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					TEST REPORT                    DVB-C Signal Meter




Horizon HD-CM Cable Meter
Fast and Practical
Cable technology is a bit different than satellite technology.                                                                                           06-07/2010
This new Horizon cable meter won’t show you a frequency                                                                           HOR IzON HD- CM CAB
                                                                                                                                  Small, lightweight and
                                                                                                                                                          lE METER
                                                                                                                                                         easy to use
spectrum nor will you see any TV video. But are these features                                                                          any where in the wor ld


really necessary and would you be willing to pay for them?
Think again. These questions are especially appropriate when it
comes to cable networks. In satellite TV, a channel could occupy                                                              case and plug the car charger
any frequency within a band, but in cable TV there is always a                                                                cable into the charging port.
channel plan with precisely defined channel frequencies. There’s
                                                                                                                                Next to the 12 VDC socket,
no need for any fine frequency adjustment where a spectrum                                                                    there’s a USB port for con-
view could help. The channel plan may differ from region to                                                                   necting the meter to your
region in the world (there are several different plans) but once                                                              PC. The AC power socket can
                                                                                                                              be found on the rear panel
you know the country, you know the band plan. What you really                                                                 behind another Velcro flap in
need to know is the signal strength and quality of every channel                                                              the carrying case.
that is supposed to be present at a cable TV wall socket. This
                                                                                                                                All Horizon meters come
becomes a piece of cake if you happen to own Horizon’s HD-CM                                                                  with built-in power supply
signal meter.                                                                                                                 units. To charge the internal
                                                                                                                              batteries, there’s no need to
  Horizon offers the HD-CM                USB cable. The battery pack                      tor adapter. In some coun-         use an external power supply,
in two flavours: one comes                is already installed inside the                  tries, IEC169-2 connectors         just a cable. It doesn’t get
with the DVB-C specifications             HD-CM.                                           are used instead of F connec-      any more simple and conve-
for the Americas (annex B,                                                                 tors.                              nient than this.
Open Cable), and one ver-                   A rain cover attached to
sion for the rest of the world            the front panel serves to pro-                      Attaching the quick-start          When using the meter for
(annexes A and C).                        tect the display and keyboard                    guide to the cover was a bril-     the first time, it would be a
                                          from the elements. Horizon                       liant idea. If you don’t use       good idea to charge the bat-
  When you open the pack-                 recommends keeping the                           the meter everyday or use a        tery for at least eight hours.
age that the HD-CM came in,               cover in place at all times; we                  number of them (like TELE-         It’s a high capacity Ni-MH
you’ll find the meter in a black          removed it only to take pic-                     satellite test editors do) it      3300mAh battery and can
carrying case, an AC power                tures of the meter. The only                     really helps. The meter is         provide nine hours of opera-
cable, a DC car charger and a             thing missing was a connec-                      enclosed in a small plastic        tion from a single charge. If
                                                                                           housing that is quite typical      necessary, the battery can be
                                                                                           for Horizon. You can order the     replaced by opening a flap on

 TELE-satellite World                             www.TELE-satellite.com/...
 Download this report in other languages from the Internet:
                                                                                           HD-CM meter in any color as
                                                                                           long as it’s blue.
                                                                                                                              the bottom side of the meter.

 Arabic         ‫العربية‬       www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ara/horizon.pdf
 Indonesian     Indonesia     www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/bid/horizon.pdf                                        You might think that a
 Bulgarian      Български     www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/bul/horizon.pdf
 Czech          Česky         www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ces/horizon.pdf
                                                                                             The front panel is black with    meter that comes with a bat-
 German         Deutsch       www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/deu/horizon.pdf   clearly visible yellow labeling.   tery and an AC power supply
 English        English       www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/eng/horizon.pdf
 Spanish        Español       www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/esp/horizon.pdf   Four arrow buttons are all you     built into it would make it
 Farsi          ‫فارس ي‬        www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/far/horizon.pdf
 French         Français      www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/fra/horizon.pdf   need to operate this meter         heavy, but that’s not the case
 Hebrew         ‫עברית‬         www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/heb/horizon.pdf
 Greek          Ελληνικά      www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/hel/horizon.pdf   and it comes with a 128x64         with the HD-CM; it weights
 Croatian       Hrvatski      www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/hrv/horizon.pdf
 Italian        Italiano      www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ita/horizon.pdf   pixel backlit LCD that is easy     only about 1 kg. The printed
 Hungarian      Magyar        www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/mag/horizon.pdf
                                                                                                                              user manual included in the
 Mandarin       中文            www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/man/horizon.pdf
                                                                                           to read.
 Dutch          Nederlands    www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/ned/horizon.pdf                                      package is detailed yet very
 Polish         Polski        www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/pol/horizon.pdf
 Portuguese     Português     www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/por/horizon.pdf     When on the road, you can        easy to understand.
 Romanian       Românesc      www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/rom/horizon.pdf
 Russian        Русский       www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/rus/horizon.pdf   charge the meter using the
 Swedish        Svenska       www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/sve/horizon.pdf
 Turkish        Türkçe        www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-1007/tur/horizon.pdf   included car charger; just lift      Overall, our first impres-
                             Available online starting from 28 May 2010                    the Velcro flap on the carrying    sion of the HD-CM is that of a


