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RF measurements from the air

High-value airborne measurements via remotely piloted aircraft systems have already been a part of terrestrial system design for several broadcast network operators. This method is being showcased on the stand of Colibrex, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LS telcom.

Colibrex offers this measurement service using a multicopter that has been adapted to carry a measurement sensor, high-resolution position and orientation sensors, an autopilot, a high-powered processor and storage unit, and a telemetry system.

Colibrex said that its multicopter system can more precisely measure the real radiation patterns of an antenna and compare these characteristics to the planned pattern. Ground measurements cannot provide complete pattern radiation data and are subject to ground reflections, said the company.

Airborne measurement is especially relevant for a final commissioning of new antennas, as faults during installation can easily happen, reminded the company. Colibrex added that this also applies for maintenance work and compliance verification.

Norking Norway and Norking Belgium, SRG SSR, Switzerland, and Emitel, Poland, have recently contracted Colibrex to conduct measurement of their antennas for various technologies, such as DVB-T/T2, DAB and FM. The measurements were useful to the operators in either confirming their expectations of antenna settings or in detecting unwanted and sometimes critical radiation characteristics, said Colibrex.

When modifications to the antenna installations were necessary, measurements were reiterated after each installation change until the real antenna radiation characteristics corresponded to the
planned one.