Narda - Safety Test Solutions

Narda SignalShark - Real dynamic range – a comparison

Over the past few weeks, we have compared the dynamic ranges of portable spectrum analyzers and receivers from their data sheets. But you can write anything on paper. What about actually measuring the dynamic range? And comparing devices? And why should a device have as high a dynamic range as possible?

You can find the answers to these questions as a comparative video on our YouTube channel now. In our lab, we have everything you need in the way of generators, filters and couplers to be able to make such tests. After all, we build our own analyzers and test them thoroughly. So, we have acquired and tested the following devices:

  • Anritsu Spectrum Master, which in terms of RF performance has until now been the best available portable spectrum analyzer. Although the Keysight Fieldfox or Rohde & Schwarz FSH have lots of additional evaluation functions, they simply cannot match the RF performance of the Spectrum Master.
  • Rohde & Schwarz PR100 / DDF007, which is the standard tool in the field of portable radio receivers. It is known for its high sensitivity.

  • Tektronix H500/H600, one of the first portable real time analyzers with a real time bandwidth of 20 MHz. Although the Tektronix is an older device, it is still very much used when it comes to looking for signals hidden under other signals. It is therefore the standard tool that is used by many regulatory authorities.

  • And then we have the new kid on the block, the one that can show these top dogs what a dynamic range really is: the Narda SignalShark. 40 MHz real time in a handheld device, with the dynamic range of a benchtop instrument. Intrinsic noise, IP2 and IP3 at the same level as the ITU measuring receiver benchmark. The impossible is possible. SignalShark is the new standard.

Generators on, analyzer warmed up, cameras running…

Clapperboard: Dynamic range comparison, take 1.

… and ACTION!

ICNIRP publishes a draft of new EMF limit values in the 100 kHz to 300 GHz range

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection ICNIRP has published a new draft of limit values and has suggested new limit values and evaluation procedures for the frequency range from 100 kHz to 300 GHz. Narda has already had a look at the document for you.

The usual whole-body limit values above 30 MHz are unchanged. The limit values below 30 MHz are higher than the old 1998 limit values. The evaluation procedures also mention different averaging times than the well-known 6-minute average.

What does this mean for existing Narda RF measuring devices?

The RadMan and Nardalert personal monitors use the ICNIRP 1998 standard, which continues to be valid, so according to the new limit values they will warn you too early of a limit violation at frequencies below 30 MHz. So, you will always be on the safe side. The same applies to the ED5091 Shaped Probe for the NBM. A change in the limit value simply means a software update for the SRM. So, no problem here, either.

The NBM and SRM products have always had the option of averaging over times other than the standard 6 minutes. Both products can average over times of up to 30 minutes, which is more than enough to meet the latest suggestion from ICNIRP.

Now we just have to wait and see what the final ICNIRP Guidelines will look like. We’re on the case, and will keep you informed.

When is a wideband measurement enough, and when are selective measurements needed?

As long as the field is well below the limit value, a wideband measurement will usually be enough. Generally, wideband probes have a wider bandwidth than the antennas for selective measuring devices, so they will capture more services simultaneously. The result obtained is reliable, and if a shaped probe like the Narda ED5091 is used, it is given directly as a percentage of the limit value. It couldn’t be quicker, or easier.

Selective measurement using the Narda SRM comes to the forefront when the measurement result is close to or even exceeds the limit value. The question then arises: which service is the primary cause of the value approaching or exceeding the limit?

On the other hand, if you want to measure very small field strengths, such as within a home or office environment, selective measurement is better than wideband because of its higher sensitivity.

Finally, when assessing mobile telecommunications equipment: Such installations change their output power levels according to system load, for example. This means that the result will depend on the time when it is made. Since measurements will usually be made without arranging specific times in advance with the network operator, in many countries the technique of extrapolation to maximum system load has proved useful. This technique looks at the worst-case scenario. If the limit value is not exceeded under these conditions, the base station can be approved. This is another area where selective measurement comes into its own: Only the SRM provides the possibility of demodulating UMTS and LTE signals. On this basis, the SRM can then extrapolate to the worst-case scenario, exactly as required. That gives peace of mind for residents, system operators, and—last but not least—the person producing the measurement report.

The EMF power packages for everyone and the environment– up to 25% off!

If you are concerned with safety in electromagnetic fields (EMF) and you want to cover all applications, then we have the right solution for you – for EMF occupational safety and environmental protection:

Both packages flexibly expandable down to 0 Hz and up to 90 GHz. Each package housed in a practical case including accessories.

Special prices with up to 25% discount. This offer is valid until December 31st, 2018.

See more information on our website here.

