Author Archive

ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU Replaces 94/9/EC for Explosive Atmosphere Equipment in EU

by on Jul.27, 2015, under Product Safety, Uncategorized

interior scene of large refineryDue to Europe’s New Legislative Framework, the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC will be replaced by ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU in 2016, for the testing and certification of certain equipment intended for potentially explosive atmospheres in the EU.

From the manufacturer perspective, the changes are not significant, as there are no changes to the Essential Health and Safety Requirements in Annex II of the new directive.  Therefore the directive does not affect the standards that are used, and there are no significant changes in the remainder of the Annexes regarding the conformity assessment procedures for manufacturers.

Here are the most important changes for manufacturers:

  • The EC declaration of conformity must be replaced by an EU declaration of conformity.
  • The EC type examination certificate must be replaced by an EU type examination certificate.
  • Importers are required to put their names and addresses on the products.
  • Manufacturer’s, importer’s and distributor’s responsibilities for traceability and market surveillance are more precisely defined.

Here is what stays the same:

  • CE and ATEX marking requirements.
  • The scope of the directive and its essential health and safety requirements.
  • The conformity assessment procedures.
  • The classification of groups and categories of equipment.

Here is the transition date: On April 19, 2016 Directive 94/9/EC will be abrogated. It remains applicable until this date. From April 20, 2016 the new 2014/34/EU directive will come into force.

Certificates issued according to 94/9/EC remain valid until changes are made affecting the product. In the case of modification, a new certificate with a new number, under Directive 2014/34/EU, must be issued.

MET Labs is the rare agency that offers hazardous location approvals for ATEX (Europe), NRTL & SCC (U.S. & Canada), IECEx (International) and specialty programs for MSHA and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Avionics RTCA DO-160 Testing Includes EMC and Environmental Components

by on Jul.21, 2015, under EMC, RTCA

aircraftWhen it comes to aircraft safety, the stakes are high.  There are tons of components on a commercial airliner.  One malfunction for any reason can be catastrophic.  That’s why equipment testing is crucial to ensure hardware meets quality and safety standards.

Here’s a summary of some of the most frequently performed aircraft equipment tests.

DO-160 is a standard maintained by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) for testing avionics hardware. It applies to equipment in helicopters, general aviation aircraft and commercial airplanes.  DO-160 testing covers most everything that might cause an avionics component to falter or fail.  The most current version is DO-160G, which was approved in December 2010.

DO-160 applies to the United States, and there’s an identical set of standards for Europe, known as EUROCAE ED-14. (EUROCAE is the non-profit European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment.)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
There are thousands of components in today’s jetliners. Each of these components must be resilient to electrostatic discharge, irregular voltage, magnetic fields and other unpredictable changes.

The RTCA/DO-160 standard covers these EMC test procedures:

Section 15 – Magnetic Effect
Section 16 – Power Input
Section 17 – Voltage Spike
Section 18 – Audio Frequency Conducted Susceptibility – Power Inputs
Section 19 – Induced Signal Susceptibility
Section 20 – Radio Frequency Susceptibility (Radiated and Conducted)
Section 22 – Lightning Induced Transient Susceptibility
Section 23 – Lightning Direct Effects
Section 25 – Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

To do these tests, MET Labs utilizes three state-of-the-art RF anechoic EMC chambers with 1/3-phase 400Hz RF power filters with Power Factor Correction Coils (PFCCs) and RF filtered DC power.

Lightning strikes are a routine part of every commercial airplane’s experience. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that every airliner in the U.S. is hit by lightning once per year on average.  A single bolt of lightning may send a current of 200,000 amps through the airplane, and avionics electronics must be able to withstand the effects of this strike.  That’s why RTCA/DO-160 has a lightning requirement, and now the latest version of MIL-STD-461 (Revision G) has it too.

Deepening the impact of lightning strikes is the increasing use of lighter composite materials in airframe construction, including that used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380.  Many composites don’t conduct lightning currents the way metal airframes do, leading to the possibility of higher voltages and currents affecting aircraft equipment.

