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Microwave antenna alignment tutorial using handheld spectrum analyzer

Microwave antenna alignment tutorial using handheld spectrum analyzer


Hi! I’m Daniel. I’m on this rooftop today
to install a licensed 23 GHz microwave radio link. Hi! I’m Daniel. I’m on this rooftop today
to install a licensed 23 GHz microwave link. behind me about three km away
there’s a great tower next to some smokestacks and a water tank. On that site is my installation crew where they’ve
installed a radio. They’ve powered it up, configured it and aligned it to this location. They’ve powered it up, configured it and aligned it to this location. The received signal at this site is 23.3 GHz. My target RSL is about -45 Dbm. Unfortunately installers didn’t tell me
what polarity they were installing the link on today. Unfortunately installers didn’t tell me
what polarity they were installing the link on today. So i’m going to use this brand new kit from SAF Tehnika called Spectrum Compact. So i’m going to use this brand new kit from SAF Tehnika called Spectrum Compact. Inside this leather pouch there’s the Spectrum
Compact unit itself, This model operates between 17 GHz and 24.3 GHz. Also inside the kit is this ruggedized SMA cable. As I attach this Also inside the kit is this ruggedized SMA cable. As I attach this, one of the nice things about this cable is that they’ve added these metal bands around the connectors As I attach this, one of the nice things about this cable is that they’ve added these metal bands around the connectors to make it very easy in the field to
attach to the unit. To determine the polarity I’m going to use this waveguide adapter. This is a 23 GHz model. It’s got the SMA connector, the quick-thumb screws for the attachment to the antenna and it also has this rectangular waveguide flange so I can use this as It’s got the SMA connector, the quick-thumb screws for the attachment to the antenna and it also has this rectangular waveguide flange so I can use this as and it also has this rectangular waveguide flange so I can use this as a low gain antenna to determine the polarity of the signal coming
distraction. Right now it is configured like this which would be a vertical polarization. Right now it is configured like this which would be a vertical polarization. And if I simply rotate it, that gives me a horizontal polarization. So i’m gonna go and attach this to the cable, then after I do that i’ll go and configure the Spectrum Compact unit. On the top of the unit is the power button. This is an instant on button so you can see it’s already powered up and ready to go! This is an instant on button so you can see it’s already powered up and ready to go! It does have a beautiful color
screen; unfortunately it is a bright sunny day so it’s a a little bit difficult for me to read
so i’ll go and switch it to high contrast to make it very easy to read. Next i’ll go and program the frequency which is 23,300 Next i’ll go and program the frequency which is 23,300 Next i’ll go and program the frequency which is 23,300 We’re going to put that in there; next
we’ll adjust a span of the resolution that it’s looking at. Right now it’s scanning a complete 2 GHz spectrum Right now it’s scanning a complete 2 GHz spectrum but we’ll go and adjust it down to a 100 MHz centered on our 23.3 GHz but we’ll go and adjust it down to a 100 MHz centered on our 23.3 GHz for a very or much quicker resolution while we’re doing this adjustment. Now I’m gonna go ahead and hold this up. I’m gonna start with horizontal polarity and point it towards the tower. As you can see I’ve got no signal. I’ll go and rotate it to vertical polarity we’re now receiving the signal at about
-90 DBM. While that’s very weak compared to what my target RSL is. I now know two things: I know the other
radio is transmitting and I also know that it is in vertical
polarization. The great thing is that this unit has a noise floor -105 Dbm The great thing is that this unit has a noise floor of -105 Dbm so even if this link was 20 or even 30 km away I would still be able to pick up the signal with this method. So lets go over to the antenna which fortunately comes out
of the box in a vertical polarization. I’ll go ahead and attach his unit to
the antenna. Alright now we need to do some basic
configuration of the unit before we get started. Alright now we need to do some basic
configuration of the unit before we get started. I’ll go to trace mode. I use this feature called Max hold. What max hold adds to the graph is a
blue line. The blue line represents the strongest
spectrum compact unit has seen the signal along this two hundred MHz band while
we’ve been doing an alignment. The blue line represents the strongest
spectrum compact unit has seen the signal along this hundred MHz band while we’ve been doing an alignment. The blue line represents the strongest
spectrum compact unit has seen the signal along this hundred MHz band while we’ve been doing an alignment. Next i’ll go ahead and loosen up the
antenna and adjust the horizontal polarity Next i’ll go ahead and loosen up the
