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  1. 1. TEST REPORT Satellite Meter and Analyzer Promax TV Explorer II+ State of the Art Universal 06-07/2008 PROMAX TV EXPLORER II+ Promax at its best! A must for satellite professionals; ergonomic and Signal Analyzer universally usable with sun-proof display 20 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —
  2. 2. same screen: channel power, MER, CBER, VBER, L-band fre- quency, transponder frequency and channel number. Let’s highlight the features of the TV Explorer II+. It can measure TV and radio signals of all kinds: satellite, terrestrial and cable. It is suitable for FM radio, mobile TV (DVB-H) and for the return channel in cable networks. It works equally well with QPSK, 8PSK, QAM or COFDM modulation. The TV Explorer II+ is really a multi- standard instrument. It accepts any TV system: PAL, SECAM or NTSC and any TV standard: M, N, B, G, I, D, K or L. The TV Explorer II+ covers a frequency range that is con- tinuous from 5 MHz to 2150 MHz. This covers all terrestrial, cable and satellite ranges. Of course, in the case of satellite Some people can align their satellite dishes without any extra transmissions, we are not refer- equipment. Sometimes, they even do it without a signal finder - ring to the downlink frequency using only a standard satellite receiver. Of course, this method from the satellite but rather the takes much more time and the alignment may not be as perfect output frequency from the LNB as it could be. Things are not as easy when the antenna is on the (L-band). We can either tune roof. In this case you should at least have a simple signal finder the frequency continuously although this will not be good enough if you are planning to set up or jump from transponder to and maintain an SMATV network. transponder. It comes prepro- grammed with the transpond- When you have to precisely II+, is much smaller and lighter ers of many satellites and, of align several satellite and ter- but at the same time even course, this data can be repro- restrial TV and radio antennas, more powerful and ergonomic. grammed. It measures signals then mix all the incoming sig- Sounds impossible? Believe us, from 44/45 dBµV to 100/114 nals and distribute them among it’s true! In the TV Explorer II+, dBµV depending on the modula- many different apartments in Promax added DVB-S2 signal tion type. The measured param- a building, you need some- analysis and a USB port. The eters, depending on modulation thing much more sophisticated. menu structure has been rede- mode, include: power, BER, That’s where the TV Explorer signed and is now more intui- VBER, LBER, MER, C/N, noise II+ from Promax comes into tive and more dependent on the margin and number of wrong play. This instrument is so ver- current measurement mode. packets. satile that it’s difficult to find a When you measure one param- proper name for it. Is it: a field eter, for example C/N, you can Of course, the analyzer can strength meter, a spectrum conveniently see all the other measure both DVB-S and DVB- analyzer, a satellite finder, a important parameters on the S2 signals. All the different FEC test receiver or a constellation diagram meter? Is it for analog or digital TV signals? Is it for satellite, cable or terrestrial transmissions? Is it for TV or radio signals? The TV Explorer II+ is all of these things and is more than capable of handling all of these measurements! We’ve decided to call it a uni- versal signal analyzer because there is no better name for such a multifunctional instrument just yet. Our regular readers may remember our test report on the Prolink-4C Premium. This meter also came from Promax. We were really impressed by its performance and versatility. ▲ Its successor, the TV Explorer Transport suitcase takes it all - the meter and all accessories — 06-07/2008 — TELE-satellite & Broadband 21
  3. 3. code rates are supported. For the shoulder straps), an exter- between digital/analog mode. work provider name. So, for DVB-S2 this would be 1/4, 1/3, nal power supply with a power In the bottom row from the left example, the Explorer may 2/5, 1/2, 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, cord, a car power adapter, a the buttons access image and show us: 13E, ABSat. 8/9, 9/10 and Auto for QPSK sig- USB cable, a 10 dB signal atten- sound properties, DiSEqC com- nals and 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 8/9, uator, connector adapters and a mands, utilities/setup, antenna Four arrows are used in spec- 9/10 and Auto for 8PSK signals. USB memory stick with PC soft- alignment mode, transponder trum mode to conveniently set If you also deal with analog sig- ware to control the instrument or frequency tuning and trans- the frequency span and the nals, you’ll be happy to know and store the results. ponder identification. If you had reference level (moving the that you haven’t been left in the The largest component on any doubts, yes, the TV Explorer spectrum up or down). They dark with the TV Explorer II+. the front panel is the 16:9 LCD II+ can send any DiSEqC com- can also be used when in the It can measure signal level, C/ menu to travel among differ- N, video-audio ratio, FM devia- ent items and options. The