Narda SignalShark – Dynamic range: A dynamic term

There is no shortage of definitions for the term dynamic range in the field of spectrum analysis: spurious free dynamic range (SFDR), intermodulation free dynamic range (IFDR), and many more. If you want to compare the dynamic ranges of two analyzers or two receivers, or even an analyzer with a receiver, it doesn’t get any better. Everyone wants to put their product in the best possible light. Which means that you soon end up comparing apples with pears if you’re not careful. Don’t buy a pig in a poke, get a clear picture first! If you want to make a fair comparison between analyzers and would like to understand all about what dynamic range is at the same time, then we recommend that you read Technical Note 112 and Technical Note 113 “Comparing the dynamic ranges of spectrum analyzers and receivers”. Increase your own dynamic range! If paper isn’t your thing and you would rather put the Narda SignalShark through its paces, get in touch with your Narda contact partner. Prepare to be impressed!

Do you get the same results with a selective measuring device and a wideband measuring device?

Yes and no! Why not just plain yes? If both devices are calibrated and in good condition, why should there be any differences?

Scenario 1: You are making measurements close to an FM transmitter, which is the dominant field source. Both the selective Narda SRM as well as the wideband Narda NBM are equipped with antennas that capture the FM transmitter. As long as you don’t do something stupid like acting as a human shield and standing in front of one of the devices, or standing behind it like a reflector, it is most likely that both devices will indicate the same result. So far so good.

Scenario 2: You are standing on a rooftop terrace. There are several mobile communications antennas on the next-door rooftop, and you want to check that their immissions are within the prescribed limits. Off in the distance you can also see the silhouette of the local FM transmitter tower. If the SRM is fitted, say with a 420 MHz to 6 GHz antenna, it will not detect the FM transmitter in the 100 MHz band, because this is outside its reception bandwidth. In contrast, if the NBM is equipped with a 100 kHz to 6 GHz probe, it will definitely measure the FM transmitter as well. More likely than not, the SRM and NBM will then display different results. Both results are correct! But they are measuring different field sources according to their frequency ranges. If you get different results like this, take a look around you. The answer is often easy to see. Of course, there are antennas available for the SRM that will capture the FM radio as well, if that’s what you want to measure.

Can’t decide whether a wideband or a selective measuring device is the right one for you? Let your contact partner advise you.

>> Our seminar “Exposure measurements on radio frequency transmitters using the SRM-3006” is aimed at beginners, more advanced and professional users of selective measuring devices. You can find details of our seminars here, or ask our local sales partner for individual arrangements.

Below the radar

Radar installations are always a bone of contention when it comes to assessing human safety in electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the vicinity of antenna sites. The level of uncertainty in how to correctly measure and assess radar is just as high as the power level of the brief impulses that are emitted. You can very easily find out how to make standard-compliant, correct measurements using a wideband device such as the Narda NBM by reading Technical Note 111 “Standard-compliant measurement of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation on radar equipment with wideband measuring devices (e.g. NBM)”. The measurement is much easier than the long title of our Technical Note might suggest. No fear, you can easily become the radar guru. We’re here to help.

Narda SignalShark – Compare the competition

Narda SignalShark vs. Rohde & Schwarz PR100® / DDF007® or Keysight Fieldfox N9935A? A measurement is a comparison with a known quantity. Our Narda SignalShark is our ultimate benchmark. So, let’s measure it and compare it with other analyzers like the ones mentioned above, or with the Tektronix RSA507A and RSA6120B. And, speaking of heavyweights, of course we haven’t forgotten the Rohde & Schwarz DDF205 / EB500. What, compare a handheld device like the SignalShark with desktop instruments? We’re confident. “The lab in your hand” is a reality. At last, you can have laboratory quality to take with you, independent of AC power. 40 MHz real-time and outstanding RF performance at an attractive price. Don’t wait, try it out for yourself. Then it will become your ultimate benchmark, too. Call us or one of our Sales Partners around the world to arrange a demo. Let yourself be convinced.

EMF safety: What are the advantages of selective measuring devices compared with wideband measuring devices?

Wideband measuring devices like the Narda NBM are very easy to use and are often adequate for monitoring that limit values are not exceeded, as long as levels are well below the limit value. But if the limit is approached or even exceeded, perhaps close to a broadcasting transmitter, then your first choice should be selective measuring equipment such as the SRM. This device can perform both wideband and selective measurements. However, it can also analyze which service is ultimately responsible for the limit being exceeded. Selective measurement can replace wideband measurement, but not the other way around! And, because it is seldom possible to predict whether a critical situation could occur at the measurement location, the SRM should always be available. You can reduce time and costs with the NBM, but you should always take the SRM along with you, so you do not have to make a second journey.

