Handheld cable tester offers TDR, Extended Range Transmission Analysis
While being the most widely used components in RF and microwave communication systems, cables are also the leading cause of their failure. This holds true regardless of their implementation – waveguide, coax or twisted pair. During maintenance of these systems, engineers and technicians need to measure cable performance (e.g., return loss and voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR)), while also identifying fault locations and their cause such as poor insulation, mechanical damage or water ingress. Such testing requires a cable and antenna analyser, network analyser, signal generator and power meter; all of which must be transported and set up for testing in the field. The process is error prone and leaves the instruments subject to accidental damage.
The new Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) cable measurement option for the FieldFox enables TDR measurements for the cable and antenna analyser. The option complements the analysers’ return loss (RL) and distance-to-fault (DTF) measurements. Furthermore, it measures impedance changes along the cable and helps identify specific faults, while the analyser’s RL measurement capability exposes mismatch of cable connections and DTF capability indicates faults and poor connections along the cable.
Measuring long microwave cables in the field can be challenging and requires instruments to provide a high dynamic range and fast and reliable results. The second new option for the FieldFox, Extended Range Transmission Analysis, addresses one of the major challenges to measuring cables in the field; measuring in-situ, long lossy microwave cables. Accessing both ends of the cables or waveguides at the same time is difficult. Using a signal generator with a broadband detector or power sensor to measure cable loss can be prone to external interference and does not allow high levels of dynamic range. Deploying a benchtop solution in the field to make the measurement is only theoretically an alternative – due to its large size such a setup is not practical.
The Extended Range Transmission Analysis allows to deploy FieldFox instruments at each end of the measured cable. One analyser acts as a source, while the other acts as a receiver. Both instruments are step synchronized with hardware triggers. Keysight’s proprietary InstAlign spectrum analysis technique allows users to perform rather accurate cable loss measurements without calibration and warm up. This option can also be configured with frequency-offset to measure devices such as mixers and converters.
In additional to the new TDR cable test and extended range transmission analysis capabilities, FieldFox offers a number of features that make it ideally suited for cable test. It has the ability to measure RL, VSWR, impedance, insertion loss, and S-parameters with magnitude and phase. FieldFox can also be used for spectrum analysis or vector voltmeter measurements.
More information: www.keysight.com/find/FieldFox