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Learn RF Spectrum Analysis Basics
• Overview: Spectrum analysis and its measurements • Theory of Operation: Spectrum analyzer hardware • Frequency Specifications • Questions and Answers break • Amplitude Specifications • Summary • Questions and Answers break
• Name the major measurement strengths of a swept-tuned spectrum analyzer • Explain the importance of frequency resolution, sensitivity, and dynamic range in making analyzer measurements • Outline the procedure making accurate distortion measurements
Overview: What is Spectrum Analysis?
9 kHz - 26.5 GHz
Types of Tests Made
Modulation Modulation Noise Noise Distortion Distortion
Frequency Versus Time Domain Amplitude (power) f y enc requ ti m e Time domain Measurements Page 6 Frequency Domain Measurements .
Fourier Spectrum Analyzer Fourier analyzer transforms a signal over time into a frequency spectrum Display Amplitude f1 Page 7 f2 Frequency .
Swept-Tuned Spectrum Analyzer Filter “sweeps” over a frequency range Display Amplitude f1 Page 8 f2 Frequency f .
Agenda • Overview: Spectrum analysis and its measurements • Theory of Operation: Spectrum analyzer hardware • Frequency Specifications • Questions and Answers break • Amplitude Specifications • Summary • Questions and Answers break Page 9 .
Spectrum Analyzer Block Diagram RF Input Attenuator Input Filter Local Oscillator Frequency Reference Page 10 Mixer IF IF Gain Filter Log Amp Sweep Generator Detector Video Filter Display .
The Mixer: Key to a Wide Frequency MIXER Range Input RF IF LO fLO-fin 0 fLO fLO+fin 0 fin RF = Radio frequency LO = local oscillator IF = intermediate frequency Page 11 0 fLO .
Intermediate Frequency (IF) Filter IF FILTER Input • IF Bandwidth: also known as resolution bandwidth and RBW • Provides shape of frequency domain signal Page 12 Actual Displayed f f .
Detector Input DETECTOR Amplitude Values Displayed Positive detection: largest Negative detection: smallest Sample detection: last Page 13 .
Video Filter Input VIDEO FILTER Without video filtering Page 14 With video filtering .
Local Oscillator and Sweep Generator LO SWEEP GEN frequency LCD DISPLAY • Provides swept display Page 15 .
Input Attenuator and IF Gain Circuits RF INPUT ATTENUATOR IF GAIN • Protects input circuits • Calibrates signal amplitude • Keeps signal display position constant Page 16 .
Agenda • Overview: Spectrum analysis and its measurements • Theory of Operation: Spectrum analyzer hardware • Frequency Specifications • Questions and Answers break • Amplitude Specifications • Summary • Questions and Answers break Page 17 .
What Spectrum Analyzer Specifications are Important? • • • • • • Frequency Range Frequency and Amplitude Accuracy Frequency Resolution Sensitivity Distortion Dynamic Range Page 18 .
Frequency Range Low frequencies for baseband and IF High frequencies for harmonics and beyond Page 19 .
fin = fIF Page 20 fLO+fin 0 frequency .Getting the Frequency Range You Need 1 IF signal. fif 1 fin LO Mixer 2 3 fLO-fin 3 2 0 LO Range fif 0 fin Range fLO The input signal is displayed when fLO .
Getting the Frequency Range You Need LO Feedthrough 3 fLO fLO-fin fLO+fin fif 1 0 fin Range 2 0 Page 21 fin IF filter LO Sweep generator LO Range 4 0 Display .
Getting the Frequency Range You Need Input signal displayed fLO .fin = fIF 1 0 fin Range 2 0 Page 22 3 fLO-fin fLO fLO+fin fif fin fin LO 4 0 LO Range .
Getting the Frequency Range You Need • Lower frequency limited by LO feedthrough • Upper frequency limited by LO range and IF frequency • Microwave frequency measurement uses harmonic mixing Page 23 .
