Two-way radio repeaters are unique and complex pieces of equipment. They sometimes aren’t used for days or even weeks on end, but when they’re needed, they must start-up instantly and retransmit the incoming radio signals. If lightning strikes, or the antenna gets damaged by a falling branch or ice during the repeater’s off-period, the problem won’t become apparent until the repeater is solicited for operation.
Monitoring and Automated Tests
Cortex units can be set up to regularly start-up a repeater and run a complete test. This is not simply an on-off test. The Cortex can:
- Generate an audio signal,
- Inject it into the repeater’s mic input,
- Key-up the PTT,
- Measure the RF output and VSWR,
- Detect audio (via a 2nd on-site or remote receiver), and even check for a specific tone,
- Log the test,
- Send a specific alarm if anything untoward is detected.
In addition, normal everyday operation can be continuously monitored for things such as:
- PTT presence without RF power, or vice-versa
- High VSWR,
- Low RF Power,
- 2nd opinion RF power (if the transmitter has its own RF output detector),
- Power supply current,
- RF Power Amp status.
Find out what sensors or features can be used to achieve this functionality
OVER-THE-AIR VOICE ALARM TRANSMISSION
Amongst the Cortex’s many alarm transmission modes, one is of particular interest for repeater operations. This mode is the “Voice over PTT” mode. With this mode, when an alarm occurs, voice phrases are sent to the Cortex’s audio output jack and a pre-selected relay is used to close the PTT contacts on the radio. Alarm messages can therefore be transmitted out over the air and received by the concerned parties. This mode would obviously not work if the repeater is defective, and it shouldn’t be used if any alarm information is of a confidential nature.