Digital vs. Analog

If you are use to operating on analog FM repeaters, you will have noticed that the audio quality degrades as a station’s signal into the repeater (uplink) gets weaker; you start hearing an increase in noise bursts intermixed with the audio until the signal gets so weak that the station can no long access the repeater or you can not understand the audio because of noise. 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’s 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 affect. 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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