NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS (NBS)A bureau of the United States government
that is responsible for maintaining the nation's electrical and physical standards. The
accuracy of all calibrated test equipment is traceable to NBS through the Navy's METCAL
OPTICAL TIME-DOMAIN REFLECTOMETER (OTDR)A piece of test equipment used
to test a fiber-optic cable for such things as attenuation, localized losses, and defects. It
transmits an optical pulse (usually a laser) into the fiber-optic cable and analyzes the
resulting reflections in terms of amplitude versus distance.
PARALLAX ERRORThe error in meter readings that results when you look at a meter from
some position other than directly in line with the pointer and meter face. A mirror mounted
on the meter face aids in eliminating parallax error.
PARASITICIn electronics, an undesirable frequency in an electronic circuit. Usually
associated with vacuum-tube amplifiers and oscillators.
PERCENT OF MODULATIONIn AM signals, the ratio of half the difference between the
maximum and minimum amplitudes of a modulated wave to its average amplitude.
RF IMPEDANCE BRIDGEA piece of test equipment used for measuring the combined
resistance and reactance of a component, piece of equipment, or system at rf frequencies.
SENSITIVITYIn reference to test equipment, the ratio of the response of the test equipment to
the magnitude of the measured quantity. Sometimes expressed indirectly by stating the
property by which sensitivity is computed (e.g., ohms per volt).
STANDARDAn exact value of an electrical quantity (established by international agreement),
which serves as a model for measurement of that quantity.
STANDING WAVEThe distribution of voltage and current along a transmission line formed
by the incident and reflected waves, which has minimum and maximum points on a resultant
wave that appears to stand still.
STROBOSCOPEAn instrument that allows viewing of rotating or reciprocating objects by
producing the optical effect of a slowing or stopping motion.
SWEPT-FREQUENCY TESTINGTesting the frequency response of a component or system
by applying an rf signal, in which the frequency is varied back and forth through a set
frequency range at a steady rate, to the input of a device. The output is then monitored to
determine the amplitude of the output with respect to frequency.
THERMISTOR(1) A semiconductor device in which the resistance varies with temperature.
(2) A type of bolometer characterized by a decrease in resistance as the dissipated power
TIME-DOMAIN REFLECTOMETERA piece of test equipment used to test a transmission
line for defects, such as shorts and opens. It transmits an electrical pulse into the
transmission line and analyzes the resulting reflections in terms of emplidute versus distance.
TRAICA three-terminal device that is similar to two SCRs back-to-back with a common gate
and common terminals. Although similar in construction and operation to the SCR, the Triac
controls and conducts current flow during both alternations of an ac cycle.