Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Ex Wallaby 2005: Mobile signal

Miracle: International roaming out in the bush makes for a happy armoured trooper. 3SG (NS) Gerard Tan (right) points troopers to the GSM signal.

It's been a different three weeks, a difficult three weeks. No internet, only intermittent mobile signals and long queues to the landline phones that allowed us to call home using discount phone cards. And that was just in base camp. Once we moved out, there was not much you could do to keep in touch with your loved ones, or to check soccer results.

When we were out in the field for the 10 days (out of 18) we were at Shoalwater Bay, Central Queensland, the optimistic among us took out our mobile phones to check for any semblance of a GSM signal.

Not much luck until one day, somewhere in the western sector of the middle of nowhere, 3SG Gerard Tan, Bravo Company 84mm Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle Specialist, took out his mobile, turned it on, and yelled, 'Signal!'

This prompted a mad scramble, and I've never seen soldiers move so quickly, whipping out their phones and turning them on faster than they can reload their rifles.

'Don't have leh, where got?'

'Gort! Select manual network, choose Vodafone, it's the strongest, and you must face that direction and stand under that tree'.

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