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Repeater Types

There are many different types of repeater systems that are used today. We have made it easier for you by listing them below:

Open: This is the most common type of system. Anyone that is licensed, may use the repeater. No retrictions are applied.
Closed: This system is usually found with groups or is not in full operation. No one may use it unless given permission by the owner.

Simplex: Radio signals are routed through a PC circuit that receives the signal, records it (usually 30 second max) and re-transmits the signal with the same or higher power output. Signal uses the same frequency ( These units are mostly used during small events or camping.
Duplex: Most common to many duplex repeater systems. The receiving signal of the repeater is on, and the transmitting signal is on This allows the user to talk directly to another user without delay, and provides accurate communications across a wide area.

CTCSS: Continuous Tone-Controlled Squelch System. Most common for amateur and GMRS systems. Uses a subaudible analog tone between 67.0 and 250.3 hz. This allows the repeater to transmit a signal on the same frequency as another, without interferring with each others signals. A repeater can use the same tone for both TX and RX, or different tones to keep communication parties organized (same common output tone).
DTCSS: Digital Tone Coded Squelch System. This is used with digital tones instead of analog tones, and is common with higher-end radio systems. It is also less common with older systems, but gives the same privacy as when using CTCSS. -- Also known as DCSS or DCS.
PL/DPL: Private Line/Digital Private Line. This type of controlled tone is the same as CTCSS/DTCSS. This term is used mostly by Motorola, and also with bubble-pack radios for the Family Radio Service (FRS).

As with all radio communications, even though a repeater system may have sub-tones, and are closed or open, everything you say on the air is public and can be heard by anyone. It is not private, like with land or cellular phones.

GMRS repeaters are allowed a maximum TPO (transmitting power output) of 50 watts, cannot use auto-patches (radio-to-phone), and may only use voice and morse code when ID'ing on a repeater. 10-codes for communications may be used, but other codes (ie: Q-codes, 3-digit codes, etc.) are not allowed per FCC Part 95 Rules. For more information about repeaters and repeater systems, click here or on the BARN Repeater Guide link in the menu to your left. 

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