July 29, 2014, Rohde & Schwarz announced today that RF and microwave component manufacturer RF-Lambda has chosen the company’s R&S ZVA vector network analyzer and R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer after an in-depth analysis. The instruments delivered the high degree of accuracy and repeatability for the demanding measurement applications.
RF-Lambda, which manufactures a broad line of passive and active RF and microwave components and subsystems, based its selection on the ability of the candidate instruments to solve actual measurement problems the company was encountering. The measurements evaluated performance parameters that are essential for optimizing the performance of RF-Lambda’s components and modules for their end-users.
RF-Lambda’s product testing faces tough measurement challenges on a daily basis due to the performance requirements such as high dynamic range and linearity, low noise floor, high peak to average ratios, and ultra-wide frequency bandwidth. The components selected for the comparative tests were the Model RFDAT0118G8A and RFDAT0040G5A digital control step attenuators, Model RFPSHT450M1D8 digital step phase shifter, RLNA00M50GA high gain low-noise amplifier (LNA), and a custom transmit/receive module for an airborne application at 67 GHz.
The RFDAT0118G8A is an 8-bit, 0- to 128-dB digitally-controlled attenuator that operates from 1 to 18 GHz. RFDAT0040G5A is a 5-bit 0- to 32-dB digitally-controlled attenuator that operates from 0.1 to 40 GHz. The RFPSHT450M1D8 is a digital dispersive phase shifter with a step size of 1.4°, which operates from 400 to 500 MHz. The RLNA00M50GA has an extremely broad bandwidth of 100 kHz to 50 GHz, with a noise figure of 4 dB, gain up to 34 dB, and RF output power greater than 20 dBm across its entire bandwidth.
RF-Lambda was having difficulty achieving repeatable measurements of phase continuity over the full bandwidth of the attenuator and phase shifter components. The engineers worked with Rohde & Schwarz engineers who made the same measurements using the R&S ZVA vector network analyzer. The R&S ZVA was able to make measurements that represented the true performance of the components across the measurement band.
RF-Lambda also highly ranked the R&S ZVA‘s ability to allow phase and amplitude to be adjusted in very fine increments, which is important when testing digital controllable step attenuators and phase shifters, which are widely used in OFDM and phased array radar systems. The instrument also provided the best combination of low noise, high linearity, and dynamic range.
Finally, the very low noise floor of the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer allowed the design team to measure phase noise performance of the transmit/receive module directly without having to use corrective noise cancellation techniques and external mixers. As the R&S FSW67 was able to measure frequencies up to 67 GHz, the need for a separate dedicated phase noise test system was eliminated.
“We’re extremely pleased with the results we obtained from the Rohde & Schwarz instruments,” said RF-Lambda director of engineering Michael Liu, “and by evaluating them using measurement challenges we were actually facing, their superior characteristics became all the more evident. In addition, the Rohde & Schwarz technical support team was very responsive and helped us optimize our test results. Together, these factors made the R&S ZVA and R&S FSW the best overall choices.”