Tips and Tricks - Navigation/Communications
The setup in Grungle consists of an Icom IC-400Pro programmable UHF radio mounted under a Pioneer stereo where the OEM Nissan radio used to sit. The radio has been programmed with Police and Mine channels for the Mackay area. The IC-400Pro talks to the world via a GME AE4705 4.5dB UHF antenna mounted on the bulbar or a GME AE409L 6/9dB that we have packed as a spare. For long distance communications we utilise an Icom IC-F7000 HF radio connected to a Moonraker AT230 auto tune antenna located on the left wing of the bullbar. The head of the IC-F7000 is mounted in an Outback Roof Console with the transceiver being mounted under the drivers seat. The radio is pre-programmed with all major frequencies however I carry a programming lead and laptop loaded with the software to program new frequencies in when needed. We are members of VKS-737 (callsign Quebec 926) and have had great success picking up bases in Adelaide and Alice Springs whilst up in Cape York.
For out of car communications we use a Uniden UH-054 Aquamax waterproof UHF handheld Also used is a UBC-245XLT handheld scanner for long highway runs and keeping up with the boys in blue.
GPS Navigation is taken car of by a Garmin GPS76 which sits atop the dash in a Garmin vehicle mount. For better reception, an external Garmin GA 27C low profile antenna is mounted to the roof via a magnetic base. Data from the GPS76 is fed through out of site cables to an O2 XDA II via a genuine car kit. Software installed on the XDA II is Oziexplorer CE, Destinator PN, GPS Gate and NetGPS. Using Auslig maps installed on a 1Gig SD card, we can navigate throughout Australia with little worry of getting lost. GPS Gate is a great program that allows multiple GPS programs to operate at the same time by taking the GPS data on the serial port as the input and creating other virtual ports for data output that these programs then use. NetGPS is a small, freeware program you can use to see where people are in real-time as they travel around. It allows GPS coordinates to be sent via the GPRS network to a server that others with OziExplorer can then access to see where we are.
As a bonus, my work phone is a JasJam PDA so I have also installed a Bury carkit which allows hands free operation. The JasJam is also loaded with Oziexplorer CE and Destinator PN and communicates with a Qstarz bluetooth GPS. Maps and data are installed onto a 2Gb mini XD card.
Rick's GME TX4400 UHF radio is located using the 'dead' space behind the airbag cover as there are not many spaces to mount a DIN sized UHF without a remote head. A hole was cut in the cover to allow just the face of the radio to protrude whilst the whole assemble is securely fastened to the dash backing behind the cover and bulkhead tube-rail. Obviously this adaptation will only work if it is a non airbag model. On the dash is the GPS mount for his Garmin 12 GPS. It collects satellite signals very well in this position, avoiding the need for an external aerial.