Measurement technology is constantly evolving, in part because of its close ties with software and computer control. One of the more significant enhancements to RF/microwave test equipment in recent years has been the growing availability of key measurement functions in the form of easy-to-use Universal Serial Bus (USB) modules. With each new USB test module, RF/microwave engineers receive another option for assembling an automated measurement system that can be controlled fully under USB control. In addition, with these modules (each weighing only 1 lb. or less) and a laptop, computer engineers can assemble easy-to-carry and truly portable RF/microwave measurement systems for on-site testing. 

The USB control interface has been built into a growing number of test-and-measurement modules. Most, if not all, of the instrument suppliers offering USB test instruments include operating software for a PC with their instruments, typically usable on Windows operating systems back through XP. The different control programs are compatible with each other, as well as with leading commercial test programs. Demos of this software will be part of the discussion at the Vaunix Booth  1353 at IMS 2014.

The Lab Brick USB signal generators from Vaunix include the cost-effective LSG series and the full-featured, high-performance LMS series instruments. In a non-USB application, both LSG and LMS series signal generators can operate from a battery or remote power supply. Both series of signal generators are also programmable by various drivers provided by Vaunix including drivers for LabVIEW software from National Instruments. In a test system, the Vaunix Lab Brick signal generators might be coupled with a switch, an attenuator, or even a phase shifter, and the company offers all three of these functions in USB form. New products on display and being discussed in Vaunix’s IMS booth will be two new attenuators – the LDA-102-75F, a 75 ohm attenuator which operates from 10-1000 MHz and features a 63 dB range, and the LDA-602E, a 120 dB attenuator with programmable attenuation through 6 GHz. As well as two new switches – the LSW-102PDT-75F and the LSW-102P4T-75F – 75 ohm solid state SPDT and SP4T absorptive switches for 10-2000 MHz applications.

To learn more setting up your own USB test stand stop by IMS Booth 1353 or visit