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Comms Links

August 13, 2001
Central Queensland

With 8 people biking and 1 x person driving the support vehicle we can all pretty much get out of sight of each other in less than a minute. Living so close together day after day there are many days when we want to. We can also get easily separated because we all like to travel at different speeds.

For those of you who have kept up with the updates, you know that we’re lost half the time. We’re working off of old maps. New roads have been constructed, others have disappeared. There are few or no road signs for up to 100 kilometers sometimes. We often come to forks in the road that we weren’t even expecting. Sometimes we send the support truck off in a different direction altogether to pick up fuel or water. We make plans to help keep us together to some degree, but we get a big help for this using the technology of two-way radios.


At the moment we have about 4 FM transmitters that we can use up to a kilometer away. We give one to the person assigned to lead the group for the day and one to the person assigned to the back of the group. The other two are given to other team members at random. When the front person can’t see the back person, he calls back to make sure that everything is OK. Somebody in the back might have a flat tire or maybe they’re just slow. With radios, we at least know what’s going on and never get too far apart. If somebody was to get hurt in the back we could call to the front and have them stop immediately and provide assistance if necessary.

We also have 2 high-powered UHF radios. These are also given to the front and back cyclists. There is one mounted in the support truck as well. These have a range of about 14 kilometers. This allows the bikers to talk to the truck. We can send the truck ahead and maintain contact when we are really confused about where we are, or when we’re trying to pick a campsite within 14 kilometers that doesn’t have a lot of cow poop.

Even though we rely heavily on the radios, we always have a plan in case their batteries run out or we lose them or were too far away from each other for them to be useful. We can’t trust them entirely to keep us together. Things are tough out here. We can’t afford to lose each other. Our survival could be at stake.

Suggested learning activity: Think about technology that you rely on a lot at home. What would happen if the power went out and you couldn’t use it anymore? Could you do without it? For how long?



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