Mercury Systems
Frequency converter

Frequency Converters Change IFs on the Fly

Oct. 2, 2019
These flexible frequency up/downconverters operate to 40 GHz and provide IFs with user-tunable bandwidths

Changing electronic threats often require significant system upgrades to respond to demands for different frequency coverage. Fortunately, the Spectrum Series RFT-3200 frequency downconverter and RFT-4200 frequency upconverter from Mercury Systems provide almost instant adaptability to the changing needs of electronic-warfare (EW) and electronic-intelligence (ELINT) systems by allowing system integrators and system operators to dynamically change the intermediate frequencies (IFs) of the frequency converters as needed.

The frequency converters provide RF coverage to 40 GHz with tunable IFs and IF bandwidths. Narrow bandwidths can be used to decrease system noise and improve system sensitivity for detection of low-level signals. Wider IF bandwidth can be used for scanning large segments of spectrum for unknown threats and for signal surveillance/identification purposes. Such bandwidth flexibility allows a single frequency upconverter and/or downconverter to perform the tasks of multiple frequency converters, reducing overall system costs and size. These flexible frequency converters permit IF bandwidths to be tuned to the requirements of different digital hardware, such as analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and digital-to-analog converters (DACs), as needed.

“Today’s announcement reinforces Mercury’s industry leadership in developing configurable microwave technology capable of intercepting a greater variety of electronic signals of interest,” said Neal Austin, vice president and general manager of Mercury’s Embedded Sensor Processing group. “Deploying EW and ELINT systems with our novel architecture will enable the warfighter to perform real-time system optimization, improving their ability to detect, analyze and mitigate threats while also providing more information to key decision-makers on the battlefield.”

The frequency converters are available in phase-coherent configurations using a modular design approach for flexibility. Different form factors are available, including benchtop, 19-in. rack-mount, and ATR chassis with modules. The converters support a complete SCPI-based command set accessible over Ethernet or serial ports.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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