April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

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emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » January 1st, 2015, 9:18 am

It's New Year and we've spent the past week in Areyonga 220k's SW of Alice where I've been doing locum work at the clinic. It's a good community & I've enjoyed working with the people here. It's not without its issues but wouldn't be a bad place to settle for a while. It's also been exceptionally nice living within 4 solid walls again....and air con! I could get used to this again.

Last night was pretty noisy with a few parties around with blaring music. Just after MN a disagreement broke out with smashing against iron sheeting, lots of yelling & carrying on, which saw the dispersal of most of the people there back to their own houses. The yelling, dogs fighting & kids calling out continued til at least 2am before all went quiet. No different to down home I guess. Along with all this is the braying of the local donkeys. The funny thing is we haven't slept so well for so long, out like a light every night.....no damn screeching pink/grey galahs all hours of the day & night, no noise of wind rustling through the tarp & tent, no constant cleaning off the layers of red dirt, no sharing of bathroom facilities. Bliss!

I applied to do my Grad Cert Remote Health Practice at Flinders Uni this year, which is a pretty tough course of 18 units in 6 months, & have been lucky enough to secure a scholarship to cover some of the costs. Just as I'm seeing so many of my age group settle into comfortable & unchallenging work routines eventually winding down to retirement, I have the urge to keep upskilling, keep the mind constantly ticking over, with no thoughts of retiring. Work is very competitive up here, even in nursing, & the ability to outskill other workers is what gives us the edge. I said to Wayne that March to November will be months of doing no trips other than firewood collection in order for me to complete the workload at Uni. Then we can look at a remote posting.

So, Happy New Year to all of you & hope that 2015 is full of hope, prosperity, adventure & safe travels
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

TLC60S
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by TLC60S » January 1st, 2015, 2:46 pm

Happy New Year emjan.

Cheers TLC60S

Peter Aawen
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by Peter Aawen » January 2nd, 2015, 6:20 am

Yeah, all the best for the New Year for you both, & I hope that the study goes well - sounds pretty intensive but worth it in the long run. Don't forget that if you ever need a place to prop for a couple days if you are down south, you can always gimme a bell! (we have 4 walls & air con too...) :sillywink:
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » January 2nd, 2015, 8:31 pm

Thanks Peter, will do!
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » June 6th, 2015, 8:28 am

Another 6 months have flown and we find ourselves living in Harts Range off the Plenty Highway. I accepted a remote position a few weeks ago and we moved out here last weekend. First week in theclinic has been busy and we have had in this time three evacs to Alice Springs. It's a really nice community, very family orientated. We're here for 6 months+ and the demands of work are a small price to pay for a roof over our heads after camping 3 winters and 2 summers in Alice. We were over the mouse plague which started a few months ago and having clothes, bedding and food drawers damaged by the critters.

We were really excited about the move to Harts and look fwd to weekends off and fossicking in the area. Spotted Tiger campground has reopened after being closed with road damage following heavy rains last Jan. The Plenty Hwy is currently being graded and much more pleasant to drive on that when we came back here last Sept.

Still no internet but hope to have satellite broadband installed in about a month. Speaking of satellite....our P.O.S. satellite phone has gone back to Melb for repairs. Apart from that one time we needed to use it last year it's been a total waste of money. Hasn't worked properly since then, we've wasted so much money on air time and and post paid plan. Seriously considering tossing it when it comes back and getting a HF radio. At least with HF you don't have to stand away from the car and wait for a satellite to come over. The ones in the work troopies have been playing up and are not known for their reliability.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » June 6th, 2015, 8:44 am

Also meant to mention that we've mostly solved our Ark Pack issues. After a distastrous Easter with it we dropped in to our fabulous mechanic out at Ilparpa and Andrew found the one of the wires unattached and caught under the battery from when the new battery was installed in it last year in Colac! Most of the wires were loose which could've been due to travelling over corrugations, but the trapped wire was sheer carelessness and we were pretty peed off with the shoddy products and workmanship done on our Nav before we left Vic.

The spotties which were purported to be HID's were cheap chinese knockoffs that we paid dearly for. The relay box has burnt out in them and will cost $$$ to get repaired. Still deciding whether to cut our losses and just go for a decent pair from ARB when we're next in town. Thinking about them, the Ark pack, the no-name UHF antenna that's held together with rescue tape, and the crimping not soldering that has been the bane of our lives, and I would always say unless you can do a good job yourself go to someone reputable with respectable brands that gives good after sales service. When you travel on the rough roads up here quality, reliability, and good customer service go a long way.

With the Ark pack we also had constant problems with the fridge plug loosening with vibrations so Andrew installed a screw in plug and we've since had no issues.