antenna and adjust the horizontal polarity so now as I go ahead and move the antenna it is slowly sweeping I can go ahead and see the strength of the signal. so now as I go ahead and move the antenna it is slowly sweeping I can go ahead and see the strength of the signal. so now as I go ahead and move the antenna it is slowly sweeping I can go ahead and see the strength of the signal. so now as I go ahead and move the antenna it is slowly sweeping I can go ahead and see the strength of the signal. We can see there we’ve hit the main lobe. I’ll go and sweep it all the way through. Now you can see it dancing up and down
and that is showing you the side lobes. And we’re going to bring it
back… it comes up and down comes up… and goes back down again and
those were two sidelobes we just saw. I’m going to bring it all the way over and
now we’re on the main lobe. So I can now tighten the unit for the azymuth adjustment Now we can go and switch to the vertical
adjustment. The great thing about this unit
because of the visual representation of the main lobe is that the sidelobes are very easy to see. The great thing about this unit
because of the visual representation of the main lobe is that the sidelobes are very easy to see. The most common mistake during alignment of course is aligning to a sidelobe. very easy to see. The most common mistake during alignment of course is aligning to a sidelobe. And this unit really helps you to determine if you’re on a sildelobe or a main lobe very quickly. So now I’ll go ahead and start adjusting the vertical. We can see that we’ve already kinda gone through a sidelobe. We can see that we’ve already kinda gone through a sidelobe. I’m gonna go to the other direction now and see what I can I get the other way. I’m gonna go to the other direction now and see what I can get the other way. Looks like we’re getting close to that main lobe. We can see now that we start to go pass that main lobe. Now I can go and adjust back to the main lobe. We’ll go and tighten the antenna. The next thing we can do is to disable the max hold feature and select this power-in-band feature. That power-in band-feature will tell me what RSL are we actually receiving at the Spectrum Compact unit. select this power-in-band feature. That power-in band-feature will tell me what RSL are we actually receiving at the Spectrum Compact unit. First i have to configure the channel width – a 40MHz and then i’ll select “set to center”. actually receiving at the Spectrum Compact unit. First i have to configure the channel width – a 40MHz and then i’ll select “set to center”. actually receiving at the Spectrum Compact unit. First i have to configure the channel width – a 40MHz and then i’ll select “set to center”. And it’ll show you the region that my max hold is on. This is also a good indication to assure
you that the radio is transmitting in a 40MHz wide channel very visually. This is also a good indication to assure
you that the radio is transmitting in a 40MHz wide channel very visually. I see my target RSL is about -45 Dbm. As we can see we’re right there at -45
DBM. So I’ve got this link perfectly aligned. And the next thing I can do with this, is that
I can also hit the Save button. It’ll save this screen for further
analysis and it’ll not only be able to show that the
radio is transmitting a 40MHz wide channel it’ll not only be able to show that the
radio is transmitting in a 40MHz wide channel but also that I was able to hit my target RSL. And with that I’ve been able now to
complete an alignment very quickly within five minutes. And with that I’ve been able now to
complete an alignment very quickly within five minutes. And those five minutes instead of one hour during the alignment with the multi-meter trying to figure out which polarity am i in and also being able to install this link without the radio transmitter trying to figure out which polarity am i in and also being able to install this link without the radio transmitter has greatly sped up the process to commission this link and get it on line so that means I can get to the pub and drink my bear that much quicker! and get it on line so that means I can get to the pub and drink my bear that much quicker! Thank you!

17 comments on “Microwave antenna alignment tutorial using handheld spectrum analyzer

  1. is there something cheap, small and basic that i can shoot my fiber internet down to the house with that's just some 100 meters away across the street? (and has expensive and real shitty internet available only) 🙂

  2. Great device you have there sir.. I hope I also have that analyzer for faster hitting of target RSL.. Nice video 🙂

  3. 23 ghz..? Dam! Kinda makes me wonder why we have a sudden high raise in cancers..I lost and losing more to mysterious tumors. Many (*before) lived to old ripe ages. However- since they added the water tower and added/keep adding Microwave Antennas. People young and old are dying from closely related types of cancers. The Tower Which happens to be right behind our neighborhood and the condos. I was talking to a Visiting nurse about a neighbor. She looked at me- Hey I see many and I mean many who have brain tumors at the condo. THAT become a revelation for me! Our waters been tested, no radon or anything related.

  4. You mention a -db. How does that work as in HF high (Which I assume is Pos+) Higher DB's are what we want. Did I perhaps recall incorrectly or it that different with Micorwave?

  5. Thanks for the video… I just acquired 30 microwave dishes measuring from 2 feet all the way up to 8 feet in diameter! I was looking for info on your box and there you are!

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