Search and Rescue communications on VHF are becoming more widespread and have proved to have many advantages. There is no time wasted between scheduled transmissions as with HF and the radios used are lighter and more convenient.
Search teams in the field appreciate being able to monitor the progress of the search. Search Controllers are able to quickly divert teams and resources at any point in time. Hand-held VHF radios have an effective range of 500 metres in wet bush. This can be extended considerably with the use of VHF repeaters or lightweight cross-band repeaters positioned to provide maximum coverage.
There have been many instances where Base operators have found that they have better communications with teams in the field on simplex (talk-around) than through repeaters which have been poorly sited. This paper is offered in an attempt to assist in the correct location of repeaters whether they be standard VHF Repeaters or the smaller Cross-Band (Pole-top) type of repeater. A separate paper will be prepared to compare the virtues of each type of repeater.
There is no substitute for experience, and every location has its own particular problems, but these points are referred to avoid some of the difficulties experienced in the past:
Jim Rowe -AREC