Communications Connection

Two-way Radio Repeaters: What are they?

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 @ 09:02 AM

motorola xpr8300 resized 600Coverage issues are not just limited to cell phones.  There are many reasons why some companies two-way radios will be able to talk a lot farther than the ones at your company.  To put it simply, they are most likely operating on a higher power.  "Well that's not fair" you are probably thinking.  What makes them so special that they can operate on a higher power.  Well you can too, that's where a repeater would come in.

Portable radios normally operate somewhere between .5 and 5 watts.  It's hard to say for sure what distance this would cover because of interference issues such as buildings, mountains, etc. but a rough estimate is for every watt of power you would get approximately one mile of coverage in a flat, open area.  What a radio repeater would do is take that weak or low signal and retransmit ("repeat") it at a higher level which would then enable the radio signal to cover a greater area.  The repeater would be installed in a location that would maximize its effectiveness.

There are many different types of repeaters available.  There are low level repeaters, high level repeaters, vehicle repeaters, cross band repeaters and one of the newer types which are digital repeaters.  Motorola MotoTRBO (XPR8300, XPR8400) repeaters supports two simultaneous voice or data paths when used in digital TDMA mode.  This provides for twice the calling capacity, as compared to analog radios, for the price of one license.  It also provides clearer communications, in digital mode, throughout the coverage area as compare to analog radios and it is 100% continuous duty.

Sometimes radio systems will require the use of a repeater to increases the range and capabilities of your portable or mobile radios.  If you think you may need to use a repeater with your system, contact your two-way radio professional for a consultation and system testing.

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Do you have a repeater at your organization?  How has it increased your communications range?  Comment below, we would love to hear about it

Topics: two way radio, digital radio, repeater

5 FAQ's about FCC Narrowbanding Mandate

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 @ 11:02 AM

With the FCC's mandate of 12.5 kHz by January 1, 2013, there have been many questions.  I wanted to take a minute to address 5 of the most common.

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1 - What is Narrowbanding?

In an effort to promotoe more efficient use of spectrum, the FCC mandated all VHF and UHF Public Safety and Industrial/Business licensees using 25 kHz land mobile radio (LMR) systems migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

FCC Narrowband Mandate FAQ

2- What will happen if I fail to comply with the FCC Naroowbanding Mandate?  Can I continue to operate at 25 kHz efficiency on a secondary status after January 1, 2013?

No.  The FCC will prohibit licensees from operating 25 kHz efficiency equipment on a secondary basis.  Non-compliance will be considered a violation subject to FCC Enforcement Bureau action, which may include admonishment, monetary fines and loss of license.

3- Does Narrowbanding require me to change frequencies or obtain new channels?

No.  Narrowbanding does not require moving to another frequency band or different channels.  Licensees stay on the same channel center(s), but reduce the bandwidth of the channel(s) currently used, from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz and change the emission designator on the license.  Alternatively, licensees stay on the same 25 kHz channel but implement a 12.5 kHz equivalent technology on that channel.

4- If I currently have a license for a 25 kHz channel, will I automatically be entitled to license two 12.5 kHz channels?

No. Your 12.5 kHz channel will remain on the same 26 kHz channel center.  Your current 25 kHz channel will not be split into two 12.5 kHz channels.  You will need to justify and apply for any additional 12.5 kHz channels to the FCC through a certified frequency coordinator.

5- Will migration to 12.5 kHz change my system coverage?

Maybe.  Condust tests during the conversion to ensure your system continyes to provide similiar coverage.

FCC Narrowband Assistance

For a more complete listing of FCC Narrowbanding FAQ's visit 

Topics: motorola, two way radios, 2 way radio, narrowband