February 24, 2011

Telecommunications Farmstyle or The Farmer vs An iPhone

I thought for todays post I would explain a little bit about how we communicate on The Farm.  We cover several thousands of acres and so being in contact with each other and our suppliers etc is super important.

Living on a farm and running a farming business we are very reliant on telecommunication.  The vast majority of the time our services work exceptionally well.  There are moments though when they fail.  Our landline is the worst for this.  Any sort of bad weather invariably results in a problem that leaves us without a landline for 3-7 days.  Last year this happened on average every 6-8 weeks (I counted!).  So we fall back on mobiles often.  We are fortunate to have excellent reception in most places on The Farm which is a relatively recent phenomena. When I first came to The Farm I regularly had to go and stand on the nearest hill to get my mobile to work.

Our internet is satellite and if that goes down I have my trusty little wireless plug in as a fall back position.

I now have an iPhone as does The Farmer and my father-in-law (we are proud Apple snobs here on The Farm).

iPhone - Pink Is The Colour Of The Day

My iPhone has a very lurid pink cover.  This is so The Farmer doesn't accidentally take it, thinking it is his.  When we had the same phone this would happen a lot.  Then I would spend my day getting calls about trucks and The Farmer got text messages from my friends carrying essential information about things like sales at Country Road.  The pink cover has solved this problem.

The Farmer tends to gives his mobiles quite a hard time, mainly by virtue of the nature of his job.
Just in case anyone needs to know, the following mechanisms of injury are terminal to iPhones.

  • being dropped in the pool (The Farmer tried this twice to be sure)
  • being run over by a tractor
  • being dropped out the window of a tractor (I think that may have been when he had a Nokia but am pretty sure it would not suit an iPhone either)
  • being shaken around on the floor of a ute.
I, on the other hand, have only damaged one phone.  I can confidently say that accidentally spraying Aeroguard under the screen of an iPhone 3 will critically injure it, but it will still work.  As long as you have a torch to look at the screen because the back light will be stuffed.

The other mode of communication we use on a daily basis is our two way radios.  This is by far the most reliable communication we have.   Even if the power is out I can pop out to the car and ours will work.

Two Way, On "Talk Around" Mode

 We have a private channel, mainly because we got sick of hearing what a Farmer 200km away was having for morning tea when we were on the public channels.  For the record it was fruit cake, every morning.  Given that the two way is usually in the kitchen and within ear shot of the kids, we were getting over the off colour language that sometimes came through on the shared public channels too.  To swear on a public two way channel is considered incredibly rude in the country for this reason.  Just for the record no one is allowed to swear on our private channel either... Our private two ways can quickly be switched to the public channels in an emergency or if we need to communicate with someone off farm.

So there it is - how we all manage to speak to each other and anyone we need to do business with!


Tales of a Tai Tai said...

That two-way reminds me so much of growing up. I had lots of "border" friends at school so spent a lot of time in the country - Warren, Trangie, Coonamble, Dubbo. The two-way always seemed like such advanced technology at the time! I'd love to get out there again. It's been YEARS.... xxx

Emma M said...

Ah, the good old two-way. I remember coming home from school one day and finding all the fells from the district crawling over our roof helping Dad install our massive aerial. We didn't have a phone then - unimaginable now! - so was a great way to talk to kids after school. Not to mention staying up to date with everything the neighbours were talking about :)

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Wow, this is cool! All those iPhones (just how does one spray Aeroguard under the screen???). My aunt and uncle have two way on their cane farm and I've always loved it. The very idea of it.

Fussy Eater's Mum said...

Yes, we have many a phone injuries here too. Sheep troughs, field bins ... When I first arrived at our farm I was given very clear instructions about the do's and don'ts of two-way communication.

Love the lurid pink.

This Mid 30s Life said...

Wow I had forgotten all about the 2-way! We were channel 18 if I remember correctly.

One of my favourite things to do was go onto the truckies' channel and tell them the plans had changed and to turn back. The good ol' truckies always had me believing they thought it was genuine - because of course an 8 year old girl would be the one giving them instructions!

A Farmer's Wife said...

Tai Tai - I think lots of people have childhood memories of farms...It would be interesting to see how much change you found if you returned now.

Emma M - You definitely find out what the neighbours are talking about!

Pink Fibro - I had my phone in my bag with some aeroguard at a BBQ this summer. The aeroguard accidentally sprayed. It took several weeks to get a new phone. Everyone though it was hilarious that I needed a torch or full sun to see the screen.

Fussy Eater's Mum - Glad we aren't the only ones with phone injuries. The sheep trough sounds fatal.

Mid 30s Life - Gorgeous story about you directing the truckies. Our kids love being allowed to call their Dad or Grandpa on the two way.

Annette Piper said...

Wow, your communications are pretty swept up! We don't have mobile coverage apart from one particular spot on the hill behind the house, on a certain rock and if you stand in a certain way. Sad but true. We have one mobile phone between us that we use only when we go to town.
Because of the hilly nature of our terrain 2-ways don't work. So we have the landline with a phone/fax and satellite internet (with hardly a blistering speed).
So if hubby doesn't turn up I have to go looking for him. Or he starts walking...