RF Component and System Measurements - CEI-Europe
Course #86

RF Component and System Measurements

October 23 - 27, 2017 . Barcelona, Spain

We recommend you to submit your preliminary or firm registration at least 4 weeks before course start to ensure a seat on the course.

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Radio frequency and microwave techniques are of increasing importance to industrial, communication, home, and office applications. Production testing, design verification, and sometimes even the design itself require highly specialized measurement and test techniques. Accordingly, there is a rising demand for engineers who have a sound knowledge in RF and microwave laboratory measurement techniques. 

This course will familiarize the participants with distinctive features and tools of RF and microwave techniques, such as features of resonant circuits, distortion and noise problems, reflection and matching, the S-parameters, and the handy Smith Chart tool. 
Based on this acquired basic knowledge, we will focus on features and applications of signal generators, spectrum analyzers, network analyzers, and signal analyzers, including the most commonly used accessories. Practical examples will demonstrate the proper use of RF measurement equipment. 

The Approach to RF and Microwave Technology 
This first lecture will demonstrate typical ways to approach and deal with RF and microwave techniques and problems. We introduce parameters that describe reflections and mismatch and learn how to use the Smith Chart as a powerful tool for impedance transformations. 

Building blocks and components are often described by 2-port parameters. We therefore introduce measurement setups for Z-, Y- and S-parameters and learn how to use the parameters to describe the behavior of circuits.

  • Basic Definitions
  • Passive Components at RF
  • Reflection and Matching
  • The Smith Chart
  • 2-Port Parameters

The Effect of Transmission Lines 
Transmission lines form the connections between RF and microwave measurement equipment and the devices under test. Therefore, we need to understand the characteristics of those transmission lines and their possible impact on the measured parameters. Practical situations in measurement setups will be demonstrated and discussed in 
great detail.

  • Transmission Lines
  • The Characteristic Impedance
  • Transmission Line Input Impedance
  • Transmission Line

Nonlinear Distortions and Noise 
Nonlinear distortions and noise limit the performance of any wireless system and in the same way of RF measurement equipment. We will introduce the underlying sources to nonlinear distortion and noise and identify the characteristic parameters to describe those 

  • The Generation of Nonlinear Distortions and Noise
  • Noise Figure
  • Intercept Points
  • Phase Noise and Its Characterization

RF Laboratory Accessories 
RF laboratory accessories are different from those used at lower frequencies and can substantially affect the dependability and accuracy of measurements. We will therefore focus on the use of cables, attenuators, couplers, filters, mixers, and low noise amplifiers in a RF lab.

  • RF Cables
  • RF Connectors and Their Handling
  • Attenuators
  • Combiners and Splitters
  • Directional Couplers
  • Non-Reciprocal Components
  • RF Filters
  • Mixers
  • Low Noise Amplifiers

RF Signal Generators 
Operation principles of synthesizers and modulators used in microwave signal 
generators will be discussed. The design of generators requires certain compromises 
and practical generators always have their limitations. Practical hints for the use of signal generators in a measurement system will be revealed.

  • The PLL Synthesizer
  • The Direct Digital Synthesizer
  • Frequency Accuracy and Drift
  • Analog Modulation
  • Digital Modulation
  • I/Q Modulation
  • sr Modulation
  • Correction of the Frequency Deviation Error
  • The Use of Generators in Harmonics and Distortion Measurements

Swept Tuned Spectrum Analyzers 
The function of a swept tuned spectrum analyzer will be studied via a practical example. From this we will understand the importance of the spectrum analyzer settings and their impact on the performance. Like any other electronic device, the spectrum analyzer introduces nonlinear distortions and noise to the signal under test. These effects 
are described in detail. We will learn to find optimum settings to maximize the dynamic range for a given measurement.

  • Basic Function
  • Spectrum Analyzer Settings and Their Impact on the Performance
  • Nonlinear Distortions and Noise
  • The Dynamic Range of a Spectrum Analyzer

Vector Signal Analyzers 
By use of the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), the vector signal analyzer can perform the same measurements as the swept tuned spectrum analyzer. That includes frequency and level, harmonic distortion, and intercept point measurements. However, the dynamic range is smaller. As opposed to the swept tuned spectrum analyzer, the vector signal analyzer also provides information on the phase of the signal. Further, due to the increased Intermediate Frequency (IF) bandwidth, it can display time-dependant signals. The decomposition into in-phase and quadrature components gives information that is necessary if Quadrature 
Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) or Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) modulation formats are used.

  • Basic Function
  • Frequency Domain Measurements
  • Time Domain Measurements

Network Analyzers 
The function of various types of network analyzers will be studied. Systematic errors will be discussed and available methods of their correction introduced. We learn how to use vector network analyzers for reflection and transmission measurements as well as for the measurement of nonlinearity parameters.

  • Network Analyzer Architectures
  • Systematic Errors and Their Impact
  • Calibration of Network Analyzers
  • Deembedding and Port Extension
  • Measurements at Differential Ports
  • Common Mode, Differential Mode and Mixed-mode S Parameters

Hands-on Exercises 
Participants will apply their acquired knowledge on measurements on prepared devices.

Spectrum Analyzers:

  • Acquiring a Signal, Measuring Power and Frequency
  • Measuring the Occupied Bandwidth of a Modulated Signal
  • Intermodulation Measurements, OIP2 And OIP3
  • Measuring the Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Cold Source Noise Figure Measurement
  • Phase Noise Measurements
  • Frequency versus Time of a FSK Signal
  • Lock Time Estimation on a PLL

Network Analyzers:

  • Calibration with the Calibration Kit
  • S Parameters of a LNA
  • Measurements on SMD Components
  • Impedance Measurement on a PCB Antenna
  • Swept Power Measurement
  • Measurements on Differential Structures

citatteckenSaid about the course from previous participants:
"This course gives all basic knowledge on RF. Examples and simulations are very clear and interesting."
"It covers a wide range of things, of equipment that RF engineers are usually using."
"Basics on RF measurements and some details / ideas of RF design."
"Lot of practical examples, very useful. Good mix of topics covered! Experimental part good!"


CEI-Europe AB, Tulpanvägen 28, SE-585 64 Linghem, Sweden Phone +46-13-100 730 Fax +46-13-100 731 cei@cei.se