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MTT-S IMS

Sunny Seattle - IMS2013 Product Review

June 12, 2013
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The Seattle weather was unexpectedly great for IMS2013, sunny and clear all week.  The venue was very good but the 2 room setup was far from ideal for the exhibition and some people did not even know there was a second room attached in the back left corner.  So it is not surprising that the traffic in the back room seemed to be a step below that in the front but still respectable. While the attendance did not seem overwhelming, there was some optimistic pockets of activity and many were satisfied with the high quality of the attendees.

Here a summary of the products from the exhibition for all of the companies our editors were able to visit during the event.

Test and Measurement:

Agilent Technologies demonstrated 25 of its newest design and measurement solutions, covering everything from circuit-level modeling through system verification for general RF, microwave, 4G communications and aerospace/defense. Areas covered included: design software, network analysis, signal generation and analysis, peak power analysis and AXIe digitizers.  They announced that its FieldFox handheld analyzers can now be remotely controlled via an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone. Also new are a spectrum analysis time-gating option and support for Agilent’s USB peak-power sensors. These features provide engineers the precision and flexibility they need to more easily and quickly test their RF communications infrastructure.

They announced significant enhancements to their midrange N9020A MXA X-Series signal analyzer. New options for 160-MHz analysis bandwidth and real-time spectrum analyzer (RTSA) capability address the challenges of measuring interference in the next generation of heterogeneous wireless networks. The options can be included in new MXAs or added to existing units. The RTSA option is one-seventh the cost of a single-purpose real-time analyzer.

They also announced the E4980AL precision LCR meter with three cost-effective frequency options: 300 kHz, 500 kHz and 1 MHz. The new meter options are a follow-on to Agilent’s industry-standard E4980A LCR meter, which has long offered the best price/performance and application breadth among basic LCR meters.

Another announcement was there source/monitor unit (SMU) and software enhancements to its B1500A semiconductor device analyzer, the industry’s leading semiconductor parameter analyzer. The new B1514A 50-µs pulse medium-current SMU gives a faster pulse at 30V/1A range plus oscilloscope-like viewing. The new B1511B medium-power SMU delivers 0.1 fA low-current measurement capability at a lower price with an optional atto-sense switch unit. The latest EasyEXPERT 5.5 software enables remote test without complex programming, using more than 300 ready-to-use application tests in addition to manual operation.  You could probably spend a whole day at their booth (see software section also for more releases).

Anapico has extended the frequency range of a number of its products. The APSIN26G is a low-noise and fast-switching microwave signal generator covering a continuous frequency range from 100 kHz to 26 GHz. Advanced technology allows a 0.001 Hz frequency resolution, fast switching, excellent phase noise and a high power output. The signal generator operates with an ultra-stable temperature compensated 100 MHz reference (OCXO) and can be phase-locked to any external reference from 1 to 250 MHz. Alternatively, the APSIN12G is a low-noise and fast-switching microwave signal generator covering a frequency range from 100 kHz up to 12 GHz and comprises a full set of analog modulation (AM, FM; PM, Pulse, Pulse trains, Chirps). Finally, the APSIN20G 5 MHz to 20 GHz signal source analyzer provides fast and accurate measurements of SSB phase noise and also provides full time domain analysis capability.

Anritsu displayed test solutions to meet the high-frequency testing requirements of engineers in the aerospace and defense, communications, and semiconductor industries. Center stage was the VectorStar Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) platform. For signal integrity engineers, the company showed the MS4640A series, which features wide frequency coverage of 70 kHz to 70 GHz, as well as high-accuracy time domain and wide dynamic range. There were also demonstrations of the ME7838A VectorStar 70 kHz to 110 GHz broadband VNA aimed at semiconductor test engineers who conduct on-wafer measurements, enabling them to see how the ME7838A achieves accurate, stable measurements over extended time periods.

For conducting pulse measurements in radar applications, Anritsu showed the MG3690C RF/microwave signal generators. Producing 100 ns leveled pulse widths with 10 ns resolution, as well as the ability to generate single, doublet, triplet and quadruplet pulses, the MG3690C features comprehensive emulation and testing of high-performance narrow pulse radars. The measurement side will be covered by the ML2495A Wideband Peak Power Meter, which is suitable for measuring fast radar pulses due to its 65 MHz video bandwidth.

Also on display was their Spectrum/Signal Analyzer, which was used to conduct millimeter wave measurements on a BridgeWave Communications 80 GHz Wireless Ethernet Bridge. It offers high dynamic range and low phase noise and supports direct coaxial input of signals up to 43 GHz. Maximum frequency may be extended up to 325 GHz via a range external harmonic mixers. A second test station demonstrated VCO analysis using the sophisticated signal analysis tools, which offers 14-bit resolution and a maximum analysis bandwidth of 125 MHz at frequencies up to 43 GHz.

AR has now complemented their previous line of 4-18 GHz Hybrid Power Modules (HPM’s) and bench top units with new designs to instantaneously cover the entire 0.7-6 GHz frequency range with one amplifier.  The 1-6 GHz modules have output powers up to 25 W Class A and 40 W Class AB, while bench top Class A units produce over 100 W.  Typical applications are EMC wireless testing and military EW.

dBm released their latest satellite link emulator providing a cost effective, time-saving, repeatable total test solution for satellite and aircraft RF link testing. They have various models, as an example the 1200 MHz center frequency emulator has a 1 dB bandwidth of 250 MHz and maximum delay per channel of 447 ms with up to 4 channels.

Empower RF continued to push the boundaries of minimizing real-estate among its high power amplifier platform. The companydemonstrated their 1 kW, 20 to 1000 MHz, 5U chassis design (model 2162). This air cooled chassis delivers over 1 kW of output power and is available in three specific models (in the frequency ranges of 20 to 500, 500 to 1000, and 20 to 1000 MHz). The company was also showing of the fully functional control software that allows users to operate the unit remotely using a standard web browser interface. With real-time monitoring and control, the software supports development of customized test sequencing for the unit to operate within a test lab system.

Holzworth Instrumentation’s phase noise analyzers were designed to optimize measurement speed and low noise floors, while being highly intuitive to set up and operate. In response to customer requests to measure both absolute and additive phase noise with Z540 traceability, Holzworth has released revision B of the HA7000 Series. The revisited design has a more advanced front-end, an external power supply for cleaner spurs (also allowing for powering the analyzer via a 12 V battery), and a Z540 traceable calibration. Most significantly, it has introduced fully automated additive phase noise measurements.

