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Radio Repeater Basics

Two-Way Radio Repeater

What are Repeaters and How Do They Work?

A radio repeater is a specialized two-way radio designed to increase the communication range of a radio system.  It receives signals on one frequency and transmits them on another frequency simultaneously, acting as a "relay station" and boosting the power of the signal when it re-transmits. Repeaters are usually placed in high locations such as mountain tops, the tops of buildings, or installed on towers.

Repeaters can greatly increase the range of your radio system. However, depending on how much range you need, a repeater may or may not be necessary. Most smaller businesses and municipal operations can usually communicate fine without a repeater by using a base station radio with an output power of 25 to 50 watts to provide greater range. Large universities, hospitals, municipalities, construction sites, and businesses will sometimes require a repeater for greater range or to overcome barriers such as mountains or dense structures.

Not all radios are designed to work with repeaters. A repeater capable radio has the ability to set the transmit (TX) and receive (RX) frequencies on a single channel to different values, this allows the radio to communicate through a repeater. Look for a radio that is "repeater capable" if you plan on using a repeater.

 

Types of Radio Repeaters

•  Same Band Repeaters Operate on the same frequency band (i.e.VHF or UHF).  Input and output frequencies may be different but they are on the same band.
•  Cross Band Repeaters Also called X-Band Repeaters. Used to connect two radio systems that each use different bands (ex. UHF & VHF).
•  Vehicular Repeaters Are mobile repeaters used in vehicles to boost the signal.
•  Combination Repeaters       All-in-one units that act as both a base station radio and repeater.