Land Mobile Radio (LMR)

Land mobile radio (LMR) consists of a wide variety of mobile radio systems, ranging from a simple pair of handheld “walkie-talkies” to digital cellular-like systems. LMR includes radio service between mobile units or between mobile units and a base station.

LMR systems are traditionally private systems that allow communication between a base and several mobile radios. LMR systems can share a single frequency or use dual frequencies. Where LMR systems use a single frequency when mobile radios must wait to talk, this is called a simplex system. To simplify the mobile radio design and increase system efficiency, some LMR systems use two frequencies; one for transmitting and another for receiving. If the radio cannot transmit and receive at the same time, the system is called half duplex. When LMR systems use two frequencies and can transmit and receive at the same time, this is called full duplex. When a company operates an LMR system to provide service to multiple users on a subscription basis (typically to companies), it is called a public land mobile radio system (PLMR).

Figure 1 shows a traditional two-way radio system. In this example, a high power base station (called a “base”) is used to communicate with portable two-way radios. The two-way portable radios can communicate with the base or they can communicate directly with each other.

Figure 1: Traditional Land Mobile Radio System

LMR systems are used by: taxicab companies, conventioneers, police and fire departments, and places where general dispatching for service is a normal course of business communications. SMR radios are regularly designed to be rugged to survive the harsh environment. SMR radios can usually be programmed with a unique code. This code may be an individual code or group code (e.g., pre-designated group of users such as a fire department). This allows all the radios belonging to a group, or a sub-group, to be “paged” by any party in the group. A push-to-talk method is used during the dispatch call (page) or reply. This push-to-talk radio-to-radio communication efficiently utilizes the airwaves because of the bursty (very short transmission time) nature of the information.

Automated land mobile radio systems are divided into two categories; SMR or Enhanced SMR (ESMR). Enhanced land mobile radio systems operate and have similar features to mobile telephone systems.

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