Modular RF test platform

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 21 March 2008



(2008), "Modular RF test platform", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Modular RF test platform

Article Type: Equipment From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 2.

Aeroflex used its presence at European Microwave Week 2007 for the European launch its new modular RF test platform for wireless applications up to 6GHz. The scaleable platform claims the flexibility to easily perform at any stage of wireless development from research to manufacturing, and can integrate seamlessly into any wireless market including cellular, wireless data, RFIC test and military/aerospace.

The configurable RF measurement system encompasses three powerful new additions: New PXI 3000 Series hardware modules, PXI Studio software with new measurement plug- ins, and a new PXI instrument chassis to tie it all together.

“The combination of a single-sourced PXI instrument chassis, with system controller, PXI module resources and PXI Studio application software heralds the arrival of a complete out- of-the-box configurable and scalable RF measurement system that surpasses the performance of rack-and-stack instrumentation of old,” said Tim Carey, PXI Product Manager, Aeroflex Test Solutions. “The flexibility and speed offered by the Aeroflex 3000 Series modular platform sets a new benchmark for configurable instrumentation, offering users a degree of freedom never before imagined.”

New PXI modules extend frequency range coverage to include HF, VHF and UHF

The Aeroflex RF modular measurement system is comprised of PXI 3000 Series modules which now additionally include the 3025C 1MHz to 6GHz digital signal generator, 3030C 250kHz to 3GHz wideband RF digitizer and 3035C 250kHz to 6GHz wideband RF digitiser.

With this launch, the frequency range coverage of the PXI 3000 Series hardware modules has been extended to include all HF, VHF and UHF bands from 250kHz to 6GHz for signal analysis and 1MHz to 6GHz for signal generation. This extends the application base to include military/ aerospace applications as well as cellular, wireless data and RFIC test.

The new 3025C module features an increased RF output power range of 2120 toþ6dBm to more effectively support RF component testing. All new modules provide the ability to generate and analyse signals with RF bandwidths up to 90MHz nearly three times the bandwidth on current models. This places Aeroflex at the leading edge for instrumentation technology capable of supporting WiMAX and other emerging wideband communications systems. The new hardware modules have been made even faster to further accelerate production throughput. For example, new features within the digitiser family offer significant improvement in data-transfer speed over the PCI bus and the new 3025C signal generator can switch frequency ten times faster than before for frequencies up to 85MHz.

PXI Studio unlocks the speed and flexibility of Aeroflex RF modular instruments

PXI Studio is a software application for use with Aeroflex 3000 Series PXI modules. This highly flexible application can be used to simultaneously generate and analyse complex modulated signals.

Additional measurement plug-ins enable PXI Studio to be used to analyse WiMAX OFDMA and WLAN signals as well as providing general purpose spectrum analysis. WiMAX analysis can be performed for any type of WiMAX UL/ DL OFDMA PUSC sub-frame configuration. WiMAX and WLAN signals can be analysed for power, modulation quality and spectrum with the speed and accuracy that comes with using Aeroflex 3000 Series PXI modular instruments. General purpose spectrum analysis includes a full range of measurement functions for channel power, adjacent channel power and occupied bandwidth.

Measurement results can be displayed graphically, including EVM spectrum, EVM time, constellation, spectral mask, spectral flatness and burst power. Numerical data are displayed for power, RCE, carrier frequency error, carrier leakage and symbol clock error.

PXI chassis provides multiple configurations for maximum versatility

To complete the package, Aeroflex also offers a new PXI chassis and system controller to host both Aeroflex modular instruments and PXI Studio application software. Aeroflex is now a complete one-stop shop for modular RF instrumentation. The Aeroflex PXI chassis includes one system controller slot and seven peripheral PCI or PXI slots to support multiple configurations of Aeroflex PXI modules for maximum flexibility. The chassis is available in two models: the 3000 and 3000A.

The 3000 is suitable for use with embedded or external controllers. The 3000A is equipped with an integrated 8.4-in. touch screen colour display with an 800 x 600 resolution and the 3001A PM 1.8GHz embedded system controller module. The 3000A is designed for use as a self-contained, stand-alone instrument that can be used for both bench-top and portable applications. Both, the 3000 and 3000A chassis offer extended operating temperature range from 0 to 558C, with facilities for offline monitoring of power, cooling and temperature. Automatic fan speed control ensures both models emit extremely low-audible noise (41.6dBa). Both, the 3000 and 3000A combine a lightweight aluminium internal structure with a robust metal shell to provide an easily portable, yet rugged PXI system.

Details available from: Aeroflex Test Solutions, Instruments Division, Tel:+44 (0)1438 772084, Fax:+44 (0)1438 727601, E-mail:

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