Australia 2010

A circumnavigation (with risks).

Australian CB radio.

For Sale: I have now returned to the UK and removed my GME TX3100 CB Radio and matching antennae from my truck. If you are planing to take your motorhome to Australia (or even hire a campervan there) and would like to have a suitable CB radio before you go please contact me.

Many 4x4s, nearly all long distance trucks, and most privately owned (i.e. not hired) campervans are equipped with a CB (Citizen's Band) two way radio. As is Man now.

CB radio in Australia is significantly different from CB radio in Europe, both technically and in the way it is used.

European CB radios work on the 27 Mhz band (AM or FM) and are used almost exclusively between vehicles. In Europe CB radio has little or no official recognition and is not considered as a means of communication in an emergency.

Modern Australian CB radios operate in the UHF band (476.425 to 477.400 MHz), are limited to 5 watts and require no licence. As in Europe the CB band is divided into 40 channels. Unlike Europe some of these channels are potentially duplex where public repeaters are available (see below).

All CB radio in Europe and most CB radio in Australia is simplex. That is both transmission and reception are on the same channel (say 5). Whilst one radio transmits on channel 5 the other receives on channel 5.

When used vehicle-to-vehicle Australian CB radios seems to work up to about 20kms in open country.

However in some parts of Australia there are public repeater stations with receivers and transmitters sited on hills. These allow CB radio to be used in duplex mode. In duplex mode transmission and reception are on different channels. So for example when channel 5 duplex is selected reception is on channel 5 but transmission actually occurs on channel 35. The repeater station receives the transmission on channel 35 and re-transmits it on channel 5. This can greatly increase the range of communication.

Channels 1 thru 8 are reserved for duplex mode using channels 31 thru 38.

Channel 5 (and hence 35) is officially reserved for emergencies.

Channel 22 and 23 are reserved for telemetry.

By convention channel 10 is used by 4x4s, channels 18,19 and 20 by motorhomes and channel 40 by trucks.

Because modern UHF CB radios (like the GME TX3100) are able to scan all 40 channels in less than 2 seconds it is easily possible to monitor all channels.

It is quite common to see signs like "John & Mary - UHF 18" on the back of caravans and motorhomes. Some roadside advertising for stores and/or camping areas include a channel number to contact them.

In built up areas some channels (particularly 40) become unusable due to abusive and/or racist calls.