What Telecommunications Workers Should Look For When Buying an RF-EMF Meter

What to look for when selecting a professional EMF Meter

The electro-magnetic frequency spectrum ranges from DC to well beyond the Gigahertz range.

High energy devices that emit health compromising levels of radiation are used in telecommunications, railways, defence, medical, electricity generation, aeronautical, research and petro-chemical applications, to name a few.

We discuss what you should you be looking for when looking for an EMF meter if you happen to work in one or more of these industries, and are concerned about your level of EMF radiation exposure.

EMF Measurement Range

Before anything else, you need to know the frequency range you are interested in measuring to ensure you select a meter with the appropriate level of sensitivity..  For example, if you want to measure radiation from power lines, electrical appliances, and home wiring, then you should be looking for an EMF meter that can measure ELF (extremely low frequency) within the range of 0 to 300 Hz).  If working on installing and commissioning 5G base stations and transmitters, then an EMF meter that is sensitive within the 26 & 28 GHz bands would suit. 

Accuracy of Your EMF Meter 

Precision and accuracy come at a price.  Professional EMF meters use three sensors (cheaper meters use one), meaning they can measure electromagnetic fields in three dimensions.  Not only does it improve accuracy but also measures the EM field in 3 dimensions obviating the need to orientate the meter to align it with the EM field. 

EMF Meters with Weighted Response 

If an EMF meter does not have a weighted response, it strongly overestimates the field in the low frequencies.

Beware of meters that follow all standards at the same time.  This approach will inevitably result in a lack of accuracy.  EMF meters that are available in different models with specific shaping to follow each standard will have increased accuracy. 

EMF Meters with Displays and Audible, Visual, and Vibratory Alarms

As soon as average and instantaneous values approach dangerous exposure levels, the meter should give an audible and vibratory alarm to make you aware, without the need for you to look at a display to assess the situation.

The alarm and display should be simple and easy to understand without any doubt of imminent danger to your health if precautionary action is not taken. 

If detailed information of the EMF levels are required, select a more advanced EMF meter with a display that will give you electrical field and magnetic field readings, peak value, a real time graphical display, current time, and battery level, etc. 

EMF Meter Data Storage 

In most cases the meter will be worn on your person whilst carryout your work. Therefore, an EMF meter with built-in datalogging is useful to know the real time measurements whilst being exposed to EMF radiation. Datalogging allows you to store measurements for future reference, analysis, reporting, etc. 

Easy To Wear 

For ease of use, the EMF meter should have a holder that is adaptable so you can fasten it to your harness, belt or arm.

EMF meter that is easy to wear

It should be simple to unclip to take it in your hand and hold it close to a source of radiation, and easily replaced its holder.  For tower workers, having a facility to fasten the EMF meter with a small carabiner to your harness to prevent it falling is very useful.

EMF Meter Battery Management 

The EMF meter should be small and lightweight and be able to be run on rechargeable batteries, that are chargable through the USB port. The meter should also be able to be used with standard AA batteries, so that you can always find replacements when out in the field.

EMF Meter with GPS and Altimeter 

For telecommunication, broadcast, and electricity distribution workers that scale tall structures, an EMF meter with a GPS and Altimeter for geolocation of measurements providing the geographical position of the tower and the relative height from the ground is extremely beneficial for locating hotspots. 

Cost of Buying an EMF Meter

There is always a tension between your needs and cost – but for safety reasons, cost cannot be the prime reason for choosing your EMF meter.

However, if your performance, reliability, and other core needs are met, then of course price is important.

We recommend that you investigate your options, and seek pricing information.

If something sounds ‘cheap’ then you are probably right to be concerned, as the technology required to accurately measure ELF, and 5G radiation is NOT cheap!

However, there are brands in the market, like Wavecontrol, which are able to provide performance, reliability, and great value.  

14 February 2023