Thanks to a tip by RF Cafe visitor and contributor Bob Davis
for letting me know about a very capable point-to-point RF system planner called Radio Mobile
, by Canadian Ham radio operator Roger Coudé (VE2DBE). There is another similar freeware program available called AlphiMax, but it requires that you upload your system data to a remote server - a potential confidentiality conflict. Radio Mobile
uses GPS-based terrain information obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce NTIA/ITS Institute for Telecommunication Sciences Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) database. Elevation data for most of the world is available, not just for the U.S. and Canada. A very nice feature of Radio Mobile is the ability to predict performance between a fixed station and a mobile station in motion
. Frequencies for 20 MHz to 20 GHz can be explored for transmitter powers ranging from 10 nW up to 1 MW. Antenna gain of -10 to 100 dBi is available, with line losses up to 500 dB. Receiver threshold of 0.01 to 2,000 μV is accommodated. You can specify environmental parameters like climate (equatorial, continental, marine, etc.), modes of variation (spot, accidental, mobile, broadcast), ground conditions (conductivity, relative permittivity), and statistical variations (time, location, situation).
Interestingly, a search for point-to-point link planner software turned up a program from Motorola called PTP LINKPlanner. I could not download it for close inspection, but it appears to be no more sophisticated than Radio Mobile. The price is not advertised. ICS telecom is a commercial program that appears to have a very sophisticated ability. Atoll Microwave is yet another commercial program for doing high-level system planning.
If you find the program useful, please remember to make a donation to Mr. Coudé for his significant effort. Ian D. Brown (G3TVU) has written a 350-page reference manual titled "Radio Mobile, An Illustrated Handbook," that is available in e-Book format.
The inventions and products featured on these pages were chosen either for their uniqueness in the RF engineering realm, or are simply awesome
(or ridiculous) enough to warrant an appearance.
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Posted June 13, 2012