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VE3RNR Duplexer Replaced

The Duplexer on the UHF repeater VE3RNR in Fonthill was replaced this morning by Dave, VA3UL. Tests done earlier indicated abnormal power losses and it was traced to the Duplexer. Dave gives us some insight about the duties of a duplexer in a radio repeater below.

The Duplexer device serves a critical role in a repeater. To make a long story short, the duplexer separates and isolates the incoming signal from the outgoing and vice versa. Even though the repeaters input and output frequencies are different, the duplexer is still needed. Why? Have you ever been in a place where there's lots of RF activity, and noticed the receive performance of your radio degrades to some degree? This is called desensitization, or desense, and it's a bad thing on a repeater. The receiver goes deaf or gets desensitized from the strong RF signals being radiated in its vicinity and confused about which signal it should receive. The result is poor receive quality, or in extreme cases, complete lack of receive capability. Keep in mind that in this example, the radios are picking up radiated power from one another and that's enough to cause trouble. Now imagine how much trouble there will be if you not only have the transmitter and receiver close together, but connect them to the same antenna! Transmitting only a few hundred kHz away in frequency would blow away the input to the receiver if the equipment was simply connected together with a Tee. That's where the duplexer comes in; it prevents the receiver and transmitter from 'hearing' one another by the isolation it provides.

A duplexer is a device that is referred to by several different names like cavities or cans. A duplexer has the shape of tall canisters and is designed to pass a very narrow range of frequencies and to reject others. There is some loss to the system because of the duplexer, however, the advantage of being able to use a single antenna usually outweighs the drawbacks.

Thank-you for your information Dave.

Peter, VA3WET
Wednesday, December 6th, 2006