National Instruments was using LabVIEW system design software and high-performance modular hardware for solving design challenges with digital pre-distortion and envelope tracking measurements. In the DPD demo, AM-AM and AM-PM of the PA was measured.  The resulting information was used to create a lookup table to modify the waveform that was sent into the PA.  As a result, the PA performance was improved. In the ET demo, by modulating the Vcc signal in a manner that is synchronized with the RF signal generator, the PA operated at is most efficient region resulting in less power comsumption with less complexity and more precision using LabVIEW and the vector signal transceiver.

NI is building an ecosystem of partners to solve the challenge of load pull measurements.  These partners now include Anteverta, Cardiff/Mesuro, Maury and Focus which includes most of the experts in the field.

Harnessing the latest technologies is a key approach to graphical system design and involves FPGAs and CPUs.  Because of this, NI has found that PXI cna perform measurements at least 5 to 10 times faster than traditional rack-and-stack equipement.  Their PXI platform dramatically reduces test time in most situations.

Mesuro launched a new test solution that utilizes an ‘envelope load pull technique’, along with the latest generation of commercial off-the-shelf PXI hardware and LabVIEW system design software from National Instruments, to provide extremely rapid test scenarios to be run on the device under test. The ‘Rapid Load Pull’ product can replace traditional passive tuning networks within load pull test systems. The way in which the solution fits into the test environment allows for the existing measurement hardware to be re-used within the improved test station. The system can be supplied as a turnkey project to include, the NI portion with Mesuro Software/Coupler/Amplifier, etc or can be customer assembled. The system is currently available covering frequency ranges up to 4.4 GHz.

OML was showing of a number of new innovations including the mate-less waveguide connector that was featured as the cover story in MWJ’s February issue. Among the company’s new products, we were introduced to a 60 to 90 GHz VNA extender that provides single connection to the DUTs undergoing linear and nonlinear characterization such as S-parameter measurements, IMD and gain compression.

Rohde & Schwarz has added a realtime option and extended the frequency range of the R&S FSW high-end signal and spectrum analyzer. The new R&S FSW K160R option upgrades the R&S FSW to a realtime spectrum analyzer, giving users a single instrument that can be used for traditional spectrum analysis with excellent RF characteristics as well as spectrum analysis without any time gaps and a bandwidth of up to 160 MHz in realtime mode. With 600,000 FFT/s in realtime mode, the R&S FSW is claimed to have twice the time resolution of other instruments on the market and covers the entire frequency range from 2 Hz to 50 GHz.

The company also announced that it has doubled the analysis bandwidth of the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer from 160 MHz to 320 MHz. The R&S FSW is currently the only signal and spectrum analyzer on the market able to process signals in this bandwidth.

Users who need to analyze radar signals with very short pulses of less than 10 ns or wideband signals in radar systems will find the analyzer to be the ideal tool. Analyzing automotive radar signals (FM CW radar or pulsed radar) requires at least 200 MHz, for example.

Rohde & Schwarz also presented the new midrange R&S ZNB20 and R&S ZNB40 vector network analyzers for frequency ranges from 100 kHz to 20 GHz and from 10 MHz to 40 GHz. These powerful analyzers are equipped with two test ports and offer outstanding measurement characteristics that are on a similar level as high-end instruments. A dynamic range of up to 135 dB makes the new instruments suitable for tasks such as performing measurements on high-blocking DUTs such as filters.

Tektronix and partner Octoscope demonstrated the use of an MDO4000 mixed domain oscilloscope to analyze 802.11g bursts, supporting the need for affordable signal quality testing for WLAN 802.11xx signals as Wi-Fi continues to gain speed and market acceptance. The MDO4000 is the world's first oscilloscope with a built-in spectrum analyzer, and another example of innovation from Tektronix.

Teseq showcased a number of products. To focus on just two, the first is the expansion of its broadband amplifier line to include the Class A linear and low distortion CBA 400M-260 model that operates from 10 kHz to 400 MHz with a rated power of 260 W. Used in commercial or in-house EMC test laboratories, the CBA 400M-260 is suitable for automotive, military and aerospace BCI (bulk current injections) applications that require testing at higher levels. Like other Teseq broadband amplifiers in its class, the CBA 400M-260 uses GaAs integrated circuit technology.

Now a part of Teseq, Milmega offers a new amplifier product range designed to meet test requirements within wireless testing frequency bands. The AS0728 family of amplifiers has a frequency range of 700 MHz to 2.8 GHz. Available in 25 W, 50 W, 100 W and 170 W P1 dB power levels, these amplifiers are ideal in the wireless communications industry where high reliability, excellent linearity, power density and leading performance are required.

Vaunix Technology Corporation featured their USB powered signal generation, digital attenuation, and switching devices. Signal Generators through 20 GHz offer advanced features such as phase-continuous linear-frequency sweeping and optional pulse modulation. Eight new models to their LMS Series of Signal Generators have been added in the following bands: 70-450 MHz; 250-1500 MHz; 600-3200 MHz, and 1000-4000 MHz. Attenuators are easily programmable for fixed attenuation or swept attenuation ramps directly from the included GUI. LDA Digital Attenuators are now available with popular N-Type Connectors and with input power up to 2 W. The new Lab Brick Solid State Switch product family features 10 W power handling capability and offers reliability and high isolation in both single pole double throw and single pole four throw configurations. And the Lab Brick Phase Shifter provides excellent phase accuracy while offering 1 degree phase resolution.

VDI was displaying their VNA extenders that provide high performance frequency extension of vector network analyzers into the THz range. Models are currently available for coverage from 50 to 1,100 GHz, with additional bands under development. These modules combine high test port power and excellent dynamic range. They are compatible with all modern network analyzers, and have been integrated with a variety of probe stations for on-wafer testing. Available options include increased test port power (selected bands), micrometer driven attenuators, reduced input frequency (24 or 20 GHz), increased cable length and waveguide based calibration kits.

Among their product demos, Wireless Telecom Group featured Current RF - a customer success story in their booth. Using WTG equipment, a successful test system was developed leading to results that show a reference design from Current RF (5mm x 5mm IC fabricated on an IBM process) will save anywhere from 10% to 20% of digital power in any given system with digital switching circuits(DSP).  In battery powered systems, potentially a 10% to 20% extension of battery life is possible. Battery size/weight reduction is made possible with the CC-100. In wall plugged systems, a 10% to 20% reduction in heat dissipation from power supplies is possible.

Software:

Agilent Technologies demonstrated 25 of its newest design and measurement solutions, covering everything from circuit-level modeling through system verification for general RF, microwave, 4G communications and aerospace/defense.  Its software highlights included the latest release of Electromagnetic Professional (EMPro), the company’s 3-D electromagnetic simulation software. EMPro 2013 allows engineers to simulate the radiated emissions of electronic circuits and components and then determine whether these emissions are within levels specified by common EMC standards, such as FCC Part 15, CISPR 22 and MIL-STD-461F. This capability is enabled by new specification-compliance templates, as well as several enhancements to both EMPro’s finite element method (FEM) and finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulators. EMPro 2013 will be available for download in July.

