- Buyers Guide
The RF & Microwave industry advances and evolves from year to year and the annual RF & Hyper event is a showcase where those developments can be viewed and assessed. However, very few visiting or participating in this year’s event at the CNIT, International Conference and Exhibition Centre in Paris at the end of March, could have envisaged the BIG change that would be announced — that the RF & Hyper Show will go on but not as we know it!
On the first day the organiser made the surprise announcement that from 2008 the show will be encompassed within a larger event alongside four other complementary shows it currently stages. These are Forum de l’Ectronique, Mesurexpo, Opto and the Vision-Show. The event is scheduled for 23 to 25 September 2008 at Port de Versailles in Paris.
Last But Not Least
So, as the last RF & Hyper in its current form how did the 2007 event sign off? Its stated aims were to reflect the trends in RF and microwave, particularly the development of new architectures and products, greater integration and improved packaging of components, miniaturization and increased product performance levels and functionalities.
Mainstays of the industry including test and measurement equipment, components, subassemblies, antennas and software were to the fore. There was recognition of the impact of the telecommunications market, particularly 3G and the evolution of wireless technologies such as WiMAX, WiFi and Bluetooth. Applications such military, medical, safety, security and avionics were also featured.
Over the years the conference/workshop programme has developed. This year the Applications Conferences covered subjects including embedded systems, active and passive components, RFID, software defined radio and simulation techniques. The EMC Conferences Workshop was divided into three topics: the Effect of ionizing radiation on electronics, EMC state in transportation systems and EMC protection of civilian and industrial sites. Finally, the separate Workshops focused on semiconductor/IC developments including nanotechnologies, RF packaging, RF MEMS and MMICs.
However, as has always been the case, at the heart of RF & Hyper is the Exhibition with essentially a French core that widens to embrace the rest of Europe and the global market. This year it attracted around 150 different exhibitors.
Products From the Show Floor
Exhibitors varied from the large global leaders to the smaller local players, from familiar names to new start-ups and virtually all sectors of the industry were represented in terms of product. Many targeted the event to launch new products, showcase newcomers for the first time or even preview new developments. Read on to discover a selection that caught the eye and apologies to those companies that have not been mentioned due to limited space.
Traditionally RF & Hyper has had a very strong French flavour, attracting the country’s key players in the RF and microwave sector. Alongside are global big hitters including Agilent Technologies who presented a strong offering of new products. At the fore was the E5052B 10 MHz to 7 GHz signal source analyzer that features a ten times increase in measurement throughput and more precise analysis functions than its predecessor. Other key enhancements include fast phase-noise performance and ultra-clean residual phase noise. With a phase-noise-analysis offset frequency range extended from 40 MHz to 100 MHz, it covers all major digital communication standards in standard test. In addition, its maximum transient bandwidth in a WIDE mode has been extended from 25.6 MHz to 80 MHz, and it features more than 100 times longer memory. Also, the signal source analyser can be extended up to 26.5 GHz with the E5053A, and up to 110 GHz with the E5053A plus 11970 Series mixers.
The plethora of products the company showcased also included the N9340A RF spectrum analyser. With usability from 100 kHz to 3 GHz, it is suitable for installation and maintenance users in a variety of industries, including wireless service providers, aerospace/defence, spectrum management authorities, and television and broadcasting. Addressing the need for high quality low cost solutions the entry-level N9320A RF spectrum analyser took the spotlight too. It features fast measurement speed (9.2 ms at non zero span), good DANL (-148 dBm), narrow RBW (10 Hz), high TOI (+13 dBm) and is easy to use.
Staying with test and measurement Tektronix focused on the Tek UWB WiMedia2 software, which extends the UWB debug and analysis capabilities of the company’s DSA70000, DPO70000 and TDS6000C Series of multi-channel performance real time oscilloscopes to include real-time analysis of ultra-wideband RF and electrical signals. This new application will enable engineers to design, debug, and validate performance of WiMedia ultra-wideband radios used in certified wireless USB, WiNet and high speed Bluetooth electronics.To complete the UWB solution, and also on show, was the AWG7000 signal generator series that enables UWB developers to generate WiMedia signals for complete receiver verification. With its 20 GS/s sample rate and 5 GHz bandwidth, the instrument is capable of direct generation of UWB signals. Built on the same platform as the AWG7000 is the new AWG5000 Series of arbitrary waveform generators. With a single instrument, high-resolution signals can be generated for testing both analogue and digital baseband and intermediate frequency (IF) circuits in mixed signal devices, increasing test efficiency and reducing costs. It is suitable for testing digital RF technologies including software defined radios and radars, WiMAX, WiFi, MIMO, and UWB.
