Manufactured in Australia by GME, the TX6600S Walkie-Talkie Handheld Radio and MT610G Personal Locator Beacon keep you safe while you enjoy the great outdoors
It’s 40C and we’re hurtling through the red dirt and scrub of South Australia’s Riverland region on a dramatic four-wheel drive route, and the man behind the wheel needs a tip on tire pressure.
We’re frolicking on a craggy, rocky dip, facing a sheer drop and the kind of sandy incline that looks like it needs serious shoveling if we get it wrong. And I don’t feel like leaving the air conditioner.
Editor’s Note: The author traveled to South Australia as a guest of GME.
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The CB radio in our vehicle crackles (or cackles?) as the driver in front of us laughs and offers advice across the airwaves.
A quick chat about tire pressure and gear calibration and off we go.
We’re located in the sprawling, 8000-acre Loveday 4X4 Adventure Park, just two and a half hours northeast of Adelaide near the riverland town of Barmera, but light-years from the hustle and bustle of city streets, and that means intermittent cellphone coverage at best.
And this is the kind of country where radio contact and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) come in handy – that’s the point of this trip to this stunning landscape.
We’re here to check out GME’s Australian-made TX6600S 5-Watt UHF CB handheld radio and the MT610G, the company’s new lightweight GPS Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
More on PLBs later – let’s look at walkie-talkies.
It’s a handheld walkie-talkie that’s a little different from the built-in XRS radio that GME’s Lewis Pascoe used to get a driving tip from Loveday owner Tony Whateley, but just as useful when you’re with family holiday in the hinterland.
“Being an avid off-road adventurer myself, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of carrying communications equipment like a PLB and a UHF radio,” says Pascoe.
And when our parents reach retirement age and hit the road, families can also find peace of mind in knowing their parents are prepared.
“My dad is just like me, so I encouraged him to take the same gadgets with him whenever he ventured into the unpredictable terrain. It calms both me and him,” Pascoe points out.
The new TX6600S handheld radio has a protection class of IP67 – which means that the technology is tough.
It’s the kind of device you’d see on construction sites and mining sites, the kind of places where the technology needs to be durable
But the affordability of the TX6600S (a three-device family pack costs $379 MSRP) means the technology has a much broader application in “civilian” life.
It’s estimated that barely a third of Australia’s landmass has cellphone coverage, leaving plenty of black spots for those of us who enjoy the country’s more remote regions.
In this way, handheld radios can fill the gap at shorter distances – for example on family vacations at Loveday.
In addition to the 4WD tracks, Turbo Can-Am buggy rides and hot buggy laps, Loveday 4X4 Adventure Park is located on 9 miles of riverside campgrounds along the Murray.
It’s a great place for a family outing and there’s plenty for the little ones to do – and the GME TX6600S Family Pack, which includes a 5W handheld and two more radios for the kids, allows you to keep an eye on them.
TX6600S HANDHELD FEATURES:
- Five year guarantee
- 30 hours of battery life
- 119 user-programmable RX channels (403-520MHz)
- Scansuite Digital scanning technology
- Rotary channel selection with voice announcement
- Two priority channels, triple watch and 119 programmable receive-only channels (403-520 MHz)
Considering how cool the whole experience is of using the walkies, stopping the kids from checking in might actually be difficult.
They will surely enjoy keeping an eye on their family while the older holiday makers enjoy Loveday’s fully licensed tavern overlooking the off-road racetrack where the buggy hotlaps take place.
They’re also useful at home to get the kids back from the park or the pal’s house across the street. Under ideal conditions (depending on the landscape in which they are used), the handheld radios have a range of up to 10 km, with a battery life of up to 30 hours.
But while communicating with those around you is important during remote outdoor adventures, being able to contact emergency services in remote areas can be life-saving.
Stay safe out in the bush
If tackling serious wilderness is your thing, you’ll need more than just walkie-talkies to stay safe, and GME has you covered here too.
The Company has a range of EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) commonly used on boats and Personal Locator Beacons for individuals.
The MT610G is GME’s new Australian made lightweight GPS Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), ideal for bushwalkers and 4WD drivers enjoying the remote outdoors.
Easy to use, carry, and retail for about $350, they come with a seven-year battery life and six-year warranty with no subscription required.
All you have to do is register it with your details and make sure you know how to use it properly.
“(It) is compact, lightweight, and easy to use — just put on the antenna and press the red button to send a distress signal to emergency responders,” notes Pascoe.
Once activated, it broadcasts for at least 24 hours. The PLBs are single use, but if you need to activate your PLB in an emergency situation you can contact GME for a free replacement.
And if you’re not sure how to use it, visit the GME website or give us a call – one of GME’s customer service representatives will be happy to help.
Once activated (and this is just a matter of pressing a button and can be easily operated with one hand in the event of injury), its signal shoots up to the Cospas-Sarsat international search and rescue satellite system and then down to the nearest Rescue Center.
In Australia and New Zealand there are three – in Albany (WA), Bundaberg (Queensland) and in Wellington, New Zealand, which are controlled by the Mission Control Center located at the Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center (JRCC) in Canberra.
The nearest rescue center will then dispatch whatever is necessary to help the person in need.
MT610G PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON FEATURES:
- Seven year battery life
- Six year guarantee
- Integrated 72 channel GPS receiver
- Living design
- Cospas-Sarsat worldwide certification
GME has been manufacturing personal emergency beacons for more than 30 years, saving hundreds of lives in the process.
In early 2021, a GME MT410G Personal Locator Beacon led to the recovery of an injured bushwalker along the Port Davey Track in Tasmania.
In April of that same year, the same model resulted in the rescue of two climbers, who activated a distress signal when they ran into trouble while tackling Butterbox Canyon in the NSW Blue Mountains.
The MT610G is the newcomer to the block and is billed as the most compact and lightweight design yet.
“Our beacons and handheld radios are designed to provide peace of mind for bush walkers, 4×4 drivers, remote workers, boaters and outdoor adventurers,” says Pascoe.
https://7news.com.au/travel/enjoy-getting-right-off-the-beaten-track-heres-how-to-stay-safe-no-matter-where-you-are-c-10023384 Manufactured in Australia by GME, the TX6600S Walkie-Talkie Handheld Radio and MT610G Personal Locator Beacon keep you safe while you enjoy the great outdoors