Radio sites rely on their antennas, feed lines and other critical infrastructure to serve their users. For every site, for every technician or engineer charged with keeping critical systems on the air, a device is needed to check performance and identify issues. The network analyzer is the tool of choice for this mission.
What is network analysis?
Since the beginning, the efficiency of a radio site's antenna infrastructure has been key to optimal coverage. To ensure the best user experience (and in many cases safety), it is important to keep your radio systems always available and with minimal downtime. That’s where network analysis comes in.Network analysis is the process of studying the RF characteristics of every aspect of the RF path from the transmitter/RMC all the way out to the antenna. It includes a set of techniques to test the integrity of the signal path, and track its performance.
Why are VNAs used?
Vector network analyzers were once only seen laboratories: R&D engineers and scientists would use them during the product development process or research. It was in this realm where engineers working on designs for cables, mixers, and amplifiers may use them to test their components’ performance. Today, modern technology gives the user similar capabilities in an easy-to-use handheld unit.In radio site work, network analyzers are used to measure the different RF parameters in VHF/UHF radio networks. Key properties such as SWR and Return Loss can now be verified quickly and easily with modern hand-held testers.
The bottom line
Network analyzers act as a powerful verification tool prior to site turn up, ensuring that the subscriber signal will reach the site as it was engineered to do. Once the site goes live, routine maintenance can be performed with minimum downtime owing to the speed and accuracy of modern VNA testers. And should disaster strike, taking your site off the air, the VNA can quickly and easily isolate and help resolve any issues stemming from faults in the RF path.
If you’re looking for a VNA or SWR/RL meter, AEA has a complete line of analyzers suited to your needs.