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Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor

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Pat Hindle is responsible for editorial content, article review and special industry reporting for Microwave Journal magazine and its web site in addition to social media and special digital projects. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Hindle held various technical and marketing positions throughout New England, including Marketing Communications Manager at M/A-COM (Tyco Electronics), Product/QA Manager at Alpha Industries (Skyworks), Program Manager at Raytheon and Project Manager/Quality Engineer at MIT. Mr. Hindle graduated from Northeastern University - Graduate School of Business Administration and holds a BS degree from Cornell University in Materials Science Engineering.

Shanghai Highlights

IME/China and EMC/China

November 1, 2013
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I recently traveled to IME/China 2013 (China International Conference & Exhibition on Microwave and Antennas) that was held October 23-25 in Shanghai at the Everbright Convention & Exhibition Center. IME/China is co-located with EMC/China, so the two events complement each other in the same facility. Both events have an exhibition and conference consisting of company sessions about their technology and products. Topics such as EMC testing, high power amplifier design and testing, high performance cables, high power switching, IMD filtering and PCB design were covered in the microwave sessions while the EMC sessions focused on topics such as EMC testing, absorbers and reverberation chamber testing with some overlapping with the microwave sessions on amplifier design.

The exhibition is well organized with the EMC companies in the front with red signage and the microwave companies in the back with blue signage.  The larger international companies typically have big booths in the fron,t but there are also a large number of local Chinese companies especially in the microwave section. The attendance was good for the first half of the event but dropped off significantly for the second half.  The sessions were held in various rooms around the outer rim of the exhibition which was very convenient for the attendees.

Microwave Journal visited with a number of the companies in the exhibition to discuss the new products that were being featured at the show.  Here are some highlights from the exhibition:

Test and Measurement/Software

Aaronia was displaying some interesting products such as magnetic tracking antennas for low frequency (1 Hz to 1 MHz), high directivity applications.  The interesting part is that they are made with cascadable gain elements that can be added by attaching additional tubes. They also make handheld spectrum analyzers, desktop and military grade spectrum analyzers and many other types of antennas.

Agilent press confIn addition to their exhibition presence, Agilent held a press conference to announce new features to their N9038A MXE EMI receiver.  The major new features included operating range up to 44 GHz, time domain scanning, monitor spectrum and amplitude probability distribution display. "The upgradeable MXE provides the functionality and reliability needed to keep EMC test queues flowing in military and commercial applications," said Andy Botka, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Microwave Communications Division. The unit utilizes Agilent’s all digital IF technology and achieves a DANL of -166 dBm and amplitude accuracy of +/- 0.5 dB both at 1 GHz.

Anritsu was featuring their VectorStar VNA platform. For signal integrity engineers, the company has 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 utilizing their 3743 mmW modules the enabled coaxial connections.

AWRAWR was featuring their Analyst™ package which is a powerful 3D FEM EM simulation and analysis software that is seamlessly integrated within the AWR Design Environment™ so a user can move from circuit concept to full 3D EM verification with a single mouse click. With 3D EM and circuit design in one integrated workflow, it saves the user valuable time. Simulation of many3D interconnects has typically overburdened both computer resources and human endurance but Analyst allow the user to concentrate on designing and improving product performance rather than drawing and importing or exporting data between different tools.

CETC 41 has their broad display of products in their booth. These include signal generators, spectrum analyzers, signal analyzers, receivers, portable testers and analyzers, VNAs, calibration kits, noise figure analyzer, power sensors/meters, frequency counters, power amplifiers, oscilloscopes, communications testers and more.

Antenna Magus already includes tools for selecting suitable topologies from a design database, adjusting these topologies to fit the design requirement, and for constructing arrays of elements with the correct excitation. Their update introduces a new feature: parametric models which include physical feed-network layouts. The feed network models can be exported into the 3D EM simulation tool CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS) and their behavior simulated and optimized as necessary using the full-wave solvers available in CST MWS. With this new feature, CST and MAGUS hope to allow feed effects to be considered earlier in the design flow, and streamline the antenna simulation workflow.

ETS-Lindgren, an industry leader in the design and installation of wireless OTA test and measurement systems, announced three new Tech Tours in China: Shanghai on 4 Nov, Shenzhen on 5 Nov, and Beijing on 7 Nov. Tech Tours are half-day technical seminars with industry expert speakers, organized by ETS-Lindgren. The technical content of the China Tech Tours will focus on wireless test and measurement topics, including reverberation technologies for wireless OTA measurements, LTE, MIMO and PIM testing. A presentation on the “Future Roadmap of Wireless Technologies” will provide the latest information on anticipated technology developments, including the resulting impact on industry standards and measurement systems to meet those standards.

GTS was showing their RayZone series test chambers that are universal test systems that multiple international research institutions jointly developed and integrated a number of patented technologies for the wireless terminal development and testing. They are a new generation of wireless communications OTA test platforms that use a unique 2-stage test for MIMO OTA testing. The RayZone1200 system with miniaturization, low cost of ownership, as well as accuracy and consistency has advantages in mobility, size, and speed for pre-certified wireless communications laboratories and R&D departments.

MVG was displaying three main sectors of activities: Antenna Measurement Systems (AMS), EMC test and measurement solutions, different ranges of anechoic materials and Environmental and Industrial Control products.  As for AMS systems, MVG highlighted MicroLab, the new patent pending, compact and portable microwave test system designed for wireless devices utilizing WiGig technology. Regarding the EMC chambers and range of absorbers, a new product, the High Power Absorber, was introduced.  Designed for high energy areas of chambers and equipment, the hollow, pyramidal honeycomb structure allows for quick heat dissipation. Increased power handling is achievable with forced air cooling. This particular demo absorber was a real attraction for visitors during the exhibition. MVG also showcased the EME Guard XS (EGXS) demonstrator kit for the first time in the Chinese market. EGXS is an EMF monitoring device to alert workers near antennas. It continuously scans for electromagnetic waves and, via its built-in sound and visual alarm system, alerts users whenever the acceptable limits have been exceeded.

