When we want to extend the coverage of handheld two-way radios, the first option is typically to incorporate repeater as a solution. However, a repeater isn’t the full answer. A repeater, more times than not, will put out much more power and have a better antenna system than the portable radios that it is communicating with.
This presents a unbalanced system where the “talk out” of the repeater is much better than the “talk out” of the handhelds. In this case, the usable radius of the system is much less than what it could be.
To fix this, Icom makes a digital voting LINQ™ system where you can easily plug in “voting” receivers. This allows the system builder the choice of placing receivers locally where ever they know portables to be working from. This system then “votes” the receiver that is receiving the portable operator the best.
The concept of voting receivers has been around for some time, but Icom’s LINQ system makes voting receivers easy to implement compared to older analog solutions (which use voting “tones” and separate comparators). A LINQ system is much more balanced and the usable radius of the system is significantly enhanced. Think of this kind of system as being a “repeater” with a distributed receive system. Keep this in mind the next time you’re building a communication system for handheld radios where coverage is a priority.