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We propose a data precoded relay-assisted scheme, for a system cooperating with 2 relays. We assume that all the terminals are equipped with a single antenna. The use of relays is of significant interest to allow radio access in situations where a direct path is not available. However because of the half duplex constraint at the relays, transmission of a data rate equivalent to that of a modulation technique with m bits per symbol in the case a continuous link would be available from the BS to the UT requires the use of a constellation with 2m bits per symbol. This implies a penalty in power efficiency. The proposed simple precoding scheme exploits the relation between QPSK and 16-QAM, by alternately transmitting through the 2 relays, keeping the diversity of order 2. Numerical results show significant performance improvements relatively to the case of a relay-based distributed Alamouti employing 16-QAM, and a performance very close to the non-cooperative system employing 2x1 QPSK Alamouti coding with a continuous link available, when all the links have the same SNR.