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What is a Hot Spot?
Hot Spot vs. Repeater

John 'Miklor' K3NXU
In the world of DMR, there are two ways to gain access to the now worldwide network. One is a repeater, the other is using a Hot Spot. Which method is best is determined by several factors.

One of the main factors is how far you are from the local repeater. If you are not within range of a repeater, a hot spot may be your only choice. A distance reference can be found HERE.

Both a hot spot and a repeater can be used to connect to a DMR network. So let's take a look at the networks.

The Brandmeister Network is the commonly associated with Hot Spot operation, while the DMR-MARC network is associated more with repeater operation.

Look at these two networks as a pair of pine trees. Their roots are totally different, but as their networks grow, so do the compatible connections to many of the identical Talk Groups.
-  Statewide
-  Nationwide
-  Country Wide
-  Worldwide
-  Secondary Channels (TAC Channels)

Let's look at some of the differences between the two.

Mobile Operation
  (Rptr)  Direct connection to repeater network.
  (HS)   Requires an internet connection.

Local Channels
  (Rptr)  Local radio to radio contact.
  (HS)   Network Connection only.

Statewide Talk Groups
  (Rptr)  Limited to the states desired at the discretion of the repeater owner.
  (HS)   Access to all state talk groups.

Secondary Channels
  (Rptr)  Some or all TAC channels at the discretion of the repeater owner.
  (HS)   Access to all TAC channels.

PTT vs. Full Time Access
  (Rptr)  Most TG require PTT to access a TG for a predetermined time.
  (HS)   All Talk Groups are Full Time access.

Code Plugs

  (Rptr)  Requires a seperate code plug for every repeater.
  (HS)   Only one code plug required to access the BM network.

Handheld Coverage
  (Rptr)  Must be within range of a repeater.
  (HS)   If using a MiFi connection, must be in range of cellular signal.

As shown above, there is no clear winner or loser. It depends on your need. However, there is one more thing to consider and that's the cost. A good hotspot configuration will cost around $200.

Repeaters are expensive. Although access is usually open to all users, I encourage you to not only join, but support your local club.

Links that might further assist:

DMR Network Basics

Compare Hot Spots