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  1. 1. TEST REPORT DVB-C Signal Meter Horizon HD-CM Cable Meter Fast and Practical Cable technology is a bit different than satellite technology. 06-07/2010 This new Horizon cable meter won’t show you a frequency HOR IzON HD- CM CAB Small, lightweight and lE METER easy to use spectrum nor will you see any TV video. But are these features any where in the wor ld really necessary and would you be willing to pay for them? Think again. These questions are especially appropriate when it comes to cable networks. In satellite TV, a channel could occupy case and plug the car charger any frequency within a band, but in cable TV there is always a cable into the charging port. channel plan with precisely defined channel frequencies. There’s Next to the 12 VDC socket, no need for any fine frequency adjustment where a spectrum there’s a USB port for con- view could help. The channel plan may differ from region to necting the meter to your region in the world (there are several different plans) but once PC. The AC power socket can be found on the rear panel you know the country, you know the band plan. What you really behind another Velcro flap in need to know is the signal strength and quality of every channel the carrying case. that is supposed to be present at a cable TV wall socket. This All Horizon meters come becomes a piece of cake if you happen to own Horizon’s HD-CM with built-in power supply signal meter. units. To charge the internal batteries, there’s no need to Horizon offers the HD-CM USB cable. The battery pack tor adapter. In some coun- use an external power supply, in two flavours: one comes is already installed inside the tries, IEC169-2 connectors just a cable. It doesn’t get with the DVB-C specifications HD-CM. are used instead of F connec- any more simple and conve- for the Americas (annex B, tors. nient than this. Open Cable), and one ver- A rain cover attached to sion for the rest of the world the front panel serves to pro- Attaching the quick-start When using the meter for (annexes A and C). tect the display and keyboard guide to the cover was a bril- the first time, it would be a from the elements. Horizon liant idea. If you don’t use good idea to charge the bat- When you open the pack- recommends keeping the the meter everyday or use a tery for at least eight hours. age that the HD-CM came in, cover in place at all times; we number of them (like TELE- It’s a high capacity Ni-MH you’ll find the meter in a black removed it only to take pic- satellite test editors do) it 3300mAh battery and can carrying case, an AC power tures of the meter. The only really helps. The meter is provide nine hours of opera- cable, a DC car charger and a thing missing was a connec- enclosed in a small plastic tion from a single charge. If housing that is quite typical necessary, the battery can be for Horizon. You can order the replaced by opening a flap on TELE-satellite World www.TELE-satellite.com/... Download this report in other languages from the Internet: HD-CM meter in any color as long as it’s blue. the bottom side of the meter. Arabic ‫العربية‬ www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ara/horizon.pdf Indonesian Indonesia www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/bid/horizon.pdf You might think that a Bulgarian Български www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/bul/horizon.pdf Czech Česky www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ces/horizon.pdf The front panel is black with meter that comes with a bat- German Deutsch www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/deu/horizon.pdf clearly visible yellow labeling. tery and an AC power supply English English www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/eng/horizon.pdf Spanish Español www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/esp/horizon.pdf Four arrow buttons are all you built into it would make it Farsi ‫فارس ي‬ www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/far/horizon.pdf French Français www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/fra/horizon.pdf need to operate this meter heavy, but that’s not the case Hebrew ‫עברית‬ www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/heb/horizon.pdf Greek Ελληνικά www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/hel/horizon.pdf and it comes with a 128x64 with the HD-CM; it weights Croatian Hrvatski www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/hrv/horizon.pdf Italian Italiano www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ita/horizon.pdf pixel backlit LCD that is easy only about 1 kg. The printed Hungarian Magyar www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/mag/horizon.pdf user manual included in the Mandarin 中文 www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/man/horizon.pdf to read. Dutch Nederlands www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ned/horizon.pdf package is detailed yet very Polish Polski www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/pol/horizon.pdf Portuguese Português www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/por/horizon.pdf When on the road, you can easy to understand. Romanian Românesc www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/rom/horizon.pdf Russian Русский www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/rus/horizon.pdf charge the meter using the Swedish Svenska www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/sve/horizon.pdf Turkish Türkçe www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/tur/horizon.pdf included car charger; just lift Overall, our first impres- Available online starting from 28 May 2010 the Velcro flap on the carrying sion of the HD-CM is that of a 40 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  2. 2. small, very handy instrument Navigating through the button. You then push the that is solidly manufactured. setup menu involves using down arrow button and, voilà, the up/down buttons while you are in the main menu. Everyday use the left/right buttons are The main menu only has used to change any of the four items: Full scan, Short There are two ways to turn settings. In other instru- scan, Slope test and Select the HD-CM on: pressing the ments we tested, the left/ plan. After checking that the up arrow button or pressing right arrows were used for the down arrow button. The changing menu items; the up arrow displays the setup Horizon method seems to be menu in which you can set: more intuitive: the up/down • status of backlight (on/ method lets you more easily off), see what the next/previous • clicking sound (on/off) menu item is. • brightness level (0 through 15), Horizon decided to put the • contrast level (practical channel plan in the main menu values from 10 through 30), instead of the setup menu. To • automatic sleep mode get to the main menu, you due to inactivity (1 to 30 first have to leave the setup minutes or always on) menu by highlighting Exit • squelch level for back- and pressing the right arrow ground noise cutoff (-75 dBm through -55 dBm or OFF) • language (only English was available in our test unit) • unit of signal power measurements (dBµV, dBm, dBmV) • factory defaults www.TELE-satellite.com — 06-07/2010 — TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 41
