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sid fish

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About sid fish

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  • Birthday 11/09/1951

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  • Current Location
    all over, but from WA
  • Interests
    fishing - chess - music - video editing - sudoku
  1. Yep, your order is in the mail already Colin. You'll see the places we stopped at, mostly free-camping, and it pretty well lines up with the itinery on this forum, with a couple of exceptions. The reason I've warned about Spotted Tiger and Docker River is because these sites have fallen into disrepair due to an apparent lack of maintenance. They must have been fabulous when they were first provided, and the idea was that they would be hosted and maintained by the local community. I'll say no more on that, but we finished up camping further down the track. Mind you, with fully self-sufficient vans, you could still stop at these places, just don't expect the toilets or taps to work! I won't wax lyrical any more here, because I wouldn't know where to start. I suggest you take a look at the DVD (runs for over 4 hours) and then if there's anything I haven't covered, give me a shout and I'll address any further questions you may have. Also, please don't get the idea I'm warning against doing this trip, I'm not. It's just another gravel road at the end of the day, and can therefore vary from good to rotten in the space of a few days or a hundred kilometres. It's just that this one's a bloody long way, so if you have some idea what you're in for, it has to help. Cheers Sid
  2. That itinery looks about right, having just completed the Outback Way ourselves in our Kedron. As a rule, I don't go around advertising my product on forums (not good form), but in this case, I feel it's appropriate. I've just published my latest DVD "Grey Nomad 104 - Traveling the Outback Way" and I believe it may assist greatly in your trip planning. Including some modifications to the itinery (eg why you wouldn't want to stay at Spotted Tiger or Docker River), and our experiences with Geocaching on this route (be prepared for disappointment, they've mostly been muggled). I interworked with the GM of outbackway.org.au in preparing for this project, and found their route brochure very helpful, likewise the Hema Guide to the Outback Way. Good luck with the trip, I'll follow it with interest! If you get lucky with road conditions, you'll have a ball. If you get as unlucky as we did, you might be in for an interesting time, especially if any of you haven't been much off the bitumen before. I'm still repairing the damage to our Kedron . . . Sid (www.greynomad101.com)
  3. I've got them on my 100 series, and I like them. Some limitations, like limited vertical tilt adjustment (if I was very tall I'd have to lower the seat right down in order to see straight back with the mirror tilted up to the max). But overall, I'd never go back to clip-ons, etc. I had a choice of chrome or black, and chose black to avoid reflections. Also no probs fitting them myself - just need to follow the DVD instructions carefully.
  4. HF is certainly a great thing to have, especially if you like "playing" with that sort of thing. But if you are comparing ti with sat phone for purely safety and emergency purposes, then I would (and have) opted for sat phone, because: - cheaper capital outlay - less gear in and out of the car and most importantly of all: - if you roll the 4WD, you'll snap your HF antenna, just when you need it most. As long as I'm still alive, I'll just pull the sat phone out of the secure centre console and dial '000'. This last point alone was enough to steer me in the sat phone direction. Cheers Sid
  5. Bigpond tell me that the gateway is indeed free - for new accounts only (along with the 12 month half price thing). You can't get it when upgrading an existing broadband account. I suggested to them that I could simply close my existing account and reapply as a new customer and get the good deal. They said sure, go right ahead, but kiss all your exising associated email addresses goodbye! So, in summary, if you're looking at becoming a new Bigpond broadband customer, then this is a good way to go. Otherwise, see previous post re Netcomm box.
  6. Did that run last July. The road from Maree to William Creek (Oodnatatta Track) was a piece of cake; the bit from the Wiliam Creek turnoff to Coober Pedy was a bit stonier, but still nothing to worry too much about. But like so many roads out there, it is quite remote - on that second leg, we didn't see another vehicle. So take water and a couple of spare tires! PS there's only 1 "P" in Coober Pedy . . .
  7. It's also worth keeping in mind that with dual axle vans, jacking the chassis has to lift half the van weight, but jacking under the axle concerned only has to lift a quarter van weight . . .
  8. Don't throw out your CDMA antenna BushPig - Telstra NextG uses the same frequency band, and your antenna will work just fine. Note that NextG is not 3G - it is really 3.5G. (3G does use a much higher frequency.) Confused? Try the link below for more light reading! ExploreOz discussion As for mounting on the van, we've been in many situations where height is important (ie the higher the better), and we stick ours up 20 feet in the air on an extendable painter's pole attached to the side of the van with a couple of plastic brackets. Cable feeds inside via one of those "through the wall" fittings - you know, the plastic grommet with a weather proof cap when it's not in use. To test how effective your antenna is when plugged into your Telstra NextG phone, try dialling *748#96 (a capital 'N' pattern on your keypad). The RSSI figure at the bottom gives the received power from the base station in dB. It's a negative number, and the lower the figure the better (ie -70 is better than -85). -125 is the worst case, and you need to get better than this or you'll have no coverage. If you see no difference when you plug in the aerial, then something's wrong (poor connection, wrong antenna, etc). Hit the "end call" button to get out of this screen. I don't know if this works with other service providers.
  9. Yep, in a nutshell, many of these radios will turn on in standby mode when power is reconnected, after having been disonnected for any reason - eg batteries run down, load disconnected (either deliberately or automatically by the regulator when low-volts threshold reached), dirty fuse contacts, loose connector, etc. If you mainly notice it first thing in the morning, then low batteries are most likely cause due to discharge overnight, although if it's happened with 240V connected, then you also need to make sure your AC charger is switched on and working. If you're not sure about that last bit, talk to someone who knows caravan electrics, as there are up to 4 switches under that front panel that do all kinds of interesting stuff (with labels such as "car", "auxiliary", "transformer", "charger", etc), and my experience is that a lot of Koggers don't really understand what they all do!
  10. Our 240L Vitrifrigo packed up a few weeks ago. The evaporator (ie the freezer compartment) developed a crack, eventually fracturing a pipe, and lost the gas. Took 3 weeks to organise a new evaporator (ex Camec in Brisbane) to be freighted to Darwin, where it was installed by a local fridge guy. Crack no doubt due to too much stuff in the freezer on rough roads. In future, before going on corrugations, we'll transfer the bulk of the freezer stuff into the Waeco chest freezer.
  11. sid fish

