What are Two-Way Radio Repeaters and Why are they Used?

December 24th, 2015
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Turn your tame two-way radio communication system into a Robo-Transmission Warrior! Using a repeater to pump up your company’s communication system is like injecting it with steroids. Spend a few minutes to learn about repeaters and how they can double the range of your radio.

A repeater is similar to a radio base station, in that it is a fixed radio that can receive a transmission from another radio. However, the main difference of a repeater is that it is also a radio transmitter. A radio repeater can receive a low-level or weak radio signal and retransmit it at a higher power so that the signal can have a greater range while staying clear and strong. Repeaters are frequently used by dispatching businesses such as taxi services and towing companies, and for emergency services such as police, firefighters and ambulance services. For many of these types of organizations, their base station is in fact a repeater and these names are used interchangeably, but it is important to know the difference, especially if you are in the market for one. The term fleet communications is used when talking about coordinating the activities and communications of several to many individual portable two-way radios and/or mobile radio users.

Unlike portable two-way radios, repeaters use external antennas to increase their range. It is possible to add a repeater to an existing radio system, but you must ensure that your radios are repeater capable and that the repeater is compatible with the radio models you are using. Repeaters can be used for both outdoor communications, such as on a large commercial farm that stretches out over many acres, or indoors, such as when you need signal coverage on additional floors of a high-rise office building. Repeaters and their antennas are typically located on the roof of a tall building or on a mountaintop. It is only important that the repeater is at a raised location. It does not matter where those who are connecting to it are located. All that matters is that each person can clearly hear that repeater’s transmitter, and that they can successfully transmit to the repeater’s receiver.

There are many different kinds of businesses that can greatly benefit from using a radio repeater. A taxi service might have drivers that are located in various suburbs of a large city. In order to coordinate fast customer pickups, the dispatcher needs to be able to reach all the drivers, to see who is currently closest to the customer. These drivers might be spread out over a large distance, so in addition to having the main base station at their company headquarters, they might place 1 or 2 repeaters on the outskirts of the city to increase their coverage. A police department might have several precincts located in various parts of a city or town. In order to respond quickly to an emergency, the dispatcher must be able to reach all officers, no matter where they are. It is a similar situation to the taxi service, but in the case of emergency workers, lives may be at stake and every second counts.

Whether it’s for a catering service, trucking company, landscaping business or firefighters, radio repeaters can spread radio signals far and wide for optimal communication over a great distance.

Categories: Two Way Radios

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