AUTOTESTCON Gathers ATE Equipment Suppliers

July 15, 2008
This conference and exhibition brings together test equipment and associated hardware suppliers with a common interest in meeting the demanding measurement requirements of the US military.

Automatic measurement solutions for military applications have their place, and each year they can be found in abundance at the annual IEEE AUTOTESTCON conference. The next AUTOTESTCON (, which is scheduled for Sept. 8-11 in the Salt Palace Convention Center (Salt Lake City, UT), has been held annually since 1965. It features more than 250 exhibition booths. What follows is a sampling of what might be found on the exhibit floor this September from RF/microwave test-equipment suppliers.

For example, Aeroflex ( will be showing its lines of PXI-based test instruments, including the latest addition to its PXI signal generator family, the model 3020C PXI modular digital RF signal generator. Suitable for commercial and military applications, it ranges from 1 MHz to 3 GHz with power levels from -102 to +6 dBm. It features a built-in dualchannel arbitrary waveform generator for modulation flexibility with modulation bandwidths to 90 MHz. The modular signal generator can perform high-speed switching in less than 250 microseconds in list mode.

Anritsu ( offers both RF/microwave and optical test instruments for research and manufacturing applications, such as the MG3690B series of signal generators with a total range of 0.1 Hz to 70 GHz. That range can be extended to 325 GHz and higher with external multipliers. The signal generators provide +20 dBm output power to 20 GHz with -94 dBc/ Hz phase noise offset 1 kHz from the carrier. Modulation capabilities include amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), phase modulation, and pulse modulation.

Agilent Technologies ( will display a small portion of its many measurement solutions, such as its new nonlinear vector-network-analyzer (VNA) system. It offers nonlinear component characterization from 10 MHz to 26.5 GHz using new nonlinear scattering parameters called X-parameters. It also includes nonlinear pulse envelope domain measurement and analysis capabilities.

Boonton Electronics (, a Wireless Telecom Group Company (, will offer insights into its new model 4540 RF power meter series, introduced at the IEEE Microwave Theory & Techniques (MTT-S) last month in Atlanta, GA. The new 4540 series is ideal for military radar and commercial wireless testing, with two channels and a powermeasurement range of -70 to +44 dBm for CW signals and -55 to +20 dBm for peak power levels at frequencies to 110 GHz, depending upon the choice of power sensor. The power meters boast a video bandwidth of 70 MHz and input risetime as fast as 7 ns.

Keithley Instruments ( will be demonstrating its latest LXI-compliant 2900 series vector signal generators and 2800 series vector signal analyzers. The model 2920 vector signal generator, for example, is available for an output range of 10 MHz to 4 GHz or 6 GHz with an output-power range of -125 to +13 dBm. The generator features absolute amplitude accuracy within 1.2 dB with better than 1.3 ms typical frequency switching speed in list mode. The source incorporates an arbitrary waveform generator for producing wideband (80-MHz-bandwidth) modulation, including AM, FM, phase modulation, and pulse modulation. In support of the instruments, the company recently announced version 2.0 of its SignalMeister waveform creation software for use with the 2900 series vector signal generators.

In terms of test software, National Instruments ( will be sharing many examples of customers using its LabView software in support of automated testing. For example, Boeing ( uses LabView in conjunction with PXI hardware instruments to measure aircraft noise emissions. With the release of version 8.5, users have greater capabilities and ease of use.

GeoTest (Marvin Test Systems) ( will show its model GX1100 high-performance single-channel PXI signal generator among its many offerings. The generator features direct-digital-synthesizer (DDS) and arbitrarywaveform- generation capabilities for a wide range of complex waveform-generation applications. It supports samples rates to 100 Mb/s and is capable of generating low-distortion sinewave signals to 30 MHz. The hardware is supported by the company's WaveEasy software.

Phase Matrix ( will display its lines of traditional and synthetic test instruments, including traditional frequency counters (the former EIP Microwave products) operating through 26.5 GHz as well as VXI and PXI modular instruments. The VXI instruments include frequency upconverters for use through 20 GHz, frequency downconverters through 26.5 GHz, and a low-noise local oscillator (LO) capable of generating signals from 3 to 9 GHz.

Rohde & Schwarz (, which will be celebrating its 75th year in operation at AUTOTESTCON, will show examples of its extensive lines of signal generation and analysis instruments, such as the R&S TS9975 electromagnetic-interference (EMI) test system for commercial, automotive, and military use. The system combines hardware and software and includes an anechoic chamber, controller, test receiver, antennas, and software. The system can be specified to 3, 7, 18, 26, or 40 GHz.

Tektronix (, perhaps best known for its high-performance oscilloscopes, will have samples of its capabilities at AUTOTESTCON, including the TDS5000B digital phosphor oscilloscope (DPO). With bandwidths of 350, 500, and 1000 MHz, and the capability to capture as many as 100,000 waveforms/s, these high-speed scopes offer sampling rates to 1.25 GSamples/s to reveal the smallest details of transient signals.

Teradyne ( will be on hand to explain its Spectrum 9100-series Functional Test Platform. Suitable for commercial and military customers, the test system features a modular open architecture that can be modified to meet the needs of almost any application, regardless of fixture configurations. The test platform is widely used throughout the US Department of Defense (DoD) and by its prime contractors to test and troubleshoot at circuit levels from printed-circuit boards (PCBs) to complete systems.

VXI Technology ( and its high-frequency business unit, VTI Microwave, (, will show its EX7000 family of scalable open-architecture RF interface unit (RFIU) subsystems. The LXI-compliant systems can be used to control a wide range of RF/microwave signal-switching and processing components, including attenuators and switches in providing signal-routing solutions for measurement systems. This is a sample of the hundreds of suppliers displaying products in Salt Lake City.

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