    Collecting Mail

    We've been on the road a year now, and have what seems to be a very workable arrangement. We started by looking at Landbase and others similar, and shied away once we read the "fine print" - it costs a lot of money! If money's not a real issue, then I think they probably provide a very good service, including being able to change your forwarding address "instantly" with just an email or phonecall. So we then decided to use good ol' Australia Post. We set up a PO Box and had all mail sent to it. Then we just used the official redirection system to have mail forwarded on to various locations. This worked OK at first, despite the 5 day activation delay, until we got to Darwin GPO. They were hopeless. Unlike PO's such as Broome (and I suspect most other POs) which itemise every single item of incoming mail on a computer, and then dig them out for you when you turn up, Darwin GPO appeared to not use the computer at all. Rather, the mail was just stuck in a rack, supposedly in alphabetical order, and God help you if someone sticks it in the wrong place. They "lost" quite a lot of our mail, most of which we eventually recovered, after insisting they search more thoroughly after they initially assured us we had no mail. We made an official complaint, the result of which I still have not heard after many months. Finally then, in desperation, we spoke to the bloke in charge of the local PO where we have our box, and came to a "local arrangement". The mail just gets put in our box until we call him periodically with our latest once-off location, upon which he plonks it all in an express bag. This occurs expenses which he keeps track of, and now and then we give him more than enough to cover it - he's happy, we're happy, it works well, and still costs a heap less than any of the private schemes. So if you don't have a trustworthy friend or relative to perform this function (and this is definitely the best way to go!), then go talk nicely to your local postmaster. And remember, it's an unofficial arrangement, so don't tell him I sent you . . .
  12. Ditto for RealEzy. We're from Perth, but we settled for one of these after much research (including the bulldog which is made over there). We got it because: - At the time we had a Windsor Rapid which didn't lend itself to trailer mounting, so the trailer had to go in the Landcruiser, which it did quite comfortably on the floor right behind the front seats. I then put a bit of wood over the whole thing as a false floor, and Bob was my uncle. (These days of course, he could just as easily have been my aunty.) - Rob was very helpful over the phone when conducting my research. - It is road licensable, and heavy duty enough to tow reasonable distances. Subsequently, after we hit the road and got around to Brisbane and traded the van in for a Kedron, we dropped in on Rob at McLean unannounced, and got some brackets for the trailer and wheels made up on the spot - fabulous service! Now the whole lot sits happily on the back of the van.
  13. Large Huntsman Spiders are very effective at night, or for the more squeemish, a mating pair of ghekkos - but not at the same time, as I think the latter would eat the former! But seriously, just a comment on spraying. In my previous (less-than-a-Kedron) van, I once left a can of flyspray on the lino floor, and it happened to leak a little. Within 2 days it had eaten its way clean through the lino. I am now VERY careful where and how much I spray insecticides, especially inside the van. I know you use it outside, but I'd watch out if you are getting it near any synthetic surfaces. And as for the bugs, we have no way of effectively blocking the access points, but we manage it to a certain extent with judicious use of windows and curtains. eg when watching tele in the living area, we shut the windows in that bit, open all the windows in the bedroom area with the lights off there to air it, but pull the dividing curtain across so they can't see the light in the living area, so they don't try and get in. Remember it's the light they want, so any strategy which prevents light streaming from a potential access point will be helpful. A strong white decoy light outside is also good fun. Finally, they don't go so much for yellow, so you could also try converting some of your interior lights to yellow, and only use those when bugs are around. And if none of that works, then before retiring last thing at night, turn off all lights except the neon over the sink, wait for them to gather around it - and SPRAY THE BASTARDS!
  14. Yeah that's right, people like Camec can tell you what is "approved" and what's not, but it's really just anything with a fairly course open weave that will allow grass to grow through.
  15. Yes, that's right about the matting in caravan parks, although so far I haven't seen any parks actually policing it. We use a common sense approach in any case, carrying both shade cloth for sandy ground, and the "proper" stuff for grass (caravan park or not). And the latter certainly works - where we've stayed in one grassy spot more than a few days, the grass happily starts growing through it! So what's the point using it at all - why not just use nothing and enjoy the grass? In fact that's often what we do, but otherwise, it's sometimes nicer to have fabric underfoot than bare ground, especially if the grass is less than full-cover, while not leaving a dead patch for the next poor campers that follow us. If too much grass starts coming through, you just lift the matting and re-lay it now and then.
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