Hotspot Looping

Have you ever been in a talk group and heard someone's transmission playing over and over again, sometimes for an extended period of time?

This is an issue happening more and more with station operators that don't fully understand how the system works. I'll attempt to clear up exactly what's happening here.

A loop is created when 2 hotspots are set to the same frequency and are close enough to transmit to one another. Due to the latency in communication over the internet you can have a few seconds of a transmission repeat over and over for quit some time.

The station ID you're seeing on your radio is not the one causing the loop, they're just the lucky person who's transmission was picked up by someone with a very bad setup of their equipment.

Since they don't see their ID the station causing the loop may not even know they are causing it.

This is how it all happens

  • An innocent station operator transmits on a talk group
  • Another station has two hotspots improperly set to identical frequencies
  • The transmission is received over the internet by one hotspot before the other, this hotspot repeats the transmission locally
  • The second hotspot receives the local transmission and broadcasts it back to the talk group over the internet
  • The first hotspot receives the same transmission over the internet and the cycle repeats
One important thing to remember is that the hotspots repeat the transmission along with the radio ID of the original transmission. People tend to see the ID displayed with the transmission and jump to the conclusion that they are the station responsible for the loop. This however is not the case.

Here is a flow chart to help clear things up

Just remember not to have more than one hotspot on at a time if possible.
If you have multiple hotspots make sure they are on different frequencies.

Hopefully this clears some things up and prevents some frustration and wrongly placed blame.

73s K9NPX