tion and demodulation (the last tuning knob is used for moving two are for classical terrestrial/ the marker when in spectrum cable signals). mode, moving the highlight in the menu or changing the We can’t emphasize enough transponder/channel number. the importance of the spec- Lastly, there are three status trum analyzer in this meter. Not LEDs and a luminosity sensor only can you examine a signal on the front panel. The LED’s without knowing any channel indicate that external video frequencies, but you can also (supplied by the Scart connec- detect all the unwanted sig- tor) is playing on the screen, nals that may be present in a that an external device (LNB) network because of interfer- is powered and that the battery ence. The frequency span is is being charged. The sensor selectable from 16 MHz to full adjusts the brightness and con- band and the vertical range is trast of the display and helps adjustable in steps. Except for to conserve battery power. The measurements, the meter can battery can power the instru- display the video of a TV signal ment for about 4.5 hours con- regardless if it is analog or tinuously. But only 3 hours are digital. For digital signals, you needed to charge it to 80%. can view all free-to-air MPEG-2 channels. It is also possible to The F connector is situated receive scrambled channels as on the top side panel. Included long as the proper CAM with in the package are suitable con- smartcard is inserted into the nector adapters (F to BNC and CI slot located on the rear panel F to DIN). The power supply of the meter. This is a really socket is located on the right unique feature; not many other side panel; there’s also a small meters can say they have this. hole used to reset the unit. We Please note that the meter can did not have to use the reset not process MPEG-4 streams. feature; the software func- In order to view MPEG-4 FTA tioned properly throughout the channels, a suitable MPEG-4 entire test. On the reverse side to MPEG-2 conversion module is the Scart connector. It can needs to be inserted. However, be used to send the LCD video the meter can measure all DVB- and audio to an external moni- S2 signals even if they carry tor or TV set or it can accept an MPEG-4 streams. The additional incoming video/audio signal for module is only required to see display on the LCD. the video of a channel. ▲Meter with accessories The rear panel sports the CI slot for use with a CA module Everyday Use display. Underneath there are twelve control buttons. From mand 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2. The iden- tification of a satellite is based plus there’s also a USB port so that the meter can com- The meter was delivered from left to right in the top row the on the information transmitted municate with a PC. The whole Promax in a very large package. buttons show the video of the from a transponder in the NIT case is enclosed in protective We were surprised to discover channel, set the power for table. If only this information is grey rubber to help protect the that so many accessories were the LNB, show measurement transmitted (and this depends meter should it bump into a sat- included. The box included a results, show the frequency on the configuration of the pro- ellite mast or some other hard very practical carrying bag, a spectrum, switch between satel- vider’s headend), there should surface. protective suitcase (both with lite/terrestrial mode and switch be an orbital position and net- As we mentioned before, Spectrum analyzer Antenna alignment Carrier to Noise ratio measurement 22 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —
  4. 4. to quickly find the information the elevation and repeated the you need. There’s also a Quick left-right movement. Once we Reference Guide for those who observed a signal presence, want to get started right away. we stopped. Next we wanted We used the TV Explorer to find a maximum level. By II+ for the most obvious task delicately pushing and pulling – aligning a dish. Its large dis- the top, bottom, left and right play, fast response and good edges of the dish, we discovered measurement resolution make how much of a fine adjustment this a simple task. First, we was still needed. After correct- switched to the antenna align- ing azimuth and elevation we ment mode. The display showed achieved an almost maximum the spectrum with a high sweep signal level reading. rate and two vertical bars on But what was the satellite we the right side. The left bar had just aligned to? To find out showed the maximum value we switched to normal spec- that was recorded within the trum and adjusted the marker last few seconds while the right to one of the digital transpond- we’ve already had some experi- intuitive. In order to see the ence with the excellent Prolink- selected polarization and sub 4C Premium meter. Because band in many other instru- of this, we didn’t really expect ments, you have to enter the too many surprises with the L-Band frequency and set the TV Explorer II+. But we were LNB voltage and 22 kHz signal wrong! It not only includes presence. The TV Explorer II+ all the functions of its older allows you to jump from trans- brother, but comes with a few ponder to transponder ordered more. We