Hope all you guys are keeping well and getting in pretty of dirt tracks
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » July 12th, 2015, 8:45 am

We heard back about the Inmarsat sat phone. An issue with the GPS fixator in the motherboard means repair would be lengthy and almost the cost of a new phone. For a 2 yo barely used phone that was it, we were out in the cold without a phone, no goodwill or anything. We were offered an unused slightly older phone as a replacement for $780 but thought that a very poor offer and customer service. Just waiting to hear if we will get any refund on the post paid contract which seems unlikely.

At this stage we plan to save for a HF system, considering the cost of a sat phone, the cost of post paid airtime ($720+ pa), a HF sounds better value all the time. At least that way we won't have to rely upon whether a satellite is overhead when we need to use it.

The argument the salesman from the sat phone company put out was that if we had a rollover we wouldn't be able to use the HF, my argument was in that situation we'd be unlikely to be able to use the sat phone if we were trapped in the car and unable to get a satellite fix, and that it that situation we'd be whipping out the PLB to use.

What have been other peoples experiences of HF vs Sat Phones? I'd been interested to hear.

Now 7 weeks in Harts Range and loving the remoteness. We did a drive to the Spotted Dog mine last weekend. About 1 hour to drive 14kms, great little 4WD track which I would rate in parts as moderately challenging. The views were spectacular, track ends near the remains of an old miners hut which has no roof, a cement base and hand built kitchen which still looks usable. We plan to do some camping and walks there when I get the August study block out of the way, pretty snaky area which needs to be considered.

And like the whole of the Central Harts Range area, a gem fossickers paradise.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

Peter Aawen
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by Peter Aawen » July 12th, 2015, 11:30 am

When you buy your HF, buy an 'emergency antenna' too. Then if you happen to roll-over in such a way that you can't use your HF auto-tune antenna (not all that likely if it's been mounted properly) then all you do is connect the emerg ant to the auto tune whip base or direct to the HF box & then lay the length of wire out along the ground or over a tree.... you'll probably have restricted the potential range a little, so it probably won't be quite up to 2000km (altho depending on the ionosphere & skip, you might even get better!!) but these modern HF's need to be pretty substantially shattered before they can't get a signal out!! And like you say, if it's that bad, there's always the PLB!!

I think I mentioned when I saw you that so far I've NEVER yet failed to contact SOMEONE when I needed to & was able to get help when needed via the HF, but that I've frequently been unable to get emergency help or often even contact via a sat phone WHEN I've really needed it!! I know I've said it here on the Forum before, but I reckon an HF should still be your first choice of emergency comms (not necessarily to the exclusion of having an emergency beacon tho!) - while a Sat phone can still be a 'convenience' & very helpful at times, IMO they aren't as regularly reliable in reaching out for emergency help. In my experience, an HF WILL work for that, to the extent that I've used the HF to contact Charters Towers from a deep valley in the Hi Country (where the Sat phone was nothing but an expensive brick) & thru that contact was able to arrange an emergency evac that let us get a 4WD'er with a shattered leg out of the bush to meet up with an ambulance that then took her to the nearest hospital in time for an air ambulance pick-up early the next day - and that's just ONE of many instances where the HF has been far more reliable than a satphone too!!

I've found that at least with an HF you will most likely always be able to contact SOMEONE, & invariably people using HF radio's are the types who WILL help if needed, even if it's just passing on a message! Sat phones can be handy WHEN & IF they work, but that relies on the satellites & sooo much more too, including having a number/contact on the other end who can/will help appropriately in an emergency - but then you might spend an hour or more with no signal at all, or if you are in a dead spot (one of many in Aust, particularly in our mountains & remote/rough areas where the rocks themselves interfere with the signal!) you might hafta move some kms just to get a signal, & even then you still need to be able to contact someone who can help, which isn't always easy either!! At least with an HF you will most likely be able to contact someone, not necessarily the person you aimed to contact initially, but still... invariably it'll be someone who can & will help. Can you tell that I've found sat phones to be 'less than helpful' in an emergency while the tried & trusted HF has always come thru?!

Anyhow, apart from those little niggles, sounds like you are still enjoying your 'trip' & finding some fantastic country & great experiences!! :thumb:
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

emjan
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Location: Alice Springs, NT

Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » July 12th, 2015, 4:16 pm

Thanks Peter, that's great info and just as I thought about Sat Phns', glad it's not just an isolated incident with me trying to get a line out, & that included keeping the dialling out instructions with the phone so I could do it right. When we were stranded on the Plenty Hwy last Sept 17kms from the Stuart after the wheel came off the camper trailer, we had so many people stop to give assistance, including a guy driving an empty road train who offered to winch the CT up his back trailer & transport it into town, except we'd already called Outback Recovery on the sat ph....last call it ever made.

I found the sat ph frustrating to say the least. The convo I had with the phone dealer when he phoned to say the ph was not worth repairing turned interesting when I said we would not replace it, had no faith in his products & were going to get a HF system. He said they were not reliable, used too much battery power, were very expensive, and were not a private line, citing his years of working in army communications making him the authority on the subject. I said they couldn't be any more unreliable than a sat ph and we'd made up our minds. End of story. We'll start looking around for a HF now, thanks, Peter, for the advice.