They announced two software releases that support the design and verification of envelope tracking, a technique that improves the efficiency and linearity of power amplifiers used in mobile handsets. New capabilities available in Agilent Signal Studio software and Agilent 89600 VSA software will help developers quickly optimize their envelope-tracking implementations. In Signal Studio for LTE/LTE-Advanced (FDD or TDD), developers can now define and optimize test stimuli for power amplifiers using envelope waveforms based on the LTE in-phase/quadrature (I/Q) signal. In addition, the crucial timing alignment between envelope and I/Q can be achieved with picosecond resolution and real-time adjustments. For playback during testing, Signal Studio can download the resulting waveforms to Agilent’s X-Series signal generators and 33500 Series waveform generators.

Agilent Technologies also introduced the latest addition to its repeater model library for quickly and accurately solving the challenge posed by signal distortion in the multigigabit-per-second regime. The retimer solution, available in the Advanced Design System 2013 Transient Convolution Element and SystemVue 2013 AMI Modeling Kit, is used for designing electrical retimers in chip-to-chip, high-speed digital links.

ANSYS will be a featured EDA (EM simulation) vendor in our special July issue (Design Software Review) in which they will go in to greater detail about recent product updates. One feature that was being shown to IMS visitors for the first time was the addition of a 2D layout drawing tool embedded directly in HFSS, an industry standard 3D solver. While this capability was available in the past through links to the ANSYS Designer product, HFSS users have shown great enthusiasm for this capability becoming native to HFSS, further demonstrating the engineering communities desire to use 3D EM analysis in all manner of planar circuit design.

AWR showcased a number of software demonstrations of key features in its current product release, V10, as well as a sneak-peek preview of features within its pending V11 release. Hiughlights included:

  • Microwave Office® design environment showcasing a Cree Class F power amplifier design
  • Microwave Office design environment showcasing Marki Microwave’s new Microlithic mixer design
  • Analyst™ 3D FEM EM simulation featuring a preview of V11 custom PCell generation for microwave connectors as well as antennas from Antenna Magus

The company was also a major contributor to the MicroApps sessions as well as the host of its 9th annual AWR Customer Appreciation Party.

Cadence Design Systems was attending its fourth IMS and featuring the company’s flagship product for RFIC design – Spectre RF. Also on display was the MMSIM12.1.1, the multi-mode Simulation ECAD suite that combines SPICE, FastSPICE, RF, and mixed-signal simulators. This ECAD suite contains many new features to aid RF designers including:

  • “Smart” HB GUI,
  • Robust and easy to use nport (for s-parameter input), and the
  • Transmission Line library workshop.

Computer Simulation Technology AG (CST) recently announced CST STUDIO SUITE® 2013, the latest version of their flagship product. CST STUDIO SUITE comprises a range of EM simulation tools, including the industry-leading high-frequency package CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS). CST STUDIO SUITE is widely used by engineers working in fields ranging from communications and electronics to healthcare and aviation, helping them to model electromagnetic phenomena and evaluate their designs for optimal performance. Combining high-frequency and low-frequency simulation tools alongside specialized solvers for applications such as PCBs, cables and charged particle devices, CST STUDIO SUITE can be applied to many typical engineering tasks, such as EMC/EMI evaluation, SI and PI analysis, design optimization, and the tuning of antennas and filters.

IMST presented the new 3D EM solver EMPIRE XCcel 6.01, which is claimed to cover nearly all today's design challenges for RF designers, like antennas, passive circuits, packages, waveguides or EMC/EMI problems. Due to its efficient implementation it is possible to model large scale problems with up to, e.g. 1,000 million FDTD Cells using EMPIRE XCcel on a 24 GByte PC with a performance of up to 5,000 MCells/s. In order to cover even larger problem sizes EMPIRE XCcel has been extended to solve single jobs very efficiently on multiple PCs.

Mician showcased Version 7.5 of μWave Wizard, which includes new features for existing elements as well as new elements that offer advanced designs such as more kinds of lowpass filters or corrugated coax horn antennas. μWave Wizard™ offers numerous features such as fast frequency sweep based on adaptive rational function interpolation and 64 bit capability (including multi-processor capabilities). The μWave Wizard™ design tool uses the fast and accurate mode-matching (MM) technique. The method and its derivatives (i.e. the fast hybrid MM/boundary contour and the MM/2D-finite-element method) are capable of simultaneously offering fastest processing speed and high accuracy. A 3D FEM solver at the element level is available within the μWave Wizard™ for structures with very complex geometries or with features not feasible to be implemented in MM. Typical applications for μWave Wizard™ are complex passive waveguide components and structures like waveguide and combline filters, multiplexers, couplers, tapers, horn antennas and cluster feeds,

Emphasising the power of its software that offers high speed and full generality, Microwave Innovation Group (MIG) showcased the 2013 release of its WASP-NET fast hybrid EM design and optimization tool. A new fast integral equation (IE) solver completes WASP-NET’s seven solver hybrid MM/FE/MoM/FD/FE-BI/PTD/PO EM CAD engine, which can now perform high CAD efficiency for complex antenna structures such as shaped dual-reflector antennas including feed-networks, offset reflectors, antenna arrays such as Vivaldi and patch arrays, reflectors with struts and layered, lossy radomes, reflect arrays and for radar cross-section investigations of large systems.

The new graphic 3D editor for user-defined structures is extended further and enables users to combine full 3D flexibility with WASP-NET’s proven high calculation speed. New synthesis wizards streamline the design flow for the user-friendly design of filters and slot arrays. A new integrated M-matrix designer automatically carries out the first and second basic filter design synthesis steps starting from given specifications and proposes the best filter topology.

Remcom was featuring their XFdtd 3D EM simulation software.  They continue to improve the performance of XF7 by combining the power of XStream with MPI technology. While MPI has allowed XFdtd simulations to be distributed across a cluster of CPUs for a long time, running simulations using clusters of GPS-enhanced machines is now supported as well.

Sonnet Software was featuring its recently released Blink™, an easy-to-use EDA environment for the analysis of on chip passive devices such as spiral inductors and MIM capacitors. Blink allows high frequency silicon circuit designers to include their stack up and PDK information in EM analysis with just a few button clicks. With Blink, integrated circuit designers now have an automated way to access electromagnetic (EM) analysis of passive RFIC devices without limiting them to any specific PDK. The new product automates the process of setting up electromagnetic (EM) simulations of passive integrated circuit devices including center-tapped spiral inductors. Blink will be available to the market in late 2013.

