We arrived in San Francisco from all directions, crossing the Golden Gate, driving up from Silicon Valley, flying in to SFO. Perhaps some even came by ferry from around the Bay. San Francisco is a city that captures the spirit, the juxtaposition of hills, ocean and a Mediterranean climate with 240 years of settlement leading to the most modern wireless and internet technology. No wonder this city is a favorite locale for the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), always drawing record crowds.

If you’ve attended more than a few times, you probably sense that this annual event is actually three parallel universes: several technical conferences that explore the leading edges of microwave technology, an exhibition where companies showcase the products that fuel the industry and, perhaps most importantly, a reunion. Ours is such a small industry that the colleagues we meet in the early years of our careers become friends, even though our company names change. IMS is an anchor where we see friendly faces and catch up on each others’ lives.

IMS2016IMS — more accurately called Microwave Week — went by in a blur, beginning with workshops and the RFIC Symposium, through the IMS technical sessions and exhibition and ending with more workshops and the ARFTG conference on Friday. Millimeter wave applications were widely covered at the conferences taking over amplifier design for handsets as the most prevalent topic. Other popular topics, of course, were 5G and IoT as those areas have taken a large mindshare over the past year or two in our industry as primary areas for future growth. The NewSpace/Commercial Satellite and RF Energy market are also popular topics as they promise to grow significantly in the near future. Over 600 companies exhibited, from 3D Glass Solutions to Zik and all the companies that have anchored IMS for years. It was impossible for Microwave Journal to visit each of the firms that filled Moscone Center, but we did our best. The following summarizes what we saw and learned during the three very hectic days of the exhibition.


Altair has completed the acquisition of CEDRAT S.A. and its New York-based wholly-owned subsidiary, Magsoft Corporation, expanding the electromagnetic and thermal simulation capabilities of its HyperWorks® CAE portfolio. With over 35 years of experience in electrical engineering, CEDRAT is a leader in the field of simulating low frequency electromagnetics for electric motor design. Based in Grenoble, France, they are a top tier technology company in the electromagnetics software space, developing and applying simulation software used by manufacturers to accelerate the development of reliable and optimized solutions for electric and electromagnetic devices such as motors, transformers, actuators, sensors, heat treatment processes, transmission lines, EMC, arc chambers and superconductivity applications.

ANSYSANSYS was demonstrating the new automated antenna design workflow in ANSYS HFSS streamlines synthesis, set-up and analysis of antenna designs. This enables engineers, including those without antenna expertise, to create and optimize antenna designs and integration. Products demonstrated include ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS Savant and ANSYS EMIT. The ability to share accurate design data among engineering groups while protecting IP is critical in today's environment. The new patent-pending 3-D EM component in ANSYS HFSS is a breakthrough in model sharing, allowing engineers to create encrypted, password-protected user-models that provide all the information to successfully design RF and microwave components in high-frequency networks. ANSYS now provides a complete flow to address electrical, thermal, and structural reliability in high-frequency systems. This new RF design flow supports high-frequency design from layout, inclusion of signal integrity, power integrity, EMI, 3-D integration and thermal and structural reliability.

The latest release of an NI/AWR Connected solution is for ANSYS, Inc.’s High Frequency Electromagnetic Field Simulation (HFSS) software. This flow utilizes EM Socket II to enable bi-directional interoperability between Microwave Office and HFSS and expands upon the prior offering by allowing designers to define an HFSS 3D layered structure, seamlessly launch an HFSS simulation and embed S-parameter results directly back into Microwave Office without leaving the software environment.  Additionally, Sonnet Software and Computer Simulation Technology (CST) have upgraded from prior EM Socket implementations to this new format.  For Sonnet, the new flow brings expanded capabilities that includes 64-bit compatibility, as well as the ability to run 2D planar EM simulations asynchronously.  For CST STUDIO SUITE, this new implementation automates the round-trip flow in much the same way as that of HFSS but also allows for arbitrary 3D layout data to be passed, thereby minimizing user time by eliminating manual intervention.

Computer Simulation Technology announced the newest release of CST STUDIO SUITE – Student Edition, a special free version of its flagship electromagnetic simulation package especially for students. This release adds a low-frequency solver especially suitable for learning about eddy currents. The Student Edition contains the versatile time domain, frequency domain and static and thermal solvers, and is supported by a set of online examples showing how classic textbook problems can be solved with simulation. The software can be incorporated into the coursework for a class, but the online examples mean that it can also be used by individual students for independent extracurricular learning at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The company also unveiled its upcoming Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) solver of CST STUDIO SUITE, which offers accurate thermal and air flow simulations for electromagnetic systems. Heating is an important consideration for many high-power applications and compact electronic systems. Excess heat can damage components and cause thermal expansion that detunes sensitive components. Natural convection and fan cooling can significantly affect how a component heats up, which makes understanding the air flow through and around a device a key part of multiphysics design.

