So You Need a Meter

Do you have an installation coming up? If you’re new to RF installations, we’re here to help!

First things first, you will need some test equipment, as this isn’t a ‘plug and play’ situation. Determining what product is best suited to your project depends on your application.

After establishing the type of system involved, either:

  • An off-air ‘antenna’ based system – (8VSB Digital Format)
  • A Cable TV (CATV) system (NTSC for analog, QAM for digital)
  • Satellite TV “L-Band” (QPSK)

You then need to set proper input and output signal levels based upon product specifications and overall system requirements. This is essential for reliable, trouble-free operation.  There are many different formats of RF signals that may be encountered in the variety of systems listed above. The two main format components are the Type of Modulation, and the Frequency/Channel.

    Analog TV

    Analog TV, is still used by some CATV systems, typically between 54 and 550 MHz (CATV Channels 2-78). These channels are being replaced by more bandwidth efficient digital CATV channels.

    By using QAM modulation, digital CATV permits many programs to be placed into a 6 MHz-wide channel compared to an analog’s single program. Satellite systems use a higher band of frequencies, referred to as “L-Band,” ranging from 950 MHz to 2150 MHz or higher.

    Satellite “channels,” known as transponders, use different digital modulations and have a bandwidth of 18 MHz or more per transponder.

    The Off-Air format is now 8VSB digital, which is different from CATV digital. It can hold multiple programs as well, but not quite as many as QAM.

    So, your test instrument must be able to tune in and measure the various signal format(s) on the given RF System.

    Check out Blonder Tongue’s array of Test and Measurement tools and see which meter is the right one for you!