Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Using an Oscilloscope to Check Your (Transmitted) Signal

N2NOV had posted that Tektronix now has a Youtube channel with videos on how to properly use an Oscilloscope.  Many years ago, Tektronix published a good free PDF, The XYZ's of Oscilloscopes. It was
good but a little dry compared to a video presentation.

Well equipped radio operators have a special type of dedicated oscilloscope called a service monitor which allows viewing your transmitted signal, by tapping the radio frequency (RF) from the transmission line. Recently I came across a Youtube video that showed how to build a very simple RF sampling circuit that would allow using a common oscilloscope to monitor the RF output of your transmitter (transceiver).  While this won't do everything that a dedicated service monitor would do, it's a pretty cool way to check your signal if you only have an oscilloscope.  The RF sampler circuit described should be less than $10 in parts.

Personally I find this sort of thing to be very cool.  Even if I had an unlimited budget for buying equipment. I don't have the room to store it in NYC.

Note: This will only be useful for monitoring AM and SSB transmissions. I hope to come across something not too difficult to build that would be useful for looking at the output of an FM transmitter like the type most commonly used on VHF and UHF.

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