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Distance To Fault (DTF) is a performance verification and failure analysis tool used for antenna and transmission line service and maintenance.It uses the Frequency Domain Reflectometry (FDR) measurement technique.For example, connector corrosion can be detected early and weather seals replaced before moisture destroys expensive cables.DTF finds these problems because the FDR technique can accurately detect very small performance changes within the transmission line.Tower mounted transmission lines are exposed to weather, and will degrade over time.Lightning can sever a portion of the antenna or damage the in-line lightning arrestor.In a Wireless Communication System, tower mounted transmission lines and cables are replaced frequently, perhaps every five to ten years, in some cases.Usually, all the site’s cables are replaced based upon the assumption that maintenance calls are imminent on other feeds in addition to the problem cable.

Since DTF automatically accounts for attenuation versus distance, the display accurately indicates the return loss or VSWR of the antenna.A TDR cannot detect small performance changes at RF frequencies, so it is not possible to monitor performance degradation between maintenance intervals with these traditional methods.Without FDR techniques, the “Fix after Failure” philosophy becomes the only alternative.This practice may be precipitated by the cable installer, who would likely make the same mistakes on each cable connection.Replacing all the cables frequently is an expensive proposition.The attenuation per foot or meter for the cable is also required in order to compensate for the attenuation versus distance.Likewise the cutoff frequency and waveguide loss are required for DTF, measurements of waveguide transmission lines.This dual role of predicting future failure conditions and isolating existing problems makes DTF an important part of service and maintenance on transmission lines.DTF displays RF return loss or VSWR data versus distance.Sunlight exposure can change the dielectric properties of the antenna housing, causing the antenna bandwidth to drift.Antennas and transmission lines used on-board ships and aircraft may be degraded due to salt water corrosion.


  1. Site Master™, Cell Master™, VNA Master™. Introduction. Distance To Fault DTF is a performance verification and failure analysis tool used for antenna and.

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