MET performs Section 22 lightning testing up to level V, and has the unique capability to perform this testing at 3rd party sites, utilizing a portable Lightning Test System.


High intensity radiated fields (HIRF) testing is a form of EMC/EMI testing applicable to equipment that is subject to extreme electromagnetic environments.

Utilizing a 20,000 V/m Reverberation Chamber, MET performs HIRF testing to satisfy RTCA requirements, as well as FAA HIRF Rule & Advisory Circular 20-158.

Environmental Simulation
Airplanes operate in all sorts of environmental conditions: searing heat, driving rain and dust, shearing winds, and with a regular risk of icing.  They also have to withstand UV and solar radiation.

RTCA/DO-160 covers these environmental simulation test procedures:

Section 4 – Temperature and Altitude
Section 5 – Temperature Variation
Section 6 – Humidity
Section 7 – Operational Shocks and Crash Safety
Section 8 – Vibration
Section 9 – Explosion Proofness
Section 10 – Water Proofness
Section 11 – Fluids Susceptibility
Section 12 – Sand and Dust
Section 13 – Fungus Resistance
Section 14 – Salt Spray
Section 24 – Icing

From high school physics, we remember that acceleration is how fast your velocity is changing.  G-forces stress an airframe and many of its components, especially during take-off and landing.

There’s a variety of acceleration tests that are conducted on airframes and their components, including the use of machinery that spins components in a centrifuge.  MET’s new Centrifugal Static Acceleration Tester delivers 150 g’s for test equipment up to 35 pounds, or 40 g’s up to 200 pounds.

Modern aircraft operate at altitudes between 30,000 and 40,000 feet, and the air pressure at these altitudes is very low relative to the air pressure at sea level.

Airframes are pressurized to provide oxygen to the crew and passengers, but there is the potential for an “explosive decompression,” should the airframe fail.  Aircraft components need to withstand this rapid transition to outside air pressure.

MET can test avionics equipment from sea level to 100,000 feet, with various simulated atmospheric conditions, including pressure, temperature and humidity.

Airplane equipment has to undergo rigorous vibration stress testing to make certain it won’t fall apart in flight.  One of the main sources of vibration in an airframe is turbulence, and that places random vibrations forces on the aircraft. But airplane components must meet standards for both random and sine-wave vibration.

With a new Unholtz-Dickie K-Series Shaker, MET’s shock & vibe capacity is:

  • 17,000 lbf Sine
  • 16,000 lbf Random
  • 34,000 lbf Shock
  • 3 Inch pk-pk Stroke

At MET, we have the experience and equipment to perform DO-160 testing, as well as special test programs for commercial aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus, plus for satellite manufacturers.  Contact us for a free quote today.

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UL 60335-1 is Part of Tri-National Standard for Product Safety of Household Products

by on Jul.02, 2015, under Product Safety

appliance product safetyIn June, MET Labs Product Safety Lab Director Rick Cooper gave a presentation in Oslo, Norway on Household Product Certification in the United States.

For those who missed it, here is a basic summary:

In the United States, UL 60335-1 covers the General Requirements for electrical/electronic household products.  This harmonized standard is part of the U.S. NRTL program.  The U.S. participates in the HOUS category of the international IECEE CB Scheme for IEC 60335-1.

The fifth edition of UL 60335-1 is part of a tri-national standard, along with CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 60335-1-11, 1st edition (Canada) and NMX-J-521/1-ANCE, 1st edition (Mexico).  The tri-national standard was published October 31, 2011 and is based on IEC 60335-1, Edition 4.2:2006.

In regards to Part 2 particular standards, the U.S. only recognizes IEC 60335-2-3, 5th edition (Electric Irons) for the CB Scheme.  There is a U.S. version of this standard: UL 60335-2-3.  There are a number of other published -2s, but they need to be harmonized before they are suitable for the CB Scheme.  These include UL 30335-2-8 (Shavers & Hair Clippers), UL 30335-2-34 (Motor-Compressors), and UL 30335-2-40 (Heat Pumps, A/Cs, and Dehumidifiers).

