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Truck drivers urged to avoid emergency radio channel

Radio Rescue Emergency Communications Incorporated wants truck drivers to avoid using UHF emergency channels 5 and 35


Volunteer public benevolent institution Radio Rescue Emergency Communications Incorporated (RREC) has put out a request for truck drivers to avoid using UHF CB emergency channels 5 and 35.

RREC said it was aware that a significant number of truck drivers are unaware that both 5 and 35 are legally designated by the federal gvernment for emergency use only.

Of particular concern is the number of drivers who “drop down” from channel 40 and end up on 35, chatting between themselves as they travel.

In other cases, trucks on construction sites, and even entire businesses, choose to use both 5 and 35 for their communications.

“UHF channels 5 and 35 have been designated by law for emergency use only ever since CB was legalised in Australia in 1977,” RREC national deputy commissioner (operations) Martin Howells said.

“When individual CB licences were removed in 1994 these designations did not change.

“While they may not be used as much as they once were, these channels are still utilised, especially when storms or fires disrupt mobile and landline telephone networks, or when RFDS and rescue aircraft need to communicate with civilians on the ground, or rural fire services with farm units during major fires.”

Howells added that many truck drivers, although not all, are aware that channel 5 is an emergency channel, but have no understanding that channel 35 is also legally designated and used as the input for all UHF CB emergency repeaters.

“This means their use of 35 to chat could block calls on an emergency repeater system they may not know exists. This could totally block an emergency call being received, which could easily cost a life.

“Often attempts by volunteer monitors to educate truck drivers on-air results in abuse and threats from the drivers, and a refusal to change channel.”

“This scenario is repeated across Australia regularly.”

Howells cited an example of two trucks that regularly travel along South Australia’s South Eastern Freeway, using channel 35 to chat on the way, which has resulted in months of verbal abuse and threats from the trucks every time volunteers tried to inform them they were using an emergency channel.

“Apart from the risk to life or property from this misuse (even a little used road may be needed to help save lives from time-to-time) the Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2015, and the Radiocommunications Act 1992, set hefty penalties for the misuse of these channels.

“I am certain no truck driver would like to receive these penalties, so our aim is to try and educate before the Commonwealth regulator needs to be involved.”

Radio Rescue Emergency Communications Incorporated is a not-for-profit Public Benevolent Institution operated by 100 per cent volunteer staff.

Howells noted that the primary role of RREC is the monitoring of the CB emergency channels (UHF 5/35, HF 9) and the provision of emergency radiocommunications when required.


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