ERASynth Micro $199 12.5MHz – 6.4GHz Portable Synthesizer Teardown, Review & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the affordable ERASynth Micro 12.5MHz – 6.4GHz portable synthesizer with a built-in LCD screen. The USB powered instrument is fully open-source, Arduino compatible and can be operated in stand-alone mode. The system block diagram and operation of the instrument is presented.

The measurements show some of the strengths and limitations of the instrument in AM/FM modulation modes and general CW use cases.

International Microwave Symposium 2019 – Industry Trade Show Overview

In this episode Shahriar presents an overview of a small portion of the vendors present on the exhibition floor at the International Microwave Symposium 2019. The IEEE MTT International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is the premier annual international meeting for technologists involved in all aspects of microwave theory and practice. It consists of a full week of events, including technical paper presentations, workshops, and tutorials, as well as numerous social events and networking opportunities. The symposium also hosts a large commercial exhibition. Co-located with IMS are the IEEE RFIC, IMBioC and ARFTG conferences.

00:08 – Introductions
01:29 – Trade-Show Floor
01:47 – Rohde & Schwarz (
10:25 – Keysight Technologies (
16:38 – Junkosha Inc. (
19:57 – Amphenol (
21:48 – GGB Industries Picoprobe (
23:23 – Anritsu (
26:45 – Diamond Engineering Inc. (
29:19 – Microchip Technology (
33:07 – Macom (
34:34 – OML Inc. (
36:10 – Microsanj (
38:29 – Piconics Inc. (
39:44 – Zhejiang Jiakang Electronics Co., Ltd. ( 40:59 – WithWave (
42:51 – Suin Instruments (
44:49 – TDK-Lamba ( 45:50 – Lake Shore Cryotronics Inc. (
47:07 – Focus Microwave Group (
48:40 – Sage Millimeter Inc. (
50:45 – Semiprobe (
52:36 – Ceyear Inc. (

Teardown & Experiments with Agilent mm-Wave W-Band (75 – 110GHz) T/R Module & Controller

In this episode Shahriar does a deep dive into the operation and architecture of Agilent/HP mm-Wave Extension Modules and Controller. The Agilent 85015A and W85104A work in conjunction and as the front-end for a W-Band (75-110GHz) S-Parameter T/R set. Although the mainframe system (HP 8510 Network Analyzer) is not available, a close look at the block diagrams reveals that the controller can be driven via external synthesizers to provide LO and RF signals. The detailed explanation of the entire system is presented from the ground up.

The full teardown of the mm-wave controller and T/R module are also presented and by reverse engineering the GPIB commands, the T/R module is brought to life. Several experiments show the full functionality of the system including a high-resolution CW radar demonstration.

One Simple Wish Foundation:

Teardown and Repair of an Agilent E4433B ESG-D 4.0GHz Synthesized Signal Generator (May 2019)

In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at a faulty Agilent E4433B 4.0GHz signal generator and vector modulator. This instrument is equipped with many of the most useful options such as dual arbitrary waveform generator and high-power output.

The instrument does not generate any error messages, however the output signal is ~20dB below specifications. After presenting the system block diagram and observing the output power characteristics, it becomes clear that the issue is with the mechanical attenuator. The teardown of the attenuator reveals faulty o-rings on the 5dB attenuation pad which has to be repaired with some flexible epoxy.

After the repair the instrument’s functionality is verified by measuring the output power with a power meter, frequency accuracy with a Rubidium frequency counter and the modulation accuracy with a vector signal analyzer.

Hitachi/Metabo electric can be purchased here.

Teardown, Repair & Experiments with an Agilent N4901B 13.5Gb/s Bit Error Rate Tester BERT

In this episode Shahriar repairs a non-functional N4901B 13.5Gb/s BERT mainframe. This instrument is equipped with both the generator and analyzer modules which makes it fairly valuable. The instrument does not power on and does not react to the soft power button.

Teardown of the unit reveals a TD-Lambda Vega power supplies series which is a fully configurable switching power supply design. Even though the power supply in the instrument is completely custom, it is made from generic sub-blocks readily available on eBay. A replacement front-end is purchased to repair the power supply after detecting the problem.

The instrument also shows a minor problem with falsely detecting an overload condition on the delay control port which is by passed by installing an overwrite switch. The instrument performance is verified by generating and measuring various eye diagrams through a back-plane PCB board.

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