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FM Repeaters – An Introduction

FM Repeaters – An Introduction

Article by Stu Turner, WØSTU

Operating on VHF/UHF FM repeaters is one of the most popular activities in amateur radio. For the new ham, FM repeater ops are often the first and most common on-air experiences, but accessing repeaters also represents a significant initial vexation for the new ham to overcome. Mastering the integrated concepts of frequency pairs, tones or other squelch methods, transceiver channel programming, and repeater on-air protocols is the first significant operational challenge that many hams will encounter in their new hobby.

BCR Repeater Installs

This article introduces fundamental concepts of FM repeater operations for the new ham and depicts a high level view of typical FM phone repeater anatomy and functioning. The goal is to demystify repeaters and help the newly licensed Technician overcome any initial bewilderment about repeaters. Let’s get off to a great start in ham radio with solid footing in repeaters!

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Why 220 MHz for Amateur Ham Radio, V2.0?

Why 220 MHz for Amateur Ham Radio, V2.0?

220 MHz amateur radio boasts of a long and colorful history, affording it a special place in the hearts of amateur radio enthusiasts. 

Conceptually, amateur radio repeaters are not too different from public safety devices (fire, first response, police) or those in use at federal, business or military services. However, they are often assembled (power supplies, transmitter, receivers, antenna etc.) or commercially packaged to operate only within amateur RF (radio frequency) bands, like 222-224.995 220 MHz band.

History

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved VHF bands as early as 1938, one of them being 1.25 meters (224 MHz) band. Amateur radio activity spiked rapidly in 1960s and 1970s, as 2m and 70cm bands swiftly rose to prominence in the hobby. The commercial spectrum of the VHF and UHF bands became the backbone of emergency service communications like police, fire and ems. The 1.25m band however, escaped the commercial popularity - partly due to lack of enough commercial frequency allocations. Add to it, commercial radio equipment for the band has been scarce. Amateurs willing to go live on this band have had to build their own equipment or buy specialized amateur radio equipment from designated manufacturers.

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BridgeCom visits Ham-Com 2015 Irving, TX

Here are some thoughts and pictures from our visit to Ham-Com 2015 in Irving, TX.

BridgeCom Systems Ham-Com 2015 BoothRon and I left the Kansas City, MO area on Thursday morning and it was 80+ degrees.  When we got to TX it was 90+ degrees, so summer is officially here.  

Driving from MO to TX without the radio on leaves for a lot of random conversation, good, but random.  Ron and I discussed our thoughts and expectations for Ham-Com.  We expected to have a good booth location, plenty of foot traffic, and generate a positive buzz surrounding BridgeCom Systems and our products.  We packed with us three repeaters (BCR-50V, BCR-220, BCR-40U), the new BCM-220 mobile, and our MV-DMR server in a 2U chassis, plus the assorted banners and spec sheets.  

We arrived in TX about 3:30p Thursday and went straight to the Irving Convention Center to unload and set up.  The people of TX are very nice, lots of yes sir, no sir.  We got set up pretty quickly, we like to keep the booth small with just a few products and brochures.  I'm not a fan of the table across the entire front of the booth, but it seemed to work well this time giving us some shelter from the masses.  However, I should have put the banners out front on the corners where people could have seen them better.

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Duplexer and Repeaters: Basic Information

Duplexer and Repeaters: Basic Information

Duplexers and Repeaters Some Basic Information BY ROBERT A. LEHNING*, WA2YSJ All across the country there are many amateur repeate  stations operating on 2 meters, 220  and 440 MHz, and to some extent on 1.2 GHz.  Several  modes of operating such as FM, ATV, and packet (digital) have also become...

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Repeater Basics: What is a 2-way radio repeater and how is it used?

Repeater Basics: What is a 2-way radio repeater and how is it used?

What is a Repeater?

In the world of modern communication there is an ever increasing need for providing higher outreach. The traditional portable 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’.

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