Devcies/Components:

Aethercomm was featuring new high power switches covering bands up to 3.5 GHz and power levels up to 400 W CW and 4000 W peak. Insertion loss ranges from .38 to .9 dB and isolation from 32 to 52 dB.  Switching speed is in the low micro sec range.  Custom modules are also available in addition to standard 9 configurations.

Avago was featuring solutions for the small cell front-end including two new power amplifiers with high linearity and PAE plus a new WiFi FBAR filer enabling stringent adjacent multi-band operation.  The amplifiers cover UMTS/LTE Band 7 and Band 8 with integrated power detector and shutdown function.  The FBAR filter is a band-pass filter optimized for use in the 2.4 GHz ISM band allowing coexistence of WiFi and Bluetooth applications.

Analog Devices introduced three RF and microwave ICs designed for high-performance transmitters and receivers used in high-dynamic-range applications, such as wireless infrastructure, defense systems, industrial, microwave point-to-point radios and more. Their new microwave power detector offers good linearity and stability over temperature. Unlike alternative devices based on commonly used non-linear and non-temperature-stable Schottky diodes, the detector features a simple, proprietary linearization system that eliminates distortion due to source loading.  Designed for high performance DPD receivers, ADI’s new mixer with Integrated IF Amplifier, Fractional-N PLL and VCO operates from 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz.  With an OIP3 of up to 44 dBm from RF input to DGA output, the device is well suited for high-performance UMTS, LTE-A and MC-GSM DPD applications. Designed for new high-bandwidth microwave point-to-point receivers, ADI introduced a high-dynamic-range, low-noise, dual-channel baseband VGA with dual 63 MHz programmable low-pass filters and dual power detectors. The device features excellent channel-to-channel match and flexible gain control and can be used in receivers supporting up to 112-MHz channel bandwidth, as well as new E-Band receivers with up to 1-GHz of channel bandwidth.

Atlanta Micro has experience with highly integrated assemblies, such as miniature digital and analog tuner products. These tuners are fully integrated, wideband, high dynamic range products designed for low size, weight and power (SWaP) applications and are easily mounted to printed circuit boards as surface mount devices.  An example is a fully integrated, high dynamic range miniature digital tuner covering 20 MHz to 6 GHz. The receive tuner is designed for high performance and low SWaP applications and is easily mounted to a printed circuit board as a surface mount device. Sub-octave preselectors, local oscillators, a 10 MHz frequency reference and anti-aliasing filtering are included.

Cavendish Digital Variable Capacitor (DVC) technology in wireless devices enhances the user experience, differentiates phones and lowers costs for handset makers. It also improves spectral efficiency, coverage and customer retention for network operators. Shipped as a chip scale package (CSP), the DVC is used to tune antennas, power amplifiers and filters to significantly improve RF connection quality and signal strength.

Crystek Microwave announced a 2 GHz module using proprietary circuitry and SAW resonator technology to provide ultra-low jitter/phase noise performance with true sinewave output. It features -134 dBc/Hz phase noise at 10 KHz offset and a noise floor of -164 dBc/Hz. It comes in a 0.75 in. x 0.75 in SMT package. With 5 V input voltage, it generates a true-sinewave with +5 dBm min. output power. The source has no sub-harmonics; second harmonic is -20 dBc typical. Frequency accuracy is rated at +/- 150 ppm.

CTS Valpey makes high-performance ceramic filters that offer excellent selectivity (sharp frequency skirts) in extremely small form factor for high-power application. The company can offer based on their proprietary technology that starts with their own unique ceramic technology (they use their own powder formula).  The company’s ClearPlexTM Waveguide Ceramic Filter, a revolutionary RF ceramic filter that offers space and cost saving features, as well as superior performance, compared to air-cavity filters in small-cell applications. A company spokesperson hinted that a duplexer product is due for release shortly.

Custom MMIC was showing their suite of all-positive bias amplifiers demonstrates that by eliminating the negative voltage supply. An example is their wideband GaAs MMIC amplifier die for applications from 2 to 20 GHz. This device delivers greater than 22 dB of flat gain with a corresponding output 1 dB compression point of +14 dBm, and a noise figure of 4.5 dB at 20 GHz. Also on display was a new general purpose, double-balanced fundamental mixer. This mixer can be used for up- and downconverting applications between 11 and 21 GHz. The device typically has 6 dB of conversion loss with low LO leakage. It can operate with an LO drive level as low as +9 dBm, and has a wide IF bandwidth from DC to 6 GHz.

Diamond Microwave is a relatively small start-up attempting some rather large R&D work and releasing some impressively small devices along the way. The company is attempting to develop high-power RF transistors directly on diamond material. Though they have not perfected this technology, they have released interim products based on their groundbreaking amplifier development efforts. The results is an impressively small Ku-band GaN pulsed PA module offering 125 Watts peak pulsed power and 1.5 dB bandwidth of 1.5 GHz (centered on 17.0 GHz).

DLI was featuring resonator and filter products made with their high-Q ceramic materials. The company is focused on selling its components into the high-rel/UAV markets, teaming up with JPL these high-rel parts have demonstrated over 200 million life time hours. The big news for the company was the announcement that parent company Dover CMP would spin off certain of its communication technologies businesses into a standalone, publicly traded company.

Upon completion of the spin off, the new company, Knowles Corporation (“Knowles”), will be an independent, global technology and market leader in the communication technologies space. Knowles will have significant product breadth in acoustic components, including MEMs microphones, speakers, receivers and transducers, as well as a solid position in communication infrastructure components.These companies include DLI, Vectron, Syfer and Novacap.

Eastern OptX offers a significant cost saving alternative to outdoor Radar and Radio Range tests. Simulations Using Fiber Optic selectable Delay Lines which convert microwave signals to optical signals (E/O), time delaying the signal, then reconverting the light back to original microwave signal (O/E) results in superior fidelity over traditional time delay methods and offers 7-digit  savings over radar testing with actual aircraft.

EMC Technology displayed their expanded line of Diamond RF® Resistive products which includes attenuators, resistors, terminations, and heat spreaders. By applying cutting-edge thin film process and extensive millimeter wave design experience, they have created a high-performance line of components which are significantly reduced in size, unparalleled in average and peak power handling and highly robust.  These next-generation products are ideal for high-reliability and commercial applications where high power-to-size ratio and excellent frequency response are critical.

Freescale Semiconductor announced a major initiative focused on demonstrating how it’s new and existing commercial RF power and microwave RF devices can meet the requirements of the U.S. aerospace and defense (A&D) market. The company plans to support a broad range of A&D applications with entirely GaN RF power transistor products, as well as its proven portfolio of more than 400 LDMOS RF power transistor and GaAs MMIC products. They also introduced new additions to their Airfast RF power solutions: three LDMOS power transistors and one GaN transistor, all designed for the land mobile market requirements for exceptional ruggedness. The devices are well suited for mobile VHF, UHF and 700-900 MHz transceivers used in public safety, professional mobile radio and other harsh machine-to-machine communications environments. The LDMOS power products are designed to survive >65:1 VSWR, even with simultaneous over voltage and overdrive stressing the amplifier and its RF power transistors.

