Test & Measurement

System takes accurate aim at mobile interference

22nd October 2014
Mick Elliott

Field engineers and technicians are frequently called upon to identify sources of interference and these can be difficult to pinpoint accurately. Anritsu claims to have made the task easier by introducing mobile interference hunting system that will locate sources of interference more accurately, efficiently, and economically.

The system integrates an easy-to-use interface, fast setup times, and many features to effectively hunt a variety of signal types in multiple RF environments. Anritsu says that the tool will save time and money for wireless carriers, regulatory agencies, and broadcast and satellite operators. The solution consists of advanced software featuring patent-pending algorithms, an off-the-shelf magnet mount omnidirectional antenna, along with an Anritsu industry-leading handheld spectrum analyser and Windows-operating tablet/laptop.

With the open source mapping software, arrows are positioned on the map directing the driver to the interference source. Supplementing the arrows are voice prompts that facilitate one-person operation. Compatibility with non-proprietary off-the-shelf antennas allows the hunting system to operate over the entire frequency range of the system’s handheld spectrum analyser, including the 9 kHz up to 43 GHz coverage of the MS2720T Spectrum Master.  

The interference hunting algorithms in the software (MX280007A) employ channel power measurements to facilitate hunting a variety of signal types, from wideband modulated signals to narrowband or CW sources. Users can easily configure the channel power bandwidth for settings appropriate for the interfering signal. Channel power measurements also enable the tracking of signals whose frequency drifts over time. For signals hidden in LTE uplink bands, the mobile interference hunting system uses a “min hold” algorithm to capture the interfering signal while eliminating the LTE traffic signal from measurement consideration.

To locate pulsed signals, a “max hold” algorithm captures intermittent signals only when transmitting, eliminating the chance of erroneously measuring a pulsed signal when not active.   (more) The system features a multi-emitter mode that is ideal for finding multiple leakage sources, such as cable television signals. Additionally, a full-screen Spectrum View allows easier examination and analysis of the spectrum trace data.

The solution also has the ability to capture and store interference hunt log files for later playback and analysis, and can recall various software/analyser settings for use in future hunts. Further simplifying operation is an extensive Help Menu for on-site assistance Anritsu’s Burst Detect mode can be used as part of the mobile interference hunting solution to locate extremely fast signal pulses. Utilising FFT technology, it enables the handheld spectrum analyser to capture and process intermittent signals at receiver-like speeds.

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