Effectively Analyze Modern Pulsed Signals

Oct. 12, 2015
An application note demonstrates the latest hardware and software capable of analyzing today’s complex pulse environments.

Pulsed signals are prevalent in radar and other electronic-warfare (EW) applications. The task of accurately measuring these pulses remains challenging because of several factors. In the application note, “New Pulse Analysis Techniques for Radar and EW,” Keysight Technologies discusses tools for different types of pulse analysis. Display and analysis techniques for various signals and measurement goals are described. In addition, several signal-acquisition and processing technologies are presented.

In the past, swept spectrum analyzers were generally used to perform basic pulse measurements. This approach was adequate for simple pulses and signal environments containing only a single pulse train. But modern systems use much more complex pulses. A number of different pulses from one or multiple emitters may be included in many signal environments. Because of the combination of complex signals and detailed measurement requirements, pulse measurements must be performed using digital-signal-processing (DSP) techniques on sampled and digitized signal information.

The application note examines two different RF/microwave hardware platforms that can be used for pulse measurements: signal analyzers and oscilloscopes/digitizers. To be used for this purpose, signal analyzers must have a wideband digital intermediate-frequency (IF), while oscilloscopes or digitizers are required to have sampling rates that are high enough to directly handle RF/microwave signals at baseband. An examination of both hardware options, as well as the tradeoffs of each, is provided in the literature. After signals have been sampled, a variety of software solutions are available for analysis needs. A description of those options also is included.

The pulse analysis process is described as a sequence of three steps, which is explained in detail. Various techniques used to meet the challenges of analyzing complex pulse environments are discussed, such as IF and frequency mask triggering. The segmented memory feature, which enables oscilloscopes to capture a significantly greater number of pulses, is explained as well. Additionally, a new pulse measurement option for the 89600 vector-signal-analysis (VSA) software is presented, as this feature enables the analysis results of large numbers of pulses to be organized in tabular or graphical form.

Keysight Technologies Inc., 1400 Fountaingrove Pkwy., Santa Rosa, CA 95403; (707) 577-2663

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