In this two-part episode Shahriar repairs an Agilent N5230A 13.5GHz PNA-L which suffers from un-leveled output in full frequency sweep range. The instrument is not able to produce any outputs above -25dBm above 10.5GHz and shows below specification output power levels below 10.5GHz.
Teardown of the unit reveals various microwave modules with the SSLAM final module responsible for amplitude leveling and frequency multiplication for frequencies above 10.5GHz. Teardown of this module shows a collection of MMIC dies wirebonded together using micro-strip ceramic pieces and interconnects. MMIC include switches, amplifiers, filters, multipliers, power detectors and attenuators. After examining the input/output signals of the module it becomes clear that the input switch IC is damaged. Unfortunately, an attempt to replace the die with a packaged QFN GaAs device fails. However, a lucky eBay find of a used SSLAM module saves the day and the instrument is restored to full functionality. Some measurements of an packaged evaluation board of a GaAs IC is demonstrated using the newly repaired PNA-L.