Hotspots are an essential tool for today’s radio amateur. Hotspots allow an amateur to communicate via digital networks where no repeater can be found if they have an internet connection available. They can be very handy – as it allows one to communicate (digitally) w/o tying up a repeater, or being limited to a repeater’s allowed talk groups (or reflectors).
Hotspot have quite a lot to offer. They can communicate using several digital modes, such as D-STAR, Yaesu Fusion, P25, NXDN, and DMR. The can be configured to automatically switch between these modes, which is awesome if you have more than one type of digital radio. You can subscribe to various digital amateur networks supporting these modes. In some cases (DMR) , you can subscribe to more than one network of the of the same type. You can also have the hotspot translate between some of the protocols, ie. DMR2YSF, DMR2NXDN, YSF2DMR, YSF2P25, etc. You get the idea. Not all protocols can be managed this way – but many can.
Hotspots can be either simplex or duplex capable – duplex units have separate receive and transmit frequencies (just like a repeater) so can receive while transmitting (just like a repeater). Simplex units transmit or receive, but not at the same time. Duplex units have an advantage in that it is possible to switch talk groups or reflectors w/o waiting for a lull in transmission from the hotspot. For DMR use, duplex units allow the use of both timeslots – simplex ones support only one timeslot.
Most hotspots have a built-in WiFi capability and can access your home network wirelessly.