23 Mar 5 Ways To Extend The Distance Of Your Cable Locate Signal
Tired of going into handhole after handhole to setup and takedown your portable cable locator transmitter? Frustrated with the short distance your locate signal travels? Check out these 5 helpful tips to extend the distance of your cable locate signal.
In most cases, portable cable locator transmitters max out at around 3-6 miles. Increasing the power on your portable transmitter (if option is available) will get some extra distance out of your locate signal.
Choose Armored Cable
Along with its many other benefits, choosing armored cable over all-dielectric with a locate wire in your network design will ensure you have the best conductor, and therefore the best locate signal. If a locate wire is your only option, make sure it’s at least a 14-gauge solid copper wire with insulation rated for the underground. Copper-clad steel (CCS) locate wire options are also available.
Take Care of Your Conductor
All transients, your locate signal included, search for the closest path to ground along your cable. If your cable is in poor condition and has many ground faults, your locate signal will terminate early at the nearest fault location, thus greatly reducing the overall distance your locate signal can travel. Take care of those pesky ground faults for better cable locates!
Lower The Frequency
Locate frequencies in the 200-600 Hz range can travel further down your cable conductor. Lower frequencies have a wider and lower wavelength as opposed to high frequencies and are less easily interrupted by other induced frequencies. A lower frequency with lots of power behind it on a properly conditioned cable can be located up to 60 miles away! As an added bonus, lower frequencies stand less of a chance of coupling onto other utilities, therefore reducing the chances of you locating a cable that really isn’t yours.
Use Intelligent Grounding
Traditional grounding practices require you to ground your cable at every splice location, at the central office/head end, and at the termination point. Because your locate signal searches for the closest path to ground, you’re left with a locate signal that reaches only a fraction of its true potential. Intelligent Grounding provides a low impedance path to ground for high voltage and current surges (such as a lightning strike) and induced AC voltage from nearby power cables all while allowing the locate signal to travel far distances before ending at a designated termination location. In addition to the extended range, Intelligent Grounding requires a technician to access only a single splice location. If there are dangerous or difficult to access splice locations on the line, Intelligent Grounding allows you to pick a safer, more easily accessible splice location.