COMSOL announced support for app development that furthers work toward 5G and the IoT with several demonstrations. The latest release of the RF Module in COMSOL Multiphysics® comes with several application examples that allow COMSOL® software users to run, inspect, and use the apps – allowing them to see how straightforward it is to turn their model into a custom application. Of interest to antenna designers is the Slot-Coupled Microstrip Patch Antenna Array Synthesizer demo app. It simulates an FEM model of a device that is fabricated on a multilayered low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) substrate, and extends the results to the user-specified array configuration. The results include S-parameter, electric field distribution on each layer, far-field radiation pattern of the antenna array, and its directivity. The far-field radiation pattern is calculated by multiplying the array factor and the single antenna radiation pattern to perform an efficient far-field analysis without simulating a complicated full array model, allowing the app user to independently obtain their simulation results within seconds. The upcoming version of the RF Module, which is scheduled to be released shortly after IMS2016, strengthens its design and test feasibility by including new tutorial models such as a log-periodic antenna for EMI/EMC Testing, and a signal integrity (SI) and time-domain reflectometry (TDR) analysis of adjacent microstrip lines. The Application Libraries also include detailed model examples guiding users to perform very fast prototyping with high accuracy through reduced-order model simulation techniques based on asymptotic waveform evaluation (AWE) and frequency-domain modal methods.

IMST previewed Version 7.5 of its EMPIRE XPU 3D electromagnetic field simulators, which will be launched early in Q3 of 2016. The simulator is based on the powerful Finite Difference Time Domain method (FDTD), and with its unique adaptive on-the-fly code generation it exhibits very fast simulation. EMPIRE XPU’s applicability ranges from analyzing planar, multi-layered and conformal circuits, components and antennas to multi-pin packages, waveguides, and SI/EMC problems including the device’s operational environment. The new version will feature a new user interface and key features that will ease and speed up simulation.

KeysightKeysight Technologies and Georgia Tech announced a plan to launch a Keysight software development center to accelerate Keysight’s transformation into a software-centric solutions provider. Keysight has chartered the center to develop next-generation software for use in the design and test of electronic products being created by Keysight’s customers around the world. The new facility will grow to house more than 200 software developers over the next five years. Located in Atlanta’s growing Midtown district, the center will feature an open environment that fosters collaboration and supports an agile software development approach. With its proximity to Georgia Tech, Keysight’s center will have access to leading research, top students and state-of-the-art engineering laboratories. Todd Cutler, vice president and general manager, Keysight Software Products Organization (SPO) and EEsof Electronic Design Automation, will relocate from Santa Rosa to Atlanta to lead the new software development center.

Keysight Technologies also recently introduced the W1720EP Phased Array Beamforming Kit, a new add-on software simulation personality for the SystemVue 2016.08 design environment. The software enables researchers and system architects working on platforms using beamforming algorithms for 5G, satellite, NewSpace, radar and EW applications, to reduce interference and power consumption, while increasing physical range. By incorporating MathWorks' MATLAB Script, SystemVue seamlessly integrates existing algorithms and extends array design tools to the RF and system design communities. This allows system modelers to explore realistic performance of baseband and RF beamforming architectures to save cost and complexity, and streamlines R&D design efficiency across disciplines.

Sonnet release 16 expands the Sonnet Professional feature set to facilitate more freedom, flexibility, and optimum results for design projects. The automation and integration with third party EDA vendors leads to more accuracy in circuit designs, all with increased efficiency. It has been designed to better incorporate internal models from other sources into current geometry with its Model Components feature. Users can place models in the geometry from a source library containing purchases and in-house model designs.

