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Signal Detection

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by Trigger_the_rookie, May 16, 2013.

  1. So, as with many things I try to take a humble approach to learning new stuff, which often involves trial-and-error and finding stuff by accident.

    With my newfound interest in radio operation, the functions of the 'turn-key' consumer equipment starts to make more sense as I learn the language of the technology. 3 weeks ago I didn't know dick-all about what stuff runs on what frequencies, or any such... I suppose I should pick a direction and 'land the plane' with this question:

    About a year ago I set a pal up with the same Wilson cell booster that I own. It's a cellboost DT. It operates on 800/1900 MHz, and gives 55dB of gain. His place out in the country went from zero signal to unusable with 3 bars or better, with the included panel antenna, not aimed particularly well. I ended up finding a wide-band directional antenna from the same manufacturer which should give an extra 3dB. When it arrives I intend to experiment with it and see what kind of performance improvement we can get with the antenna upgrade and better aiming.

    It occurred to me that it would be fun/handy to have a RF detector/meter to aim the antenna. I found this detector: Wilson 867501 RF Signal Detector | eBay and it looks made for the job, but it occurred to me that there has to be a way to get better value for the money. Is it possible to acquire a meter for the same $400 price that is not limited to just 700/800/1900/2100mHz? Ideally I'd like something suitable for more bands.

    Am I just dreaming, or is there something I'm missing?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The instrument, that is commonly used for this job, is called a Spectrum Analyzer, and gives a graphic display of all RF Emissions, within the selected Frequency Range, and shows the Signal Level, for all detected Emissions. The Poorman's Spectrum Analyzer is called and SDR, (Software Defined Radio) that with the appropriate Drivers, and Software, can preform these type of measurements. A Quality Spectrum Analyzer can cost in the $3KUS Range and cover from DC to 20Ghz, or higher. I have an SDR prototype, I have been playing with, that I have $100US invested in so far. Haven't had time to finish the project, but it has lots of potential. There is a thread, I started on this project, here in the Advanced Comms forum, about the project.

    Turn your Computer into a Super Wideband Spectrum Analyzer, and Receiver for cheap....
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