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Microwave Innovations Take Hold In Paris

At this years European Microwave Week, major innovations in test will be balanced out by developments in software and components.

Fall is a busy time for the microwave industry, given the timing of the European Microwave Week (EuMW) and Association of Old Crows (AOC) conferences and exhibitions. This year, EuMW takes place from September 26 to October 1 in Paris, France while the 47th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention International is held from October 3 to 7 in Atlanta, GA (see "Technology Flies At AOC"). With such an inspiring location, the EuMW conference will again highlight the imagination of microwave engineers. Although the exhibit floor will most likely be dominated by the large booths and demonstrations from test and measurement vendors, a walk down any aisle will remind conference-goers that a microwave system is comprised of many components ranging from the most basic to the highly complex.

On the test front, the Wireless Telecom Group will be showing the new Boonton Amplifier Test Bench software for highpower pulsed amplifier measurements and Noisecom's latest precision signalto- noise generator for Eb/No, C/N, and C/I signal generation. The group also will highlight Microlab's passive components and combiner boxes for LTE, Tetra, and railway applications.

National Instruments will be showing the NI PXIe-5630 vector network analyzer (VNA). Using the NI LabVIEW application programming interface (API), engineers can perform parallel test for multisite test operations using a single PXI controller and up to eight VNAs in a single PXI chassis. With the open PXI platform, they can seamlessly integrate additional RF or mixed-signal I/O instruments into the test system. NI also will be demonstrating automated poweramplifier (PA) characterization and a phase-coherent multiple-input multipleoutput (MIMO) test platform.

To spotlight its low noise floor, Noise XT will be demonstrating the Dual Core Noise Test System (DCNTS). This two-channel phase and amplitude noise analyzer is designed with a dual demodulator architecture, which allows the test system to use cross correlation to cancel its internal noise. The resulting tests are similar to comparing the output of two separate systems while displaying just the similarities and rejecting the differences.

Rohde & Schwarz will exhibit solutions in addition to its two oscilloscope families, which cover bandwidths from 500 MHz to 2 GHz. The R&S FSVR real-time spectrum analyzer, which offers coverage to 30 GHz, combines a fully functional signal and spectrum analyzer with a real-time spectrum analyzer. In real-time mode, the R&S FSVR promises to detect everything from highly sporadic single events to ultra-short signals. Another debut is the R&S SMZ frequency-multiplier family, which includes the R&S SMZ75 (50 to 75 GHz), R&S SMZ90 (60 to 90 GHz), and R&S SMZ110 (75 to 110 GHz). The R&S SMZ multipliers can be equipped with either a built-in mechanical or electronic level controller. If they are controlled by the R&S SMF100A microwave generator via USB, the generator and multiplier will function as a single unit.

Lastly, the new R&S ZVA-Z500 converter expands the frequency range of Rohde & Schwarz's network analyzers to 500 GHz. That converter simply connects to a high-end network analyzer from the R&S ZVA family. It allows millimeter-wave measurements with a typical dynamic range above 65 dB.

Based on the Tektronix AWG7122B arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) and DSA8200 sampling oscilloscope, the Mesuro MB 20 open-loop, active-harmonic load-pull system enables the characterization of devices and PAs for any signal and impedance environment to 150 W. The firm also is showing the AWG7000 series AWG, which samples to 24 GSamples/s and boasts 10-b vertical resolution, as well as the RSA6000 spectrum-analyzer series and handheld H600/SA2600 series.

EuMW also will provide the first glimpse of enhancements to Tektronix's AWG7000C and AWG5000C AWGs. The "C" series instruments promise to provide a 45-percent reduction in waveform creation times compared to prior AWG instruments. They also implement popular features like equation editor, dynamic jump, and sub-sequencing. Unlike other AWGs, which are limited to bandwidths of less than 2 GHz, the AWG7000 provides bandwidth on demand. The series offers a data rate to 6 Gb/s with digitally controlled impairment parameters for precise characterization.

