Electronic Design

Tester Improves Radar Pulse Stability Measurement

Aiming squarely at replacing home-brew radar stability test systems, Aeroflex's PN9002 promises high-end dynamic range at a greatly reduced cost. This modular, standalone system provides pulsed signals to the unit under test and analyzes the received pulses, covering from 2 to 18 GHz (down to 400 MHz optional).

To achieve the accuracy required for testing their radar systems, most designers build their own testers at a cost of up to $1 million, says Aeroflex product marketing manager Guillaume De Giovanni. But the PN9002's dynamic range reaches a guaranteed ­76 dBc (­79 dBc typical) in stability integration over the bandwidth of the equivalent receiver, making in-house systems unnecessary.

The system integrates the hardware and software needed to test a two-port module for amplitude and phase stability. Its automated capability is particularly useful for testing a phased-array antenna system, which may incorporate up to 3000 modules. The PN9002's enhanced accuracy lets engineers design to tighter specifications, enhancing their system's performance, Aeroflex says.

The PN9002 can analyze each pulse during its "on" portion, rather than by averaging pulses, as done in traditional stability measurements. Because of the relatively long time difference between the on and off parts of the pulse, the off part adds significant noise to the measurement. The PN9002 doesn't sample the off part of the pulse, so that noise is avoided.

Pricing depends on the modules ordered, but a starting configuration costs about $160,000.

Aeroflex • www.aeroflex.com

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