The measurement of passive intermodulation (PIM) has always been tricky with regards to getting the right technological balance between offering flexibility while achieving low intermodulation. In the past it was possible to achieve the PIM requirement but offering real flexibility has been an issue. Until recently, the traditional offering has been rather stiff corrugated cable construction with welded copper tube outer conductors. The bending moment and the spring back effect of these heavy products have not allowed true flexibility.
Taking advantage of its expertise in coaxial cable, connector and assembly design under one roof, HUBER+SUHNER has designed what it says is the first truly flexible low PIM test lead, known as the Test Lead – PIM (TL-P). Its ductility, weight and handling are believed to put it on par with state-of-the-art network analyzer test leads. TL-P is based on a flexible cable which is optimized up to 4 GHz. The assembly offers a dynamic flex life of greater than 10,000 cycles (with a 110 mm bend radius) and is designed with steel spring armoring that protects against kinking and assures a long lifetime. The robust design is completed with molded protection between connector and cable. This comes with a guaranteed PIM performance of -160 dBc and connectors that can handle more than 2,000 mating cycles.
The TL-P product line has been developed for outdoor and indoor applications where passive intermodulation and return loss have to be tested. It combines user friendly handling, durability and reliable PIM results in one product, making it an investment that can benefit the total cost of ownership.
Outdoor and Indoor
With its light weight and smooth physical characteristics, TL-P is an asset for field test applications. Users of portable PIM test devices will appreciate the portability of a much less bulky test cable, as shown in Figure 1,with a very high degree of reliability that makes repeated rebuilding and reterminating unnecessary and reduces overall work time and cost. Field use requires flexible and rugged test equipment. Offering longer life, with the capability of withstanding rough conditions (IP67), the TL-P product line is specifically designed for harsh environments.
Offering excellent return loss performance, the TL-P product line is suitable for benchtop PIM analyzers in indoor lab or factory testing, such as antenna components. Designed for high mating cycles, these factory-made cable assemblies are produced under stringent manufacturing and quality standards. They are 100 percent tested for PIM, return loss and attenuation, and each assembly comes with a PIM test report (see Figure 2) and protection caps on the connectors.
Whether used for outdoor or indoor applications, the outstanding PIM and return loss performance make the assembly suitable for any relevant test and measurement application. Its highly flexible, rugged and reliable construction offers high resistance to wear and high mechanical endurance. The TL-P product line is available with straight male 7/16, N and 4.3-10 connectors in standard lengths of 1,500 mm and 3,000 mm, while other interfaces and assembly lengths are available on request.