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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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Not All PIM Testers are Created Equal

PIM Master
Passive Intermodulation (PIM) is noise generated at a cell site by RF signals passing through components such as antennas, filters and RF connections. When PIM falls in an operator’s receive band, it elevates the noise floor causing higher dropped call rates, access failures and lower data transmission rates. Having PIM under control is especially important for broadband, high data rate systems such as UMTS or LTE.
PIM has become more important in recent years due not only to the growing demand for data services but also due to increased pressure on operators to deploy new services using their existing infrastructure. The more frequency bands that are combined together in a system the greater the probability that harmful PIM will impact one or more of the receive bands at that site. Due to aesthetic restrictions as well as tower loading restrictions, operators often have no alternative and are forced to combine multiple bands together in the same infrastructure.

Another application forcing operators to combine bands together in a single RF infrastructure is Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS.) Operators work together with venue owners to install a single DAS network throughout the building providing data coverage through a common RF “pipe.” Due to the large number of RF connections in these systems and the large number of metal objects in the field of view of the antennas, PIM is almost a certainty.
When selecting PIM test equipment, it is important to consider the environment where the test will be conducted. With the increased usage of Remote Radio Heads (RRH), the PIM test may need to be conducted at the top of a tower. Or, with indoor systems, the test equipment may need to be carried to the top of a ladder in some remote corner of a building. For these reasons, portability and battery operation are becoming key differentiators when considering PIM test equipment.
Test power is also an important consideration. Today, most operators specify 2x 43 dBm (20W) test power for macro site testing in order to test the system at the same power level at which RF components are typically tested by manufacturers. Some operators are testing at higher powers, such as 2x 46 dBm (40W), in order to more closely represent the actual noise levels that can be generated in the field. Similarly, operators often specify lower test power levels ranging from 2x 33 dBm (2W) to 2x 25 dBm (0.3W) to simulate actual use conditions within indoor systems. PIM test equipment must be designed to provide a full range of power adjustment to suit the system under test.
Distance-to-PIM™ (DTP) technology is another important differentiator when considering PIM test equipment. DTP technology provides the distance and relative magnitude of PIM sources in the system, eliminating guesswork and speeding site repairs.
The new battery operated PIM Master™ from Anritsu is the first high power PIM test solution to fully address operator requirements. This rugged, light weight PIM test analyzer includes integrated Distance-to-PIM technology as well as test power adjustment from 25 dBm to 46 dBm.

Questions and Answers

Question: Does Anritsu offer an automated online tool to simplify line sweep reporting?

Answer: Anritsu offers Sweep Master Pro™, a web application that can dramatically reduce line sweep reporting errors and time. Field technicians save traces with an easily defined naming format, then place the sweeps (or measurement files) into a common directory and log into Sweep Master Pro. Once the files are uploaded, construction managers and/or RF engineers are notified and they can review the data as long as they have Internet access. Files can be created in .zip for .pdf format for storing on a computer or other project tracking systems.

Question: What is the best calibration method – OSL, InstaCal™, FlexCal™ or OSLT?

Answer: The calibration method is often determined by the type of test to be conducted. OSL is the most accurate calibration for one-port tests, such as return loss, VSWR, and DTF. InstaCal, which can be used with the Site Master™ and Cell Maser™, is quicker than OSL but is slightly less accurate. FlexCal can be used for troubleshooting over wide frequency ranges. OSLT is used for two-port tests.

Question: While making spectrum analysis measurements on a handheld analyzer with GPS on, is there a way to display the measurements on a map?

Answer: Spectrum analyzer measurements made using a BTS Master™ or Spectrum Master™ with the GPS receiver (option 31) on can be mapped using Master Software Tools, as long as Microsoft MapPoint is installed in your computer. After measurements are transferred to your computer, open the File Menu and click on New. A Measurement Map selection will automatically open Microsoft MapPoint within Master Software Tools. Using the Local Tab on the left, navigate to the folder containing the saved measurements. Select the measurements and drag them to the (+) sign at the bottom left corner of the Map screen. All the measurements will now be displayed on a map.


Test Tip

Line sweep testing and PIM are very different tests. Line sweeps measure signal losses and reflections of the transmission system. PIM testing is a measure of construction quality and poor quality will result in self-interference. Remember, PIM testing measurements are not relevant unless accompanied by comprehensive line sweep tests.

Industry’s First High-power, Battery-operated Portable PIM Test Analyzer

PIM Master

Most PIM testing equipment is bulky and requires an AC power source. These attributes are not ideal, considering more and more cell sites are deployed with radio heads at the top of the tower. Anritsu's PIM Master™ MW82119A, the industry’s first high-power, battery-operated, portable PIM test analyzer, addresses these issues. One quarter the size and half the weight of alternative PIM test solutions, the MW82119A offers the inherent advantages of PIM Master – including 40W testing and Anritsu’s patented Distance-to-PIM (DTP) technology – in a compact housing suited for difficult-to-access sites, such as RRH installations and indoor DAS.

Six models are available to address major frequency ranges, including the upper and lower 700 MHz bands, 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 1900/2100 MHz. All six analyzers incorporate DTP technology, allowing users to pinpoint the location of PIM problems, whether they are on the tower or outside the antenna system.
The analyzers also test at 40W, which allows the PIM Master MW82119A to locate faults that conventional 20W test solutions might miss, such as intermittent and power-sensitive PIM problems. Plus, the PIM Master has a flexible power adjustment capability that allows a single MW82119A analyzer to conduct PIM testing on low-power DAS systems, as well as high-power Macro Cells.

Light Weight, Easy-to-Use Site Master™ Comes in Handy Atop Snowy Mountain

Frisco Peak is the highest point in the San Francisco Mountains, making it popular with hikers and mountain climbers who travel to Utah. However, sitting 9,660 feet (2,944 m) above sea level makes it one of the more challenging tower sites for Robert Weeks to maintain. Given the altitude – and the fact that he sometimes has to make the trek in the dead of winter – Robert is glad to have his Site Master S331D cable and antenna analyzer with him at all times.
The light weight, durability and accuracy of the S331D was never more advantageous than when Robert had to visit Frisco Peak to find the cause of a drop in data transmission rates from the towers in the dead of winter. The environment was nearly more than a man could take.
"After 8,000 feet, the air became so thin it was hard to catch my breath. That made a 60-foot climb seem like 1,000 feet," Robert said. To make matters worse, when Robert made this particular trip, snow was being blown around by 40 mph winds and it was only 10°.
He was able to drive an ATV most of the way, but the final few miles to the base station had to be logged on foot. It was during this stretch that Robert particularly appreciated the compact size of the S331D, as well as when he finally reached the tower.
Snowy Base Station

"I had to perform the tower climb as well as trouble shoot, so the fact that Site Master is a true handheld instrument was a big plus," he said.
Using his Site Master S331D, Robert conducted system sweeps and determined the cause of the poor performance was an azimuth and tilt issue. The problem was fixed and the tower was back up and working at optimum levels in relatively short order, thanks in part to the S331D.
"Because it is a quick and easy way to determine fault in a line, we can perform service calls in a matter of hours instead of days," he concluded.
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