Texas A&M Uses AaroniaUSA RF Analyzer

“The bottom line is that the Spectran HF4060 is an outstanding RF tool.
This thing just plain works!”

This past football season the Kaltman Creations’ Spectran HF4060 RF Spectrum Analyzer has become “the tool” that has allowed us to be one of the first, if not the first, NCAA venues to offer RF Frequency Coordination. Unlike bulky and extremely expensive bench analyzers, the Spectran HF4060 is an affordable handheld unit which has provided a solution to every one of our RF problem thus far. Whether we’re trying to find a slice to stick our 2.4 GHz wireless video into, or making sure that our coaching wireless intercoms are free of interference, this little unit has proven to be invaluable.

We primarily use it while connected via USB to a Sony Ultra Mobile PC. The Spectran’s PC software offers a great visual display and controls that any typical Windows user can easily manipulate. If one wanted, the software can be designed to accommodate specific custom templates to suit a particular venue or event. Below is a list of recent events and activities where the HF4060 helped to insure and protect the stability of our RF transmissions and abate any potential RF interference:

  • The Texas Aggie pre-Game Show – Radio
  • KBTX Pre-game Onsite Show – TV
  • The Aggie Band Show – Video
  • Home Team Coaching Wireless Intercom – Intercom
  • Visiting Team Coaching Wireless Intercom – Intercom
  • Aggie Sports Network – Radio
  • 12th Man TV Wireless Intercom – Intercom
  • Big Screen Wireless intercom – Intercom
  • Big 12 Referee Mics – In Game
  • ABC / ESPN / Fox Sports Net Wireless Mics and IFB – TV

It is also interesting to note that all of these events and their different frequency coordination needs occurred at the same day within a 6 hour window.

In all, we manage approximately 125 different wireless frequencies – in the 10MHz to 6GHz range – for any given football game. So far this year it’s been smooth sailing. We have had zero reported RF interference issues from any of the parties involved. All of this good news is based upon the use of the HF4060 analyzer which has allowed us to look at the available spectrum, assign frequencies as needed, and coordinate comfortable channel spacing.

The HF4060 system includes several accessories including a LOG Periodic Directional Antenna. We had the opportunity to break out the directional antenna and play “RF Detective” to track down the occasional Reporter or Photographer who grabbed a wireless unit out of their van after going through the frequency coordination check point. Luckily these individuals were not on a frequency that was of harm to anyone and we were able to quickly identify and reserve those frequencies for them. While being an RF Sleuth sounds like an easy process, at times it can extremely difficult. Few reporters and photographers have broadcast engineering backgrounds and they may not fully appreciate all of the potential RF interference issues. So at times it may seem to be a real “pain” for them to bring us their RF gear and let us analyze it to determine their frequency. But once the different media outlets realized we were helping to protect their broadcast signals as well as our own, they seemed to be pleased to comply. We are also very lucky to have the support of our Sports Information Director and Director of Game Operations. “If Aaron and his little whiz-banger analyzer doesn’t give you a clean bill of health, then no pass or access to the game.” This kind of support has proven to be the key to fool-proof frequency coordination.

The bottom line is that the Spectran HF4060 is an outstanding RF tool. On a range of 1 to 100, I give it a 99. Yes, it is that good. This thing just plain works! The unit works well with any emitting RF signal; even the Bluetooth keyboard I am typing on right now. If it’s an RF signal between 10MHz and 6GHz this thing can see, smell and taste it!

One final note: not only has the analyzer been great to work with, but the folks at Kaltman Creations have the expertise to help design an “RF plan of attack.” Need some help in the use of the analyzer, they can help; can’t figure out your RF problem, they can help there too. These guys really know their stuff. Who better to look to for help in managing your existing or new RF airspace then the guys who sell the tools?

Reviewer: Aaron Creasy, Chief Engineer Texas A&M Athletics. Aaron can be reached at: 979-458-1255.