Components of a BDA System

A BDA system or bi-directional amplifier system is also known as a signal amplifier. It amplifies the radio frequency simultaneously in two directions. The signal goes from an individual to the radio repeater system and also from the radio repeater system to the individual. 

The BDA system should be monitored by the building’s fire alarm system and is usually purchased and installed in conjunction with that system. The BDA is a life safety system that allows first responder radios to work more effectively within the confinement of a building.

What Are a BDA System’s Components?

There are four primary components to a BDA system. A radio frequency amplifier control cabinet with a battery backup with a specific frequency is set for the municipality. Satellite remote antennas are set on each floor wiring with coax cable connectors. Splitters, couplers, and an exterior donor antenna pointing to the public safety radio repeater site are required.

The BDA System’s components and details include the following:

  • A donor antenna is installed on the roof of the building pointed toward the public safety radio repeater site. It does not need a line of sight and has high gain and high directivity.
  • Coaxial cables connect the donor antenna to the BDA and are usually a half-inch in diameter. Some jurisdictions have labeling requirements.
  • Signal splitters and couplers are used for signal distribution and come in different coupling values.
  • RF connectors are installed by a technician using a specialized tool and are designed to work at radio frequencies in the multi-megahertz range.
  • DAS antennas are distributed antennas. Fiberglass stick antennas tend to perform best. Other low-profile options are available.
  • A battery backup provides 24 hours of emergency power in case of failure.
  • A dedicated monitoring panel/annunciator panel is required and is independent of the fire alarm system. It is powered by the BDA power supply and battery backup. It can be installed on a two-gang electrical box.
  • A fire alarm panel connection is the way to connect the BDA to the fire alarm system to allow for monitoring. Signals may include donor antenna malfunction, BDA failure, low battery, loss of normal AC power, and failure of a battery charger.

Each jurisdiction is different, and which frequencies and channels are required in your jurisdiction may vary. Contact an emergency monitoring system professional for a consultation. 

While many customers are looking to install a new BDA system for the first time, CFC has a much broader scope of services. The company can also handle upgrade or replacement needs for BDA systems. Call the team at CFC today and have peace of mind knowing your building has the proper emergency response system.