Frequency and Amplitude Accuracy Absolute Amplitude in dBm Relative Amplitude in dB Frequency Relative Frequency Page 24 .
Frequency and Amplitude Accuracy •Frequency accuracy: −Internal/external frequency reference −Use of internal counter •Amplitude accuracy: −Not as good as a power meter −Dependent upon measurement procedure −Excellent relative measurements Page 25 .
Signal Resolution What Determines Resolution? Resolution Bandwidth Residual FM RBW Type and Selectivity Page 26 Noise Sidebands .
IF Filter Bandwidth Mixer Input Spectrum LO 3 dB BW 3 dB Detector IF Filter/ Resolution Bandwidth Filter (RBW) Sweep RBW Display Page 27 .
Resolving Two Equal-level Signals 10 kHz RBW 3 dB 10 kHz Page 28 .
Resolving Two Unequal-level Signals •3 dB bandwidth •Selectivity (filter shape) 3 dB 3 dB BW 60 dB 60 dB BW Selectivity = Page 29 3 dB BW 60 dB BW .
5 kHz Page 30 . • …so the filter skirt is 7.5 kHz away from the filter’s center frequency 10 kHz 60 dB Distortion 7.. the 60 dB bandwidth is 15 x 1 kHz = 15 kHz..Resolving Two Unequal-level Signals • For a RBW of 1 kHz and a selectivity of 15:1.
Residual FM Residual FM "Smears" the Signal Page 31 .
Noise Sidebands (Phase Noise) Phase Noise Noise Sidebands can prevent resolution of unequal signals Page 32 .
Sweep Rate Swept too fast Penalty For Sweeping Too Fast Is An Uncalibrated Display Page 33 .
Analog versus Digital Resolution Bandwidths Typical Selectivity Analog 15:1 Digital 5:1 Analog Filter Digital Filter RES BW 100 Hz SPAN 3 kHz Page 34 .
video bandwidth.Rules to Analyze By: Use the Analyzer’s Automatic Settings Whenever Possible • When using the analyzer in its preset mode. check for “uncal” messages Page 35 . and accurate • Automatic selection of resolution bandwidth. most measurements will be easy. fast. sweep time and input attenuation • When manually changing the analyzer parameters.
Are There Any Questions? .
Agenda • Overview: Spectrum analysis and its measurements • Theory of Operation: Spectrum analyzer hardware • Frequency Specifications • Questions and Answers break • Amplitude Specifications • Summary • Questions and Answers break Page 37 .
Page 38 .Sensitivity and Displayed Average Noise Level RF Input Mixer RES BW Filter LO Detector Sweep A spectrum analyzer generates and amplifies noise just like any active circuit.
RF Input Attenuator Effects Displayed noise is a function of RF input attenuation signal level 10 dB Attenuation = 20 dB Attenuation = 10 dB Signal-to-noise ratio decreases as RF input attenuation is increased Page 39 .
IF Filter (Resolution Bandwidth) Effects Decreased BW = Decreased Noise Displayed noise is a function of IF filter bandwidth 10 dB 10 dB 100 kHz RBW 10 kHz RBW 1 kHz RBW Best sensitivity = narrowest RBW Page 40 .
Video Bandwidth Effects Video BW smoothes noise for easier identification and measurement of lowlevel signals Page 41 .
Sensitivity .2 dB .the smallest signal that can be measured Signal equals noise Page 42 ~2.
Rules to Analyze By: Getting the Best Sensitivity Requires Three Settings • • • Narrowest resolution bandwidth Minimum RF attenuation Sufficient video filter to smooth noise (VBW < 0.01 Resolution BW) Page 43 .
Where is Distortion Generated? Mixers Generate Distortion Resulting signal Signal to be measured Frequency translated signals Mixer-generated distortion Page 44 .