The lack of harmonized Part 2 standards is primarily due to:

  • Different materials, insulation requirements, and voltages between the U.S. and other countries
  • Off-the-shelf universal power supplies that are suitable for this product category are unavailable

Unlike the OFF industry, where off-the-shelf universal supplies are abundant, two versions of HOUS products need to be built, so there is not a lot of interest in developing Part 2s by the relevant industries.

Putting the international CB Scheme aside, OSHA today recognizes 38 household product standards for the NRTL Program, including many legacy standards.  See the full list of all category standards recognized by OSHA here.

Over 25 years ago, MET Labs became the first NRTL, and today is accredited by OSHA for over 180 UL standards.  MET is also a recognized member of the IECEE CB Scheme, for product safety approval in over 50 countries.

Contact us today for a free quote to test your household products, or any other electrical/electronic equipment.

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EV & EVSE Safety Testing and Certification Becoming More Frequent

by on Jun.22, 2015, under Battery, Product Safety

teslaWith the growth of electric vehicles and their associated technology ecosystem, MET Labs is seeing higher levels of testing and certification in this industry.  Following is a summary of the standards that apply to electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

EV UL Safety Standards:

UL 2202 EV Charging System Equipment
UL 2251 Standard for Plugs, Receptacles, and Couplers for Electric Vehicles
UL 2231-1 and UL 2231-2 Personnel Protection Systems for EV Supply Circuits
UL Subject 2580 Batteries for Use In Electric Vehicles
UL Subject 2594 EV Supply Equipment

EV International (IEC) Standards: 

IEC 61851 Electric Vehicle Conductive Charging System
IEC 61982 Secondary Batteries for the Propulsion of Electric Road Vehicles – Performance and Endurance Tests
IEC 62133
Secondary Cells and Batteries Containing Alkaline or Other Non-Acid Electrolytes – Safety Requirements
IEC 62196 Plugs, Socket-Outlets, Vehicle Connectors and Inlets – Conductive Charging of EVs

EV SAE Standards: 

SAE J1772 Electric Vehicle and Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler
SAE J2293
Energy Transfer System for Electric Vehicles
SAE J2464 Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) Safety and Abuse Testing
SAE J2894 Power Quality Requirements for Plug-In Electric Vehicle Chargers
SAE J2929 Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Propulsion Battery System Safety Standard – Lithium-based Rechargeable Cells

The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – often electrical code inspectors – have final say in the acceptance of equipment and electrical installations in the United States.  The U.S. National Electric Code (NEC) informs the AHJ that a piece of equipment is acceptable if it has the listing mark of an approved Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).  In the case of EV charging systems, Article 625 indicates that all electrical materials, devices, fittings and associated equipment shall be listed or labeled.

Over 25 years ago, MET Labs became the first NRTL, and today is capable of performing testing to all major EV and EVSE standards.

Contact us today for a free quote to test your EV equipment, or your non-EV products in hundreds of other categories.

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R&TTE to RED Transition Period Changes for Radio Equipment CE Marking

by on Jun.15, 2015, under EMC, Wireless

Notified Bodies for the R&TTE Directive (R&TTE Compliance Association – to be renamed RED Compliance Association) met on June 1-2, 2015 in Goteborg, Sweden to discuss issues related to the R&TTE to RED transition for European radio equipment regulations.

Following are highlights of the discussions held there.

Transition Change
The Commission announced an important new interpretation about the transition period from the R&TTED to the RED. During the transition period to the new RED (June 13, 2016 to June 13, 2017), manufacturers can introduce new products using either the R&TTE Directive or the new RED Directive.

Therefore, the Commission will need to maintain the existing list of harmonized standards for the R&TTE Directive until June 2017.

Directive Scope Changes
The scope of the RED requires that broadcast receivers and transmitters under 9 Khz move from the EMC Directive to the RED. As such, these products fall under the one year RED transition period. For the two month period of April 20, 2016 (EMC Directive effective date) to June 13, 2016, these products would technically have to be in compliance with the new EMCD and LVD – but the Commission has been asked to identify a practical approach to this issue so that manufacturers of these products do not need to update the DoC twice in a short period.

