Anyone Using Codan for Phone Patch???

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 20:39
ThreadID: 122947 Views:4109 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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Lone Ranger here... Considering wider range of phone patch for remote surrounds, you know, check in with home or Shop while a bit out past the Black Stump sort of thing. Satellite Phones are all the Rage, look I know that, but it goes against my grain sort of...

I am an old HAM Operator, and have had a VKS or VK5 or something like that Call Sign for Outback Radio, can't remember what, it was years ago. Started out on the Mickey Mouse Net, MM (Maritime Mobile)... KB6KFX, then N6NHK, and I have forgotten the rest. Kenwood, Yuasu, Icom gear.. I still have a Kenwood TS-50S, in storage somewhere. But it is in the "too hard basket" to use bootleg for phone patch... The new Codans are fully programmable from what I hear.

So, anyone using it? Cost for a phone patch? Royal Flying Doctors? Commercial Phone Patch?

Yes it is a little antiquated. Yes, I am probably out of touch and a little old fashioned... Yes, I like it that way. And isn't it funny that a lot of the Outback still have the big Codan Auto Tuner Antennae on the bullbar, oil service, drilling rigs, many commercial Outback operations seem to like the old Codan style...

In truth, in time of National Security or other international stress, the Codan would probably last a lot longer than the satellites... Ha! In fact, Short Wave is always the "Last Stand"... Satellites are more modern and civilized, but in time of any kind of emergency Hams are the ones that get the information through... Antartica to Chernobyl, Short waves are still the Kings... But don't listen to me, I travel with horses... Ha! Lol.....

Maybe I am staying old fashioned by design.. Will wait to hear from you, Regards,
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Reply By: Fosssil - Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 21:11

Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 21:11
Hi Steve,
I was reading about this topic the other day...Here is the link in case you have not seen it

Site Link

#WhyUse HF Radio @ ExplorOz
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 22:18

Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 22:18
Thanks Fosssil,
You must be glued to the Internet all the time!!! Anyways, I will wait to hear from any others using them currently, as I have heard a few rumours....

Like that the RFDS is not listening on HF anymore... A phone call sets off the alarm now.. You know that kind of rumour, probably spread by Sat phone people. But will wait to hear... I think a Codan might be under the Christmas Tree Ha!

Or Barrett???? Anybody out there with any thoughts on all of this???
Regards, Ranger
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Follow Up By: Fosssil - Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 22:25

Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006 at 22:25
I am a little worried about HF's longevity.
I noticed that they talk about BPL (BROADBAND OVER POWERLINES...)...destroying HF.
There is talk that BPL may be the death of HF in Australia, due to excessive interference caused by BPL...and that would be a great pity....Plenty of info on the net about it all.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 00:49

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 00:49
Oh boy, that one does throw a spanner in the works alright... Might not be able to buy the Missus a Codan for Christmas after all... Ha! Ranger,

Will see what more we can find out like a VKS exemption protection and such to the Broadband frequency, before investing in the Codan/Barrett
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Reply By: NIK `N` OFF - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 01:38

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 01:38
Hi Steve,

Ive been a member of the VKS-737 network for around 6-7 years now and recently joined the HF Club as well.

I mainly use our set to stay in contact with mates scattered around Oz and when i think about it i listen in to the SKEDS of an evening picking up on weather and road conditions.

The HF club have a relatively inexpensive phone patch system whereas you deposit their 'call bank' with an amount of $50 [min] and work off it, accounts are sent out to you when the balance gets to $20, requesting a top up. Charges are worked out at $1 connection plus the 1st minute and .50c per minute after that to a max of 6 mins. [Mobile rates are slightly higher] At present this system is operating through 3 bases around Oz, Casino NSW, Cooladi Qld & Albany WA.

Not sure if the VKS network still do this but a few years back i 'hired' a 2nd selcall number from them for $10 a month and was able to us that selcall to call one desiginated phone number, our home.

HF's are not infallible some times due to atmospheric conditions it is just impossible to get out to a particular station but in the case of emergencies i'd be certain in saying that someone somewhere would hear you. For those venturing into the back blocks I would also carry a personal EPIRB.