Most Influential Distortion is the Second and Third Order < -50 dBc < -40 dBc < -50 dBc Two-Toned Intermod Harmonic Distortion Page 45 .
the 2nd changes 2 dB and the 3rd changes 3 dB. Page 46 .Distortion Increases as a Function of the Fundamental’s Power 2nd 3rd Fundamental Harmonic Harmonic ∆ =1 dB Power in dB ∆=2 dB ∆=3 dB 3f f 2f For every dB fundamental level change.
a graphical solution is practical.How Distortion Amplitudes Change ∆ =1 dB 1 dB/dBfund ∆=2 dB 2 dB/dBfund ∆=3 dB f 2f 3f Since distortion changes relative to the fundamental. Page 47 .
dBm Page 48 .Plotting Distortion as a Function of Third Order Mixer Level 0 Intercept . dBc -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 -60 Second Order Third Order -30 0 +5 +30 Power at the mixer = Input level minus the attenuator setting.TOI . Distortion.
at least some of the distortion is being generated inside the analyzer (internal) .Rules to Analyze by: A Simple Distortion Test Is the distortion from the signal or from the analyzer? 1 Change Input Attenuation by 10 dB RF INPUT ATTENUATOR 2 IF GAIN Watch Signal on Screen: No change in amplitude distortion is part of input signal (external) Page 49 Change in amplitude .
Dynamic Range Optimum Amplitude Difference Between Large and Small Signals Dynamic Range Page 50 .
Displayed Noise Limits Dynamic Range 0 Distortion. . dBm Page 51 -60 . dBc -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 1 kHz RBW Displayed average noise level can be plotted like distortion. Noise at 10 kHz RBW -30 0 +30 Power at the mixer = Input level minus the attenuator setting.
Page 52 .Dynamic Range as a Function of Distortion and Noise Level Distortion and Signalto-Noise. dBc 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 -30 0 +30 Power at the mixer = Input level minus the attenuator setting. . dBm -60 Maximum 2nd Order Dynamic Range Maximum 3rd Order Dynamic Range .
dBc/Hz Sideb and N oise Dynamic Range Limited By Distortion and Displayed Noise Displayed Noise Level 100 kHz to 1 MHz Page 53 .Close-in Dynamic Range Limited by Noise Sidebands Dynamic Range Limited By Noise Sidebands.
Rules to Analyze by: Determining Dynamic Range Your spectrum analyzer’s dynamic range is dependent upon: • Internal second and/or third order distortion • Displayed noise level • Noise sidebands when close to large signals Page 54 .
Dynamic Range is Defined by Your Application +30 dBm Maximum Power Level +10 dBm Mixer Compression Measurement Range 145 dB -35 dBm Third-order Distortion -45 dBm Second-order Distortion Signal/Noise Range 105 dB Third Order 0 dBc Noise Sidebands Distortion ~80 dB Second Order Noise Distortion Sidebands ~70 dB 60 dBc/1 kHz -115 dBm Displayed Noise (1 kHz RBW. 0 dB attenuation) Page 55 .
Summary • The RF spectrum analyzer is a heterodyne receiver • Offers a narrow resolution capability over a wide frequency range • Measures small signals in presence of large signals • Remember to: —Adjust the measurement procedure for specific application —Test for internal distortion —Take sideband noise into account Page 56 .
5 / 325 GHz Rugged/Portable Fast & Accurate Unparalled range of performance and application options.Swept Tuned PSA Series Highest performance SA! 3 Hz to 50 GHz Pre-selection to 50 GHz Worlds best accuracy (0. Remote WEB interface ESA-L Series 856X.Agilent Spectrum Analyzer Product Families .5 GHz General Purpose Rugged/Portable Fully synthesized Page 57 .EC Series Super Mid-Performance 30 Hz to 50 / 325 GHz Rugged/Portable Pre-selection to 50 GHz Color LCD Display Low Phase Noise Digital 1 Hz RBW Low cost 9 kHz up to 26. ESA-E Series Mid-Performance 30 Hz to 26.24dB) 160 RBW settings Phase noise optimization FFT or swept at any RBW Complete set of detectors Fastest spur search Vector signal analysis.
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