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Handheld Users Group

Handheld Users Group

Delivering leading solutions for today's field and maintenance challenges

Interference hunter

With over 20 years leading the way in handheld testing Anritsu has a well earned reputation for superior measurements in not so superior conditions. learn more about the very latest handheld testing technology.

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Basics of PIM

What is PIM?
PIM is a form of intermodulation distortion that occurs in passive components normally thought of as linear, such as filters, combiners, surge protectors, cables, connectors, and antennas. However, when subject to the high RF powers found in cellular systems, these devices can generate spurious signals. PIM shows up as a set of unwanted signals created by the mixing of two or more strong RF signals in a non-linear device, such as in a loose or corroded connector, or in nearby rust. Other names for PIM include the “diode effect” and the “rusty bolt effect.”

When is PIM a problem?
Typically, the third order intermodulation product is the strongest causing the most harm when they fall into the Rx band. Because PIM amplitude becomes lower as the order increases, higher order products typically are not strong enough to cause direct frequency problems. It is important to recognize that intermodulation created from modulated signals occupies more bandwidth than the fundamentals. PIM products can be very wideband, covering wide swaths of frequencies.

Why has PIM become an issue recently?
PIM has come to the forefront of network problems recently due to a variety of reasons which can be any combination of the following:

  • Higher RF power
  • Multiband systems on the same antenna lines
  • Fully loaded multicarrier systems
  • High density/traffic sites - heavily loaded
  • Wideband receive filters
  • Wider bandwidth signals up to 5, 10and 20 MHz
  • Aging infrastructure - primarily connectors corroding and loosening
  • Environmental diodes created by corrosion in the surrounding area
  • Intermittent environmental diodes due to wet and dry conditions
  • Neighboring cell sites generating PIM

Where is the PIM?
Anritsu labs has invented and succeeded in developing a patented technology that pinpoints PIM faults called Distance-to-PIM™ (DTP). No more wasting time rappelling down towers trying to locate PIM, no more wondering if the PIM is coming from the antenna system or the surrounding environment. The Distance-to-PIM test is simple, immediate, and accurate. DTP informs the technician of the distance and relative magnitude of all the PIM sources simultaneously, both inside the antenna system and beyond the antenna.

Questions and Answers

Question: Does Anritsu offer Tracking Generator capability in its handheld analyzers?

Answer: We have recently introduced a tracking generator option for the E-Series Spectrum Master™ handheld spectrum analyzers that provides state-of-the-art performance, to help field technicians test many types of passive and active components and circuits in the field. A tracking generator is also available on the MS2720T Spectrum Master.

Question: When should I use a Tracking Generator vs. a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA)?

Answer: Tracking generators are ideal for providing scalar network analysis, providing signals to a DUT that can be measured by a spectrum analyzer, such as the c, MS2712E, MS2713E, and MS2720T. Unlike VNAs, tracking generators do not provide phase information. VNAs are used for applications such as developing conjugate matching circuits for filters and amplifiers, as well as for circuit simulation, and characterizing components (magnitude and phase). Tracking generators are sufficient when magnitude-only measurements are required, and often provide better performance than VNAs where a wide dynamic range is needed.

Question: What are the advantages of a Tracking Generator in field testing?

Answer: With a tracking generator option as part of a handheld spectrum analyzer, field technicians or contractors can easily conduct in-field measurements on site, eliminating the need to carry suspect components back to the lab for analysis, saving both time and money. Additionally, the tracking generator/spectrum analyzer combination can be used to conduct scalar frequency response measurements in the field.


Test Tip

A Continuous Wave (CW) generator outputs a signal frequency, and is often useful for measuring devices such as fixed frequency amplifiers and for sensitivity analysis of receivers. It is for these reasons that we included a CW generator as part of our new option for the E-Series Spectrum Master analyzers.

New Generation of Site Master™ Handheld Cable and Antenna Analyzer


Anritsu has developed a new generation of rugged handheld field instrumentation – the Site Master S331L Cable and Antenna Analyzer – that builds off the field-proven design and success of the Site Master to provide high-performance cable and antenna analysis quickly and accurately. The new S331L addresses many of the needs of field technicians, such as reliability, ease of use, and long battery life, to ensure optimum deployment, installation, and maintenance of wireless networks.
Covering 2 MHz to 4 GHz, the S331L brings a high level of performance to return loss, cable loss, and Distance-to-Fault (DTF) measurements. It has the highest RF immunity of any Site Master. A sweep speed per data point of 1.5 msec (typical) saves technicians time and enables easier identification of intermittent problems in real time. A standard built-in InstaCal™ provides fast one-connection calibration anytime, anywhere. The S331L also features a standard built-in power meter, for easy, convenient testing of RF power in field environments.

With eight hours of continuous battery life, the S331L allows field technicians to conduct a full day’s testing on a single charge. Intelligent power-saving features such as sleep mode and auto-display brightness can extend battery life even further.
The Site Master S331L offers a convenient Classic Mode that’s easy to use. If you have used the Site Master D series model, or even older Site Master models, you’ll find this Classic Mode familiar and easy to use.

Spectrum Master Packed for Trips up Mountains in Yosemite National Park

Most people visit Yosemite National Park in California to get away from it all, enjoy a vacation and relax. Rodney Corless views it differently – it’s his workplace. So while the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountain range and wildlife are appealing to some, they’re two of the job hazards for Rodney, as he maintains the microwave radio sites installed atop the mountains throughout the park. Rodney also sees Yosemite a bit differently in another way. Its spacious 1,190 square miles provide an escape for many from the congestion of society. Rodney is responsible for sites that occupy a very crowded spectrum with high levels of interference. They also must survive the elements.
“The harsh environments where the sites are located are tough on cables and other components,” said Rodney. That’s why he and his team rely on Anritsu’s Spectrum Master handheld spectrum analyzer. Of particular importance is the insertion loss capability, which allows Rodney to verify transmission through waveguide. Rodney and his crew can then correct any measured loss at terminations and transducers.
“The power meter function also comes in handy when we have to measure power out and RSLs due to troubleshooting outages,” said Rodney. The Spectrum Master is not the only thing that Rodney takes with him. Of course, when there is a chance you might come face-to-face with a bear, rattlesnake or some other animal, you have to be prepared. “Whether it’s a snake or a mountain lion, I’ll have a machete in one hand and my Anritsu in the other,” he said.
Yosemite park 

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