Have questions? Give us a call! (816) 532-8451
Have questions? Give us a call! (816) 532-8451
What is a Repeater?
In the world of modern communication there is an ever increasing need for providing higher outreach. The traditional Handheld Radios offer limited coverage area. However, a dedicated transceiver can help us achieve the requisite coverage.
A repeater is essentially a communication device which acts as a link between two radio operators to cover a large area. If you need a large coverage area like your 50,000 acre ranch, city, county or even an entire state, a repeater system comes in handy.
How it Works?
It is a two-way radio frequency communication system which receives a frequency from portable two-way radios, and re-transmits it at another frequency in real-time, albeit at a higher wattage than typical portable radios. This mechanism allows repeaters to broadcast to a much wider reception spectrum. Since it is capable of both transmitting and receiving at the same time, it is also called a ‘Transceiver’.
Additionally, two-way radio repeaters can communicate with all RF (radio frequency) receptors operating on the same RF channel. Since they use two different RF channels to carry the transmitted and received information frequencies, they can be truly bi-directional without any dependencies or interference with each other.
This operational mode is known as ‘Duplex’ operation – which means a discrete channel is dedicated for each direction. It can be further divided into two types:
While it allows better communication, power and extended range, if a radio can’t use a repeater, it wouldn’t be able to communicate at all.
Many modern two-way radio repeaters also indulge in ‘Hybrid’ operation, where they use duplex as a default but are capable of operating like a Simplex (single channel) trans-reception if the devices are out of range. Such devices are functional both on fixed RF channels or able to pick a physical RF channel for communication depending on pre-determined availability or channel assignment logic.
The prominent components of a two-way radio repeater as shown above are:
Why use repeaters?
Your portable radio, like the BCH-220, or transceiver device is limited by factors which disallow high-quality radio frequency communication, unless a repeater is used to amplify the quality
Antenna height with respect to the radio horizon – typically, a six feet high radio frequency transmission can only cover a maximum of approximately 7 miles, even if the communication channel is lossless (it never is!), due to the curvature of the earth.
Selecting the appropriate Repeater
Two-way radios are available in several different configurations. Picking the appropriate system depends as much on your experience and needs. The popularly known configurations are: hand-held portable configurations (BCH-700), mobile (BCM-220)and base configurations. They are generally operated in half-duplex mode with a ‘push-to-talk’ button to activate communication. A cellphone/ mobile device is more akin to a full duplex operational mode. The frequencies used are also reliant on the requirements. Do remember, that line-of-sight communication is typically the strongest, while shadowing of buildings or natural obstruction will always cause some loss in transmission.
|Unit frequency||UHF – Ultra high frequency||VHF – Very high frequency|
|Use||Ideal for use indoors, reinforced concrete structures, or high-rises in a city landscape. Due to high obstruction, the higher frequencies are desirable. Emergency services like fire department, paramedics and police also use these to avoid the transmission bottlenecks.||Handy for general residential area, rural terrain or for groups trying to keep in touch while hiking, road-trips, camping or similar outdoor operations.|
|Range||2-12 miles (mobile to portable)0.5 to 6 Miles (portable to portable)
25+ miles (with repeater)
|2-10 miles (mobile to portable)0.25 -5 miles (portable to portable)
20+ miles (with repeater)
Another frequently asked question is whether the preferred device of choice must be analog or digital. Traditionally, analog devices have served the purposes of two-way repeater functions pretty well. Digital two-way repeater units come with some distinct advantages like:
However, if your business or personal needs don’t fall under any of the above categories, you are most likely not going to need it.
To sum it up, this basic information could get you started with identifying the two-way radio repeater of your choice. There are other considerations like licensing your station, aligning with local operations, adjusting offsets and ID protocols while transmitting signals. We shall join you there very soon!
For more information about BridgeCom Systems line of BCR Repeater, BCH Handhelds and BCM Mobile radios click here and pick a category. You can also contact us for more information, we are here to help.