Frequency Versus Time We think of frequency sources such as RF and microwave signal generators as well controlled sources of frequency. It is easy to verify signal source performance using standard test equipment such as spectrum analyzers, frequency counters, or signal source analyzers. These instruments are fine so long as the signal source is relatively stable at a fixed frequency. But what if you need to analyze what happens as the frequency source slews from one frequency to another such as in the case of a sweep generator, frequency synthesizer or simple VCO? You won't have much luck using conventional instrumentation to measure these. What is needed is an instrument that can measure frequency versus time.
Phase Noise Testing
Quick phase noise tests can be made with a spectrum analyzer, and many spectrum analyzers have built-in phase noise measurement capability. But often times the phase noise requirement of the signal source under test exceeds the performance of the particular spectrum analyzer that might be available in your lab.
Phase noise testing is likely to be a performance test that only needs to be done occasionally, during development for example, and is not necessary on a routine unit-to-unit basis. It doesn't make sense to have a $70k+ test instrument sitting around idly in your lab.
Since phase noise analysis is a vital part of what we have to do in developing our signal source products, we have invested in the equipment to do the job. We routinely use test and optimize our products using our Berkeley Nucleonics 20GHz signal source analyzer.
We can make phase noise measurements on your product too and provide you with tabular data, PN offset frequency plots, and jitter analysis. We can also help you improve your system by offering suggestions and showing you how to improve your product’s phase noise and stability.
Contact us for a discussion on how we can help and provide you with an estimate.
Today, we officially announce the Valon 5015, a new model in our line-up of frequency synthesizers. In this blog, Stuart provides some background on why we developed it, its capabilities, and the challenges of delivering the best phase noise on the market at a very low price point.
Lord Kelvin was right: If you can’t measure it, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
The key to designing and manufacturing high quality electronic equipment is the ability to make measurements on various parameters accurately, repeatedly, and quickly. With signal sources such as oscillators, VCOs, TCXOs, and frequency synthesizers, no parameter is more important that signal purity. The Holy Grail of signal purity is PHASE NOISE.
Have you ever been using a piece of test equipment and needed to go above or below the end of its range?
Ever wonder why the limit was a brick wall and you couldn’t get a few extra megacycles beyond?
Fortunately you don't have to wonder if you are using one of our Valon 5009 Dual Frequency Synthesizer modules.
The Valon 5009 is dual-channel radio frequency synthesizer covering 23.5MHz to 6000MHz. There are two independent RF sources contained within the same module. The Operations Manual refers to these as Source1 and Source2. Both Sources are phase locked to the same internal or external frequency reference frequency and either Source can be controlled by the USB port using any terminal emulator program, our supplied 5009term.exe text based terminal program, or the provided V5009 Configuration Manager GUI.