IMS 2017: RF/microwave test equipment, part 1

-June 08, 2017

The IEEE International Microwave Symposium is in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2017. Here is some of the new test equipment seen on Wednesday, June 7.

National Instrument baseband VST

If 5G lives up to the hype and use of mmWave frequencies takes hold, wireless communications could have channel bandwidths as wide as 1 GHz. To help engineers test channels that wide, National Instruments introduced the PXIe-5820, which the company claims is the world's first baseband vector-signal transceiver (VST) with 1 GHz of complex I/Q bandwidth. Prices start at $37,449. The video below shows the product demonstrated at IMS 2017.

Rohde & Schwarz RF/microwave signal generator

Rohde & Schwarz claims that its SMA100B provides the purest signals with the lowest possible phase noise at all offset frequencies (1 GHz, −152 dBc/Hz, 20 kHz offset). The 6 GHz version generates up to 38 dBm RF output power, and the 20 GHz instrument generates up to 32 dBm in the microwave frequency range. Above 6 GHz harmonics are lower than 70 dBc at 18 dBm output power. Nonharmonics are below 110 dBc at a 1 GHz output signal.

Pico Technology USB vector-network analyzer

The UK-based company known for its USB oscilloscopes and digitizers, exhibited its first VNA. With a list price of $5995 and a bandwidth of 6 GHz, the PicoVNA 106 takes aim at the Tektronix TTR500. The PicoVNA 106 has bidirectional ports, which lets it measure four sets of S parameters (S11, S21, S21, and S22) with a single test setup. Inputs also contain built-in DC bias-Ts.

The PicoVNA 106 has calibration standards (short, through, and 50 Ω load) available in a single package. Pico Technology expects to begin shipments in September 2017.

Signal Hound spectrum analyzer and monitoring receiver

Signal Hound's latest USB spectrum analyzer, the SM200A, uses an FPGA to perform FFTs and convert captured signals into the frequency domain. It has 160 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, which is enough to handle LTE and IEEE 802.11ac signals. It has 110 dB of dynamic range. At 30 kHz, 100 kHz, and 1 MHz resolution bandwidths, it can sweep at a rate of 1 THz/sec. The company expects to ship in September or October 2017.

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