Yes, pretty much loving the life up here. I have to fly back to Melb next week to catch up with family, it'll be good to see them but even better to get back 'home' here, it really changes the way you look at life....for the better.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » March 12th, 2016, 5:00 pm

We've been at Harts Range for almost 9 months now and the feet are starting to get itchy again. Well actually most of me is itchy thanks to the way the water is treated here and the high alkaline pH. We're now considering the last leg of this journey and I've applied to an agency so that we can work remote area nurse postings around WA. 2-3 weeks here and there up to Kunnunurra across the Fitzroy Crossing, down the west coast to Geraldton, then across to the goldfields of WA before heading back to Alice to organise our stuff in storage for shipping back home.

I'm grateful we have a fabulous tenant in our home SW Vic who has allowed us the flexibility to keep travelling. I guess if she decides to move then that could see us moving home and either working there or doing remote fly in/fly outs for a few weeks at a time.

Our time frame for the trip is variable anywhere from 6 months to 2-3 years. I'm thinking of Salary Packaging through my union a 2nd hand troopie V8 and take 2 vehicles. Just a thought at the moment.

We ended up getting another Inmarsat Sat ph, Peter, really needed something portable to use when on the road for work. The work troopies use Iridium and it's handy having the other satellite provider to keep us covered, Wayne is still considering an HF...when he can work out where it will go in the dash or wherever. Also haven't yet found a seller/installer of HF's up here. The Sat pre paid provider we are with is much much cheaper than the one used by MGLSAT. $180 for 6 months, tax deductable coz we live remote. Sweet.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

TLC60S
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by TLC60S » March 15th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Hi emjan
Good to here the journey continues taking you to more places, it sounds like you both are having fun .
Enjoy your 4WDriving & exploring.

Cheers TLC60S

emjan
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Joined: November 5th, 2012, 4:59 pm
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » January 12th, 2017, 4:19 pm

Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year. We've been on the road since 21/12, home to Melb for family duties over Christmas and then into Central Vic State forests for some gold detecting for another week before leaving Vic last Monday and travelling through SA before we head up the Stuart to Alice tomorrow morning. Have had a fantastic time, really enjoyed the travels and tracks, especially as it was thee virgin run for our new old 4wd, a 1999 75 series troopster, amazing old girl. We've swagged it the last 3weeks which we rigged up on a queen camp stretcher with a couple of 10lt water bottles holding up the excess. Before we left I bought a 11cm swag mattress from Drifters Creek which has been a back saver and the swag has been comfortable except for the hump in the centre from the stretchers sides. People we've met have been fascinated by our set up and mostly it has gone well. Morning pack ups were stressful trying to remember what goes where in the back of the troopster resulting in heated, fractious discussions, and the frustration of trying to access things packed behind the front seats took its toll as well. Has to be a better solution. We still have all the side seats which are folded up so it's hard to actually plan how to pack, especially with just 2 doors. So, stopped at Port Augusta at a motel tonight, hoping to avoid the massive storm forecasted for SA tomorrow morning. If Marla not too hot we'll stop there the night, otherwise we'll keep going, but looking forward to one on the roadhouse's excellent pub meals either way.

Had hoped to catch up with you Peter but had lost your ph number and travels through SA were pretty much a whirlwind.
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

emjan
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Re: April 2013 around aus trip in the planning

Unread post by emjan » July 14th, 2018, 11:00 pm

I'm going to draw this topic closed for a while. After 5 years away and camping through another torrid summer in Alice with over 80% of 6 months of hot season over 40C Wayne decided he wanted us to return home to Vic, heaven knows why. I got a job in Western Victoria in April so we packed up, bid our sad farewells and hit the road for home. It broke my heart leaving my wonderful kungas who were more like family than family, and wonderful memories and achievements to keep close forever. I cried all the way to the border. We were also leaving a fantastic mechanic who kept our 4wds happy.

We endured massive storms through South Australia which forced our hand to keep driving as the weather wasn't very camper trailer friendly.

Arriving in Ararat where we had to camp for 9 weeks til tenants had vacated our house we endured the decline in comfortable weather and went into survival mode enduring freezing cold days in our exposed campsite. After 5 years of camping it was unbelievable to be sleeping in a comfortable bed again that we didn't have to shimmy our behinds off, and with a solid roof over our heads, an icy bathroom we didn't have to share with 30 other people ......and warmth.

While we didn't get to experience other regions of Australia that we were planning to travel we loved Central Australia with its culture, people, geography and isolation. While we're not planning any trips away in the near future I can sense it won't be long before we start to get itchy feet again and we'll be dusting off the camper trailer before we know it. Wayne just has to get some necessary repairs completed first.

Cheers to all,
Mary
Born again 4WD-er. 08 Navara D40 spain

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