Our repeater is truly an ECOMM repeater. Nearly every decision we make furthers that designation. Not only is our primary repeater in the national forest it serves the national forest.
We have an issue with Search & Rescue (SAR) that are primarily HT based. Our Motorola MSF 5000 has awesome receive without any additional filters (we removed the Angle Linear cavities and preamp). One operator used a 5-watt HT with a rubber ducky inside his vehicle as he trav4eled from Palm Springs to Santa Monica with only a couple of fringe areas. But that was 10 miles out from the repeater.
The question we need to answer is how to best fill in the canyons below the repeater to aide SAR operations. The hams on the teams use our repeater as a secondary to the 800MHz county system that was never designed for trail use. One solution we've come up with is an inverted collinear or j-pole. Specifically a Laird FRS series. http://www.talleycom.com/store/pdf/ANXFG1523.pdf
The 3dB model looks like Dumbo ears with spikes that go almost vertically. Inverted it covers the horizon and those spikes go down, theoretically into the canyons. We'd place a decent receiver on a different PL rather than using a voting system, although that isn't out of the question.
We have a second repeater on the north side that looks into the covered area. We have not been able to secure a location covering the south face. The mountains area there looking in but no repeater sites. In fact, we have users at the very bottom that hear the repeater 5x5 but area weak getting into it. Transmit isn't the issue; it's receive.
But what other options might we have that we don't realize? Coverage directly under the tower isn't needed. It's located in a residential area offering coverage. But on both sides of the tower are hiking trails, creeks, camp grounds, etc.