No development, production, testing, or quality control department that uses RF signals on coax lines can afford to do without state-of-the-art equipment. Particularly for high-precision connectors, terminations, and adapters, the use of vector network analyzers (VNAs) is indispensable.
Calibration of vector network analysers
To ensure that a VNA delivers accurate amplitude and phase measurements without any drift, it is typically calibrated prior to each measurement. To do this, first the characteristic data of the various calibration standards are communicated to the VNA. These characteristic data describe deviations from the ideal model. The calibration standards are then connected one after the other to the end of the test cable attached to the network analyzer. The VNA then compares the measured values with the defined and known electrical properties of the calibration standard to calculate error terms. With their aid, all subsequently measured values are corrected to yield the actual values. If any change whatsoever is made to the test setup, no matter how small (slightly moving one of the test cables is enough), calibration is repeated before performing any additional measurements.
In fact, calibration is key for ensuring precise measurements. A VNA can be calibrated in various ways depending on the required degree of accuracy. The methods used differ in terms of both the number and the type of the calibration standards applied. The most frequently used calibration methods are OSL (open-short-load) for single-port measurements and OSLT (open-short-load-through) for two-port measurements.
Frequencies up to 110 GHz and mobile measurement technology
New communication technologies (the 5G mobile communication standard is a case in point) require VNAs for ever-wider frequency ranges. There is also a trend toward more compact VNAs for mobile testing technology, which is posing a steady stream of new requirements for the passive coaxial test equipment used.
SPINNER therefore continually supplements its portfolio of test equipment, and today supplies a number of passive components for all of these applications. They range from a high-precision calibration kit for laboratory use all the way to compact versions for field use. The calibration kits are available with 7-16, 4.3-10, Type N, NEX10®, 2.2-5, 3.5 mm, 2.92 mm, 2.4 mm, 1.85 mm, and 1.35 mm connectors. SPINNER has established new standards of accuracy with this product line. It also includes a large family of coaxial test components with excellent electrical and mechanical attributes for measuring frequencies up to 110 GHz, which are popular for use in laboratories and manufacturing environments and at construction sites.