Test & Measurement

Signal generator frequency range extended to 67GHz

2nd July 2019
Mick Elliott

The analogue microwave signal generator R&S SMA100B from Rohde & Schwarz now provides microwave signals up to 67GHz. In overrange operation, it can provide signals up to 72GHz. The instrument generates signals with lowest single sideband phase noise and highest output power with extremely low harmonics at the same time.

The generator now covers frequency ranges of up to 31.8GHz, 40GHz, 50GHz and 67GHz. The analogue microwave signal generator supports all relevant application fields in the aerospace & defence, wireless communications and semiconductor industries. It targets all microwave applications and can be used for the characterisation of microwave components, devices and systems.

The 40GHz instrument covers all major radar bands, and with the 67GHz instrument engineers have a signal source that covers the emerging Q/V band used for very high throughput satellite feeder links.

With the introduction of the 5G mobile network standard, first commercial deployments will use frequencies up to 39GHz or even higher, while the use of frequencies beyond 40 GHz is under investigation.

The 67GHz instrument supports component testing in the 60GHz frequency range also for non-cellular standards such as IEEE 802.11ad and in overrange operation for standards such as IEEE 802.11ay.

Thanks to its ultra-low phase noise option, the R&S SMA100B can output the purest RF signals with a single sideband phase noise of –120dBc/Hz (40GHz, 20kHz offset; measured). It can act as an ideal local oscillator (LO) during radar system integration or in radar test systems.

With the increase in sample rates of analogue to digital converters (ADC) and digital to analogue converters (DAC), clean RF carriers with lowest phase noise and lowest wideband noise are required.

Lowest wideband noise of –150dBc/Hz (e.g. at 30GHz, 40MHz offset; measured) helps to measure the true performance of a device.

At microwave frequencies, attenuation from cables and test fixtures is usually a concern. The R&S SMA100B offers different output power stages to compensate for these losses.

Users can upgrade their 31.8GHz, 40GHz, 50GHz and 67GHz instrument to ultra-high power performance via a keycode without having to send the instrument back to service.

With the ultra-high output power option, the instruments provide sufficient output power with extremely low harmonics, eliminating the need for external amplifiers and filters and simplifying setups at the same time.

Equipped with this output power option, a 40GHz instrument delivers up to 27dBm at 25GHz, while a 67GHz instrument provides up to 23dBm at 40GHz and up to 17dBm at 67GHz.

More than 70dB of uninterrupted RF level sweep without glitches or signal blanks during the level sweep.

With an ultra-high output power option installed, the generator is ideal for measuring the gain transfer curve or output saturation point of high power devices such as amplifiers based on GaN technology or travelling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs) used in modern satellites.

When equipped with the Scan AM software option, the instrument can simulate amplitude variation coming from scanning radar antennas in order to perform receiver tests with modulation depths of more than 70dB.

The R&S SMA100B is included in the R&S LegacyPro program and can easily replace obsolete signal generators from Rohde & Schwarz and other manufacturers in automated test environments without the need to modify the test software

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