ETSI Standards Development
Michael Sharpe presented a summary of ETSI’s updated standards development program in response to the changes to the Radio Equipment Directive.  See the November meeting information, below, for more information about ETSI standards development.

Technical Guidance Note Transfers
The Chairman will review all existing TGNs to propose which R&TTE CA TGNs should be transferred to become RED CA TGNs. A list of the proposed changes will be presented at the November meeting. Removed TGNs will remain in the archived area of the RED CA website. Note that access to TGNs is being restricted. Non-members will now need to send an e-mail request to the Secretary to obtain these documents.

Next Meeting
The proposed dates for the next meetings of the EUANB and RED (RTTE) CA are November 2-3, 2015 in Nice, France. In addition, on November 4, 2015, there will be an ETSI workshop for attendees to discuss standards changes. Proposed topics (specific ETSI standards of interest) should be e-mailed to Chairman Nick Hooper by July 1, 2015 for consideration:

Special thanks to NIST for providing much of the information in this post.

As a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) in accordance with the US-EU mutual recognition agreement, MET Labs acts as a Notified Body (NB) to generate tests suites and issue NB opinions for radio equipment sold in Europe. Contact us today for a free quote to support your Declaration of Conformity (DoC) for CE marking.

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Audio and Video Equipment Must Adhere to EN 60065:2014 for Conformity with Low Voltage Directive

by on Jun.08, 2015, under Product Safety

Equipment2Starting November 17, 2017, all audio, video, and similar electronic apparatus bound for Europe must meet the safety requirements of the 8th edition of EN 60065, published in 2014.

EN 60065:2002+A1:2006 +A11:2008+A2:2010 +A12:2011 will cease to be valid as of the November 17, 2017 date of withdrawal (DOW). All existing certificates must be updated to EN 60065:2014 before that time.

The new EN 60065:2014 standard is harmonized according to the R&TTE Directive (1999/5/EC), Low Voltage Directive (2006/95/EC) and General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC). Audio/video products within the scope of the RTTED or LVD directives must be in compliance with the standard in order to carry the CE mark.

Products found to be out of compliance might face a sales ban or financial penalties levied by European authorities.

EN 60065:2014 applies to electronic apparatus designed to be powered from mains, supply apparatus, batteries, or remote power feeds and intended for the reception, generation, recording, or reproduction of audio, video and associated signals. This standard primarily concerns apparatus intended for household and similar general use, although professional apparatus is also covered, unless falling specifically within the scope of other standards.

The principal changes in this 8th edition as compared with the 7th edition are:

  • New requirements for coin/button cell batteries and portable secondary sealed cells and batteries (other than button)
  • Addition of requirements for LEDs
  • Requirements for creepage distances are aligned with IEC 60950-1
  • Change in optocoupler requirements
  • New requirements for wall and ceiling mounting means
  • New requirements for non-floor standing televisions likely to be used in the home and weighing over 7 kg

MET Labs is offering product safety testing according to the new standard, or for other A/V standards for all major markets.  MET is trusted by leading A/V manufacturers, including Peavey, Marshall Amplification, and Suzuki.

Contact us today for a free quotation.

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RS105 Testing Determines EMP Susceptibility of Military and Commercial Electronics

by on Jun.01, 2015, under EMC, Military

RS105 Parking lot setup photo 2Recently, MET Labs performed High Altitude (or Nuclear) Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP or NEMP) susceptibility testing of U.S. Navy vendor electronics at an outdoor test area in Maryland.

The test method used was RS105 from MIL-STD-461.   RS105 addresses the risk of radiated exposure to an EMP event. (CS116 is the MIL-STD-461 test method that addresses conducted – rather than radiated – immunity for EMP).

While EMP susceptibility is increasingly being measured in a number of industries and applications, including data centers, it has traditionally been used for electrical/electronic equipment installed in military environments.  Much of this equipment is protected by hardened shielded enclosures, but that which is exposed must have its own built-in shielding effectiveness.

