Archive for Equipment Review

Deepace KC901V 6.8GHz Handheld Network Analyzer Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Deepace KC901V 6.8GHz handheld network analyzer. This battery-powered instrument is an RF multi-instrument integrating VNA, spectrum analyzer, field strength meter, and a low-frequency signal generator. It can also perform signal port vector measurement and 2-ports simple vector network analyzing (S11, S21). The review is organized as follows:

01:24 – Instrument overview & block diagram.
05:36 – Full teardown along with RF and digital board analysis.
14:30 – Power on, calibration and S11 measurement of an antenna.
23:46 – Calibration for S21 and measurement of a tunable filter plus phase shifter.
32:23 – Distance to fault measurement of an SMA cable chain.
36:24 – Spectrum analyzer measurements and limitations.
43:16 – Signal generator measurements and issues.
48:20 – Other features and concluding remarks.
50:07 – Giveaway!

Rohde & Schwarz 4.0GHz Portable Spectrum Rider FPH Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Rohde & Schwarz 4.0GHz Spectrum Rider FPH. The new design of the FPH series is aimed for ease of use in outdoor situations as well as offering several software features for data collection, analysis and debugging of standard wireless communication protocols. The review is organized as follows:

1:10 – Model comparison of R&S portable spectrum analyzers.
5:44 – Instrument hardware overview and GUI characteristics.
22:24 – Using the FPH Spectrum Rider to analyze unknown wireless signals including a multi-tone, QPSK modulated signal, AM/FM demodulation analysis and frequency hopping.
46:46 – FPH teardown and analysis.
55:33 – Overview of the Instrument View remote connection software.
57:42 – Concluding remarks.

Keysight MXA Revision-B Signal Analyzer / Spectrum Analyzer Review, Analysis & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the long awaited Keysight MXA Signal Analyzer (N9020B). The new X-Series Spectrum Analyzers from Keysight offer an entirely re-designed GUI interface which supports multiple tabs as well as multi-touch interaction. The review is organized as follows:

1:07 –   Model comparison and overview of x-series spectrum analyzers.
7:08 –   Instrument physical overview.
11:49 – New GUI overview and demonstrations.
22:44 – Instrument block diagrams and analysis.
28:46 – Brief look inside the MXA spectrum analyzer.
32:53 – Back-scattering communication experiment block diagram and description.
37:16 – Phase noise characterization of doubler and amplifier.
51:54 – Complete back-scattering experiment measurements and analysis.
1:04:45 – Analysis of broadband modulated signals by using the S-Series scope and MXA Signal analyzer at the same time.
1:13:56 – Concluding remarks.

DeoxIT Challenge & Restoration of a Precision Decade Resistor Box

In this short episode Shahriar attempts to revive a high-accuracy decade resistance box using the famous DeoxIT cleaning and restoration products from CAIG Laboratories. The DeoxIT D-Series products are particularly aimed at metal-metal contacts which have suffered oxidization and can provide a low-resistance repeatable contact after application.

The existing decade resistance box shows inconsistent measurements and intermittent contacts prior to the DeoxIT application. After spraying all contacts the instrument is significantly improved with repeatable and accurate resistance measurements. DeoxIT can be purchased from a variety of suppliers and vendors including Amazon.

Tektronix MDO4104C-6 Mixed Domain Oscilloscope (MDO4000C) Review, Teardown and Experiments

In this episode Shahriar performs a full review on the Tektronix MDO4000C series mixed domain oscilloscope, particularly model MDO4104C-6. The MDO4000C combines up to six instruments including a function generator and a built-in spectrum analyzer. Unlike any other instrument, it can synchronize RF, analog and digital channels. These correlated measurements provide insight into difficult to find problems particularly intermittent events.

This review begins with a comparison between the MDO4000B and MDO4000C instruments. The full review of the MDO4000B can be viewed here. All experiments demonstrated in the MDO4000B review are also relevant to the MDO4000C instrument.

The teardown of the instrument reveals a multi-board construction where the ADCs, FPGAs, application processor and memory are on the main system board. A complete analysis of the entire system is presented including the operation of the RF module.

In order to demonstrate the instrument’s capabilities, an encrypted frequency hopping transmitter system is analyzed. The system exhibits various problems such as high BER, low SFDR, poor phase-noise and EVM. The MDO4000C is used to perform advanced measurements across analog, digital and RF domain to track and resolve these problem. The complete block diagram of the experiment can be found here.

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