SCTE 289 2024

Operational Practice for Building and Using Calibrated Leaks

1.1. Executive Summary

This operational practice describes two methods to verify the calibration of signal leakage detection equipment: 1) directly-connected radio frequency (RF) signal source, and 2) a calibrated field strength (also known as a calibrated leak) method. It helps cable operators ensure that compliance with Part 76 of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) leakage rules is maintained accurately.

This operational practice helps the cable industry ensure reliable network operation and subscriber satisfaction. Some key points are:

  • Detailed procedure for using a directly-connected RF source to calibrate leakage detection equipment
  • Recommendations on equipment types and configurations
  • Detailed procedure for using a resonant half-wave dipole antenna and suitable signal source as a calibrated leak for testing leakage equipment as deployed and used
  • Theoretical calculations to support the approach, and explanations for expected variations in results obtained.

1.2. Scope

Calibration of signal leakage detection equipment on a regular basis is mandatory to ensure measurement accuracy. This document covers two general types of calibration that can be used: directly-connected RF signal source and calibrated field strength (aka calibrated leak). The first technique is used to establish the general measurement accuracy of a piece of leakage detection equipment, and the second gauges its ability to measure a known signal leakage field strength in the outdoor environment.

1.3. Benefits

The immediate and long-term benefits of this Operational Practice are:

  • Providing methods that can be used by technical personnel at the cable system level to check the accuracy of signal leakage detection equipment
  • Ensuring the accuracy of signal leakage field strength measurements, in order to maintain the integrity of cable networks, and to comply with relevant FCC Rules

1.4. Intended Audience

The intended audience for this document is cable system-level technical personnel who are involved with the use of signal leakage detection equipment, their supervisors, and content developers of training material