K&L Microwave was showing their miniature microwave cavity notch filters with notch frequencies in the X-, Ku- and K-Bands with bandwidths of 1 to 10%.  They feature passbands up to 2X the notch frequency, higher Qu/lower insertion loss than printed technologies with significantly smaller size than waveguide. An example is the 20.2-21.2 GHz filter with 50 dB rejection, insertion loss of 1.8 dB and return loss of 12 dB.  Check out their Filter Wizard on their web site.

For Infineon Technologies the focus was on two particular products. The new PTVA104501EH is a LDMOS RF Power transistor designed to provide 450 W of output power across the 960 MHz to 1215 MHz frequency band (measured with a 128 µs, 10% DC pulse). It offers 17 dB of gain and 57% efficiency. The PTVA104501EH is targeted towards commercial avionics and radar applications and provides a lower power alternative to the company’s 1,000 W PTVA101K02EV transistor. It is available in a 288-style compact open cavity ceramic package. The PTVA104501EH LDMOS FET is designed for use in power amplifier applications in the 960 to 1215 MHz frequency band. Features include high gain and thermally-enhanced package with bolt-down flange. Manufactured with Infineon's advanced LDMOS process, this device is said to provide excellent thermal performance and superior reliability.

After obtaining ISO 13485 certification in 2012 for medical devices, and in order to respond to the growing demand of customers in the medical and Hi-Rel applications, IPDiA unveiled its ability to offer advanced foundry services. As an R&D partner conducting product development in situ the company provides a final miniaturized solution thanks to high performance Integrated Passive Devices complemented by assembly of the full system IPD-actives-MEMS. Also, as a high quality electronic components manufacturer IPDiA’s R&D team works on the final stages of the development of components other than passives (MOS transistors, MEMS, sensors, etc.).

IQD Frequency Products launched IQOV-200 series Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO) that has been designed from the ground up to optimise low phase noise performance. Good oscillator design consideration allows the IQOV-200 series to deliver phase noise performance of -172 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset and -160 dBc/Hz at 1 kHz offset based on a nominal oscillating frequency of 100 MHz. Available at any frequency in the range 80 MHz to 130 MHz, the new model is initially housed in an industry standard 36 x 27mm IEC C008 Euro package. It nominally operates from a 12 V power supply and consumes just 1 W of power at steady state, incorporating a very high level of internal voltage regulation. Drive capability is quoted at +6 dBm into 50 Ω.

Also launched was a new series of high performance customisable Voltage Controlled Oscillators (VCOs) that provide a comprehensive solution for a diverse range of applications such as test and measurement, SATCOM, Telecom, and digital mobile radio. The new IVCO-100 series offers frequencies from 50 MHz up to 6 GHz. By virtue of the internal oscillator design, all variants offer excellent phase noise at the 10 KHz and 100 KHz frequency offsets and deliver highly linear frequency tuning with immunity to voltage supply and output load variations.

Attendees had the opportunity to see printed circuit boards made live and in-person at the LPKF Laser & Electronics booth. The company demonstrated two PCB prototyping systems. The LPKF MicroLine 6000 P laser system not only cuts rectangular boards but also drills holes and makes cuts along any contours. A vacuum table holds the boards securely in position. In the cutting process itself, there are practically no mechanical or thermal stresses on the component and a vision system monitors the relative position of the laser to the board. The LPKF ProtoLaser U3 requires only an electrical connection, dust extraction and compressed air. It is claimed to go through any laboratory door and can be easily moved on its rollers. It can process the most varied materials including, ceramic, LTCC (green tape), FR4, Rogers, protective sheets and metal foils or flexible and flex-rigid materials quickly, cleanly and precisely.

MACOM introduced what they contend is the industry’s highest power GaN in plastic transistors with 15, 50 and 90 W devices for radar and communications systems. Packaged in 3 x 6 mm DFN and standard SOT-89 packages, MACOM’s GaN in Plastic transistors operate at 50 V drain bias resulting in higher efficiency and smaller impedance matching circuits due to improved device parasitics. They also introduced a PIN diode series featuring a low cost, ultra-small Shunt PIN diode element for land mobile radio, wireless infrastructure and test instrument applications. It is packaged in a 1.5 X 1.2 mm plastic package enabling broadband performance comparable to chip-scale devices. Typical applications include high power switching through 6 GHz with incident power up to 100 W.  They seem to be doing very well with utilizing low cost plastic packages for relatively high power devices.

MDL recently re-designed their web site so was doing a quiz to win a contest.  Visit their new site at http://mdllab.com/.

Micro Lambda Wireless designs and manufactures RF and microwave YIG-based components and assemblies for wireless, test instrumentation and defense markets. The company seems to be doing well in the secondary market, supplying YIG oscillators necessary to keep aging aerospace and defense systems operational. The company continues to innovate with smaller and smaller surface mount high-performance components.

Microsemi released 6 new sets of transistors with peak output powers ranging from 20 to 1000 W, all designed for 50 Volts drain bias operation.  The total of 24 transistors are designed using the latest GaN products and are targeted toward demanding pulsed avionics and radar applications including multi-kW lineups. With all of the companies they have recently acquired, they have many capabilities.  They also showed off a SP36T ultra-broadband switch targeted at signal routing, simulation test equipment, communications systems and test lab equipment.  It has 1 W CW power handling capability, 100 nsec switching speed and 7 dB maximum insertion loss. It was also interesting to learn that they make many of the mmWave security scanning systems and manufacture their own hand wand security screening device that uses mmWave technology.

Nitronex was featuring their 48 V GaN process that delivers up to 100 W in either plastic or ceramic packages.  Their GaN devices are on Si instead of SiC making them lower in cost.  They were also featuring a land mobile radio solution with 80 W output power using a wide band GaN PA with a software defined radio approach that would replace multiple lineups for several bands.

NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced the availability of its ultra-wideband Doherty reference design using the BLF884P and BLF884PS – claimed to be the industry’s first wideband Doherty power amplifiers capable of broadband operation (470 to 806 MHz). The new 70 W DVB-T LDMOS designs bring the high-efficiency gains of Doherty topologies to broadcast transmitters, using NXP’s patent-pending architecture capable of operating over an ultra-wideband spectrum. The ultra-wideband Doherty design uses the company’s mature leading-edge 50 V LDMOS technology, and the ruggedness of the BLF884P and BLF884PS make them ideal for digital broadcast transmitters.

