Question: Field Strength Meter for DTV
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Field Strength Meter for DTV


This is a discussion on Field Strength Meter for DTV within the DTV | HDTV Reception and Antenna Discussion forums, part of the Over-the-Air (Antenna TV) category.

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  1. #1
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    Field Strength Meter for DTV

    Hello

    Can anyone recommend a simple Field Meter that I can use to help direct my antennas. There are lots of choices? I have a small business that sells and installs antennas.

  2. #2
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    Greetings Karlo, welcome to the Forum


    I'm sure you're talking about something that's reasonably priced, you're aware that some meters cost up in the Hundreds and Thousands of dollars.


    You can read a Product Evaluation for the Antennas Direct SM100 at...
    http://www.dtvusaforum.com/43307-post2.html
    It only does UHF, but for most purposes that may do.


    The only other inexpensive Meter that I'm aware of, is the King Controls SL1000 at...
    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?mc=03&p=SL1000&d=King-Controls-SureLock-SL1000-Digital-TV-Signal-Finder-(SL1000)&c=TV
    It does both VHF and UHF, but it's a little more expensive.


    Your other options are to...
    compare prices on www.amazon.com and www.ebay.com.


    Have a good Day !
    S.W.
    Last edited by SWHouston; 12-07-2010 at 04:55 AM.

  3. #3
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    If you have a business, it may be worth investing in a relatively-inexpensive spectrum analyzer. I bought a Sencore SLM1456CM for about $600 on eBay, and friends of mine have been able to get their own for less than that. It will not only show you the spectra of the stations, but can also provide signal-to-noise ratio and other valuable functions to help with perfecting reception. I find mine to be well worth the money spent.

    - Trip
    N4MJC

    Comments are my own and not that of the FCC (my employer) or anyone else.

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    "Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand..." - Rush "Witch Hunt"

  4. #4
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    Another cheap option would be to find an RCA DTA800 converter box (used) and hook it to a small TV or LCD portable DVD player. It has a field strength meter on it as a signal strength meter rather than the typical "quality meter". It doesn't have any quality readings and so wouldn't be as good a Trip's suggestion.

  5. #5
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    I just invested in a portable TV to make my installs easier, but I'm also liking that King Controls SL1000. It's only a few dollars more than the SM 100, and it has VHF.

    The main problem with using a TV or converter box to tweak antennas is you have to have a channel programmed BEFORE you can use the meter. When I go from where I live to another area, the channels change so I have to scan a channel before I can move the antenna.

    I DO own 2 of those RCA boxes, they were what I used to tweak antennas before I got the portable TV. They do alright, considering I got them for a few bucks at a thrift store.
    Last edited by MrPogi; 12-07-2010 at 07:41 AM.

  6. #6
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    Thread Starter

    Thanks for all the sugestions. We do not have any challenging terrain other than some trees or another dwelling. I will try the simple route for now.
    Last edited by Karlo; 12-08-2010 at 07:59 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trip View Post
    I bought a Sencore SLM1456CM for about $600 on eBay, and friends of mine have been able to get their own for less than that. It will not only show you the spectra of the stations, but can also provide signal-to-noise ratio and other valuable functions to help with perfecting reception. I find mine to be well worth the money spent.
    Same here, as you well know Trip! :-)

    Plus, I find watching the the spectrum view and the numbers (power, MER and BER) often beats the actual programming content. If Nielsen ever metered my home, the SLM would pull a higher rating than ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlo View Post
    I will the simple route for now.
    Yes, that's what I thought you meant. No Extension Cords or hauling other than "pocketable" equipment up to the rooftop.
    In my experience with the SM100, one only needs a short piece of Coax to connect to the Balun, and sorta let the Meter dangle, while aiming the Antenna. Very simple, tighten things up, put the stuff (wrench/meter) back in your pocket, and hands free to dismount the roof. It wouldn't be very expensive to put either of the Meters with one or several install team(s).

    Have a good Day !
    S.W.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlo View Post
    Hello

    Can anyone recommend a simple Field Meter that I can use to help direct my antennas. There are lots of choices? I have a small business that sells and installs antennas.
    I will have to agree with Trip on the Sencore units. They make several different models that can really help in finding the best aiming direction for a DTV antenna, and that is not always in the exact direction of the transmitters antenna. The one tool that the unit I use has, is the ability to analyze Multi Path signals in strength and along the time line. It will show the amplitude of the Multi Path signals, as well as how far out the signal is in relative time normally in Microseconds. The relative measurement ranges can be customized to suit your preferences, and it will save screen shots to the laptop which is required to operate and interface with it.

    The model I use is the DTU-236, which will analyze all of the following signals. ( ATSC/QAM/NTSC ), and can be used on cable TV signals, as well as digital satellite signals with some attenuation in the line since it supports the QAM modulation format. This device is acceptable for TV station use to analyze their broadcast signal, which is what I use it for, as well as doing signal analysis tests for viewers as well. The RF Expert software is part of the package, and the signal strength results are well within 2% of our calibrated Tektronics 2712 analog Spectrum Analyzer, which has been an analog TV standard test device for many years.
    WE ARE NOT SHEEPLE !!

 

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