Mick & Vickie

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:08

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:08
Hello Mick and Vick,

Yes, I held an Outpost Radio License here in Oz back in the 1990's around 94-?? Anyway, just played with HAM with my Kenwood TS-50S, now mothballed since about maybe 98 or 99. But it was comforting way out Bush as I had Little Ones on board in the Outback. The number one rule of HF is that in an Emergency, there are NO rules, and I could put out a big MAY-DAY that would be heard on HAM Nets all over Creation.


I had no idea about the Radiation of "Broadband over Powerlines" ADSL using the powerlines as radiating antennaes, potential for massive HF interference, THIS ONE IS NEW!!! You know anything about this? It would stop my Codan /Barrett investment if it is a real concern as this site suggest...?????? Is HF in Danger?? What have you heard through your VKS Network??

Regards, Ranger, doing research right here, right now...

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:21

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:21
One more thing M&V,
I used to Teach HAM License, Electronics, Theory, Morse Techniques for speed, at night for the Maritime Mobil Net, back in the days when you actually had to be a Tech to get the License.... I seem to remember that the current Solar Cycle will peak in 2011, doesn't that mean HF will continue to improve over this time...?

I can't remember my own HF Theory as I taught it in about 1984 or so... Been a few years... But the High end of the Solar Cycle I seem to remember high end HF range?
Excited Ionosphere better bounce, have I got that right? It is amazing how much you forget things you do not use.. I used to be a Whiz at this stuff, now can hardly remember how it works.. But if I am correct, then HF use will improve over the next five years or so before conditions start to wane..

Let me know if I have just made a big stupid or not... Ha!

Regards, Ranger...
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Reply By: Motley - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:29

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:29
Hi Steve,

I have a Codan NGT AR fitted. Have used it a lot for phone patching. Very dependent upon atmospherics, like all HF stuff but have made calls to family etc from remote places and in a couple of instances made contact when even Satellite couldn't do it!

Service I use is provided by Lake Macquarie Communications although I know there are others as well.

Have a look here - Lake Macquarie Communications

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:51

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 02:51
Thank you Motley,
Two questions please, if you don't mind,

1) The Codan NGT AR certainly looks like the "Latest and Greatest".... Scrolling on down, I noticed the ICOM F7000 at the bottom that says it is a "Wide Band Receiver" in its credits. Looks like a Modified HAM rig.. I used to like to travel listening to Worldwide News on HF in English from various countries. Is that what they mean, and does the Codan have that full frequency ability to use as an HF Receiver for news like that as well? ICOM used to be one of the best..

2) Can you give me any other equipment suggestions from your own use and research?

I am long out of touch with HAM and HF equipment, that is why this BPL interference issue was a bit of a shock...

Regards, stg
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Follow Up By: Motley - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:25

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:25

The Codan NGT AR is software driven and it's a matter of getting the right frequencies programmed. When you subscribe to VKS737, they have what they call a standard profile which includes the RFDS Channels, VKS Channels, Phone Patch Channels ans well as the ABC on various frequencies out of Katherine, Alice Springs etc. You also get Voice of America and BBC Channels.

It's a matter of knowing what frequencies are out there and getting them programmed.

I researched pretty thoroughly when I bought the Codan and came down on its side rather than Barrett because of the software basis and the fact that all control is through a compact handpiece.

Turist has also just had one fitted. Codan are an Australian company but you will see on their site that they are the "standard" for all UN installations worldwide amongst others.

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Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:32

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:32
Hi Steve

I have sent an email off to the VKS 737 Network asking those questions and let you know what i get back. I am certainly no expert on this, just a happy user. is their web site & contact numbers.

My Codan is a 9323 model with up to 400 programable channels, i have around 40-50 fitted, apart from the club & network frequencies i have Weather, World news & Australia radio channels. I have even got a freq for the PNG Army :-) though i have never heard anything transmitted on the frequency. The same goes for the NGT but being newer it has even more features and all controls are on the handpiece and yes it is a fancy piece of gear, a mate has a NGT and it has performed faultlessly.