The company also announced the availability of a new family of extreme-broadband amplifiers, applicable for CATV, broadcast TV, satellite systems and general ISM applications. Consisting of three gain level types, BGA3012, BGA3015 and BGA3018 with 12 dB, 15 dB and 18 dB gain respectively, the extreme-broadband amplifiers are based on NXP’s industry-leading QUBiC4 (BiCMOS) technology, the high integration and reduced footprint of this extreme-broadband amplifier family saves on BOM costs, improves reliability and offers savings in manufacturing expenditure.

Nuvotronics introduced its high performance, compact, board level filter and diplexer lineup. With high Q, Nuvotronics’ filters feature 1 to 2 dB lower loss than traditional technology components, while offering tuning-free precision manufacturing. Three standard products: a K-Band bandpass filter, a V-Band bandpass filter and an E-band diplexer were on display at in their booth. Nuvotronics manufactures custom filters and diplexers as well, providing the high performance in the smallest package — allowing tight integration to power amplifiers and other elements in RF subsystems.

OMMIC announced the release of a new 200 GHz Fmax 30 V, 100 nm GaN/Si microwave and millimeter-wave MMIC process for application up to 100 GHz. This process is, for the time being; only open on a collaborative basis. Multi Chip Projects runs will soon be announced and the PDK will be available by the end of June 2013.

Peregrine announced that it has expanded its line of high-frequency products with a precision 7-bit Digital Step Attenuator (DSA).  Complementing Peregrine’s other high-frequency RF switches announced; the DSA supports monotonic operation at 8 GHz, with high power handling of +28 dBm.  The UltraCMOS® technology-based DSA features HaRP™ technology, resulting in high linearity of IIP3 of +61 dBm at 8 GHz. The also announced it has further expanded its high-frequency product line with the Integer-N PE33241 Phase-Locked Loop (PLL).  The PLL features a very low phase noise Figure of Merit (FOM) of -230 dBc/Hz, which improves the signal-to-noise ratio, thereby helping to reduce the overall system cost while improving performance.  The device supports operation at 5 GHz with a 10/11 prescaler modulus, making it ideal for industrial transceivers, specialized transceivers, and clock generators requiring low phase noise. They also released new high-frequency CMOS RF SPDT switches. The new, high-linearity switches support operation at 13 GHz, combined with high power handling of +36 dBm, enabling levels of performance previously thought to be impossible with CMOS.  Both devices have low gate lag, a key feature for test-and-measurement applications, insertion loss of 0.7 dB and isolation of greater than 41 dB at 7.5 GHz. They also released two new SP5T RF switches that enable the next generation of high-power LTE public safety and military radios.

Phase Matrix QuickSyn® microwave synthesizers deliver instrument-grade performance, increased functionality, and efficient power consumption at a reduced size and low cost. The synthesizers employ a patented, revolutionary phase-refining technology that provides a unique combination of fast-switching speed and low phase-noise characteristics. They utilize a fundamental VCO to achieve the desired output frequency. In contrast to frequency multiplication schemes, this approach eliminates possible spectrum contamination from subharmonic products. The use of the advanced direct digital synthesis approach, enables a very fine frequency resolution of 0.001 Hz. The VCO noise is suppressed by utilizing an ultra low noise reference oscillator in conjunction with a low-noise locking mechanism. Microphonic effects are also greatly reduced due to the use of a low-mass VCO and very wide PLL filter bandwidth. They are not offered in a significantly reduced size form factor.

Pickering Interfaces showed a range of innovative PXI and LXI signal switching and conditioning products for the microwave market. The 40-784 PXI Switch Solution supports one or two microwave switches in just 2 slots of 3U PXI and is available in two configurations and three frequency ranges. These are un-terminated 4 way (SP4T) and 6 way (SP6T) multiplexers, each configuration is available with a 6 GHz, 26.5 GHz or 40 GHz specified frequency range.  The 60-800 Microwave Multiplexer is suitable for switching 50 Ω signals up to 20 GHz. With the capability of supporting up to 16 banks of 6 channel multiplexers it is ideal for constructing complex microwave switching systems for many applications. Connection is by high performance front panel mounted SMA connectors. A 75 Ω version, the 60-820, is also available covering frequencies to 4 GHz.

PMI was featuring a CW-immune successive detection log video amplifier operating in the 2 to 18 GHz frequency band.  It features an SPST on the RF output which allows for the RF to be blanked when the RF input signal is below the -64 dBm threshold.  In addition to RF blanking, a 3.3 V TTL-compatible output is also provided for time-gating or sampling to assist in digital system integration.

RelComm Technologies introduced a 2P2T latching transfer relay fitted with type ‘7/16’ connectors. Appropriately spaced connectors and internal geometry allows significant weight and size reduction without sacrificing performance. The dual coil drive system ensures positive transfer and distribution of forces for each internal contact while minimizing power consumption during switching to 16 watts (700 mA max @ 24 V) at nominal voltage.   Relay is sized at 3.65” Sq x 3.25” high with flange for panel mounting.  Performance is rated to 4 GHz. Max. characteristics to 1, 2 & 4 GHz in a 50 ohm system; VSWR 1.10:1, 1.20:1 & 1.30:1, IL 0.10, 0.15 & 0.20 dB, with ISOL better than -65 dB. RelComm Technologies compliments its product line by offering a low cost high performance 1P12T relay configured with 'SMA' type connectors providing excellent RF performance to 18 GHz.  The relay measures 2.25" square and is less than 2" tall.  It is fitted with standard DA15P header for ease of installation.  The relay is available in both latching and failsafe configurations with 12 & 24 volts DC operation.  Options include TTL control input. 

The new RFMD look may have had some traditionalists at the exhibition confused, but I found it very refreshing.  Gone were the familiar red, white and black colors of the old RFMD and in was the new, bold look of the re-branded company in sharp blue, gold and white (think of the Swedish flag). Pre-cursor to a major overhaul of the company’s web-site, RFMD unveiled more than just a new look. Products were organized into four major demonstration areas that included – Wifi/Smart Energy, GaN RF Power, Microwave MMICs, and Wireless infrastructure. With the new tag line – linear, efficient, RF power – RFMD was clear about its focus. Example product solutions on display included 802.11 ac high efficiency amplifier reference designs, radio reference designs for smart energy (low power) applications, a 500 W L-band cascaded amplifier (4watt driving 25 watt driving 500 watt output stage, pulsed 10% duty cycle) for 1.3 Ghz cellular applications, MMICs for all radio block functions (up/down converters, VCOs, PAs, LNAs) targeting point-to-point ODUs operating from 9 to 26 GHz.

