One of our customers is a bomb disposal organisation. They run 50m 6 core cables to some of their detector kit for power and comms. Having established an area is clear they then unplug the cables and drag them out onto drums. This is nearly always when they get damaged (they usually survive being run over by trucks). Out in the desert, nipping down to RS for a new reel of cable isn't an option so they have to be repaired on-site. However, giving their comms man a cheap meter and a bit of instruction has worked rather well!
I've seen both telephone and power company engineers use a single-ended system for locating a cable break. One explained to me that it injected a pulse and timed the reflection. I don't know if there are compact, affordable versions of this technology.