40 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 — www.TELE-satellite.com
small, very handy instrument         Navigating  through   the    button. You then push the
that is solidly manufactured.     setup menu involves using       down arrow button and, voilà,
                                  the up/down buttons while       you are in the main menu.
  Everyday use                    the left/right buttons are      The main menu only has
                                  used to change any of the       four items: Full scan, Short
  There are two ways to turn
                                  settings. In other instru-      scan, Slope test and Select
the HD-CM on: pressing the
                                  ments we tested, the left/      plan. After checking that the
up arrow button or pressing
                                  right arrows were used for
the down arrow button. The
                                  changing menu items; the
up arrow displays the setup
                                  Horizon method seems to be
menu in which you can set:
                                  more intuitive: the up/down
  • status of backlight (on/
                                  method lets you more easily
off),
                                  see what the next/previous
  • clicking sound (on/off)
                                  menu item is.
  • brightness level (0
through 15),
                                     Horizon decided to put the
  • contrast level (practical
                                  channel plan in the main menu
values from 10 through 30),
                                  instead of the setup menu. To
  • automatic sleep mode
                                  get to the main menu, you
due to inactivity (1 to 30
                                  first have to leave the setup
minutes or always on)
                                  menu by highlighting Exit
  • squelch level for back-
                                  and pressing the right arrow
ground noise cutoff (-75 dBm
through -55 dBm or OFF)
  • language (only English
was available in our test unit)
  • unit of signal power
measurements (dBµV, dBm,
dBmV)
  • factory defaults




                                                          www.TELE-satellite.com — 06-07/2010 —   TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine   41
proper channel plan was set,           push of a down arrow button             replaces the MER with the            Unfortunately, the HD-CM
we started a full scan. The            displays the audio level value.         BER.                              does not offer a fully automatic
scan goes through the entire                                                                                     scan in which all channels
cable TV bandwidth starting               Note that the displayed                We tested the meter on          would be found, measured
from the lowest channel.               audio frequency is slightly dif-        various analog and digital sig-   and stored in memory. If you
                                       ferent from the video carrier           nals available on two different   want to get a complete pic-
   As soon as the meter                frequency; this is normal for           cable networks. The HD-CM         ture for a given TV subscriber
detects a signal, it stops             an analog signal. Pressing the          locked onto signals without       socket, channels need to be
scanning and starts analyzing          down arrow button a second              any delay and provided stable     stored in memory one at a
it. It tells you if the signal is      time displays the C/N ratio in          and repeatable results. We        time. This isn’t really practi-
an analog channel or a digi-           decibels. Once all the data for         had no problems handling the      cal; hopefully Horizon will add
tal channel by displaying the          the channel has been identi-            keyboard and reading the dis-     an automatic scan in a future
letter A or D and a small icon         fied, the scan can be con-              play.                             firmware upgrade.
representing it.                       tinued by pressing the right
                                       arrow button (to continue to              The HD-CM can also store          An interesting feature is
  An    analog   channel    is         the higher channels) or the             any of the results in its         the slope test measurement.
depicted with two uneven tri-          left arrow button (to continue          memory for future reference       The HD-CM meter compares
angles while a digital channel         to the lower channels).                 with the help of the up arrow     the level measurements of up
displays something similar to                                                  button. If you connect a PC to    to five preselected carriers
a trapezoid. These icons are             When a digital channel is             the HD-CM using a USB cable,      to check that the differences
meant to represent the shape           found, the HD-CM displays               these results can then also be    between them aren’t exces-
of an analog or digital signal         frequency and RF level mea-             downloaded to that PC.            sive which, for example, could
as it would appear on a spec-          surements. Pressing the down                                              be due to attenuation intro-
trum analyzer screen.                  arrow button shows the MER                An HDCM Log Reader appli-       duced by low quality coax
                                       reading. The frequency field            cation is available from Hori-    cable. The results are first
  When an analog channel is            rotates between the following           zon for free and lets you not     shown graphically in the form
found, the HD-CM shows the             measurements: symbol rate               only read the meter memory        of vertical bars but when the
channel number, frequency,             in kBd, QAM order, phasing of           but also export results to a      down arrow button is pressed,
analog channel descriptor              IQ vectors (normal/inverse)             CSV file allowing you to view     the results of the reference
and video signal level as a bar        and frequency. Pressing the             the results using a program       carrier were displayed. Any
graph and also numerically. A          down arrow button again                 such as Excel.                    carrier can be set as the ref-
                                                                                                                 erence carrier. These results
                                                                                                                 can also be stored in the
                                                                                                                 meter’s memory.

