Many of the tests carried out on aerials at Blake UK have been influenced by the introduction of the new Aerial Benchmark Scheme in 2003. Four standards were created for UHF TV aerials. These standards were created to help make aerial choice easier, by ensuring that aerials used for Digital reception meet the minimum requirements for a given standard with respect to mechanical construction and electrical performance.
With the advent of LTE (Long Term Evaluation) and potential 4G interference, two additional standards were added in 2012. The LTE standards are S (Standard) and F (Fringe).
Aerials that achieve a Benchmark have packaging labels that display the level of the pass (be it Standard 1, Standard 2, Standard S, Standard F etc).
Typical tests carried out on aerials by Blake UK include:
Forward gain is measured in dBd, which is gain relative to that of a simple dipole. It has been the practice by some to quote gain as dB or dBi, which is gain relative to that of a mathematical device called an isotropic source; this produces an apparent gain that is 2.2dB higher than it would be if measured in dBd.
Return loss is a measure of the ability of the aerial to accept and radiate any RF signal sent to it. The loss of returned signal to the source is measured and presented as return loss in decibels. The return loss measure specifies the degree of convergence of aerial terminal impedance to 75ohms, which is the impedance of the cable to which it will be connected.
Polar plots are a measure of an aerial's ability to receive signal in a given direction. Generally most aerials require directivity and are measured over 360°. The best response for a terrestrial digital receive aerial is a narrow acceptance angle/main lobe, and any other rear/side lobes not exceeding -16dB.
Cross Polar Rejection
Cross-polar plots show an aerials ability to reject opposite polarity signals. It defines the ability of an aerial to ignore signals likely to cause co-channel interference from distant transmitters using the same channels but radiating signals rotated 90° to the wanted signals.
Feeder pickup measure specifies the degree to which an aerial can reject interfering signals conveyed to the aerial along the outer of the coaxial cable. Many spurious signals created around the home, such as those from light switches and thermostats, can find its way on to the coax cable and have an effect on the reception.
All tests carried out are largely based on the measurement methods specified in BS 5640:Part 2: 1978, IEC 60597-2: 1977 "Aerials for the reception of sound and television broadcasting in the frequency range 30 MHz to 1 GHz, methods of measurement of electrical performance parameters" and also CCIR REC 419.