MathWorks announced capabilities to strengthen design support for digitally-assisted RF MIMO systems. Updates to RF Toolbox, SimRF and Antenna Toolbox in Release 2016a will help engineers ramp-up on RF simulation, assist in performing a first order RF budget analysis that is extendable with advanced models and help integrate the results of RF design in system-level simulation. The introduction of RF Budget Analyzer in RF Toolbox helps engineers design RF front-ends, focusing on getting started with RF modeling and simulation. This helps teams efficiently iterate between system-level specifications and implementation of architectural designs, and reduces time spent in debugging validation test benches. Engineers can now rapidly build executable specifications of the RF front-end and integrate the results of RF design into a system-level simulation. Antenna Toolbox helps to rapidly model, design, analyze and visualize real-life antennas and antenna arrays, including dielectric substrate and custom geometries. Engineers can now perform a first-order design in MATLAB with immediate insights and automation, reducing time spent in assessing suitability for the desired application.

Modelithics recently released a new version of The Modelithics® COMPLETE Library, version 16.0, formatted for use with Keysight EEsof EDA Advanced Design System (ADS) simulation software from Keysight Technologies. With this release, which follows version 12.0, the version number now corresponds with the current year. The Modelithics COMPLETE Library v16.0 adds 56 NEW MODELS to the already extensive collection of powerful, advanced-feature simulation models. Passive component Microwave Global Models™ that have been added include AVX and ATC capacitor, inductor and resistor models, Coilcraft and Würth Elektronik inductor models, Vishay and TDK capacitor models, a Piconics conical inductor model, and ferrite bead models from Murata and Würth Elektronik. New non-linear active device models are available for CEL (NEC) and Qorvo (formerly RFMD) transistors. System-level component models have been added for ATC, AVX, and API Inmet attenuators, AVX couplers and diplexers, and new package models from Barry Industries and RJR Polymers. Single substrate S-parameter models are also now available for three IPDiA broadband capacitors. Please see the release notes for more details on new models and new features.

The WASP-NET EM CAD optimization tool from Microwave Innovation Group (MiG) offers extremely high EM optimization speed based on the hybridization of eight EM solvers. This hybrid domain-composition technology intelligently combines different methods for one and the same structure. Recent advances include a powerful user-friendly graphical 3D editor, which not only enables users to intuitively set up arbitrary user-defined microwave structures and antennas but also to import already available structures in standard 3D CAD formats, to deconstruct and parameterize them for fast optimization.

A new advanced fast integral equation solver technique based on a hybrid shooting-and-bouncing-ray (SBR), physical theory of diffraction (PTD), method-of-moment (MoM) technique completes WASP-NET’s hybrid mode-matching/multi-solver EM CAD tool for efficiently optimizing large antenna structures (e.g. multiple large reflectors and mirrors) including complete feed-networks.

Test and Measurement

AnritsuAnritsu recently introduced an E-Band frequency option to the MS46522B and MS46524B series of Performance ShockLine™ Vector Network Analyzers (VNAs) that provides manufacturers of passive E-Band devices, such as antennas, filters and duplexers, with high quality measurements at a more affordable price than previously available alternatives. The new ShockLine E-Band option utilizes Anritsu’s NLTL technology complemented with novel monolithic broadband directional bridges, multiplexers, and other key components, resulting in NLTL-based samplers and distributed harmonic generators that provide outstanding performance and a lower price than alternative approaches. For example, ShockLine performance enables filter manufacturers to take advantage of 120 dB of dynamic range to meet higher selectivity requirements. In addition, the same NLTL-based technology is also inherently temperature and time stable, which results in less drift and down time needed for performing calibrations. Less down time means higher utilization and lower cost of test.