RFHIC was showing off a large variety of cost effective GaN solutions.  Their featured items included power GaN transistors for LTE, Doherty GaN pallet amplifiers for LTE, GaN hybrid amplfiers for small cell applications, GaN based radar solutions for L-, S-, C- and X-Band, GaAs PHEMT MMICs and LNAs for various applications and solutions for VSAT, EW, plasma lighting, medical equipment and wireless power transfer.

RFMW Ltd. announced design and sales support for a number of its principles including a discrete 800-Micron GaAs pHEMT FET from TriQuint Semiconductor and Skyworks SKY12213-478LF, a single-pole, single-throw (SPST) switch capable of handling up to 150 W of RF energy. The SKY12213-478LF spans the frequency range of 500 to 6000 MHz with a typical isolation of 23 dB. TriQuint’s TGF2080 was designed using TriQuint’s proven 0.25um pHEMT process which optimizes power and efficiency at high drain bias operating conditions. The TriQuint TGF2080 provides 29.5dBm P1dB with 11.5dB associated gain and power added efficiency (PAE) of 56%.

Sage Millimeter was showing off their high frequency components including their ranging sensors with high sensitivity and low 1/f noise. They feature circular or linear polarization, low harmonic and spurious emission, patch and lens correct antenna options and low cost/high volume production. They offer product ranging from 18 to 140 GHz.

Scintera Networks announced that it has engaged with Freescale Semiconductor to enable low power and cost-efficient solutions for the small cell base station market. As part of the engagement, Freescale will design and optimize new small cell RF power amplifier devices and evaluation boards for operation with Scintera’s RFPAL products.  Scintera is now working with Freescale, Sumitomo, Cree, NXP and Anadigics.  In addition, they announced a dual path with capability up to 75 MHz BW and 60 W.

Skyworks introduced a portfolio of LNAs that provide best-in-class noise figure for 4G wireless infrastructure as well as diverse broad market systems including GPS, broadband, military and satellite communications. The LNA with integrated active bias and low noise figure (as low as 0.25 dB) provides broadband return loss, high gain, very low noise and high amplifier linearity. The internal active bias circuitry provides stable performance over temperature and process variation. The LNA operates over the broad frequency range of 0.7 to 3.8 GHz. They also announced new wins in the automotive market for telematics and infotainment systems.  Their SOI switching technology is already being utilized by global car manufacturers for seamless low noise and broadband handoffs between audio, Blu-ray/DVD, navigation, cell phone and vehicle security display inputs. Skyworks has now secured multiple RF and analog design wins with Novero, a key worldwide automotive supplier.

Smiths Microwave, a leading provider of components, sub-assemblies, antennas and systems solutions, was on hand and represented by the company’s family of brands; Kaelus, Radio Waves, TECOM, TRAK, LORCH, TRAK Limited, Millitech, Farran Technology, EMC Technology and Florida RF Labs. Together, the Smiths Microwave family was showing off a large array of solutions primarily for defense and aerospace applications, as well as test, filter and process high-frequency signals for wireless telecommunication networks.

Synergy Microwave, a leading expert in ultra-low-noise-sources introduced two pioneering signal sources: DRO and OCXO products. The surface mounted tunable DRO100 is available in a 0.75 inch square package size for 10 GHz, offering exceptionally low phase noise (-112 dBc/Hz @ 10 kHz offset from the carrier). Other frequencies are also available in an SMD packaged version. The OCXO products: HPXO100 operating at 100MHz and HPXO125 operating at 125MHz, have excellent phase noise performance. Both models have typical phase noise of -142dBc/Hz at 100Hz offset and noise floor down to -183dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset with exceptionally large figure of merit (FOM) for a given size and power consumption. These products meet the demands for today’s ever improving signal quality system requirements. Optional GPS locking is available for long term stability. These high performance sources can be used in RADAR, instrumentation and communications systems, high-speed precision A/D or D/A clocks, Bit Error Rate (BER) Test-Systems, clock Recovery systems and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Particle accelerator research.

Tahoe RF Semiconductor is an up and coming start-up that develops and manages the manufacture of customer-specific analog & RFIC chips and chipsets. Working with an impressive catalog of silicon verified IP building blocks and solutions, the company entertained many exhibition hall visitors in its booth with its custom 45-nm CMOS SOI work in the areas adaptive beamsteering I/Q receiver arrays.

Teledyne Microwave Solutions has undergone a number of significant transformations over the past year, acquiring T&M equipment manufacturing company LeCroy and consolidating seven companies into one under the brand of Teledyne Microwave Solutions. MS consolidates Teledyne MEC, Teledyne LabTech, Teledyne Cougar, Teledyne Microwave, Teledyne Paradise Datacom, Teledyne KW Microwave, and Teledyne Defense Ltd. The expanded solution portfolio spans broad product lines in amplifiers, components, integrated assemblies, SATCOM hardware, TWTs, Circuit Board and MMIC packaging, Systems and sub-systems, custom solutions, and YIG and BAW products for multiple global markets. Among the products on display in the TMS booth at IMS were a number of SATCOM components including a K-band LNA (19.2-21.2 GHz), Ka-band SSPA with 16 w output power (29 GHz-31 GHz), K-band LNB,

Texas Instruments introduced a number of ICs and reference designs to support wireless communications including a family of 12-bit, 500- to 900-MSPS analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) that reduce board space by 80 percent while providing industry-leading signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR). The ADS5409 family provides best-in-class performance in a significantly smaller footprint and at the lowest power consumption to meet the size, power and performance needs of test and measurement equipment, wideband LTE and LTE-advanced communications base stations, millimeter wave backhaul (v-band and e-band), cable infrastructure return path and defense electronics. TI was also debuting what is reported to be the industry’s fastest 4-channel, 14-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), clocking in at 250 MSPS. The high-density ADS4449 enables receiver systems to support up to 125 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth in extremely small forms, such as multiple input and multiple output (MIMO) base stations and munitions guidance, or in greater density applications, such as active electrically scanned array (AESA) and other phased-array radars.

Toshiba expanded their high power C-Band GaN product line to support the SATCOM market.  They released 3 new devices targeting BUCs and SSPAs.  The devices have output powers of 25, 50 and 100 W over the extended 5.85 to 6.725 GHz operating range. They also released a high gain, 200 W (pulsed) GaN amplifier for C-Band radar applications operating from 5.2 to 5.4 GHz.

