UHF Radios are popular with caravan owners.

UHF Radios are popular with caravan owners.
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UHF CB Radio

Many trucks, 4WDs, caravans, campervans and em­er­gency service vehicles carry UHF CB radios. They offer a handy alter­n­ative to mobile phones for com­munica­tion or if you need em­er­gency assist­ance.

CB works any other kind of radio, it has to be on and tuned to right 'station' for you to hear anyth­ing. And, like talkback radio, every­one listen­ing in can hear what you say. Con­versat­ions are not priv­ate and other people can join in at any time.

UHF CB Radios do not require a licence to own or use, and there are no call charges. You cannot call a specific person, only speak on a channel and hope they are listen­ing. The range will vary with the power of the device and the antenna used. A hand-held device may only work over 1-2 km, enough to keep in con­tact with a travell­ing group, while a vehicle mount­ed unit can work much further.

UHF CB Radios use set frequenc­ies, call­ed channels, to talk to each other. Con­versat­ions are not priv­ate. Anyone within range and on the same channel, can listen in or join the con­versa­tion. Some people welcome new con­versat­ions, some don't. Channels are shar­ed and polite­ness is ex­pect­ed. Many channels have a specific purpose, such as being for em­er­gency calls only.

Channel Usage

Where Do We Start?
Channel 11 is used to con­tact other UHF CB users before moving to a free Chat Channel to con­tinue your con­versa­tion. You can meet nearby people here, but be polite and move the con­versa­tion to another channel.
Where Do We Chat?
Gener­al chatt­ing is done on channels 9, 12-17, 19-21, 24-28, 30, 49-60, 64-70 and 79-80. Move your con­versa­tion here after meet­ing some­one on the Call­ing Channel. Remember that con­versat­ions are not priv­ate and can be heard by anyone within range. Others may also join in un­ex­pectedly.
Are There Channels for 4WD Clubs and Con­voys?
Channel 10 is used by 4WD groups and clubs to stay in touch with each other. Use this channel if part of the group, otherw­ise use the gener­al chat channels. Also used in Nation­al Parks.
What is The Best Channel for Caravan and Camper Con­voys?
Channel 18 is used by travell­ing groups of caravans or campervans to stay in touch. If you're not part of the group, you may be able to introduce yourself if you're like-mind­ed or have some­­thing to add to the con­versa­tion. It's a great way to meet other groups travell­ing nearby.
Is There a Road Safe­ty Channel?
Channel 40 is used Australia-wide by truck drivers, pilot vehicles and over­siz­ed loads to let each other know about speci­al road con­dit­ions. Many travellers monitor this channel.
What Are Repeater Channels?
Repeaters relay your voice over a large area for long dist­­ance com­munica­tion, but this also pre­v­ents other people using the same channels. Use channels 1-8, 31-38, 41-48, 71-78 for this. Do not use these for gener­al chat.
Why Are Some Channels Dis­abl­ed?
Channels 22, 23, 61-63 are reserv­ed and not avail­able for voice chat. They are often dis­abl­ed on your radio.
Which Channel Should I Use in An Em­er­gency?
Channels 5 & 35 are for em­er­gency calls only. If you have a real em­er­gency use these to call for help, as you would by diall­ing 000 on a phone. Volunteers, police and em­er­gency services monitor these channels and will respond. There are heavy penal­ties for mis­u­sing the em­er­gency channels.

UHF Channel Signs

Often you will see a caravan or camper with a UHF Channel number on it. These people often happy to chat with locals or fellow travellers nearby. Introduce yourself!

Article updated 07/12/2021.

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