Outback Communication

Outback Communication
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Mobile phones are great in capital cities, but out in the outback, it can be a different story. Yes, they still work, but sometimes not as effectively, so having alternatives can be very advantageous. In this article from Outback Queensland Tourism, there are a range of tips from the experts which will give you a better idea of how to get ready for your outback adventure.

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 (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.

Original Article and images by Outback Queensland




 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



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