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# RF Power Measurement Basics

Agenda

RF signal theory

## Vital system characteristics

Sampling techniques

## Product specification examples

Understanding Important Parameters
Technologies effected by Power Measurements

## Automotive EMV, Radar (Collision Avoidance Systems,

Parking Aids, Speed Control), EMV,
Communication, Telemetry

## Consumer Electronics Communication, CATV, WLAN, Microwave

Measuring Power: Essential for Circuit Design

## This webinar discusses vital factors supporting

better product design and maintenance.

## Component and system output signals are critical in the design

and performance of almost all RF and microwave equipment.

## Signal measurement levels are critical at every system level

from the single component to the overall system.

## In a system, each component must receive a proper signal level

from the previous component.
Why Measure RF Signal Levels

## A component output signal

level is often the critical factor
in the design of RF and MW
Signal content gets lost in noise, causing high BER
equipment.

## Signal too low

information gets lost in
noise Signal information gets lost, due to clipping
Signal too high
Signal is clipped
Component can be
destroyed
Too much power destroys circuitry
RF Signal Theory
Why Not Just Measure Voltage?

DC and low-frequency
measurements can be
calculated by the formula: V RL
P=U2/R.
I

## Depending in the match Low frequency allow easy power measurements

between RF or MW source
impedance, parts of the signal Forward
Power
Effective
Power
RI
energy is reflected.
RL
~
A waveguide setup makes it
Reflected
Power

## very difficult to measure

voltage.
Specifics of RF Power?

## RF and MW systems show different

V I
behavior: Voltage and current vary
depending on the position measured.

Amplitude
Power stays the same at every point.
t

## In RF Domain power refers

usually to average power [Pavr]
V*I Pavr

## PRF = Pavr = V * I * cos()

Amplitude
cos() = phase angle between t
V and I
V I
Note:
Frequency of power is double the AC frequency
Power Units (W, dBm)

unit of time.

## Basic power unit is Watt (W): AC component of Power DC Component of Power

1W = 1 joule / sec

Amplitude
A logarithmic (decibel) scale is
often used to compare power
levels:
Relative Power t
P(dB) = 10 log (P/Pref)

Absolute Power
P(dBm) = 10 log (P/1mW)
Power Meters Measure Power Envelope

RF Power Sensors
Types of Sensors

## Thermocouple: True RMS measurement

Relatively insensitive to temporary overpowering.
Moderate dynamic range (typically 40dB)
Slow
Diode (CW): True RMS measurement in the square root area.
Very sensitive to temporary overpowering.
Very high dynamic range (typically 90dB)
Faster
Diode (Peak): True RMS measurement in the square root area.
Very sensitive to temporary overpowering.
Moderate to high dynamic range (typically 40 80dB)
Very Fast
Sensors

## The matching resistor is the termination for the RF signal. RF

voltage is turned into DC voltage at the diode. The capacitor C
smoothes the rippled output signal and serves as a low pass
filter.
Ccpl

Rsource
RL 50 Ohms C Vout
Vsource ~
Dual-Diode Sensors

## Boonton uses dual-diode sensors. Why?

Static effects: Double the output voltage (Villard Principle)
Dynamic effects: Better suppression of harmonic content
Ccpl

Rsource
RL C
Vsource ~
Vout

C
Fast Diode Sensors
Ccpl Ri

Rsource
RL C RC
Vsource ~
Vout

C RC

Ri

## Influence of Ri, C and Rc on pulse traise = Ri * C

measurements: tfall = Rc * C
Vital System Characteristics
Choosing Power Meters / Sensors

VSWR

Frequency

Bandwidth

## Sample rate / Effective sample rate

Fourier Transformation (FFT)

## Every non-sinusoid signal consists

of sinusoids of equal and higher
frequencies.

## Amplitude of the base frequency

and its multiples depends on the
form of the original signal.

## If any components of the test

setup elements have insufficient
capability to handle these
frequencies, the measurement will
be inaccurate and the signal trace
FFT (2)
Nyquist

## The NyquistShannon Sampling Theorem states: the minimum

sampling frequency of a limited bandwidth, time-continuous
analog signal may be no less than twice the maximum signal
frequency in order to fully reconstruct an signal from the
acquired discrete data.
Nyquist

## Nyquists Theorem applies also to non-

baseband signal frequencies with limited
bandwidth.

## The required sample frequency depends

on the signals bandwidth. The sampling
rate must then be higher than twice the
occupied bandwidth.

## Harry Nyquist 1889-1976

Example: a 1900 MHz signal with a bandwidth of 5 MHz would require a sampling frequency of
just above 10 MHz to provide a sufficient number of data points to fully reconstruct the signal.
Sampling Techniques
Sampling

## Sampling gathers slices of a signal envelope Sample points are interpolated

at specific time intervals. with a sin(x)/x function. The
sampling rate in this example is
Minimum requirements: samples fulfill about 1.5 times the Nyquist
Nyquist requirements. Measurements (dots) frequency.
are mathematically and graphically Due to the rectangular form of the

## connected to rebuild the original signal. original signal the representation

comes with a high harmonic
content.
Repetitive Random Sampling

## Power meters take continuous samples independent of trigger

event. Although taken sequentially in time, they are
sweep.

## As a result, the waveform is completely reconstructed.

Repetitive Random Sampling
Detailed Pulses Analysis
1)

2)

3)
Product Specification Examples
Boonton Power Meters (excerpt)

## Dynamic Power Range: 90dB *

Frequency: 40 GHz*

## Effective Sample Rate: up to 10GSa/s

* Sensor dependent

Boonton Systems Sensors (excerpt)

47dBm

## Dynamic Power Range: up to

90dB

Frequency: up to 40 GHz

Conclusion

RF signal theory

## Vital system characteristics

Sampling techniques