Narda: Standard compliant EMF measurement solutions from 0 Hz to 90 GHz—plannable future security with 5G reserves

5G is coming online. Are you ready for it?

The first test networks are up and running, wide area coverage is ready to roll. High time to get your field strength measuring equipment up to date for location certification and health and safety requirements. 5G doesn’t just bring with it higher bandwidths, the frequencies are higher, too. The common mobile communications frequency bands are supplemented by frequencies that were formerly reserved for directional radio links, so there are plans to use the 25 GHz to 30 GHz band as well as bands above 60 GHz. If you are looking for wideband measuring devices for up to 90 GHz or personal monitors up to 100 GHz, you need look no further than Narda. Take a look at our website, and get ready for the future with Narda technology.

>> Press release

Interference hunting made easy

You need two things to hunt down interference successfully: Good equipment, and lot of experience. It’s well known that you get good equipment from Narda - like the IDA and the SignalShark. And we’re more than happy to share our years of experience with you. Make the most of our vast storehouse of experience with:

1. Pocket interference search lexicon, which gives you all the technical terms you need to know to get to grips with interference hunting, briefly explained, so you know what you’re dealing with.

2. Practical RF interference searching, which is a reference work in the world of interference hunting. It contains lots of practical tips and examples aimed at the layman as well as the complete professional. There are excerpts from both these handbooks on our website, and you can get the full hardcopy versions from us or your local Sales Partner. Free of charge.

3. Three-day training “Localization and identification of signals using the hand-held direction finder”, which is held at our factory locations or in your locality. Learn how to dig out every interference signal. You will then have all the tools you need to hunt down interferers.

As you can see, it’s a complete package that takes all the worry out of interference hunting. Get started, right away!

EMF safety: EMF Directive 2013/35/EU is mandatory in the EU and exemplary for non-EU countries

The EMF Directive 2013/35/EU constitutes the minimum specification for protecting the health and safety of employees from electromagnetic fields. It is mandatory in the EU, but what about the rest of the world? Is there any need to rediscover the wheel?

If you need to assess workplaces, this Directive gives you valuable information, regardless of whether you are looking at office workstations or welding in the automotive industry.

The EU provides the documentation free of charge in more than 10 languages. You can find a brief summary on our homepage under: EMF Directive 2013/35/EU. You will also find all the stuff you need to make measurements that comply with the standard, ranging from simulation software for high tension cables and transformer stations through to the clever, patented “Weighted Peak” method for measuring complex signals such as the bursts from welding machines in a matter of seconds. Within the EU, the Directive has been the law since 2016, so there’s no going back. Our measurement equipment ELT and EHP.

EMF safety: How do I make a wideband measurement with a selective measuring device?

Very quickly and simply with a selective device like the Narda SRM:

For example: Select “Full Span” as the frequency window in “Spectrum Analysis” mode. Then open “Evaluation -> Integration” and move the “Frequency Integration Min Marker” to the left-hand edge of the frequency range and the “Max Marker” to the right-hand edge. All the services in this range will be captured and added together. The “Int.-Val” displays the wideband value between 27 MHz and 3 GHz in this particular case using the SRM Antenna 3501/01. Take a look at the video about this on our YouTube channel. It takes less than 30 seconds. It’s even easier in “Safety Evaluation Mode”.

As shown in the example, in seconds you will get not only the result for each separate service, but also the total of all the services in a service table that you can define yourself. And if you activate the “Others” function, any services present that are not in the service table will also be included in the total. That’s two devices in one: selective as well as wideband. What more could you wish for?

SignalShark - Vita 49 and SCPI option: universal, transparent, essential

If you need to integrate a device into your system, or just want to operate it by remote control, you have to deal with its interfaces. What could be better than having the same interface and programming language for every device? We can’t turn the clock back to the time before the Tower of Babel, when there was just one language. But what cannot be accomplished in a human sense is almost a reality in today’s technology. “International understanding” has been achieved with SCPI as the remote-control language and Vita 49 for the output of I/Q data. If you can speak these languages, the world is wide open to you.  The Narda SignalShark is as open as it gets: its real-time bandwidth of 40 MHz is top class for a handheld device, but the ability to stream 20 MHz of this with full 16-bit resolution and compliant with Vita 49 makes it a world champion! Coupled with true receiver performance with minimal intrinsic noise and high intermodulation immunity, this means you’ll never again waste time chasing after an artefact or an image frequency. Even in difficult signal level conditions, this allows you to externally analyze and demodulate the signals. And developing a driver is as easy as pie, with full support for the SCPI remote control language. That saves even more valuable time during integration. Interested? Why not give the SignalShark Video a closer look? Or, arrange a demonstration by one of our sales Partners. You won’t be disappointed.

