A meter transceiver is basically a two-way radio capable of both receiving and transmitting. A basic 2 meter radio makes use of the amateur radio band in the VHF spectrum and uses frequencies from 144.000 megahertz (MHz) to 148.000 MHz within North and South America, Hawaii, Asia and Oceania. Europe, Russia and Africa can make use of frequencies of 144.000 MHz to 146.000.
Since 2 meter transceivers use the VHF frequencies, height means how far away it is possible to communicate clearly. To get the necessary height, repeaters are used and are located in skyscraper tops in cities or mountain range tops in countrysides. Repeaters are meter transceivers that pick up a signal from a 2 meter transceiver and retransmit the received signal on their antenna at the same time as received and allow a 2 meter to transmit a long distance. If the repeater is high enough, reception is good for around 100 miles, though the usual repeater rate is for somewhere between 30 to 40 miles distance. A typical FM meter transceiver setup would have a 50 watt set and rooftop vertical antenna for transmission to the local repeater.
Transceivers come with three main capabilities: scanners for listening only on airband frequencies, com-only transceivers for receiving and transmitting on airband, and nav-com transceivers for transmitting, receiving, and interpretations and displays of VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) signals for navigation. Most popular and most widely used of the types of transceivers are the com-only meter transceivers and, with headset adapters, they can even be used with aviation headsets in a cockpit. A feature called channel recall allows storage of around ten most frequently used frequencies to scroll through on a trip without having to program them into the unit on some transceivers. Emergency services make use of these types of transceivers as well; not only police and fire services, but also Red Cross shelters and ambulance services. The 2 meter transceivers and frequencies are most useful when mounted units and hand-held units can work together to spread emergency efforts over large areas of a community.
Satellite communications to achieve longer distance communications are even possible with smaller transceivers like the 2 meter transceiver, which can share with 10 meter bands, 70 meter bands and even microwave bands using cross-band repeating. Software modes on board can dictate a satellite’s frequency at any given time from a published schedule and uplink and downlink from amateur radio satellites can achieve communication distances of up to 3,000 miles from low Earth satellites. From the higher orbit satellites, distances of up to 30,000 miles can be achieved via what are called satellite “footprints” and these higher flying satellites are basically just elliptically orbiting repeaters.