Week 7 Special Feature - Our Electronic Equipment Set Up

The setup we will describe fits our needs, but will not necessarily fit everybody, so please take our information as a suggestion only.

Part A

Vehicle Setup Electronic Equipment

  1. GME UHF Radio - 40 channel. We find this useful for talking to everyone from road maintenance graders through to trucks and other fellow travellers. (Also great to hear the location of "Flash for Cash" units ie Police radars.) This unit has a limited transmission range which is determined by many factors, including the quality of you antenna through to geographical obstacles and repeater stations.
  2. GME UHF Radio 40 channel hand held. This is used for a range of functions to enabling clear communication in a recovery situation through to when one of us would like to go wandering by themselves and may need help (eg when stuck up to her ankles in mud and unable to move!)
  3. Ericcson R290 Satellite Phone on the Globalstar and Vodafone networks. Satellite uses Globalstar for when you're in the bush (and you can find a signal - sorry for venting some frustration here) and Vodafone for large centres where Vodafone GSM exits.
  4. Battery charger AA & AAA for small torches and other miscellaneous equipment
  5. IRiver MP3 Player - just like an Ipod but not made by Apple. This stores some of our music collection for when you on the road and away from radio. An FM transmitter plays this back through our vehicle radio.
  6. Triple Battery System combining the traditional dual battery under bonnet system with a AGM in the rear storage compartment of the vehicle. Importantly these batteries are individually isolated by dash mounted switches which enables us to control charging and discharging.
  7. Driver side hard wired, dash mounted multi meter to enable monitoring of all batteries with ease and a minimum of hassle. This meter is hard wired directly to each of the batteries through a rotatory switch, which also dash mounted.
  8. 300 watt pure sine wave inverter. Pure sine wave produces electrical current which is suitable for sensitive electronic equipment like our laptop. We also now have a 150 watt modified sine wave inverter as a backup. We would  be lost if we didn't have our inverter. A sad indictment on our society I guess, but that's the way it is. Without an inverter you would  not be getting updates as regularly, if at all.
  9. Garmin Map60c GPS which is mounted on the dash and swivels to enable access by driver and co driver. This unit is also hard wired to the vehicles electrical system and has USB cable for connection to our laptop.
  10. 3 lights including, 1 x 2' fluro with yellow tube that runs on its own internal battery and is charged up during the day on the inverter, 1 x torpedo 12v light from Evakool and the equivalent in a 240v version for caravan parks etc.
  11. Battery charger 240v hard wired to vehicle batteries for those nights in caravan parks.
  12. 60 Litre Evakool fridge with 12 and 240v connections
  13. HP nc8230 laptop

Part B

Camera Equipment

  1. Nikon D70 SLR digital camera with standard and telephoto lenses.
  2. Canon A620 digital camera
  3. USB cables for connection of both cameras to laptop

Part C

Laptop Hewlett Packard nc8320

Our laptop is the central nervous system for our whole setup. It performs many tasks as we will detail below and can be seen most days on our stable table on our lap as we drive or around the dinner table recording / showing the days events. We use the laptop for so many tasks that we could not imagine doing a trip such as this without it. So what do we do with it?

  1. A mapping assistant. The Garmin connects to our laptop via USB cable and gives us real time mapping ability using Oziexplorer software and Natmaps. Real time mapping (also called "moving map") ability is a good addition to our bag of tricks. To know where you are and how far you need to travel to get there is handy. We never have arguments over if we are heading the right direction! The track recording function allows us to re trace our steps to past sites we have visited or even share with other people. We still carry paper maps as these are still easier to look over and make decisions from; these also are backup in case of electronic failure.
  2. Photo storage assistant. Each day we down load our photos to our hard drive and view the efforts of our days labour. This gives us both immediate feedback on the quality of our work and if a particular style / setting works. The laptop allows us to burn copies of our photos for safe storage as well they can be sent to friends.
  3. ACDSee Version 7.0 software for transferring photos from storage cards to laptop. and for file organisation. Also allows us to fix contrasts and manipulate photographs to be used in our web page.
  4. Canon Stitch Software - this is used by Alison to produce her panoramas from individual photographs she takes.
  5. Outlook Email - to keep in contact with everyone and to let the people / family know what's happening
  6. Music Jukebox - much of our music is held on DVD and can be played through the laptop (Windows Media Player) or transferred to the IRiver
  7. Microsoft Front Page 2003 for producing our web page
  8. CuteFTP to transfer our web page to our URL for you to view
  9. Movie player - our laptop plays our DVDs for those nights where we just want to chill in front of the box
  10. Diary - Where we store important aspects of our trip in the written form.
  11. Research assistant - our laptop has 2 ways of connecting to the internet, a network card and a wireless connection. Some facilities like the Howard Springs Caravan Park offer free wireless internet to all their customers and other times some internet cafes allow direct network connections. The resources of the internet help us in many decisions on what to see and road conditions.
  12. Reference Library - we carry a lot of information like 4WD magazine articles on areas we wish to visit in PDF format for review on the track.


This is our little setup which we hope will give you ideas on how to build your setup for your adventure. Remember it is what suits your budget and skill base. There are many alternatives available, and the best ideas come from your research and talking with other travellers.

Happy adventuring

Steve & Alison