EMF-Safety: Area Monitoring with AMB-8059 und AMS-8063

Survey an entire town in just one day? That’s no fantasy, no illusion. The reality is the Narda Wideband Area Monitor 8059 with vehicle mounting kit. The Narda AMB-8059 was actually designed as a stationary wideband monitor for measuring the strength of electromagnetic fields such as those produced by broadcasting equipment, and mobile communications systems, as well as high tension lines. When equipped with a solar panel and cellphone modem, it can be permanently set up at points that are of public interest, measure the field strength, and post the results on the Internet, for example. It can thus make a valuable contribution to monitoring the quality of life. However, if it is mounted on the roof of a car using the new vehicle mounting kit, you can drive it round the entire area. Thanks to its built-in GPS module, the result will be a map showing the local field strength. You can even make good use of your lunch break, by simply parking the vehicle near a busy market and letting it make a “long term” measurement for an hour or so. Clever, simple, and efficient.

Most field strength measurements are made either in the low frequency range (energy providers, etc.) or at high frequencies (cellphones, broadcasting, etc.). The mid-range frequency band between them is often neglected. But there are long, medium and short wave transmitters everywhere, particularly in really big countries, and some of these have immense output power levels. Measuring and checking these is a challenge. There is an ideal sensor for the job, though: the EHP-200A from Narda. And, because it is so good, it is now available as a stand-alone Area Monitor with a solar panel to supply power. This set up is called the AMS-8063. It makes frequency selective monitoring of electric and magnetic fields in the range from 9 kHz to 30 MHz easy and convenient. Now there’s no such thing as can’t be done.

EMF safety: wideband and selective measurements—what’s the difference?

A wideband measurement made with the Narda NBM gives a measurement result for all the services taken together. Regardless of how much power is transmitted by TV, FM radio, or mobile communications, or how many transmitters there are, a wideband measurement gives a single result: the total for all services present. Just like the human body, it doesn’t matter whether the radiation is from FM or TV or both, it’s only the total that counts. à Our NBM Video

It’s quite a different story with a selective measurement using the Narda SRM: here you will get any number of results, or more precisely, one result for each service that is present. Whether you want to display the total power of all FM stations, or to show the power of each FM station separately, it is only a question of the settings of the SRM. This device can dissect the frequency spectrum practically however you want. This is really important, particularly if the limit value is exceeded. That will inevitably throw up some questions: Who’s causing that? Who needs to reduce output power? Do I have to extrapolate to maximum load? Only the SRM selective measuring device can answer these questions. Want to know how?
Watch our
SRM Video

SignalShark - High Dynamic Range HDR, what is it?

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has described its ideal receiver in the Spectrum Monitoring Handbook: minimal noise and high intermodulation immunity, expressed as the three parameters DANL, IP2 and IP3. It sounds simple, but it isn’t that easy to achieve. Test equipment manufacturers can tell you all about that. A normal handheld spectrum analyzer cannot by any means match the values specified by ITU. Much more is needed, preferably by including a sub-octave pre-selector filter that protects the mixer from undesirable signals, for example. By comparing the DANL, IP2 and IP3 to the ITU values in a simple diagram, the difference between a good receiver like the SignalShark from Narda and a general-purpose spectrum analyzer quickly becomes apparent:

Well? Does that intrigue you? You can find out how effectively the new SignalShark can support you in future with all your measurement tasks at:

Would you like to see this instrument or another Narda product demonstrated? Simply contact your Narda sales partner.

>> Newsticker 1

EMF Electromagnetic fields

These and similar questions are asked time and again by anyone concerned with or interested in the topic of safety in electromagnetic fields. Know all the answers? Or is there somewhere you can find them easily, put simply and without bias? Why not use the established know how of Narda’s HF specialists when you need to answer sensitive questions on the subject of safety in electromagnetic fields (EMF). You can download the brochure: “Everything you always wanted to know… Safety in electric magnetic and electromagnetic fields – Basic facts“? >> brochure


The difference is too big for a normal measuring instrument, that’s for sure. The earth’s static magnetic field is around 40µT, but a nuclear magnetic resonance tomograph can easily generate between 1 and 7 Tesla. That’s around ten to the power of five times as much, or 100 dB in telecommunications engineer’s language. Even if you only have to measure the static fields of your local MRT for health and safety or environmental protection, and you never want to say “I can’t measure that”, take a look at the HP-01 from Narda. It can measure all three types of field, isotropically and in accordance with the standards. No such thing as “can’t do”. More information from: >> HP-01