How to Test Satcom Mixers

Microwave Network Analyzer
+ Microwave Network Analyzer

Characterizing satcom mixer performance

Characterizing mixers and other frequency-translating components requires nonlinear measurements of mixer gain, gain flatness, group delay, gain and phase compression, intermodulation distortion (IMD), and noise figure. A single testbed with a network analyzer and multiple measurement software applications is used to measure all mixer parameters.

Software measurement applications reconfigure the network analyzer for each frequency-translating mixer characterization test. During testing, the engineer operates multiple measurement applications without changing the configuration of the test setup. The integrated approach improves throughput by up to 100x vs. legacy multi-instrument approaches where the testbed had to be reconfigured for each measurement.

Satcom mixer test solution

Satcom mixer test solution

Testing mixers requires a local oscillator source, an RF source, and an analyzer, plus measurement applications for the desired parameters. The Keysight PNA and PNA-X network analyzers integrate these capabilities, while supporting measurement software enables a wide range of mixer tests with a single test setup, including forward/reverse linear characterization, compression, distortion, and noise figure. Direct digital synthesizer (DDS) sources in the network analyzer achieve extremely low phase (122 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset at 10 GHz carrier, typical) and low spur levels (< 80 dBc, typical), making phase measurements more stable.

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