What is a "Test Card"

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Otis413

Otis413

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Active SatelliteGuys Member
Jun 7, 2016
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I can usually find what I'm looking for by using the Search option, but no luck on this one.
Looking at websites like LyngSat I see transponders marked "Test Card", just what is this?

Thanks in advance!
Great Website!
Otis
KD8VBV
 
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Brct203

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 24, 2016
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usually that's just a video pattern, like a slide, that is static and fills the channel. For example, the color bar test card. Some will have some text indicating who owns it. Sometimes the audio carries a tone, sometimes it's silent.

They can be used to test equipment, but also to "mark their territory", so that we can tune the receivers even at times where they are not broadcasting.

Many test cards have very specific patterns, and allow a trained technician to quickly measure many indicators of transmission quality just by observing specific details

Test card - Wikipedia

They were probably more common and more useful in the days of analog TV
 
Lone Gunman

Lone Gunman

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 19, 2010
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Back in the early OTA TV days we called them a "Test Pattern". They looked a little different than what you see today but they did have the different colors and sometimes a station ID. Back then TV stations didn't broadcast programming 24hrs a day.
 
Martyn

Martyn

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Sep 25, 2005
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Test card is British English. We never called them test patterns. That's probably where Lyngsat got the term from.

See my profile picture for a long-running British classic.

Test card trivia: The "x" on the blackboard on the BBC's Testcard F is at the exact center of the frame, enabling TV engineers to line up TVs. Yes, that was all done in the days of analog TV and cathode ray tubes.
 
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Alan Rovner

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Jan 8, 2013
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The test card is especially useful when it identifies the satellite and transponder. It helps verify you're on the correct bird when setting up a new system.
 
comfortably_numb

comfortably_numb

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I used to call them "color bars." Not sure if that was my nerdy invention or a term I heard someone else use !
 
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