                                                                                                                   We were impressed with
                                                                                                                 these features but it would
                                                                                                                 have been nice if the prese-
                                                                                                                 lected carrier frequencies
                                                                                                                 were user-settable rather
                                                                                                                 than being fixed in the firm-
                                                                                                                 ware. Horizon can make this
                                                                                                                 handy and practical meter
                                                                                                                 even more useful by incor-
                                                                                                                 porating a few firmware
                                                                                                                 changes.




42 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 — www.TELE-satellite.com
1                                                    8




2

                                                     9




3




                                                       In addition to RF signal            radio carriers which are             are compliant with DVB-C
                                                     measurements, the meter               quite often present in               ITU-T J.83 in all three
                                                     can also measure any DC               cable TV networks. On                regions: A, B and C.
                                                     or AC voltage that might              the other hand it’s under-
4                                                    be present on its “F” con-            standable that a simple
                                                                                                                                     This makes the meter
                                                     nector.                               and    affordable    meter
                                                                                                                                suitable for use in nearly
                                                                                           cannot have every pos-
                                                                                                                                every region of the world
                                                       It’s a useful feature               sible feature.
                                                     although   an   installer                                                  (including         the       USA);
                                                     might appreciate it if the               On the plus side though,          even the power supply
                                                     meter could also rec-                 it’s worth mentioning that           is rated for 100-240VAC
                                                     ognize and measure FM                 the two meter variants               (50/60 Hz).



                                                                                                          Expert Opinion
                                                                                       +
                                                                                     Small and lightweight
                                                                                     Practical rain cover and carrying case
                                                                                     Simple menu structure
                                                                                     Fast signal locking and stable measurements of
5                                                    1. Main menu                 all important channel parameters
                                                                                                                                                 Jacek Pawlowski
                                                                                     All DVB-C modes, compliant to ITU-T J.83                       TELE-satellite
                                                     2. Setup menu -                                                                                   Test Center
                                                                                  regions A, B, and C                                                       Poland
                                                     top part
                                                                                     Built-in power supply
                                                     3. Setup menu -
                                                     midlle part                       -
                                                                                    FM radio channels are not recognized and measured
                                                     4. Setup menu -
                                                                                    Automatic logging of the entire spectrum is not possible
                                                     bottom part
                                                                                  (only channel by channel)
6                                                    5. Analog video
                                                     level measurement

                                                     6. C/N
                                                                                                           TECHNICAl
                                                                                                                      DATA
                                                     measurement of
                                                                                Manufacturer                          Horizon Global Electronics Ltd., England
                                                     analog signal
                                                                                Fax                                   +44 (0) 1279 417 025
                                                     7. Digital signal          E-mail                                sales@horizonhge.com
                                                     level measurement
                                                                                Web page                              www.horizonhge.com
                                                     8. HDCM log                Model                                 HD-CM for the Americas, and rest of World
7                                                    Reader – results
                                                                                Function                              Digital and analog cable TV meter
                                                     of 2 digital and 2
                                                     analog channels            Input frequency                       51~858 MHz
                                                     in dBm                     Signal level                          -75dBm to +17dBm
                                                                                Symbol Rate                           0.87 to 6.9 Mbaud
                                                     9. HDCM log
                                                     Reader – results           Power supply                          100~240 V, 50/60 Hz, 0.31A max.
                                                     of 2 digital and 2                                               12 V DC, 0.8 A max.
                                                     analog channels in
                                                                                Operational time when fully charged   9 hours typ.
                                                     dBµV


44 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 06-07/2010 — www.TELE-satellite.com

				
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