Rohde & Schwarz's ETL Eases Back Pain

The Rohde & Schwarz ETL replaces several crates of gear.
When it comes to installing TV transmission equipment, back pain comes with the territory. When I was younger, the prospect of moving large crates of test equipment around was no big deal. But time has marched on and moving those heavy crates of equipment around is not conducive to a healthy back. That's one of the reasons I was happy when my Rohde & Schwarz ETL TV analyzer was delivered. This single instrument puts everything I need for DTV transmitter installation, service or proof of performance reporting into a single box.

What's more, that box weighs less than 20 pounds, and easily fits in a backpack.


This portability came in handy during a recent project in Boise, Idaho where the station had been receiving complaints from viewers who weren't able to pick up their signal. Before I acquired my ETL, I had to lug several boxes of test gear up to the tower using a snowmobile and sled. This time I rode a ski lift up to the broadcast towers with the ETL on my back, and then hiked in on snowshoes.

The station engineer who'd been frustrated that he couldn't catch signal drop-outs on his equipment breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the signal disturbance show up on my ETL. Using the real-time analysis capabilities of the ETL, I quickly isolated the problem and performed the repairs.

With the ETL, Rohde & Schwarz has devised a completely new universal multi-standard platform for analyzing TV signals. The ETL combines the functionality of a TV test receiver, spectrum analyzer and MPEG analyzer in a single instrument, while still maintaining high measurement accuracy. This versatility makes the TV analyzer platform especially suitable for my work. It also does field strength measurements and interfaces with power sensors. The ETL is an invaluable tool for troubleshooting. The demodulated data is displayed in real time with great detail and at high speed, allowing me to see things other instrumentation simply can't find.

The ETL also lets me conduct measurements in about a quarter of the time, as compared to my pre-ETL days. Now I can get these stations without backup transmitters back on-air faster. I'm also able to create pre-sets for proof measurements so I get results with the push of a button.


Beyond saving my back, the ETL's compact dimensions yield many dividends. When traveling from location to location, the ETL dramatically reduces shipping costs compared to the three to five pieces of equipment it replaced. A less obvious savings, but still significant, is the fact that all test instrumentation requires factory calibration every 12 to 18 months. It's much less expensive to calibrate only one instrument.

Through the use of multiple bulky instruments it's possible to approximate what the ETL delivers, but at two to three times the price. Nothing really matches the ETL's capabilities which are designed specifically for real-time TV signal analysis, and Rohde & Schwarz is also constantly adding new features and options. Do I recommend you get the ETL for your station? Call me instead. I'll be sure to bring my ETL.

Mark Hills is the principal engineer for independent consultancy s2one Inc. and has nearly 30 years of direct broadcast experience. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Rohde & Schwarz at 888-837-8772 or