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  1. 1. TEST REPORT DVB-T Signal Meter Satcatcher Digipro T Max Bringing the fun back to aligning a terrestrial antenna! In the past TELE-satellite has already published a number of test reports for Satcatcher’s DVB-S installation meters, and this time we’ll be looking at a DVB-T model which covers a reception mode that is just as interesting. Digital terrestrial television has gained enormous momentum in recent years and these days almost all corners of the earth are covered with some type of digital terrestrial signal. What’s more, analogue terrestrial transmission has become a thing of the past in many countries, or is currently on the verge of being superseded by digital signals. All this actually makes a lot of sense, too, as the bandwidth taken up by a single analogue channel can be used to transmit five to seven SDTV channels or two to three HDTV channels. As we’re experiencing an ever- growing number of terrestrial channels all over the globe, the analogue switch-off is something that has to happen sooner or In the analogue age it was SATcATchER DIg IPR 06-07/2010 O T MA x quite easy to correctly align Easy to use signal met later. a terrestrial antenna: You at DVB -T. Everything er that doesn’t stop you want from a signal meter. simply took a small TV set, TELE-satellite World Download this report in other languages from the Internet: hooked it up to the antenna and started moving the correction, which means mar- Arabic ‫العربية‬ Indonesian Indonesia antenna until a picture with ginal signal strength might Bulgarian Български Czech Česky little or no noise popped up still whip up a perfect result German Deutsch on screen. on your screen as long as English English Spanish Español reception conditions are right. Farsi ‫فارس ي‬ French Français In the digital age the new Come bad weather, though, Hebrew ‫עברית‬ Greek Ελληνικά motto seems to be ‘no pain, you’ll be left with a blank Croatian Hrvatski Italian Italiano no gain’. For one thing, most screen or frozen image – and Hungarian Magyar Mandarin 中文 small TVs don’t come with a the digital revolution might Dutch Nederlands built-in DVB-T receiver, so easily turn into a family reso- Polish Polski Portuguese Português you’d have to drag a receiver lution on the living room sofa. Romanian Românesc Russian Русский up to the antenna as well. Swedish Svenska Turkish Türkçe In addition, a key feature of Satcatcher comes to the Available online starting from 28 May 2010 digital transmission is error rescue with its new Digipro T 28 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 —
  2. 2. Max, a signal meter that has For extreme situations the from the mains or by using have to carry it around all day been specially designed for manufacturer includes a sun the car charger while on the long. the DVB-T market. If you live visor which can easily be go. Professional installers will in areas with a differing digital attached to the bag, if need particularly appreciate this Everyday use terrestrial transmission tech- be. This way blinding sunlight second option to keep their Right after switching on the nology such as ASTC, ISDB-T won’t get in the way of doing meter ready to use all of the signal meter the main menu or DMB-TH Satcatcher has the your job. time and to use travel time pops up, which is divided into appropriate model on offer from one customer to the eight sections. The default too, or is currently working on A total of 26 buttons are next for charging. language of the OSD is Eng- it. As soon as we had opened available to operate the lish. However, Satcatcher the packaging there it was: Digipro T Max, all of which are The aluminium flight case will provide region-specific The top-notch aluminium located on the top side of the also includes a strap for car- customised versions of the flight case that we have come meter’s housing. Apart from rying the Digipro T Max like Digipro T Max to local dis- to expect from Satcatcher. It the standard on/off switch a shoulder bag, a USB cable tributors. Unfortunately, it makes sure the delicate meter and a cross-shaped navi key, for PC connection as well as a is not possible to change the can be safely stored and Satcatcher also added five mini CD-ROM with all required OSD language in a dedicated transported, and the fact that keys with dedicated functions software. The user guide menu item. All you can edit in it looks rather sexy is a nice as well as four keys with user- is available as PDF on the METER SETUP is the thresh- little bonus too. defined functions. Making CD-ROM and is both compre- old level for the meter to start full use of these four keys it hensive and easy to navigate processing a signal, and the The Digipro T Max itself becomes child’s play to work through. It will provide an desired unit for measuring the weighs 1.6 kg and measures with the latest Satcatcher answer to almost any ques- signal (dBm, dBµV or dBmV). 25x12x6 cm, which makes it model. tion you may have in connec- easy to handle and to carry tion with using the Digipro T You may also set a certain along. We loved the fact that On the bottom side there is Max. time of inactivity after which Satcatcher found a clever the USB interface for connect- the meter switches off auto- way of distributing weight ing the meter to a PC as well The new Satcatcher DVB-T matically. This avoids waste- inside the meter so that you as the socket for the exter- meter boasts excellent work- ful usage of battery capacity always have a good grip and nal mains power charging manship and creates a com- and provides ease of mind in probably won’t ever acciden- unit which is used to supply fortably reassuring first this day and age of diminish- tally drop it. A protective bag energy to the built-in bat- impression, even though the ing resources. Satcatcher has keeps away moist, dust and tery pack. While we’re at it: meter housing is made of come up with a nifty feature dirt from the device, while at the internal battery lasts for plastic rather than metal. We consisting of pre-stored fre- the same time allowing access five to six hours of continuous should note that our test- quency lists, something the to all sockets and the display, operation and doesn’t take ing crew unanimously was of manufacturer calls channel which itself is protected by a longer than four hours to be the opinion that the manu- plans. The Digipro T Max can see-through foil. fully recharged. ‘Excellent’ is facturer’s decision to go for store up to 15 channel plans the word that springs to mind! plastic instead of metal was absolutely right. After all, with a total of 500 individual Speaking of the display – Thanks to the generous every attempt at reducing the frequency entries. with its high-resolution TFT technology and 3.5-inch supply of accessories that final weight of a mobile meter diameter it is very easy to comes with the meter you can deserves special praise, not All meters are shipped with read even in direct sunlight. either re-charge the battery least from professionals who a complete frequency list for the UHF/VHF bands as well as with a special list for Great Britain. This does away with the tiresome job of selecting a channel using the spectrum display or manual frequency input. A simple touch of a button in the frequency list is all it takes to select a chan- nel for scanning. To top it all, Satcatcher even allows users to assign names to indi- vidual frequencies, so that frequently used entries are found in a second. The Digipro T Max is very strict in distinguishing between analogue and digital 30 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 —
  3. 3. signals, which is why the pre- bandwidths (full, 500, 200, a button for a closer look at on, but you can also watch stored frequency list includes 100, 50, 32, 16, 8 MHz). After the signal. the channel directly on your two entries (analogue and pressing the “TEST” function signal meter. digital) for each channel. If a key the meter checks the cur- Once a frequency has been channel is selected manually rently selected frequency and activated from the pre-set The only minor drawback is the meter prompts the user after a short moment informs list, identified after scanning, that this sweet extra bonus to select whether that chan- the user whether or not a selected from the spectrum does not work with analogue nel is analogue or digital. A usable signal is available and display or entered manu- television signals. However, separate menu item allows – more importantly – what ally, the next step usually is this is easily made up for with user to edit the frequency type of signal it is. to perform a signal test. The the option to call up a COFDM lists directly on the meter. As Digipro T Max has a dedicated (Coded Orthogonal Frequency a more convenient option you If you know the frequency function key for this step and Division Multiplexing) constel- may install the software pro- you’re looking for you can of it instantly shows the signal lation diagram for thoroughly vided on CD-ROM and do all course also enter it manually strength in dBm, dBµV or analysing a signal. This is a your editing with an easy-to- – something that is possible dBmV for the audio and video feature clearly targeted to use Windows tool. in all menus of the Satcatcher frequencies of analogue sig- professional installers, who Digipro T Max. This, too, may nals and for the carrier fre- will greatly appreciate this. A new frequency list can save valuable time for profes- quency of digital signals. easily be loaded and activated sional installers. If you don’t It goes without saying that in a dedicated menu item of need a real-time spectrum If a digital signal is received, the Satcatcher Digipro T Max the Digipro T Max. During this display but rather prefer in- MER (Modulation Error Ratio), is compatible with all DVB-T process the currently active depth information you should C/N (Carrier to Noise Ratio), modulations, meaning it will frequency list is cancelled and look at the meter’s automatic CBER (Channel Bit Error Rate) work with QPSK, 16 QAM and replaced by the new one. This channel scan. It covers all and VBER (Viterbi Error Rate) 64 QAM. The closer the dots allows professional installers entries of a frequency list and are displayed as well, so that shown in the constellation to create different lists for dif- uses colour-coded bars to you get a realistic impression diagram are to each other, the ferent regions, with each list present results. of signal quality and applied better the signal. For those including only those frequen- error correction. of you with an active signal cies that are in active use in A yellow bar indicates an amplifier the meter can be set any given region. analogue signal, for exam- The meter reacts quickly with the +/- buttons to gener- ple, while yellow/blue stands to any signal changes and ate 5V or 12V current on the Apart from making the for analogue radio, white thus provides very reliable antenna output to power the meter a lot easier to use this for digital TV, black for DAB feedback when aligning an amplifier. Satcatcher models also speeds up work proc- and green for FM radio. One antenna. If all that still is not for certain countries, like esses and therefore can help glimpse is all it takes to get enough for some, Satcatcher France, Spain or Portugal, save real money. We chose an overview of what is avail- offers some icing on the cake have set these outputs to 5V to align a UHF antenna for able at the present location. and has equipped its Digipro and 24V to feed amplifiers in DVB-T reception in our test. Similar to spectrum mode, T Max with the option of lock- use there. It didn’t take us long to pre- here too the navi key can ing into a DVB-T frequency pare all required hardware be used to change between and showing its channels And since the new Sat- and we then started out with frequencies and once the on screen. This way you can catcher signal meter is com- connecting the Digipro T max desired entry is marked it easily use NIT data to find patible with FM and DAB as to the antenna with a coax only takes one more touch of out which frequency you’re well, antennas for these fre- cable. The spectrum display indi- cated right away that three active DVB-T frequencies were available at our test location in Vienna. The meter even showed very weak fre- quencies intended for differ- ent regions. Signal peaks of these out-of-area frequen- cies were clear to notice in the spectrum. The navi key is used to place the cursor on any desired frequency within the spectrum display and it is possible to conveniently enlarge certain sectors thanks to a number of pre-defined — 06-07/2010 — TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 31
  4. 4. 1 5 9 2 6 10 3 7 1. Analogue signal measuring 2. Signal scan across the complete UHF frequency range 3. Spectrum display 4. Various basic setting for signal measuring 5. Eight segments make up the main menu 6. DVB-T channels can be watched on the monitor 4 8 7. COFDM diagram for signal analysis 8. Signal information of a frequency with digital content 9. The complete UHF and VHF bands (analogue as well as digital) are included in the pre-stored frequency lists 10. Frequency lists can be edited either directly on the meter or conveniently on the Pc quency ranges can be aligned Towards the end of our test even though error correction entries is by connecting the just as easily. While in FM we attempted to push the had to work overtime and the device to a PC. mode the meter shows the Digipro T Max to its limits by signal broke down every once signal level right away, and if trying to align a UHF antenna in a while. That is why the T Max required the signal audio can in a way that allows recep- comes with a USB interface be put out and checked with tion of extremely weak sig- Pc connection and USB cable so that any the touch of a button. nals. Thanks to signal level Windows-based PC can be We mentioned above that changes being shown in real- used to manage the meter’s The same is true for DAB time this was achieved in next up to 15 channel plans can data. All required drivers and signals. We tested both to no time at all. be stored inside the Digipro software components are modes and found that set- T Max. While these can of available from the CD-ROM ting up both UHF/VHF and This way we were even able course be edited in the meter that comes with the meter. FM antennas was as easy as to receive DVB-T signals not itself, a much more conven- 1-2-3. intended for our local market, ient way of managing these We used one of our Windows 32 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 —
  5. 5. 1 XP computers and can assure After models for DVB-S and you that installation happens DVB-C it is the perfect addi- in a breeze and it was easy tion to complete the manu- and self-explanatory to edit facturer’s range. frequencies and transfer data back to the meter’s memory. Offering a perfect balance between ease of use and Once again Satcatcher has myriad features, and char- hit the jackpot with this new acterised by solid workman- meter and it’s safe to say the ship the Digipro T Max is right Digipro T Max will join the on track to bringing back ranks of other highly success- some fun to UHF/VHF and FM ful Satcatcher signal meters. antenna alignment jobs. 2 Expert Opinion + Ease of use, a large range of features and good workmanship are the most important attributes of the Satcatcher Digipro T Max. - Thomas haring Only DVB-T channels can be watched on the TELE-satellite Test Center meter‘s display. For analogue TV channels Austria this option is not available. TEchNIcAL DATA Distributor SatCatcher, Unit 7 Salvesen Way, Hull, East Yorkshire, UK HU3 4UQ, United Kingdom Tel +44 (0) 148 222 15 77 3 Email Model Digipro T Max Type Signal Meter for DVB-T, analogue TV, digital DAB radio, analogue FM radio Frequency range 46~870 MHz Level range (cOFDM) 35 dBuV ~ 110 dBuV Level range (analogue) 25 dBuV ~ 120 dBuV Level measurement accuracy +/- 2dB MER 19-32 dB BER 10E-2 to 10E-8 Demodulation QPSK, 16 QAM, 64 QAM Input impedance 75 Ohm Power supply Up to 5 hours without recharge Supplied items Protective case, fold away sun visor, software CD, user guide, mains charging unit, car charger, USB connection cable 4 Dimension 250x120x60mm Net weight 0.8kg gross weight 1.6kg Working temperature 0°C ~ +40°C Display 3.5“ LCD color display 1. All frequency lists can easily be edited on the PC 2. New frequency lists are added with a single mouse click 3. Same for new frequency entries 4. Once you're done with all your editing the new data are sent back to the Digipro T Max via USB connection — 06-07/2010 — TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 33