  3. 3. proper channel plan was set, push of a down arrow button replaces the MER with the Unfortunately, the HD-CM we started a full scan. The displays the audio level value. BER. does not offer a fully automatic scan goes through the entire scan in which all channels cable TV bandwidth starting Note that the displayed We tested the meter on would be found, measured from the lowest channel. audio frequency is slightly dif- various analog and digital sig- and stored in memory. If you ferent from the video carrier nals available on two different want to get a complete pic- As soon as the meter frequency; this is normal for cable networks. The HD-CM ture for a given TV subscriber detects a signal, it stops an analog signal. Pressing the locked onto signals without socket, channels need to be scanning and starts analyzing down arrow button a second any delay and provided stable stored in memory one at a it. It tells you if the signal is time displays the C/N ratio in and repeatable results. We time. This isn’t really practi- an analog channel or a digi- decibels. Once all the data for had no problems handling the cal; hopefully Horizon will add tal channel by displaying the the channel has been identi- keyboard and reading the dis- an automatic scan in a future letter A or D and a small icon fied, the scan can be con- play. firmware upgrade. representing it. tinued by pressing the right arrow button (to continue to The HD-CM can also store An interesting feature is An analog channel is the higher channels) or the any of the results in its the slope test measurement. depicted with two uneven tri- left arrow button (to continue memory for future reference The HD-CM meter compares angles while a digital channel to the lower channels). with the help of the up arrow the level measurements of up displays something similar to button. If you connect a PC to to five preselected carriers a trapezoid. These icons are When a digital channel is the HD-CM using a USB cable, to check that the differences meant to represent the shape found, the HD-CM displays these results can then also be between them aren’t exces- of an analog or digital signal frequency and RF level mea- downloaded to that PC. sive which, for example, could as it would appear on a spec- surements. Pressing the down be due to attenuation intro- trum analyzer screen. arrow button shows the MER An HDCM Log Reader appli- duced by low quality coax reading. The frequency field cation is available from Hori- cable. The results are first When an analog channel is rotates between the following zon for free and lets you not shown graphically in the form found, the HD-CM shows the measurements: symbol rate only read the meter memory of vertical bars but when the channel number, frequency, in kBd, QAM order, phasing of but also export results to a down arrow button is pressed, analog channel descriptor IQ vectors (normal/inverse) CSV file allowing you to view the results of the reference and video signal level as a bar and frequency. Pressing the the results using a program carrier were displayed. Any graph and also numerically. A down arrow button again such as Excel. carrier can be set as the ref- erence carrier. These results can also be stored in the meter’s memory. We were impressed with these features but it would have been nice if the prese- lected carrier frequencies were user-settable rather than being fixed in the firm- ware. Horizon can make this handy and practical meter even more useful by incor- porating a few firmware changes. 42 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  4. 4. 1 8 2 9 3 In addition to RF signal radio carriers which are are compliant with DVB-C measurements, the meter quite often present in ITU-T J.83 in all three can also measure any DC cable TV networks. On regions: A, B and C. or AC voltage that might the other hand it’s under- 4 be present on its “F” con- standable that a simple This makes the meter nector. and affordable meter suitable for use in nearly cannot have every pos- every region of the world It’s a useful feature sible feature. although an installer (including the USA); might appreciate it if the On the plus side though, even the power supply meter could also rec- it’s worth mentioning that is rated for 100-240VAC ognize and measure FM the two meter variants (50/60 Hz). Expert Opinion + Small and lightweight Practical rain cover and carrying case Simple menu structure Fast signal locking and stable measurements of 5 1. Main menu all important channel parameters Jacek Pawlowski All DVB-C modes, compliant to ITU-T J.83 TELE-satellite 2. Setup menu - Test Center regions A, B, and C Poland top part Built-in power supply 3. Setup menu - midlle part - FM radio channels are not recognized and measured 4. Setup menu - Automatic logging of the entire spectrum is not possible bottom part (only channel by channel) 6 5. Analog video level measurement 6. C/N TECHNICAl DATA measurement of Manufacturer Horizon Global Electronics Ltd., England analog signal Fax +44 (0) 1279 417 025 7. Digital signal E-mail sales@horizonhge.com level measurement Web page www.horizonhge.com 8. HDCM log Model HD-CM for the Americas, and rest of World 7 Reader – results Function Digital and analog cable TV meter of 2 digital and 2 analog channels Input frequency 51~858 MHz in dBm Signal level -75dBm to +17dBm Symbol Rate 0.87 to 6.9 Mbaud 9. HDCM log Reader – results Power supply 100~240 V, 50/60 Hz, 0.31A max. of 2 digital and 2 12 V DC, 0.8 A max. analog channels in Operational time when fully charged 9 hours typ. dBµV 44 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 — www.TELE-satellite.com