Spectrum monitoring system for Broadcasting

February 3, 2005.

Spanish Industry Ministry logoPROMAX, proving its leadership in Research and Development once again, won a public tender destined to furnish the Spanish Ministry of Industry with automatic equipment for tracking and remote monitoring of Television and Radio broadcasting signals both digital and analog.

The equipment corresponds to the new PROWATCH professional series. This product is specifically designed to meet the requirements of telecommunication operators that need a continuos monitoring or control over their networks. The system allows to safeguard the spectrum from aggressions of unwanted or unexpected transmissions. With the PROWATCH, the operators can also assure that the offered service remains within the limits as regards to power and quality of the signal, this is to say, a complete surveillance of the transmitted signals.

Equipos PROWATCH para montaje en rack en unidad movil de TVA variant of the PROWATCH can be used to continuously sweep one single frequency from a moving vehicle so to draw coverage maps. Once the logged data is acquired, the data could be transferred to build GIS maps.

The PROWATCH is composed of following blocks:

  • Measurement and identification system of signals
  • Data acquisition and data processing system
  • GPS system for exact location of the testing position
  • Communications system for data transmission and for remote control of the system from a control center

Operation is based on the capture of the current spectrum in a certain location. A preliminary sweeping is carried out to detect the presence of carriers through their basic parameters, discriminating the Radio carriers from those of TV. At the same time, it can separate the analog channels from the digital ones, DVB for TV and DAB for Radio. Then the system carries out a process trying to identify each of the carriers.

PROWATCH system measuring on DAB digital radio

The system includes the latest generation test systems to acquire the measurements with the highest accuracy possible. Once the data base is loaded with the reference data for all signals available, the system starts the continuous spectrum sweeps in order to detect any alteration of the original pattern. Tolerances can be fixed to set the acceptance limits for the different signals.

The appearance of a new unexpected carrier or any modification of the parameters previously selected generates an alarm signal that notifies the control center about a problem detected in the place under test. The present communication systems allow the control center to be located anywhere, thousands of kms from the test points without any efficiency losses.

PROWATCH application

The alarms transmission includes information about the disturbance that has generated them. After the instant in which the center control is warned, the supervisor technician can take control of the remote unit and take all necessary parameters. More accurate sweepings can be carried out increasing the resolution; level measurements, C/N, Audio/Video, BER, etc. The audio signal triggered in the measurement system can be monitored, whatever was its origin, analog, TV-DVB or Radio DAB.

The PROWATCH becomes an extremely useful system to detect the non authorized transmissions in the FM band and the TV band. Specially in the present times when the spectrum is getting more and more saturated with channels, it is necessary to ensure that no il.legal signals disturb the radiofrequency spectrum.

Spectrum generated by means of PROWATCH system

Considering the evolution that the spectrum is going to experiment in the next years, due to the transition from analogue to digital and the switch over, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, is requiring efficient tools to advance in a practical way against the illegal transmissions that affect the spectrum. It is not possible to be forgotten that during a transitory period both technologies analog and digital are going to coexist. The PROWATCH is a radiospectrum monitor to warrant a smooth transition according to the local legislation.