The Most Common Power Meter Mistake

At least 50% of all power meter users make this mistake. It has happened to you. You measured an RF power level and later someone said, “…but I measured the power and got a different number.” Who was right? Measuring RF power appears easy. Modern wattmeters and power meters are simple to use, and can provide digital measurement data to several decimal places in dBm or watts. But if they are so accurate, why is it so difficult to make good measurements? If you are making the most common mistake, correcting for it will dramatically improve your measurement accuracy. For the most common power meter application, measuring the level of power in a signal, many users tend to forget that a power meter is not measuring what you want to know- the power level of the signal. Instead, it is measuring the total power over the entire bandwidth of the sensor, which for measurement purposes is practically infinite!

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