Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going Non-linear

Like at IMS, there was a lot of buzz about various new non-linear characterization techniques at EuMW 2009. X-parameters from Agilent seem to be catching on and they now have many case studies/examples that show the benefits or using them. There is also S-functions from NMDG which was in the Rohde & Schwarz booth and MWJ has an article in the Sept issue covering their non-linear extensions. I also visited with Heuermann HF-Technik GmbH which is also involved with non-linear measurement and provides software that will work with any NVNA for automation of non-linear measurments.

Mesuro is working with Tektronix and has developed a high performance active load pull system that simplifies and speeds up the measurement and characterization. This lead me to check out the load pull companies such as Maury and Focus. Maury has added a high power capability so you can test X-parameters at up to 25 or 50 Watts and impedance can be a variable now. They have drag and drop capability for file import into ADS. Focus has also improved their system greatly with the measurements made before the tuners so calibration only has to be performed once and the results are more accurate.

A group of companies including Anritsu, AWR, HFE, Mesuro, NMDG, R&S and Tektronix have joined to create the Openwave Forum. The alliance seeks to standardize the data format for the industry so that customers have the choice of tools, equipment and vendors to use. You can visit their web site at

There is a lot of information out there on these new techniques and models so we hope to bring you future articles and information that will sort it all out. Our March Test and Measurement issue will also cover the subject in detail.


I always like to find one new product that catches my attention that is from a smaller company that I have not seem before. At EuMW that was Accel-RF. Their new High Power RF (HiPR-AARTS) Automated Accelerated Reliability Test System will help manufacturers prove reliability for application specific GaN devices.

Manufacturers are using Accel-RF’s equipment to prove intrinsic reliability and performance degradation characteristics of GaN technology on discrete devices and lower power MMICs. The next stage in the development of the technology is to build and test high power devices for use in radar and military and communication electronics. The new system is either liquid or air cooled, has RF and DC pulsing capability, and can handle device power dissipation of up to 200 watts each. The system is very compact and can now test devices up to 60 GHz. I was very impressed with its capabilities.

EuMW Gala Celebration at Vatican

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Wed night gala at the Vatican and it was a spectacular event. We received a full tour, visit to the garden area and dinner in the Vatican. What a great opportunity for about 350 EuMW attendees to experience.

We broke up into small groups for the tours with headsets (wireless) that receive the guide's narration as there are many groups around as you walk through. We ended in the Sistine Chapel and then made our way out into the garden. After, we sat inside the Vatican for a beautifully catered dinner. Paolo Lampariello, General Chairman of EuMW, welcomed everyone and challenged next year's chair to top his event with perhaps a visit to the Louvre in Paris. Could be a great opportunity to attend the gala next year!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Free Workshops at EuMW

Don't miss the workshops and tutorials at EuMW as a chance to learn about a new area or brush up on an existing expertise. This year there is quite a wide range of exhibitor workshops that are free and open to anyone. Agilent has a series of test and measurement workshops ranging from nonlinear measurement to MIMO design. Rohde & Schwarz also has nonlinear plus other types of measurement workshopds. And Keithley has one covering LTE testing so there is quite a selection on the test/measurement front. Ansoft has a series of 3 workshops on simulation and modeling and CST is giving in-booth tutorials. So don't miss the chance to learn something new - free workshops are always a plus.

Agilent Unveiling of PXA

Agilent unveiled the PXA signal analyzer today which replaces the high end PSA unit and completes the X series with a full line ranging from the low cost CXA to the high performance PXA. The unit features 75 dB spurious free dynamic range at 140 MHz bandwidth which is the best in the industry.

Agilent now has the low cost CXA which starts as low as $12.5k. Then the economy class unit is the EXA, the mid class is the MXA and of course, the high performance unit is now the PXA. Guy Sene and Ron Nersesian were on hand to pull the blanket off the surprise unveiling in their booth complemented with champagne. Not a bad way to announce it!
They have some 20 demos in their booth covering ADS, NVNA/X-parameters, wideband receivers, scanning MW microscopy, etc. which we will cover in our wrap up article.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We arrived in Rome on Sunday and the weather is beautiful (sunny and 80s during the day, high 60s are night). After some quick sightseeing in the afternoon we made our way over to the conference Monday morning. The venue is nice but quite spread out and not much surrounding the area. The sessions are in large, nicely arranged rooms all in the same area with a cafe so the setup is very well done for the conference. The exhibition is in a separate building next door so hopefully everyone will make there way over when it opens tomorrow.

In quickly looking through the sessions, there seems to be much more about higher class amplifiers (Class E and F including inverse versions) as the demand for more power/efficiency increases and the characterization techniques improve. It will be interesting to hear the details about power amplifiers that are over 75% efficient! There also seems to be more CMOS based devices as Si is ever improving its upper frequency limits and of course, more about GaN amplifiers. The passive devices are always getting smaller and doing more functions than their previous generations.

The exhibition starts tomorrow and the setup is nearing completion. The exhibition hall is well laid out and just the right size for this type of show. The large test and measurement companies dominate the entrance with Agilent, Rohde & Schwarz and Anritsu present with large booths. Of course, the component and software companies are well represented along with the large Italian defense companies Electtronica/Selex and Finmeccanica providing a large sponsorship which we don't typically see at the other European locations. It is nice to see such good local support - maybe they can continue in the other locations.

Let me know your impressions of the conference and exhibition.