uses HF SSB radio's as a reliable and effective way of communicating from areas where conventional communications - Cellular phones, Land Mobile RT's and CB's just don't work from.
The Long Distance Communications has proved a must for our safety and the safety of those travelling with us. It is peace of mind, knowing that communication is only a call away and not a long walk away. Graham Hilton. Hilty's Tours Ltd (G.D. Hilton Ltd). 4WD Tours and Trainers .
You may think NZ is small but there are plenty of areas cell phones don't work from.
Four hunters did most things wrong: police
We use and recommend both Codan HF SSB mobile and base station equipment.
The reliability of HF communications has now come a long way since the 4WD Radio Network was first started. With the replacement of base equipment, the addition of new frequencies and the ability to make calls to a landline now available, the system is becoming much more versatile.
need to have to carry different antennas for the different frequencies.
Interested in joining the NZ 4WD Radio Network??
Concerned about your personal communications and safety issues and the safety of others travelling with you when you are in out of the way places or want to know more??
NZ 4WD Radio Network Members GPS tracking log in here
So, what is required?
To operate with this group you will require a HF SSB radio that is capable of operating on upper sideband and transmitting at 100 watts. It must also have tone calling facilities. Both Codan & Barrett manufacture land mobile radio's especially designed for this purpose. They are available either new or secondhand. (It must be noted however that older Barrett equipment may not be able to handle the Codan GPS and Text messaging formats)
With new features the NZ 4WD Radio Network moves into the 21st century.
With a late model set (Codan 9323, NGT or Envoy) a GPS can be added to this versatile package. With GPS fitted to your HF radio you can get a fast and accurate GPS reading to let you know exactly where you are. With these radio’s you can send your GPS reference, request the GPS reference from another mobile that has GPS fitted, store you GPS reference as a waypoint (NGT only), and in an emergency have your GPS co-ordinates available for assistance. You can also send your GPS reference and have it come up on your own computer showing your location on Google Earth.
Example (click on link) Tuesday, 18th January 2011, 3:21 PM 171°13.7861'E 42°27.2839'S
With a late model set (Codan 9323, NGT or Envoy) you can send messages from one radio to another as a 64 character text message. Send to and receive messages from the base along with your GPS co-ordinates. With text messaging the only radio that can get your message is the one it is directed to making this a secure non voice message facility.
The NZ 4WD Radio Network now offers full GPS tracking and text message handling facilities. Your GPS references and text messages can now be sent and received from your computer browser. Your friends can keep in touch with you while your out 4WDing and view where you are. Makes it great for accurate recording of GPS positions and getting messages home when you are away without having to ring.
Selcall (Tone calling)
It will also be required to be able to send and receive Codan standard, tone calling. These tone-calling facilities will allow you to be able to call another base or mobile without having to use your voice. When the radio intended receives its own, unique & individual signal it will respond to you in a series of recognition beeps and will also ring to tell the operator that another radio is calling them.
Beacon & selective beacon calling
This allows for the testing out of the frequencies before a call is made. Because frequency reliability changes throughout the day, different frequencies can be used at different times. The later model sets (Codan 8528 onwards) allow the user to not only "check out" the signal from the base but also the signal to another individual members radio. This allows for much more reliable communications at any time of the day.
Telcall making a call to and from a landline
With a late model set (Codan 8528 onwards) the telephone interconnect will gain access to the telephone network, allowing for calls to be made anywhere in the world. This is achieved by direct access from the buttons on the front of the radio.
Hourly HF HAP Charts
Hourly HAP charts (High Altitude Propagation)
Click on this link for the Latest weather forecast
Gold Coast Australia
(HF Radio & Safety equipment hire) Jim was a friend of mine who sadly passed away on the 30th July 2009 after a short illness. He enjoyed his 4WDing and he had a wealth of experience as far as Codan HF radio's go. He always had a sense of humour and wrote the following guide about radio speak. (click this link) "No speaka da radio"
Communications are an important aspect to "Outback" travel. The Australian National 4WD Radio Network - VKS737 provide monitored HF SSB radio communications from bases all over Australia.
HF, SSB Radio
With the limitations of CB, UHF PRS radio's and cell phones etc it can often be difficult to get radio communications with the outside world while 4WDing, especially in an emergency situation. All of the above are limited to a "line of sight" connection with each other or thru a repeater on a high hill. If neither of these is available then you might as well throw the radio in a nearby stream.
For many years, long before cell phones came along, long haul trucking companies, government agencies like DoC and TVNZ used to keep in touch with their vehicles when out of their local RT coverage areas by HF SSB radios. As the years have gone by, with the advances in communications, many of these organisations have changed to "newer types" of communications. Some businesses and organisations like NZ Land SAR, Mountain Radio, DoC, On- Track 4WD and the Marine and Aviation industries still use these radios in mountainous or long distance areas where communications can be difficult.
In Australia, most commercial and government operators, to keep in touch with their people while away from civilization, use this type of communications in the "outback" areas. It is also used by the Australian National 4WD Radio Network (VKS737) to keep in touch with 4WDers where no other type of communications is available to them.
HF (High Frequency) is the radio spectrum with frequencies between 1.6 and 30MHz. Within this radio spectrum an efficient form of transmitter modulation, SSB (Single Side Band), is used. This, combined with the use of the ionosphere (a layer of ionization gases that resides between 100 and 700km above the earth's surface) provides efficient, cost effective communications over short, medium and long distances. It does this without the need for expensive re-transmission devices, such as the VHF or UHF repeaters or satellites.
When HF/SSB radio waves are generated by the transceiver there are usually two components:-
- The ground- wave, which travels directly from the transmitting antenna to the receiving antenna following the contours of the earth.
- The sky- wave, which travels upward and at an angle from the antenna, until is reaches the ionosphere (an ionized layer high above the earth's surface) and is refracted back down to earth, to the receiving antenna. (Often called "skip" by AM CB users.)
Generally speaking, ground- wave is used to communicate over shorter distances usually less than 50km. Because ground- wave follows the contours of the earth, therefore it is affected by the type of terrain it passes over. Ground wave is rapidly reduced in level when it passes over heavily forested areas or mountainous terrain.
Sky- wave can be used to communicate reliably over medium to long distances up to 3,000km. Whilst the nature of sky-wave propagation means it is not affected by the type of terrain, as are ground waves, it can be affected by other factors involving the ionosphere. Such as the time of day, weather Conditions and man-made electrical interference. For these reasons it can often be easier to talk to someone who is 800km away rather than another who may only be 30km away.
Article written by Malcolm Langley (www.on-track4wd.co.nz)
© On-Track 4WD 2012