At the Aeroflex booth, there will be a virtual demonstration of the SMART^E 5300 complete synthetic test environment. Such test environments "synthesize" the stimuli and measurement capabilities found in any traditional instrument through a combination of software and hardware modules integrated in a synthetic architecture, which includes sophisticated algorithms, calibration and diagnostic routines, NIST traceable standards, and an open software architecture (see figure). The environment is configurable to the application and can be optimized via multi-vendor commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) modules.

In addition, several instruments will be spotlighted by Aeroflex. The 6820A series of microwave scalar-network analyzers are available in different versions ranging from 3 to 46 GHz. With option 025, the analyzers also can serve as one-box radar test solutions. The firm's 6840A series one-box synthesized signal source is both a spectrum and scalar analyzer covering 1 MHz to 46 GHz.

Also being shown are Aeroflex's 2500 series synthesizers, which tackle highperformance chirp, pulse, amplitude, and frequency modulation with hop states faster than 1 Megahop/s. The firm's low-cost 3250 spectrum-analyzer series, which covers 1 kHz to 3, 8, 13.2, and 26.5 GHz, is now available with an 8-GHz tracking generator. It boasts phase noise of 115 dBc/Hz with DANL of 145 dBm/Hz. Aeroflex also will be showing two handheld solutions: the 6970 RF power meter spanning 30 kHz to 46 GHz and the 9103 spectrum analyzer covering applications to 7.5 GHz.

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At less than 8 lbs., the MS272xC Spectrum Master series of handheld spectrum analyzers from Anritsu Co. provides impressive frequency coverage to 43 GHz. Five modelswith high-end frequency coverage of 9, 13, 20, 32, and 43 GHzare available. The MS2726C Spectrum Master sweeps in 27 s for a 43-GHz span with a 30-kHz resolution bandwidth (RBW). The analyzers deliver phase noise of 100 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset at 1 GHz and dynamic range of 101 dB. Designed with a broadband preamplifier, the handheld spectrum analyzers offer sensitivity of 159 dBm at 1 GHz and 145 dBm at 43 GHz to detect small signals. An analysis package and Anritsu's Master Software Tools provide users with the capability to conduct detailed evaluation of measurement data.

Agilent Technologies also will be showing a handheld spectrum analyzer. The N9342C spans 100 kHz to 7 GHz and is tunable to 9 kHz. Typically, the analyzer flaunts a displayed average noise level (DANL) of 164 dBm/Hz. It sweeps in a minimum of less than 2 ms. In addition, the analyzer's Task Planner promises to save as much as 95 percent of test setup time while enabling test automation.

For the PSG signal generators, Agilent will be exhibiting the new Option UNY for enhanced ultra-low phase noise. Compared to the existing Option UNX, Option UNY provides a 5-dB improvement at very close-in (less than 10 Hz) offsets and an improvement to 12 dB in the pedestal region (10- to 100-kHz offsets). Option UNY offers two optimization modes. Users can select best phase noise for offsets less than 150 kHz for close-to-carrier measurements or optimize for offsets greater than 150 kHz for far-from-carrier measurements.

With the next generation of its 89600 vector-signal-analysis software, Agilent offers troubleshooting features to help engineers find the root cause of a problem. Examples include VSA digital persistence trace for viewing bursts and transients that occur on a regular basis. In addition, a cumulative history trace can evaluate spurs, transients, and bursts that occur intermittently or at very long intervals.

Over the past few years, the exhibition floors of microwave shows have displayed the growing presence of software. This year's EuMW is no different. In fact, Muehlhaus Consulting & Software has aptly chosen to host a Sonnet Software User Group Meeting on October 1. This meeting will bring together Sonnet users from across the globe to discuss and share methods, tips, and findings using the firm's 3D planar electromagnetic (EM) software. (To find out more, go to

Among the new software releases making their debut is AWR Corp.'s 2010 Visual System Simulator (VSS). The release strives to increase productivity for RF system designers with capabilities like time-delay-neuralnetwork (TDNN) advanced amplifier behavioral models for capturing memory effects in PAs. It also boasts measurementdata- interchange-format (MDIF) model support and a phased-array element for radar design engineers. The new turbo decoders offer support for the turbo codes used in 3G/4G standards. In addition, featured library/components can be used to decode custom turbo codes.