Not to be outdone by anyone in the category of “releasing an unprecedented number of new products” - TriQuint Semiconductor expanded its product portfolio with the release of 65 new devices in the weeks leading up to IMS. With an emphasis on high mix products, the company’s strategy sends a signal to the industry that it is more than a leading foundry (though it also released two new processes), TriQuint has products, built on world-class technology for a wide range of microwave applications. These product lines include amplifiers (PAs/LNAs/Variable Gain), discrete transistors, converters/mixers, signal conditioning, optical drivers, VCOs, SAW non-dispersive delay lines and Diplexers, GPS/GLONASS filters,  and of course – high-efficiency pHEMT. They announced 15 new GaN amplifiers and transistors along with two new GaN processes. These products offer performance, size and durability advantages for communications, radar and defense RF systems. TriQuint's original quarter-micron process is now complemented by a high voltage variant. The new process extends the drain operating voltage of 0.25-micron gallium nitride to 48 V while delivering higher breakdown voltage, greater power density and high gain for DC-10 GHz applications. They also introduced 12 new products and highlighted two complete RF chipset families for 15 and 23 GHz point-to-point radios serving 3G/4G cellular backhaul and related applications. These included high-performance packaged amplifiers, up-converters / down-converters and VCOs as well as additional devices to support PtP RF requirements from 10-27 GHz. They also released a new GaN integrated power doubler with superior performance for fast-growing CATV infrastructure. The GaN MMIC amplifier offers high gain (24 dB) and excellent composite distortion performance (CTB/CSO), which is a critical characteristic in multi-carrier CATV environments.

United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) announced the frequency band of the CHA3801-QDG LNA has been increased from 1.25 to 1.75GHz to 1 to 2GHz. This LNA is designed for L-Band applications such as: Military and professional – L-band radar including air traffic control; Space – radio navigation, ground segment (GPS, Galileo, Glonass); Scientific space – earth exploration satellites; and Telecoms – broadcast satellite radio and applications. It features an active bias network and protection to allow high input power protection against overdrive and is internally matched.

Vectron featured an extended holdover crystal oscillator that is designed to provide a back up reference to TDD base stations and electrical grid market that need to maintain phase accuracy.  The EHXO consumes less power, is smaller and costs less than the typical Rubidium based devices in use today.

Vishay was showing off their high frequency, high power surface mount ceramic capacitors.  They have low ESR and ESL, high Q (>2000) and are RoHS compliant.  They are well suited for MRI coils and generators, RF instrumentation, UHF/microwave power amplifiers, filter networks, timing circuits, mixers, oscillators and impedance matching networks.

Wenzel Associates was featuring their VHF Citrine OCXOs.  They offer output frequencies of 80, 100 and 125 MHz with typical phase noise at 10 kHz offset of -168 down to -183 dBc/Hz.  Their 100 MHz Golden Citrine static phase noise floor was measured down below -192 dBc/Hz.  That is about as good as it gets.

Cables/Connectors:

Emerson Network Power Connectivity Solutions was showing off their Semflex Quick Turn Cable Assembly program. The Quick Turn program, offers the precision low-loss Semflex HP series cable assemblies, to ship from the factory within 48 hours of receipt of order. The cable assemblies offered consist of the HP120, 160, 190 and 305 series with available connectors of SMA, 2.92mm, 2.4mm and Type N. Performance is up to 50 GHz.

Frontlynk Technologies Inc. displayed a significant selection of its product range. In particular there was the newly launched directional coupler featuring an SMA connector interface. It operates at a working frequency from 2 to 8GHz, with 6 dB and 10 dB versions. The directional coupler uses microstrip line circuitry, has a very low insertion loss, high isolation and high directivity. The booth also featured the company’s range of End Launch Connectors (1.85 mm, 2.4 mm and 2.92 mm) that operate from DC to 67 GHz and a waveguide filter up to 100 GHz.

GORE featured RF and microwave cable test assemblies that ensure precise, repeatable measurements for the life of your test equipment. The long-lasting, reliable performance of these durable assemblies delivers low loss, reduces total cost of test, and improves system reliability. These cables have excellent phase and amplitude stability with flexure, wide operating temperature range, and crush and torque resistance. They recently did a survey which showed that 55% of test cables do not last even one year so reliable cables are critical to keeping costs down.

Mega Phase added a new series of test cables to 32 GHz (I like the name, Killer Bee – in yellow and black).  They are designed for a wide variety of lab, production and thermal testing applications.  They offer flexible and rugged design, excellent phase, amplitude and thermal stability.

Molex interconnect products display included a new online RF Assembly Builder, a free configuration tool that simplifies the design process, allowing users to build a complete cable and connector assembly and instantly submit an RFQ without downloading any application or software.  Also on display was Temp-Flex™ Low Loss Flexible Microwave Coaxial Cables featuring solid core or monofilament dielectric for faster signal speed (70% and 85 - 88% Velocity of propagation respectively) and improved electrical performance in high-bandwidth applications.  Also, a new 40 GHz, 2.92mm plug-to-plug cable assembly that uses Temp-Flex Air Enhanced Low Loss Flexible Microwave Coaxial Cables with a typical VSWR of 1.35:1 maximum to 40 GHz.  And a RF DIN 1.0/2.3 Modular Backplane System is a system that enables designers to consolidate space and improve system routing of RF signals for board-to-board communications.

Rosenberger introduced several new products including: a new PCB connector used for test applications to 100 GHz, the WSMP connector series of ultra-high density, push-on interconnects that are 45% smaller than the MiniSMP, offering a broad RF range through 100 GHz, phase stable VNA ruggedized cable to 70 GHz and Rmor™ ruggedized cables for harsh environments. In addition, the company displayed the latest update in its new MCI™ program – the next generation of ‘LIGA’ based contact technology.

Times Microwave was showing off their cable assemblies designed for applications demanding minimal phase change over temperature.  They unique cable uses a proprietary TF4 dielectric that does not have the abrupt shift in phase that occurs with solid and tape wrapped PTFE products.  They also were showing off their low loss plenum rated cable assemblies that employ a flexible corrugated copper tube out conductor over a tape wrapped low density PTFE dielectric core offering performance and flexibility.

TRU Corporation featured VNA cable assemblies offering high RF & microwave performance combined with superior mechanical and environmental durability.  The cable assemblies are available for 18, 26.5, 40 and 50 GHz broadband electrical performance. They also were showing the quick connect high power cables for use in some interesting applications such as EMC/EMI testing.  The quick connect allows changing cables easily without damaging the connectors so saves time and money.

Santron was among a host of cable assembly solution providers at IMS this year as you can see. Representing the high-performance sector of the rugged connector supply chain, Santron has been emphasizing low PIM performance among its products, capitalizing on its expertise in manufacturing, design and use of quality materials and plating technology. The company was debuting the new “Bad Boy” armor-ized cable for demanding outdoor test situations that call for extremely rugged interconnect solutions. Featuring extended strain relief and double weave cable shielding, these bad boys offer serious performance and reliability.

Recent Articles by David Vye, Editor, Microwave Journal

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