Every Radio Broadcast Engineer needs a comprehensive toolkit. Test and Measurement tools allow you to build and maintain broadcast facilities and ensure your equipment is operating within the correct parameters. The right tools can save you time and get you back on-air quickly in an emergency.

This article outlines some of the essential tools for Radio Broadcast Engineers.

Test & Measurement Tools


A multi-meter is one of the most basic tools any technician uses. Most multi-meters allow you to measure AC and DC voltage, resistance, and continuity.

One of the most common professional multi-meters is the Fluke 115. More economical options exist, including the Brymen BM235. You can even find basic multi-meters for under $50 from suppliers such as Jaycar.

Cable Tester

How do you know if you’ve wired a cable correctly? Cable testers allow you to check the continuity and quality of specific types of cable.

Network cable testers allow you to check RJ45 connectors on Cat5 and Cat6 cable. Fluke sell some of the most popular network cable testers. They have advanced functionality, such as cable distance estimation and wiremap testing.

Cheaper options are also available, such as the Noyafa NF-8508. The Pockethernet is a Bluetooth-based cable tester.

Audio cable testers allow you to check XLR, 1/4″ and 3.5mm connectors on audio cable. Audio cable testers such as the CTP Systems dbBox3 and Behringer CT100 allow you to test audio cable.

Audio Tone Generator

A Tone Generator allows you to create Sine Waves and Pink/White Noise at a specific volume. This can allow you to test cabling and equipment and ensure levels are consistent through the signal chain.

Popular tone generators include the NTI Minirator MR-PRO and CTP Systems dbBox3.

Audio Level Meter

You also need a way to receive audio and measure it. The NTI Minilyzer ML1 and NTI Digilyzer DL1 both achieve this for analog and digital audio respectively. The CTP Systems dbBox3 also has basic audio measurement built-in too, making it an all-round versatile box.

Tone & Probe

A Tone & Probe allows you to trace wires throughout your facility. You connect the tone to one end of the cable, and then use the probe at the other end by waving it over cables and connectors until it picks up the tone signal.

The Noyafa NF-8508 is a good cheap option for searching for and testing network cable.

Modulation Monitor & Spectrum Analyser

Modulation Monitors and Spectrum Analysers allow you to monitor over-the-air signals.

Modulation Monitors allow you to conduct over-the-air measurement and monitoring of FM audio signals, including modulation levels, stereo carrier levels, RDS levels and data, and more. Advanced models also accept an MPX input, so you can test your FM Composite signal before it enters the transmitter.

My go-to affordable Mod Monitor is the Pira P275 FM Broadcast Analyzer. It has a lot going for it – including MPX Input, battery operated, RDS decoding, and USB connectivity to a PC. These small units tune from 87.5Mhz to 108Mhz, and present you with a whole heap of info about individual FM carriers. Check your deviation, pilot tone, RDS and more. There’s an in-built screen for quick access to your data, and a feature-packed Windows application to get the full information.

If you want a Mod Monitor to install in your radio at the studios or transmitter site, consider the Deva DB4005 or Inovonics 541.

Spectrum Analysers are similar, but may allow you to view a wider range of RF activity at once, rather than simply tuning to a single station. You could consider a Software Defined Radio, or a hardware option such as the RF Explorer range.


If you need to do advanced circuit troubleshooting, you will likely need an Oscilloscope. These allow you to measure voltage over time and see it visually. Some of the most popular oscilloscopes are made by Tektronix, but other options exist such as the MULTICOMP PRO MP720783.

Portable Appliance Tester

Portable Appliance Testers allow you to check electrical appliances and cables for electrical safety. In Australia, there is a mandatory ‘Test & Tag’ process whereby all electrical equipment used in a commercial environment must be tested regularly.

Circuit Breaker Finder

Have you ever walked into a building and found not a single power outlet was labeled? A Circuit Breaker Finder, such as the Klein ET300AU, will help you locate circuits without turning off breakers.

Thermal Imaging Camera

Thermal Imaging Cameras allow you to inspect equipment and cabling for overheating problems. Switchboards are regularly scanned to ensure there aren’t any overheating parts, but broadcast technicians often do the same with high-powered equipment such as transmitters.

Other Useful Equipment for Broadcast Technicians

Aside from tools, there’s a variety of other gadgets and pieces of equipment that are useful to broadcast engineers. This section lists some of my favorites.

SoundWire XLR to USB-C

The SoundWire is a super convenient USB-C to XLR audio interface. These can be handy when you’re in the field and need to quickly get audio out of your PC or Phone. They can also be useful in studios where presenters bring-their-own laptop.

StereoTool & MicroMPX

Thimeo StereoTool is an incredible software-based FM Audio Processor. Its feature list and sound quality can compete with even the biggest audio processing boxes from brands such as Orban and Omnia. Being software based, it’s very easy to setup at a moments notice.

MicroMPX is an FM Composite (MPX) over IP codec. I use it as a digital STL for some radio stations. I also find it’s an incredibly convenient backup STL. I have been known to install a Raspberry Pi with HiFi Berry DAC+ at remote Transmitter Sites, just on the off chance I have an emergency and need to enable it as a STL in the future.

Some third party hardware also supports MicroMPX, such as the 2wcom MPX-1c and Omnia MPX Node.

Dante Via & Dante AVIO

Dante Via is audio-over-IP software, which allows you to stream live broadcast-quality audio between PCs and compatible hardware on a LAN. It’s a very easy way to get into the world of IP audio, without investing in more expensive broadcaster-oriented driver software and hardware.

The Dante AVIO hardware allows you to convert between Dante/AES67 and Analog, AES3 & USB audio in a small form factor. I keep a few of these dongles spare, and often find uses for them.


StudioHub is a Cat6 wiring standard for audio signals. Use regular RJ45 connectors and Cat5/6 cable for audio transmission. Consoles such as Axia use this to get high-density audio I/O on their 1RU boxes. There are breakout cables to XLR, 1/4″, RCA and more. Better still, you can wire up your own if you don’t want to buy the official ones. Never terminate audio cable to Krone blocks again – just use StudioHub!

Audio Adaptor Toolkit

XLR Male to 1/4″ Female. Female RCA to XLR Female. XLR Male to Male. These are all adaptors we need as “get out of jail free cards”. I usually solder my own, but you can also buy them off the shelf from music stores. You could even use unisex XLR connectors to make your adaptor cables more versatile.

Mikrotik RouterBoard

MikroTik sell some of the most feature-packed, value-for-money routers on the market. These boxes are seriously high performance and give you great bang-for-your-buck. The new ARM models also support various ‘zero-trust’ VPNs, such as ZeroTier and Wireguard.

PlayIt Recorder

Many jurisdictions require broadcasters to constantly log all audio as it’s broadcast for compliance reasons. The PlayIt Recorder software is a free way to do this on your PC. It supports continuous audio recording, and will split the files into hour-long segments.

GetUp and GetDown Audio Converters

Australian Monitor sell a range of balanced/unbalanced converters. These are marketed at PA installation contractors, but are very useful for broadcasters too. Take any unbalanced signal and immediately balance it (with a built in level adjustment trim pot).