mentioned the DVB- by frequency while automati- S2 measurements, but there cally setting the proper voltage are also the I-Q constellation and 22 kHz signal. Of course, diagrams for DVB-T/H, DVB-C, this is possible since the trans- DVB-S and DVB-S2 and spe- ponder lists are stored in the cial test functions for measur- meter’s memory. ing distribution networks with Despite the exceptional inter- the help of RP-250 and RP-080 nal complexity of the instrument one showed the current level. ers. Digital transponders are This is somewhat similar to the more “squared” in that they volume level meters found in have flat tops. Analog trans- good quality audio equipment. ponders have more of a bell Additionally, there is an audible shape. We had two possibili- signal with a pitch that rises ties. Because we had preset the when the signal level goes up. channel frequency plan to the After arbitrarily setting the desired satellite (Astra 19.2° elevation of the antenna, we E) and switched the tuning to moved it steadily from left to transponder zapping mode, we right and back again trying to could use the tuning knob and locate some spikes on the spec- see if the marker is jumping trum analyzer graph and peaks from the center of one trans- on the bars. This proved to be ponder to the center of the next unsuccessful so we changed transponder. Unfortunately, the signal simulators. and its wealth of features and However, the most striking functions, we only had to refer difference between these two to the user manual occasionally. meters except other than the Naturally, if you want to take size and weight is the ease of full advantage of all of its fea- use. While the Prolink-4C Pre- tures, it would be a good idea mium was quite ergonomic, the to read the user manual from TV Explorer II+ could probably cover to cover. It has 85 pages be used as a reference design full of pictures and is written in for all other similar instru- Spanish, English and French. Its ments. We found the opera- content is easy to follow thanks tion of all of its controls to be to its logical layout; it is easy Measuring MER QPSK Constellation 8PSK Constellation 24 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —
  5. 5. marker did not jump to the cent- the marker was now always in mum rather than maximum, II+ is the only meter on market ers of the transponders so we the middle of the transponder you can use CBER mode. VBER using this highly user-friendly switched to continuous tuning spectra. We confirmed that it is not that useful for alignment technology. (smooth frequency changing) was Astra by identifying the because of its very sharp reac- The meter also worked well in and moved the marker to the satellite again. This time we tion. more complex antenna systems center of a digital transponder. switched to channel watch- We especially liked the C/N that involved DiSEqC switches After pushing the satellite iden- ing mode. In 2 - 3 seconds readings when adjusting the and motors. However, for effi- tification button, we discovered we were watching the channel skew of the LNB in its holder. cient operation, the user must the dish was pointing to 13° E. video. We played for a while Even a slight turn was immedi- be familiar with DiSEqC com- As it turns out, we managed to tuning between transponders ately noticeable by a change in mands (which command does find the Hotbird satellite instead and channels within a trans- the C/N thanks to its high meas- what). After tuning to the satel- of Astra. ponder. Everything was work- urement resolution of 0.1 dB. lite signal in spectrum analyzer Because our goal was to ing; we were watching the The perfect antenna alignment; mode, only one button push align the dish to Astra 19.2° Astra 1 satellite at 19.2° E. it doesn’t get easier than this. was needed in order to watch E, we knew that we needed to But we were not finished Thanks to its large display, you the video of the first channel move the antenna to the east. yet. Next we wanted to pre- can even put the TV Explorer in the multiplex. We could also We started moving and after a cisely adjust azimuth, elevation II+ on the floor/ground and still switch to all the other chan- moment noticed another peak and LNB position in the holder be able to see the results and nels in the multiplex and at the in the signal level. It must (skew). To do that, we switched perform an antenna adjust- same time get information on have been Eutelsat W2 16° to C/N measurement mode. We ment. The reason is that the the video/audio PID’s and the E. We continued moving and adjusted all three settings in display is made in transflective actual resolution and bit rate. arrived at a stronger signal a small steps to get a maximum TFT technology. Thanks to this We also tested the meter with bit further to the east. After reading. This can also be done the display brightness is really analog cable TV cable signals switching to transponder zap- using MER measurement mode. high and it is easy readable even and managed to do that without ping mode, we could see that If you prefer to tune for mini- outdoors. Actually, the Explorer any problems. TV Channel analysis Showing channel video DISEqC commands — 06-07/2008 — TELE-satellite & Broadband 25