Mick & Vickie

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Reply By: Mobi Condo - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:27

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:27
Hello - on the thread of the interference - we have been with BushTelegraph for 6 years now - mainly use the Rad Phone service when necessary through Wayne Reids services in Cowra etc. I wonder what the problem is when out back and not near any Electrical cables etc. Maybe I am a bit niave about it all. Looking for more Tech input.
Cheers - Ian & Sally
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Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:39

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 03:39
Forgot to add the HF Club, apart from their own frequencies it also encompasses the Bush Telegraph frequencies plus some other privately owned frequencies, gives a very good range wherever you are in Oz.

they have a web site

Mick & Vickie

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Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 18:01

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 18:01
Howdy there - Yes - We find it all very good and handy - we originally linked in with Bush Telegraph when working with Roger (Base Operator in Woomera) in the late 90's. His mug shot has appeared in Adelaide papers of late - showing the Kistler Launch site area.
A more recent trip chasing WIldflowers around Innamincka & Birdsville saw us camped at Kalamurina Water Hole on the Warburton Creek when we recieved a call from Wayne in Cowra to pass on a message from one of our boys who was in Adelaide.
This means we were just a tad short of 450k from the geographic centre of our great land.
Not long after that we called Merv in Derby (WA) base to say G'day.
So there we were in the centre so to speak and communicating with folks on each side coast! Figured that was really good service!
Cheers - Ian & Sally
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 02:29

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 02:29
Well Thank you all for that,
Mobi Condo, Motley, Nick and Vick, and everyone...

Does anyone else know about the Peak of Solar Cycle and HF Activity? Am I on track for the peak in 2011 meaning HF will continue to improve?

And anyone else know about this BPL potential Interference?

Thank you all in advance.. Regards, LR
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Reply By: NIK `N` OFF - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 19:29

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 19:29
Hi Steve

i received a reply from the VKS network, cut & pasted below.

[quote]Hi Mick

The Network has been very heavily involved in the BPL debarkle and has made submissions to ACMA as well as working closely with the WIA, ACREM etc.

While BPL has the potential to cause major problems it still has to get off the ground in a commercial fashion against MAJOR competition from far superior methods of delivering internet to customers. Many oversea countries have already banned BPL, in the USA the FCC has started jumping on the power companies and have closed some trials down because of interference to other services. Several trials in the US have been aborted as financially unviable by the power companies involved.

It seems that the only country in the world actively pushing BPL is Australia, Unfortunately BPL needs powerlines to be connected between a grid and the houses to work - how many places in the bush (which is where little Johnny says it will work) are actually connected to a grid system - the maximum distance between repeaters on the power lines is around 500 metres so you would need lots of repeaters for a house that is even 20km from the nearest power grid let alone 100km.

Wireless ADSL systems like those being offered by Internode, Adam, Unwired etc are far cheaper to install and operate, and are infinitely more reliable than BPL.

The BPL people also forget that what gets out of the power line, gets in just as easy - trials in the US have found that a 4 watt CB radio under power lines disrupt the internet service, can you imagine what a 100 watt HF radio under a power line does to the service, can you imagine the results if 5000+ VKS-737 members and 15,000+ radio amateurs with 100 watt radios as well as 10's of thousands of CBers start transmitting and sending selcalls (perfectly legally) next to power lines - I think the BPL suppliers would have some very upset customers; best of all the BPL companies cannot lodge any form of complaint against this form of interference.

I think that HF is going to be around for a VERY LONG TIME, AirServices Australia, the RAAF and the Military have just spent many millions of dollars upgrading their HF services.


Mick & Vickie

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 19:37

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 19:37
Thank you Mick,

Motley, Turist, I think I will follow your Lead and check out the Codan NGT ...

Regards, Ranger
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:41

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:41
Peter James from Melbourne's western suburbs, somewhere around Lara, has been working on a system where using a Codan radio with a GPS connection the radio would send out a message and log your location every few minutes, and anyone who you gave the log on details to could then look up your location on the Internet.

It was also to have a TEXT message system attached to it that would allow 60 character text messages to be sent and ws hoped to be up and operating by April 2006. As always Red tape got in the way and he is still having problems getting the necessary licensing in place to allow it to go into operation.

As for voice calls over the HF, we had it in 2001 and 2002 and it cost about $100 per year to have it connected, then about $6 for a 5 minute phone call. It automatically cut off after that time. The big problem that we found with it was that the person receiving the call took a long time to get used to a one way conversation of a phone call via radio and follwed with OVER before they could reply.

Since then I have relied on the VKS737 network passing on any message to us at the daily Sked times. On our last trip Conrad's daughter put in a message and wanted a phone call reply giving her instructions. As we were hundreds of Km from the nearest phone, VKS737 made the reply phone call for us, and that is all included in your annual membership fees.

If you want Person to Person phone calls then I think a Sat Phone is the way to go.
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