DMR Ham Radio Articles

Digital Radios VS Analog Radios

Here we are going to differentiate the characteristics of digital radio versus analog radio. When you are use to operating on analog FM repeaters, you will find out that the audio quality degrades as a station’s signal into the repeater uplink gets weaker you start hearing an increase in the noise bursts with the audio until the signal gets to a point that is so weak that the station can not access the repeater or you can’t understand the audio because the level of noise increase to a point that you are not able to perform a QSO. As you move further from the repeater you will start hearing the same noise bursts into your receiver as the repeater’s signal gets weaker (downlink) until you can no longer hear the repeater.

A combination of a station’s weak signal into a repeater and a repeater weak signal to the listener can make the usability degrade faster. The basic difference with digital repeaters is that the audio quality remains the same on the uplink and downlink until the very end of the coverage range; then the audio starts sounding broken (missing portions of the speech) on DMR systems caused by lost packets. The Internet can also drop the UDP packets used for moving traffic between repeaters and bridges, causing the same broken audio effect. Analog static is a thing of the past using DMR.

DMR has Forward Error Correction (FEC) which can correct small bit errors, slightly extending the usable range and improving communication Quality. Better quality receivers can operate at a lower noise floor, higher power transmitters, and higher gain antenna systems will also extend coverage of both analog and digital systems.

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