Coax Cable Tester?

bnaivar

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Dec 4, 2003
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Atlanta, GA
Depends on what you're asking. A signal level meter and a loss table from the manufacturer will tell you if the coax is losing too much signal over it's distance. A TDR (Time Domain Refectometer) will find shorts or opens in the cable.
 

Ron R

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Feb 8, 2006
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I knew that was a rather vague question. I am looking for something I can use to tell me if my cable has a short or open or if the fittings are causing trouble. What is a TDR? What would a Sattellite or Cable TV Tech use in the field to test cable?
 

rcbridge

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Sep 22, 2003
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Limerick Pa
If you have a DVM and a 75ohm termination, you can check for a short without the termination (center conductor to outer shield), and for an open with the load.
 

bnaivar

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Atlanta, GA
Or for that matter a DVM and an alligator clip lead. Just look for a short or an open.

A TDR is like a radar internal to the coax. It sends a signal to the end of the cable and reads the doppler shift of the reflected signal. (They're also expensive.)
 
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Doctor Bob

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Nov 22, 2003
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Riverside, California
Ron R said:
Is there a tester for coax cable?


Hi Ron,

There are several fault testers out there, but the best bang for the buck, seems to be the Triplett # 3271-TDR for about $180.00 ... Call Pace at 800-444-7223 and they may be able to help you... This tester can also measure the distance of the fault, as well... So if you just want to find out how long a cable run is, all you have to do is put a shorted cap on one end and hook up the tester to the other end for a reading...
 

Jared Twomey

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or if the coax is not hooked up to anything on either end... just take an ohmmeter and check one end (between the center and the braid) for continuity. if you have it, you have a short
also, i have used those cheap pocket toners and they also should have a little led on them that will light up if the wire is shorted
 

Ron R

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Feb 8, 2006
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Thanks Guys, I'll check them out. I knew that I could check for continuity with a Volt/Ohm meter but do not know, if there is a small short, say just one wire from the shielding to the center conductor will that show up? Or would it be so small that a V/O meter may not be sensitive enough to see it? I'm sure that a small short would affect the signal but not continuity? Part of my reason for concern is that I'm an installer for Wild Blue Satellite internet, the coax and connections all have to be rated at 3Ghz and the WB signal is very sensitive to the cable and fittings. There has been a lot of talk about bad connections, bad cable etc. on other forums, I would like to find a tool to help me in the field troubleshoot possible cable issues. Thank You for your help and I will follow any leads I see here. Ron
 

Stargazer

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Sep 7, 2003
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I just hookup a signal meter to see if it reads between 0 and 1 (and most have a light on them as well). That tells me the majority of the issues within the cable and connectors from the receiver to the dish. I think some of the more expensive signal meters (Bird Dog) has some type of wire testing function in them as well. They are only $10-20 (plus S&H fee) on ebay or you can buy them through the sponsors of this site.
 

Doctor Bob

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Nov 22, 2003
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Riverside, California
Ron R said:
Thanks Guys, I'll check them out. I knew that I could check for continuity with a Volt/Ohm meter but do not know, if there is a small short, say just one wire from the shielding to the center conductor will that show up? Or would it be so small that a V/O meter may not be sensitive enough to see it? I'm sure that a small short would affect the signal but not continuity? Part of my reason for concern is that I'm an installer for Wild Blue Satellite internet, the coax and connections all have to be rated at 3Ghz and the WB signal is very sensitive to the cable and fittings. There has been a lot of talk about bad connections, bad cable etc. on other forums, I would like to find a tool to help me in the field troubleshoot possible cable issues. Thank You for your help and I will follow any leads I see here. Ron

Hey Ron R, that one little wire, wrapped around the center conductor, will short out the cable... Basic steps with a V/O Meter will tell you if you have an open and or a short circuit... The only connector that you are allowed to use with WildBlue, is the Compression Fitting, and the quality Stirling fittings http://www.stirlingconnectors.com/ is one of the best out there for the money...
 

Ron R

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Feb 8, 2006
21
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Thanks guys, I'm still following this post. I'm not sure I understand what you are using Stargazer for a signal meter? Do you mean a Volt Meter or a Signal Level Meter? You mention the Birdog I know what that is I use a Channel Master 1007 IFD.
 
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