ANSYS, Inc. will introduce HFSS 13.0, which includes a new solver option called HFSS Transient. This finite-element-based transient electromagnetic (EM) solver is based on the discontinuous Galerkin time-domain method (DGTD). It uses the same meshing technology as HFSS, which is geometrically conformal and automatically adapted for accuracy. Implemented in the HFSS graphical user interface, this technology will provide the ability to analyze transient EM behavior in complex EM designs. HFSS 13.0 also features HFSSIE, a finite-element-boundary-integral (FE-BI) truncation for unbounded EM problems.

The Solver on Demand technology from ANSYS also will be on display. HFSS Solver on Demand enables users to drive HFSS directly from the intuitive stack-up-based layout interface of Ansoft Designer. It is an ideal design flow for electrical-CAD (ECAD) import, drawing, and the parameterization of EM designs. This interface is for those engineers who want the 3D rigor, accuracy and reliability of HFSS from a familiar 2D-layout-based design.

With the growing importance of software, Analog Devices has been steadily supporting its products with a range of free design tools. New products from ADI at EuMW include a phase-locked-loop (PLL) synthesizer and prescalers. The ADF4150 fractional- or integer-N PLL synthesizer operates to 4.4 GHz and incorporates a 30-V charge pump. Because the device can be used to directly drive high-tuning-voltage, external voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs), it removes the need for active loop filters. The firm's ADF5001/5002 prescalers can operate to 18 GHz. This launch of the ADF500x series of products includes three new devices: theADF5000 divide-by-2 prescaler; ADF5001 divideby- 4 prescaler; and ADF5002 divide-by-8 prescaler. In addition, ADI will display a complete broadband low error-vectormagnitude (EVM) direct-conversion transmitter that has been optimized for low distortion.

Among the news hailing from TriQuint Semiconductor is the TQP15 foundry process. To enable more cost-effective pHEMT designs for millimeter-wave applications, it uses optical lithography instead of e-beam technology. The firm also has two initial products available using its Die on Tab (DoT) approach: the TGA4516-TS and TGA2510-TS. DoT provides the performance of die-level devices while making them easier to handle. The die are placed on thermal spreaders for easier assembly and all products are 100-percent X-ray inspected in the factory.

TriQuint also will be spotlighting devices that offer four levels of base-station integration. In addition, the firm's newest base-station module, the TQM879006, integrates all matching components, two amplifiers, a DSA, bypass and blocking caps, and chokesall in a 50-Ω setup. With this plug-and-play module, the RF engineer does not have to focus on matching discrete devices. TriQuint's most recent gallium-nitride (GaN) product will be on display as well. At 28 V, the T1G600528-Q3 covers 20 MHz to 6 GHz with 9 W output power at 1-dB compression at 6 GHz.

Hittite Corp. will be debuting its intermodulation-quadrature (I/Q) upconverter/transmitters with a variable gain amplifier (VGA). The HMC924LC5, for example, is a galliumarsenide (GaAs) monolithic-microwaveintegrated- circuit (MMIC) intermodulation/ quadrature (I/Q) upconverter with variable gain that spans 10 to 16 GHz. It delivers small-signal conversion gain of 15 dB and has 30 dBc of sideband rejection. The HMC924LC5 provides high output third-order intercept performance of +14 dBm while maintaining LO/RF rejection of 15 dBc or better across the operating frequency band.

Scintera will be showcasing the single-chip SC1887 RF power-amplifier linearizer (RFPAL). This RFin/RFout system-on-a-chip (SoC) for PA linearization targets applications ranging from 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular to broadcast and microwave PAs.

Among the booth demonstrations from M/A-COM Technology Solutions are the SmartSet Solutions for pointto- point backhaul radio. The 38-GHz packaged chipset includes an integrated upconverter and receiver, driver and PAs, and VCO and multiplier. In addition to providing information about its products and technology, M/A-COM will be celebrating its 60th anniversary and touting its recent merger with Mimix Broadband. This booth will serve as a good reminder that it is not just the strong products and technical innovations that make this industry what it is, but the people and history as well.

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