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Commercial Satellite Services

Foxwave Microwave Link Planner



This is a small freeware program that I've written to simplify deploying an RF network.  It features a simple, easy to use graphical interface for calculating some of the most common figures used in point-to-point links, broadcast engineering, wireless networks such as WiFi, cellular, and WiMAx, and even amateur radio.

Features

Path Loss and Received Signal Level

Enter the frequency and distance and Foxwave will calculate the free space path loss in dB. Distance can be expressed in miles, kilometers, meters, or feet, and frequency may be specified in gigahertz or megahertz. The free space path loss equation assumes a clear line of sight.

Fill in the rest of the fields for transmitter and receiver side antenna gains and transmission line losses, which can be found in the equipment manufacturer's datasheets, and transmitter power, and it will also calculate the total system gain, total system losses, and the received signal level in dBm.

Antenna Gain

Useful for calculating the gain of an antenna. The program uses the standard formula for calculating the gain of a parabolic dish antenna at a given frequency, as well as the half power (-3dB beamwidth) and null beamwidth based on the diameter of the reflector in feet, inches, meters, or centimeters, and its efficiency. For more on the efficiency input see the help file by clicking Help > Instructions.

The calculations on this page are useful for estimating the gain of an antenna you don't have the documentation for or determining the size of antenna needed for a given link. Inputs can be in imperial or metric units and the gain figure can be expressed as dBi or dBd.

Conversions

As a convenience, a converter feature is included which can convert between wavelength and frequency and vice versa. Inputs and outputs for frequency can be in gigahertz or megahertz; inputs and outputs for wavelength can be in feet, inches, centimeters, or meters.

This feature is useful for designing an antenna or transmission line, determining the cutoff frequency of a waveguide, and other applications where the wavelength of a given frequency carrier must be known. The frequency to wavelength converter also includes an input for velocity factor, which is used to specify the percentage of the speed of the wave in free space that the wave travels in a transmission line.

The power conversion feature allows you convert between milliwatts and watts, as well as the logarithmic measure dBm: decibels over one millivolt.This is useful in other calculations and for evaluating the transmit power or antenna gain necessary for a link where the power output is given only in watts.

Link Budget

This tab is used to calculate an unknown parameter to give a full picture of the link, end to end. You must enter the signal level your receiver needs, and total system losses, which would include the free space path loss, as well as any transmission line losses, and can be calculated on the first tab. Enter two of these three variables, transmitter side antenna gain, receiver side antenna gain, and transmitter power, and Foxwave will calculate the third value: the gain of an antenna or power level of the transmitter.

An example of when to use this feature would be when you have an existing signal path with two antennas, and need to set your transmitter's power level so that it will provide the receiver enough RF power to operate ata agiven data rate, or when only one side of a link is setup and you need to calculate the antenna that will be needed at the other end.

Save and Print Reports

Once the data has been calculated it can be printed, or saved as a neatly formatted HTML file, with the name of the values given and the calculated results given in a table format. You can add notes to the report, such as the location of the link or a technical note regarding equipment. The date, as well as the username of the person who printed the report are added as a footer.

Download

License

The Foxwave Microwave Link Planner is ©2015 Planet Fox and Revenstar. Use of this program is free and conditional to your acceptance of the license agreement given in the help file. This program is free for non-commercial use. If you're going to be using this program for a commercial/for profit business please consider buying a license so I can afford to keep making cool programs like this.

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