The test setup looks, from the side, like an elongated tent structure, with a surge generator and resistive load on either end on the ground.  Rows of wires run between them, up and over a tall support structure in the middle.  The wires are evenly distributed, and create a pulsed 50,000 V/m field that radiates down onto the equipment under test (EUT) and a conductive ground plane.  This mimics the high amplitude, short duration broadband electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear or similar event.

The RS105 test procedure is:

  • Start at 10% of specified level
  • Verify waveform
  • Apply pulse 5 times (not more than one per minute)
  • Rotate EUT 90 degrees, and pulse 5 more times
  • Rotate another 90 degrees and pulse 5 more times
  • Monitor for signs of degradation

An outside test area, as was used in Baltimore, is preferred due to the relative lack of reflective material.  And a large EUT will often necessitate a large test area, as the septum must be three times as high as the EUT.

This testing was conducted to the specifications of MIL-STD-461E, but note that MIL-STD-461G was recently released in draft form.  Contact us to learn how the changes in this new standard affect new product development.

Need to know the EMP susceptibility of your commercial or military electronics?   Contact us today for a free quotation.

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Electrical/Electronic Regulatory Requirements for Top 5 Middle East Economies

by on May.19, 2015, under EMC, Product Safety, Wireless

memapDriven by vast petroleum resources, many parts of the Middle East are growing rapidly.  Following are the region’s biggest economies (listed largest to smallest), and electrical/electronic regulatory compliance issues for each.

Boasting the largest economy in the Middle East, Turkey is being considered for European Union membership and the EU CE Mark is accepted as proof of compliance for EMC, Safety LVD, Medical, and Industrial.  Wireless and telecommunications products must meet country-specific requirements:

Authority: Information & Communications Technologies Authority (ICTA)
Local required, but no test samples
Standards: UE R&TTE ETSI
Documents: CE DoC, R&TTE test reports, LOA for local rep
Lead time: 4-6 weeks
Expiration: None

Saudi Arabia
With the 2nd largest Middle East economy, Saudi Arabia has special requirements for wireless and telecom products:

Authority: Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)
Local not required
Standards: FCC or EU
Documents: FCC Grant & test reports or CE DoC & R&TTE test reports
Lead time: 2-4 weeks
Expiration: 1 year/renewed annually

Saudi Arabia also has country-specific requirements for electronics/electrical products:

Authority: Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO)
Local not required
Standards: IEC
Documents: CB report or CE DoC & EU test reports
Lead time: 6-10 weeks
Expiration: 1 year/renewed annually

In Egypt, EMC, Health and Safety, Wireless and Telecom approvals are required for three categories: Wireless, Telecom and ITE.

Authority: National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA)
Local not required
Standards: EU CE
Documents: CE DoC & EU test reports
Lead time: 8-10 weeks
Expiration: None

Israel has special requirements for wireless and telecom products:

Authority: Ministry of Communication (MOC)
Local required, but no test samples
Standards: UE R&TTE ETSI
Documents: CE DoC, R&TTE test reports, LOA for local rep
Lead time: 6-8 weeks
Expiration: 5 years/no renewal

Israel also has country-specific requirements for electronics/electrical products, including energy efficiency for some ITE products:

Authority: Standards Institute of Israel (SII)
Local required
Standards: SII
Documents: SII reports, construction files, user docs, LOA for local rep
Lead time: 6-8 weeks
Expiration: None

Note: MET Labs is hosting a North America Product Compliance Seminar in Israel next month.

United Arab Emirates
The UAE has special requirements for wireless and telecom products only:

Authority: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)
Representation: Local required
Standards: EU CE
Documents: CE DoC & EU R&TTE test reports covering EMC/RF/Safety, LOA for local rep
Lead time: 6-10 weeks
Expiration: 3 years

MET Labs is deeply experienced helping product manufacturers access global markets through regulatory compliance assistance and global testing and certification.   Contact us today for a free quotation to perform testing and/or certification for any country or market.

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Pre-Compliance EMC Testing Saves Cost and Accelerates Speed to Market

by on May.11, 2015, under EMC

How do you suggest we implement this?You have designed and built a great new electrical product that meets market demands and trumps competitive offerings. You are confident that it doesn’t radiate much energy and is not susceptible to outside interference.  Yet when you do final EMC testing, your product fails.