  6. 6. ??? TELE-satellite World Download this report in other languages from the Internet: Arabic ‫ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻴﺔ‬ Indonesian Indonesia Български What do all Bulgarian Czech Česky German Deutsch English English Spanish Español these acronyms Farsi ‫ﻓﺎﺭﺳﻲ‬ French Français Greek Ελληνικά Croatian Hrvatski mean? Italian Italiano Hungarian Magyar Mandarin 中文 Dutch Nederlands Polish Polski Portuguese Português Romanian Românesc QPSK ― phase modulation used in DVB-S and DVB-S2 Russian Русский transmissions. 4 phase angles are used. Swedish Svenska Turkish Türkçe 8PSK ― phase modulation used in DVB-S2 transmissions. 8 phase angles are used. If used instead of QPSK, more data Expert Opinion can be sent in the same bandwidth. + QAM ― phase/amplitude modulation used in DVB-C trans- The TV Explorer II+ is an amazingly versatile and mission. Different number of phase angles and amplitude ergonomic instrument for a professional installer. levels are used depending on the mode: 16QAM, 32QAM, It is excellent for setting up and maintaining satel- 64QAM, 128QAM or 256QAM. lite/terrestrial antennas and their signal distribution networks. The instrument is also a full featured tool COFDM ― complex modulation used in DVB-T optimized to for examining analog or digital cable networks con- Jacek Pawlowski nected to headends. It can even be used to check FM TELE-satellite be insensitive to the interference typical for terrestrial TV. radio or DVB-H signals! It’s TFT display is readable Test Center Poland also in bright sunlight. L-Band ― frequency range 950-2150 MHz to which all sat- ellite signals are converted to by an LNB (Ku-, C- or S-band). - This frequency range is used to transmit satellite signals None via a cable from an LNB to a satellite meter and/or satellite receiver. TECHNIC MPEG-2 ― the older compression method used for digital video in DVB. Still widely used for standard definition chan- DATA nels. Manufacturer PROMAX Electronica S. A., C/ Francesc Moragas, 71, 08907 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, SPAIN MPEG-4 ― the newer more efficient compression method Tel +34-932-602-000 for digital video in DVB-S2 and DVB-T/H. Website Email C/N ― carrier-to-noise ratio expressed in dB. One of the Model Promax TV Explorer II+ basic terms used to assess signal quality. The higher the C/N, the better the signal. In practice, it is difficult to measure it Function Universal Satellite Signal Meter and Analyzer correctly because it is not possible to switch the transponder Type of signals processed Analog TV terrestrial/cable and satellite, DVB-S, off and measure only the noise. The meter tries to find a noise DVB-S2, DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-H, FM Radio level next to the transponder signal and uses it as a refer- TV systems PAL, SECAM, NTSC ence. The readings may be too pessimistic. TV standards M, N, B, G, I, D, K and L BER ― bit error rate: a measure of digital signal quality Tuning range 5 to 1000 MHz (terrestrial) and 950 to 2150 MHz (satellite) telling us how often we have a false bit in an incoming data Measured parameters Power, CBER, VBER, MER, C/N and Noise Margin stream. Thus, 3x10-4 means that in 10,000 bits we have 3 for DVB-S (QPSK) false bits (0’s instead of 1’s or vice versa). The lower the BER Measured parameters Power, CBER, LBER, MER, C/N and Wrong Packets the better. For example, 4x10-5 is better than 1x10-4. for DVB-S2 (QPSK/8PSK) Constellation diagram DVB-T/H, DVB-C, DVB-S, DVB-S2 CBER ― channel BER. Bit error rate before the forward available for: error correction technique is used. DVB-S signal range 44 dBµV to 114 dBµV, 2 to 45 Ms/sec DVB-S2 signal range 44 dBµV to 114 dBµV, 2 to 33 Ms/sec (QPSK) VBER ― Viterbi BER. Bit error rate after the Viterbi forward and 2 to 30 Ms/sec (8PSK) error correction technique has been applied. VBER is always much better (lower) than CBER. Signals with a VBER = 1x10-4 Spectrum Analyzer Input: 30 dBµV to 130 dBµV are regarded as Quasi Error Free (QEF). It is marked on the (satellite range) Span: Full – 500 – 200 – 100 – 50 – 32 – 16 MHz selectable bar indicator scale when the TV Explorer II+ is in VBER meas- Monitor transflective TFT 6.5 “ uring mode. Aspect ratio 16:9, 4:3, Auto External units powers 5/13/15/18/24 V, 22 kHz: 0.65 ± 0.25 V LBER ― BER after Low Density Parity Check. This is an supply (e.g. LNB) equivalent of VBER for DVB-S2 signals. Internal power supply 7.2V 11 Ah Li-ion Battery 4.5 hours of continuous operation MER ― modulation error ratio. The relation between the average power of a DVB signal and the average power of noise Recharging time 3 hours to 80% present in the constellation of a signal. It is “a digital equiva- External power supply 12 V, 30 W lent of signal-to-noise” ratio in analog transmissions. So, the Operating temperature 5 to 40° C higher the MER the better (like C/N). The TV Explorer II+ Humidity 80% (up to 31° C) decreasing linearly to 50% at 40° C also shows the noise margin (in dB) when in MER measure- ment mode. We should have at least a 3 dB noise margin to Dimensions 230 x 161 x 76 mm ensure good reception even in bad weather conditions. Weight 2.2 kg 26 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —