ON SET w/ Skye Rentals: Repeater vs. Base Station

…a continuing series about set safety and production issues

by Steve Gyuire

Skye Rentals - Production & Set Supplies

We often get questions about the difference between a “Repeater” and a “Base Station”?

When used properly, these tools can be extremely useful and effective on set, preventing dangerous breakdowns in communication. The first question is whether you’ll need a Repeater or Base Station. If your crew will be more than 2-3 miles away from each other, or if there are obstacles that would prevent a “line of sight” transmission (like buildings or mountains), then the answer is yes.

Essentially, a Base Station is used as a central location, from which an amplified signal is broadcast to a network of walkies. A Repeater is used as a connection between two or more distant or obstructed points in a network. Let me explain…

In a typical network of CP200 walkies, the radios have to all be within 2-3 miles of each other for everyone to listen and speak to everyone else. The trick here is that the 2-3 mile radius has to be “line-of-sight”, meaning, in order to use the maximum radius, there cannot be any obstructions, like buildings or mountains.

A Base Station is typically set up at Base Camp. The Base Station is, for lack of a better term, one walkie on steroids. It can send and receive signals much farther away than a typical walkie. The Base Station will ensure clear communication between one point and any walkie within its’ circular range.

A Repeater is used to ensure clear communication between two or more walkies that would not otherwise be able to communicate. This situation usually occurs because there is something in the way, for example, buildings, or a mountain. If you have one walkie on one side of a mountain, and another on the other side, the people holding these radios would not be able to communicate with each other. The solution is to place a Repeater in a location that will have the best possible line-of-sight on both radios, in other words, the top of the mountain, and raised as high as possible. When one person speaks into their radio, the repeater will receive the signal, and then repeat it down the other side of the mountain to the other radio.

As always, contact STEVE GYUIRE at Skye Rentals if you have more questions about the best set up for your show.


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