This is the nightmare scenario for product designers.  Unit redesign and retesting will bust the budget and cause the product release date to slip by weeks or even months.

To avoid this scenario, pre-compliance testing should be built into a project from the start.  Testing for device emissions and immunity during each major development stage is the best way to avoid costly retesting and high failure rates.

There are a couple advantages of pre-compliance testing:

Speed to Market
The earlier product deficiencies are identified in the development process, the easier it is to rectify any shortcomings, saving time and money.  This is especially true for a design team that is smaller or less experienced, as they are less likely to consider all the factors that influence EMC compliance.

Just as chefs occasionally sample their creations while cooking, adjusting seasonings and ingredients to suit, product developers occasionally need to get a “taste” of their product’s EMI environment to know how to adjust the product’s design.

When testing is integrated into development, a testing chamber and expert advice is available during the entire project lifecycle.  Engineers at a test lab like MET Labs have seen thousands of products, and can offer standard risk avoidance strategies and mitigation best practices.

Cost Savings
Early EMC pre-screening can not only identify when a unit is under-engineered, it can save money by reducing over-engineering. The inability to gauge the electromagnetic environment of a product can lead to counter-measures being added where they are not required.  These unjustified counter-measures have the potential to add unit cost for the lifetime of the product.

Henry Ford used to send engineers to examine Ford cars in scrap yards to understand which components still had lots of life in them due to over-engineering. This helped his engineers to downgrade the specification on these components to achieve a cost saving. The equivalent can be done with EMC testing to optimize the BOM cost.

MET Labs’ comprehensive services run the gamut from early compliance assistance all the way through testing and certificationContact us today for a free quotation to perform testing for any life-cycle stage.

Read here about how pre-testing works for a specific product type – smart meters.

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New MIL-STD-461G Draft for Military EMI Control Is Released

by on Apr.27, 2015, under EMC, Military

TankEMCAfter a long wait, the draft of MIL-STD-461G has been published.  MIL-STD-461 is the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) primary standard for the control of electromagnetic interference (EMI) characteristics of subsystems and equipment.  Draft G was prepared by a committee consisting of representatives of the Army, Air Force, Navy, other DoD agencies, and industry.

MET Labs combed through -461G line by line.  Changes range from simple (a “MIL-STD-451G” typo on the cover that will surely be corrected) to complex (new lightning and ESD test methods).

Following are the most significant updates from MIL-STD-461F (the most recent current version): Interconnecting leads and cables: clarification added. In particular, for free standing EUTs, a table is now included for routing cables.
Figure 4 (Free Standing EUT in Shielded Enclosure) and Figure 5 (Free Standing EUT on Ground Plane): Cables placed on table with ground plane.
5.11 of 461F, CS106, removed.  From this point forward, the section numbers will no longer match between 461F and 461G. Setup (CS114): clarification added that monitor probe is placed around a second fixture and terminated with 50Ω.
DO-160 Section 22 Lightning Induced Transient Susceptibility. 

5.16 CS118, Personnel Borne Electrostatic Discharge: This is a new test method, which is based on IEC 61000-4-2 ESD.

5.18.1 RE102 Applicability: Note restricting upper frequency range of test based on highest intentionally generated frequency within the EUT is removed. (All tests performed up to 18GHz.) C. (2) (b) 2. For free standing EUT, antenna heights shall be determined as described in and 3. and 3: changed word “width” to “area”.  This will result in additional test positions for all EUTs with a height greater than the smallest part of the antenna beam width curve. e. EUT Testing (RS103): word “width” changed to “area”.  This will result in additional test positions for all EUTs with a height greater than the smallest part of the antenna beam width curve.

Note: This draft, dated March 2, 2015, has not been approved and is subject to modification.

Want a PDF copy of your own to study?  Register and download one from the official DLA Assist site, or we’ll email you a copy if you drop us a line at

Have an immediate MIL-STD test need?  Contact us today for a free quotation.  MET Labs has a rare combination of accreditations, experience, and capabilities, performing the full suite of military EMC and military environmental tests under one roof on both coasts.

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