Providing Asian interest RFHIC, headquartered in Korea, used the event to showcase new products. Of particular significance was the PLL-D Series, which is a PLL + VCO + divider type with TCXO and ROM options. The surface mount packages, which exhibit good phase noise, low spurious noise, are RoHS compliant and Pb free, come in three models — the PS-16 (19 by 19 by 6.5 mm), the PS-26 (19 by 19 by 3.7 mm), the PS-32 (20 by 15 by 3.8 mm) and the PS-42 (15 by 15 by 3.5 mm). The RF frequency range of the series is 700 to 3.8 GHz, operating from a 5V DC power supply.
The company also introduced its CE series 1W E-pHEMT LNA to the market, which is targeted at UMTS and WiMAX base stations. It is a surface mounted device and is claimed to be the first on the market to utilize hybrid technology. Features include using a 5 V operating voltage and the device’s high reliability when compared to other HBT devices. There is also no need for matching which helps engineers to save the space during the prototype design stage. Also a global player but very much French, Radiall supported its local show by launching three new products. The first is the high performance R593 Platinum series 40 GHz DPDT coaxial switches that compliment the R594 Platinum series (multiport terminated switches) and the R595 Platinum series (DP3T-SPDT terminated switches). The switches are optimized to perform at a high level over an extended life span and are suitable for various applications including Automated Test Equipment, monitoring devices, and those where excellent repeatability is required. It has RF performance characteristics that include a guaranteed insertion loss repeatability of 0.03 dB over a life span of 10 million cycles (up to 26.5 GHz), a typical VSWR of 1.40 at 40 GHz and a typical isolation of 70 dB at 40 GHz. The company also launched the R596, which expands the range of SPDT relays with SMT technology. It comes in two product types. The low cost C grade Commercial model has a short delivery time, an operating temperature of –20°C to +70°C, life of 500,000 cycles and applications in wireless systems such as base stations and TMA’s. The High Reliability M grade is for operation in stringent environments, has an operating temperature of –40°C to +85°C, life of 2,000,000 cycles and applications such as test and the military. Finally the new R401 420 105 and R401 421 105 are 5 and 6 GHz, 100 W Aluminium Nitride chip terminations dedicated to ferrite isolator applications.
Not to be outdone, Radiall’s French counterpart OMMIC also targeted the show to make major announcements. Significantly the company launched a new family of high performance Wide Band Double Balanced Mixers covering the band 0.7 GHz to 10 GHz. The CGY2180UH, CGY2181UH and CGY2182UH use on chip baluns to provide excellent rejection of the LO to the RF and IF paths of > 40 dB, while the passive mixer structure gives a very high dynamic range with an input 1 dB compression point of > 12 dBm. The CGY2180UH operates from 0.7 GHz to 3.7 GHz with a conversion loss of typically 8 dB. The CGY2181UH operates from 1 GHz to 4.5 GHz, while the CGY2182UH operates from 3 GHz to 10 GHz and both have a conversion loss of typically 7 dB.
All three are manufactured using the company’s 0.18 µm gate length pHEMT technology. The MMICs use gold bonding pads and backside metallization and are fully protected with Silicon Nitride passivation to obtain the highest level of reliability. They have been developed in the framework of the European Space Agency’s European Component Initiative with the participation from Alcatel Alenia Space and are suitable for use in GPS such as the European Galileo System, telecommunication, radar, electronic warfare and instrumentation applications. In what is becoming a regular occurrence, IMS Connector Systems announced the extension of its Quick Lock Systems product range with the introduction of the new SnapN quick-lock connectors, which are backwards compatible with N connectors. This means that SnapN jacks (female) can be mated with N plugs (male). The connectors are suitable for all applications up to 11 GHz and guarantee a minimum of 200 mating cycles. The quick lock coupling mechanism means that the engagement force is smaller than for N connectors with a standard interface. Ease of installation and positioning flexibility are features facilitated by the fact that SnapN cable mount angle plugs are 360° rotatable.
