MICROWAVE LINKS DEMAND the accurate alignment of the path between antennas. Traditionally, microwave path alignment requires a transmitter and receiver, which are located at each end of the microwave link. If the antennas are aligned (i.e., pointed to each other), the greatest amount of energy will be emitted and received. The signal's free-space attenuation is then minimized. If the antennas are not optimally aligned, however, signal transfer is less efficient and received dynamic range is lost. In "Simplifying the Path Alignment of Microwave Communication Systems," Pendulum Instruments, Inc. (Oakland, CA) presents a new approach to this process.

The four-page application note closely examines the traditional approach to aligning the antennas of a microwave communication system. For example, each antenna polarization must be properly set up. In addition, the transmitter output power must be calibrated. Typically, the radios that will be placed at each site finish optimizing the path. Instead of radios, however, test instrumentation may be utilized. A signal generator can be used as the transmitter while a spectrum analyzer is used as the receiver.

Yet much of this test equipment is both expensive and complicated. In contrast, XL Microwave's portable, battery-powered Path Align-R test set is cost effective and easy to use. In addition, it provides 100 dB of effective dynamic range. Among its other advantages are speed and accuracy. By explaining how alignment can be achieved with its test set, the company proves that test equipment is indeed a viable alternative for this application.

Pendulum Instruments, Inc., 5811 Racine St., Oakland, CA 94609-1519; (510) 428-9488, FAX: (510) 428-9469, Internet: www.penduluminstruments.com.