Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spectrum Analysis of a Smart Meter

We got our smart meter installed this past week, so of course I had to take a look at the RF signals coming from it. The results were very interesting!  I used the spectrum analyzer on an Anritsu S412E LMR Master™, which is fast enough to capture the 20 - 200 millisecond pulses in the 902 - 928 MHz ISM band coming from the PG&E electric smart meter (the meter itself was actually made by GE).

Summary of my findings?  As I expected, there's far more RF energy in the air from the TV and FM broadcast bands and cellular signals than from the smart meter's short-duration pulses.  You have to really hunt for the smart meter signals, which are buried underneath a lot of other stronger signals.