As well as familiar names, RF & Hyper also provided the opportunity for companies that might not be so familiar to exhibit their wares. For example, i2e featured the new FRL-XXX high performance SHF microwave receiver family that covers the frequency range of 0.5 GHz to 40 GHz (FRL-540 version) with a step of 10 kHz. It has been specially designed to match the quality required to demodulate the newest digital modulations with very high bit rate and number of states such as QAM, OFDM, etc. For this reason, the FRL-XXX is a range of low noise receivers with high dynamic range and low differential group delay. The gain is controlled manually or automatically with a digital and configurable AGC module.
The receiver provides wideband 1 GHz IF and 140/70 MHz IF outputs with fixed gain and a configurable narrow band IF with variable gain. The bandwidth at this narrow band output is selectable between 80 MHz to 5 MHz with 140 MHz IF selected and 50 MHz BW with 70 MHz selected. The reference frequency of 10 MHz can be internal or external and the remote control can be provided with an Ethernet 10/100 base link or RS232 serial link.
On the Antenessa stand the company announced its collaboration with antenna manufacturer, Cotterlaz, to commercialize a range of ‘tuneable’ integrated antennas. The first three cover the 868 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequencies. They can be adapted on a printed circuit board and optimized directly by the development engineer in the validation phase. Integrated to a PCB thanks to a connector, the engineer can easily realize a first test. According to the integration constraints, the optimized antennas can be used for small production volumes (20, 50 or 100 units) in order to better anticipate the validation phase of clients and the test phases of the equipment.
Keeping with the antenna theme, Hyptra showcased a portable ground tracking antenna measuring 1 m by 0.5 m and weighing less than 30 kg. The portable ground station can be used in L-band, S-band or C-band for data reception and/or transmission with 25 dB gain (L-band), 19 dB gain (S-band) and 25 dB gain (C-band). Dual channel reception (with polarization diversity) is achieved through a flat array antenna, which can be dismounted from its two axes pedestal (elevation over azimuth) and transported in a carrying case when not used.
The system incorporates an Antenna Control Unit that features a ruggedized portable PC with an interface that is claimed to be ‘created by users for users’. Specific software enables the remote monitoring and control of the system and a control and servo power rack sends orders to the pedestal according to the operating mode selected with the ACU.Keeping with outdoor applications AA-MCS featured two new S-band solid-state power amplifiers for outdoor operation. The AAMCS-AMP-2500M-2700M-50dB-46dbm has a typical output saturated power that reaches 46 dBm, with a minimum gain of 50 dB +/- 1 dB on the total bandwidth. It also exhibits input/output VSWR of 1.3:1/1.4:1 maximum.
The AAMCS-AMP-2500M-2700M-53dB-50dB auto redundant high power amplifier has a typical output saturated power that reaches 50 dBm, with a minimum gain of 50 dB and a typical flatness of +/- 1 dB on the total bandwidth for the main and redundant modules and input/output VSWR of 1.3:1/1.4:1 maximum. Both new amplifiers are designed for antenna mount integration and are suitable for satellite communication systems, telemetry and tracking applications.
Looking forward Acqiris previewed products that will be commercially available in June, namely a new family of COTS VME/VMS (VITA form factor) boards. It incorporates the company’s JetSpeedII technology for clock generation and distribution while supporting GigaSamples per second and up to date ADC and DAC technologies. Based on a scaleable, modular architecture the new family comes with two Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGAs, one SX55 targeted at digital signal processing and one Fx100 for data flow control.
The boards will come with a complete optional Firmware Development Kit for rapid and easy application development on the SX55 and FX1000 FPGAs, with compatibility to store multiple bit streams in Flash for complex, multimode applications. These include electronic warfare, synthetic aperture and phased array radar, software defined radio, semiconductors and medical imaging.
What Happens Next?
Following the announcement of the changes planned for 2008, the last RF & Hyper in its traditional guise carried on as normal. The conference programme addressed current technological developments, while the exhibition was a platform for new products and provided a stage for networking. It will be interesting to see how the new format for 2008 will evolve. The organisers promise to keep RF & Hyper’s identity with specific conferences, workshop and catalogue. Microwave Journal will keep you informed.