Repeater Contacts: All you need to know

If you don’t have a dense amateur radio network in your area and you are worried about your communication through the radio, then the repeater is for you. Repeaters have now become important pieces of equipment for communication in the amateur radio system.

Repeaters enable portable and mobile stations to make contacts over long distances. They are located in higher locations as it increases their coverage area. It enables the station to take advantage of the repeater’s location and communicate to a larger number of radio operators.

Contacting through Repeater

A repeater is a receiver and transmitter that listens to your transmission and retransmits it. Repeaters have the advantage of heights and power, which helps in extending the range of your transmission. Repeater contact is any contact that is made through the repeater.

The operation of a repeater depends on the country in which it is operating. It is important to understand how the mechanism of Repeater Contact works before performing it.

Mechanism of Repeater contact

A repeater does not radiate signals when it is not being used by any station. It helps in conserving power and avoiding possible interference. They are designed in a manner that they don’t transmit any spurious signals or noise.

The repeater requires a signal on its input frequency to get started. The signal should be strong enough to be transmitted to another station. It can be done by following two methods:

  • By using audio tone burst before sending the actual signal
  • By using CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System)

The message from the incoming signal is then transmitted to the output frequency of the repeater. If the signal has a low frequency or becomes too noisy to provide good copy, then the repeater will not be able to transmit the signal on the output frequency.

Most of the repeaters come with a feature of timing-out. It tracks the transmission time of a signal, and if it exceeds a certain limit, then the repeater will automatically disconnect. This facility is included to prevent people from using it for a long period and enable more users to send signals on the repeater.

A repeater automatically detects that a signal is no longer available on its input frequency. In a few minutes, it will send a Morse character “K” for inviting the next station for transmission.

Things to keep in mind

You should keep in mind that the operation of repeaters varies from country to country. Therefore, it’s better to learn more about the repeater in use and read the instructions.

Before using the repeater, you should make sure that the right CTCSS tone is set. If the tone is not correct, the repeater contact won’t happen. You should keep your transmission for about a minute or so because most of the repeaters have time-out mechanism.

Before starting any transmission, you should make sure that the other station has ceased to transmit. Otherwise, the repeater might assume that there has been no change in transmission and time-out soon.

To Sum it up

Repeaters are a boon for users with portable and mobile transmission. They can use the same coverage as that of the repeater. This extends the range of their transmission. With proper instructions, anyone can easily use repeaters. One should not use it for a longer time and let others also take advantage of the repeater contacts.