Cables (e.g., waveguide, coaxial and twisted-pair) are the most widely used components in RF and microwave communication systems. They are also the leading cause of their failure. 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 (e.g., bad insulation, kinks and 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 TDR 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.
Next; measuring long cables with two instruments