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Distance To Fault (DTF) is a performance verification and failure analysis tool used for antenna and transmission line service and maintenance.It uses the Frequency Domain Reflectometry (FDR) measurement technique.Thus, the actual return loss versus distance is shown in Figure 1. Distance TEST TIP Cable manufacturers specify the propagation velocity (Vp) of cables.Anritsu Handheld products incorporating DTF include tables of many standard cables and waveguides to simplify DTF measurements. If this specification is not available, it can easily be determined by measuring a known length of cable.The distance is then calculated from this information by knowing the propagation velocity.The relative propagation velocity of a coax transmission line is required for distance calculation.Tower mounted transmission lines are exposed to weather, and will degrade over time.Lightning can sever a portion of the antenna or damage the in-line lightning arrestor.
Since DTF automatically accounts for attenuation versus distance, the display accurately indicates the return loss or VSWR of the antenna.Eventually these problems cause intermittent outage and failures at exactly the times they are least welcome, such as during storms or during extreme periods of cold.With DTF available, the root causes of RF problems can be identified.For the majority of transmission lines and antennas, the absence of DTF capability severely impacts the time to repair transmission lines and renders preventative maintenance procedures impractical.