R&SRohde & Schwarz was featuring their R&S®ESR EMI test receiver for the frequency range from 10 Hz to 26.5 GHz and complies with the CISPR 16-1-1 standard. It measures electromagnetic disturbances with the conventional stepped frequency scan or – at an extremely high speed – with an FFT-based time domain scan. It also functions as a full-featured, powerful signal and spectrum analyzer for lab applications. Featuring real-time spectrum analysis capability with a wide range of diagnostic tools, the test receiver also enables detailed analysis of disturbance signals and their history. They also showing off their the R&S®RTO oscilloscopes that combine excellent signal fidelity, high acquisition rate and the real-time digital trigger system with a compact device format in the 600 MHz to 4 GHz class. They offer various probes to measure EMI in various circuits.

Materials, Semiconductors and Components

CPI was featuring some of their TWT amplifiers such as the VZS/C-6963J2 250 W 2 to 8 GHz medium power amplifier for test and measurement applications.  They also showed off 2 of their millimeter wave TWT amplifiers including a 40 W K-Band and Ka-Band units both with split mount configurations for direct feed mounting to minimize losses.

The Dover Group companies were in attendance and discussed their upcoming split off of the Knowles Corporation that includes companies such as CMP and Vectron. Other well-known RF/microwave names will remain part of Dover such as K&L, DLI, Dow-Key and others.

Nanjing Guanjun Technology Co. specializes in microwave, communication products, system research and development. They produce high performance components and subsystems such as launch components, receiving components, absorbing material test systems, near field measurement systems, plus antenna products such as waveguide slot antennas, microstrip antennas, broadband horn antennas, omni-directional antennas, log periodic antennas, single pulse antennas, phased array antenna, and more. They are the authorized agent of Cernex.

NanjingThe day before the show, we traveled to Nanjing to visit 2 companies there.  We had the pleasure of visiting with Nanjing Guanjun Technology Co. the day before and were impressed with their technology and staff.  We also visited with Nanjing Guangshun Network Comm. Equipment Co. and took a tour of their facility.

Ommic was showing off their chipsets for applications such as phase array radar, satellite communications and millimeterwave scanning/imaging. They now offer up to a 12 W X-band amplifier, LNA with .85 dB NF, 6 or 7-bit attenuator/phase shifter and core ship for phased array radar applications.

Premix was displaying an interesting thermoplastic material that is ideal for high speed connectors and miniature antenna designs.  PREPERM plastic grades cover dielectric constants between 2.1 and 22 and allows adjusting the value to the required level. High Dk allows for miniaturizing antenna designs with low dissipation factors.  It can be injection molded and offers stable performance to 120 GHz.  It can also be used for high-speed connectors with low loss to .0005 and low Dk to 2.1.

RogersRogers was showing their various laminate materials such as the high frequency laminate RO4835 that provides significantly improved oxidation resistance compared to typical thermoset microwave materials.  It has low loss, tight dielectric constant tolerance, low z-axis expansion, lead-free process compatible and low in-plane expansion coefficient. They also showed off their RO 4725JXR and RO4730JXR antenna grade laminates that are a low cost alternative to conventional PTFE-based laminates.  The offer reduced PIM, low insertion loss and low density using their unique microsphere filler.

Starwaycomm offers high power SSPAs including a 2 to 18 GHz model with up to 100 W output power and 6 to 18 GHz model with up to 200 W.  They also have a 26 to 40 GHz model with 20 to 50 W output power.

SE Technologies which represents companies such as Auriga, dBm, Giga Test Labs and Accel-RF to name a few we featuring the Auriga pulsed IV/RF system.  They had a demo running of the system which is a full-featured, characterization platform capable of measuring DC IV and pulsed IV curves, expandable to pulsed S-parameters and pulsed load pull. With pulse widths as narrow as 70 ns and duty cycles as low as 0.001%, the AU4850 is well-suited for isothermal testing of devices. Unlike less-capable solutions, it can deliver up to 220 V, 30 A for RF designers, and 600 V, 5 A with unmatched pulse resolution for power electronics designers.

Cables/Connectors

Huber and Suhner was showing off their MULTIFLEX microwave cables that are the flexible alternative to Semi-Rigid cables. They are used in commercial and military RF and microwave airborne systems, communication systems, cellular base stations and satellite ground systems. In brief: anywhere a "flexible Semi-Rigid cable" is required. They were demonstrating their performance as shoe laces on a boot and still maintaining their performance even when laced into a shoe.

Radiall cable assemblies have good electrical performance, low loss, and high frequency performance. With flexible, semi rigid, and hand-formable cable assemblies, their TestProTM range is a preferred choice for test and lab applications. Radiall also supplies switches, antennas, connectors and space qualified products.

Times Microwave was featuring a variety of cable assemblies including their TFT series (low PIM, plenum rated, stable performance when flexing), SPP (excellent PIM, plenum rated100 dB shielding), SilverLine Extra Flex (extra flexible stable versus flexure, 18 GHz operation, less phase change versus temperature), SilverLine-VNA(18 and 26.5 GHz, low loss 40 GHz, high flex life), PhaseTrack (-55 to +150 degrees temp range, stable phase performance over temperature, rugged/flexible construction) and TFlex-405 Jumpers (cost effective, 18 GHz and 40 GHz).

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