Signal Generator Ranges To 20 GHz

Jan. 26, 2010
This low-cost synthesized signal generator provides clean, high-level output signals without the complex modulation formats and complicated control interfaces of more expensive test signal sources.

Testing microwave components usually calls for a highquality signal source. The model HMC-T2100 synthesized signal generator from Hittite Microwave Corp. provides reliable, accurate test signals from 10 MHz to 20 GHz. It can be used for CW, sweptfrequency, and swept-power testing using its front-panel controls or a choice of programming interfaces.

The HMC-T2100 signal generator (Fig. 1) is designed to generate clean output signals without undue fuss or unneeded modulation. It does not provide amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), or pulse modulation like many of its more expensive competitors. But it does deliver low-noise CW output signals to 20 GHz, tunable with 10-kHz resolution at output levels to +27 dBm. The source's output levels can be adjusted over a 40-dB dynamic range, from -17 to +27 dBm, in 0.1-dB steps. Output signals are what one might expect from a test signal generator costing considerably more, with harmonic content held to -39 dBc at 1 GHz and spurious levels controlled to -65 dBc at 10 GHz. The single-sideband (SSB) phase noise is a respectable -113 dBc/Hz offset 100 kHz from a 1-GHz carrier, dropping to a noise floor that is at or below -150 dBc/Hz for all carriers (Fig. 2).

With switching speed of 300 s, the HMC-T2100 can execute a broadband frequency sweep quickly, meeting the needs of most production environments. In addition to the front-panel controls, the HMC-T2100 includes Universal Serial Bus (USB), GPIB, and Ethernet interfaces for flexibility in setting up a test system with remote control.

Setting up the HMC-T2100 in an automatic-test-equipment (ATE) application is straightforward. Each HMC-T2100 is supplied with instrument drivers as well as LabWindows graphical-user-interface (GUI) software. For more advanced requirements, multiple HMC-T2100 units can be integrated within a single environment.

At just 7 lbs. (3.2 kg), the HMC-T2100 is light enough to easily move around a laboratory or production facility for spot testing. In addition, a rack-mount kit is available to simplify integration into an ATE system. P&A: $7998.00; stock. Hittite Microwave Corp., 20 Alpha Rd., Chelmsford, MA 01824; (978) 250-3343, FAX: (978) 250-3373, Internet:

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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