Electronic Design

Signal Analyzers Cover Both Ends Of The (Cost) Spectrum

Adding to the high and low ends of its spectrum-analyzer family at the same time, Agilent has covered the bases with the launches of its N9000A CXA low-cost analyzers and its N9030A PXA high-end instrument. In both cases, as in all members of the company’s X series signal analyzers, the instruments are consistent in terms of their measurement framework and their ability to enable design teams to grow with them.

The two low-cost models in the N9000A lineup sport frequency coverage of 9 kHz to 3.0 GHz (N9503) and to 7.5 GHz (N9507). Both offer a broad range of one-button measurement applications, including analog modulation, phase noise, and noise figure. They also offer integration with the MathWorks’ Matlab for signal analysis, either running on the instrument itself or as a plug-in through drivers.

Despite their affordability, the N9000A CXA instruments are more than capable, offering absolute amplitude accuracy of ±0.5 dB, third-order intermodulation of +13 dBm, displayed average noise level of –157 dBm, and W-CDMA adjacent channel leakage power ratio (ACLR) dynamic range of 65 dB. With this sort of performance, the instruments are applicable in many areas where cost of test is a principal driver, such as electromagnetic compliance (EMC) test or in consumer manufacturing testing.

If your signal analysis requirements are on the high end, the N9030A PXA instrument may be a better option (see the figure). Intended as an evolutionary replacement for Agilent’s PSA series signal analyzers launched in 2000, the N9030A PXA offers frequency coverage up to 26.5 GHz. It delivers up to 75 dB of spurious-free dynamic range at a 140-MHz bandwidth and reduces test time by 30% to 70% compared to older-generation instruments.

Further, the N9030A PXA reduces measurement uncertainty through its ±0.19-dB accuracy. Its noise floor approaches that of thermal noise, with a displayed average noise level (DANL) specification of –172 dBm (with preamplifier) and close-in phase noise of –128 dBc/Hz. As a result, Agilent has been able to accurately model the instrument’s generated noise and subtract it from measurements.

A broad set of applications and demodulation capabilities augments the PXA analyzer’s native capabilities, starting with one-button power measurements. Agilent’s 89600 VSA software adds measurement packages for more than 70 standard signal and modulation types. A host of additional applications is in the works. Of course, the Matlab integration offered on the low-cost N9000A analyzers applies to the N9030A PXA instrument as well.

Pricing for the CXA series signal analyzers ranges from $12,657 for the 3-GHz version to $16,360 for the 7.5-GHz model. The N9030A PXA analyzer ranges from $51,900 for a 3.6-GHz version to $66,300 for the 26.5-GHz instrument.

Agilent Technologies


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