NI4CE regional linked repeater system

Why 70 cm?


Many Hams have asked us “Why are so many of the NI4CE Repeaters on the UHF Band?.  One reason is frequency pair availability.  Another reason is the ability of UHF signals to penetrate Florida building construction, both business and residential.

Amateur Radio repeaters traditionally operated in the Two Meter Band (VHF).  Thar’s because VHF equipment was more readily available when repeaters started operating back in the 1970s.  The Two Meter Band is an Amateur Radio Primary Allocation.

But RF technology for bands further up the spectrum has improved significantly. New radios and new repeaters are now commonplace in the Amateur Radio UHF 70 centimeter band.  Many radio manufacturers, including ICOM, Kenwood, and Yaseu, developed and marketed dual-band 2m-70cm transceivers making it easy for Hams to buy-in and access both repeater bands.  There are also more repeater frequency pairs available in the UHF band, allowing new repeaters to go on the air in places where VHF repeater pairs were not available.

The 145.430 MHz VHF repeater in Manatee County was the first West Central Florida Group, Inc. repeater on the air in 2001.  It was followed a few days later by the 442.950 MHz UHF repeater at the Verna (Manatee County) site.  Since then, the West Central Florida Group has built and currently operates UHF band analog repeaters at Riverview, Holiday, Bartow and Lake Placid and networked UHF NXDN Digital Repeaters in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties.  We love UHF!

Nearly all active Hams today have one or more transceivers capable of operating on the 70 cm (UHF) band.  Nearly all NXDN radios used by Hams in Florida are UHF.  Here is why this is important.  UHF signals offer superior commercial and residential building penetration.  UHF antennas are smaller, allowing Hams who live in Deed Restricted areas to operate with attic mounted antennas or small, stealth antennas that do not attract public scrutiny.  This enables many more Hams to get on the air and remain active.  This also enhances the pool of trained ARES and SKYWARN operators, who participate in these two community-based programs that save lives and protect property, particularly during our numerous severe weather events.  The NI4CE System supports both ARES and SKYWARN and has since it went on the air in February 2001.