Berkeley Nucleonics (BNC) is trying to change the face — or faceplate — of test and measurement (T&M) by developing lower cost T&M engines that interface with PCs. The PCs provide the operating system and graphical interface, which will always be current with the latest PC generation. At IMS, BNC was featuring their family of 9 kHz to 26.5 GHz signal sources, including a benchtop unit that holds from two to eight sources, all phase locked and synchronous. All of BNC’s RF and microwave signal generators have similar features and capabilities, to make training and test setups faster. However, to address the wide range of user applications, they are available with different frequency ranges, from 6 GHz to greater than 20 GHz. Custom solutions are available to 70 GHz with direct coaxial outputs or  over 100 GHz with external waveguide source modules.
Copper MountainCopper Mountain and Farran Technology partnered to create CobaltFx, a new piece of technology for millimeter-wave S-parameter measurements that establishes lab quality results in a more compact and significantly more affordable solution.  The system is the first millimeter-wave frequency extension solution built on a 9 GHz vector network analyzer (VNA) and is available in three dedicated waveguide bands: 50-75 GHz, 60-90 GHz and 75-110 GHz.  The system is anchored by a 9 GHz Vector Network Analyzer from Copper Mountain Technologies Cobalt Series. It features fast sweep speeds down to 10 microseconds per point and a dynamic range of up to 162 dB, all comprised in a compact USB form factor. C4209 works seamlessly and exclusively with Farran Technology’s millimeter-wave FEV frequency extenders.
Eastern OptX was showing a radar target scenario generator designed to put a radar test range on the test bench. The Eastern OptX Series 1100 Radar Target Simulator is a true propagation path replicator. The Series 1100 receives the signal transmitted from a radar system and adds the round-trip propagation delay associated with the target distance. That signal is then output to the radar receiver. The radar input/output (I/O) may be connected directly to the Series 1100 or detected and transmitted using a user-specified antenna. For a moving target, the system will add the appropriate Doppler shift associated with the target speed and radar frequency. The Series 1100 is broadband with ranges up to 40 GHz with a dynamic range of over 100 dB. It operates with pulsed, frequency hopping, or continuous wave (CW) radars, and encryption or modulation schemes.
Elite RF was featuring fully integrated USB based RF test systems. It includes a power meter (to 8 GHz, 20 dBm input max), dual signal generator (to 13.5 GHz, 15 dBm output), tracking generator (to 12.3 GHz, 15 dBm output), spectrum analyzer (to 12.3 GHz, 20 dBm input max) and power amplifier (to 6 GHz, 5 W) with optional dual scope). It includes integrated computer, wireless mouse and keyboard and 40” HD monitor.
Focus Microwaves has integrated nonlinear measurement solutions that can help designers generate compact models from accurate linear pulsed S-parameters. Focus has added high power pulsed IV testing from Auriga Microwave and behavior modeling tools from Mesuro to their portfolio. The combination of Focus Microwaves with Auriga and Mesuro are providing complete solutions for design engineers. Most systems delivered by Focus are compatible with the widest range of available instrumentation, they offer wide bandwidth, passively and actively tune harmonics (both at the input and output), support wave-based receiver measurements and produce robust behavior models.
Holzworth featured their HSX Series of RF Synthesizer that is currently available as a 10 MHz to 6 GHz CW source. These broadband frequency sources exhibit industry leading phase noise and spectral purity performance coupled with a highly accurate dynamic range of +20 dBm to -110dBm. The 1U high form factor offers 1, 2, 3 or 4 channel models; all providing the ultimate in frequency accuracy, while the phase coherent channels provide the ultimate in channel-to-channel stability. Look for 12 and 20 GHz options to be released by September 2016. They also were demonstrating their HA7062C phase noise analyzer with ANDI Z540 calibrated accuracy as well as very fast speed and ease of use. This model has expanded measurement offsets to 40 MHz, input splitter bypass ports, independent baseband input ports and AM measurements with crucial AM immunity on the PM signal.
Keysight Technologies and Cascade Microtech celebrated 25 years of working together to help customers solve their toughest semiconductor R&D challenges. This collaboration resulted in significant on-wafer design and test innovations—helping customers accelerate their time-to-market. Last year they announced a turn-key wafer-level measurement solution for fast and accurate semiconductor on-wafer measurements that saves time and reduces customer risk with guaranteed system configuration, installation and support. Customers are assured there are no missing components. The pre-validated system delivers verified performance at the probe tip and enables faster time to first data.
Keysight announced its first PXI Express source/measurement unit, the M9111A, purpose-built for design validation and production test of next-generation power amplifiers and front-end modules supporting cellular and wireless connectivity formats. The high-speed M9111A changes voltage, stabilizes and accurately measures micro-amps, all in less than 1 ms. The PXIe entry achieves speeds 20 times faster than those for previous-generation, stand-alone Keysight SMUs at a fraction of the size. The M9111A SMU dramatically reduces voltage droop due to pulse loading and recovers quickly to its program voltage.
Other product highlights include the X-Series signal analyzers — featuring a streamlined multi-touch interface, integrated 1 GHz analysis bandwidth up to 50 GHz, real-time streaming up to 255 MHz bandwidth, and industry-best phase noise performance. CX3300 Series of Device Current Waveform Analyzers—enabling the visualization of previously unmeasurable, low-level current waveforms. The CX3300 series is used in the design of IoT devices and ultra-low power modules and provide 150 pA minimum measureable current, 1 GHz maximum sampling, 14-bit or 16-bit wide dynamic range, and 200 MHz maximum bandwidth. E-Band Testbed Solution—enabling the generation and analysis of wide-bandwidth millimeter-wave signals for 5G and other emerging communications applications. Multiport measurement capabilities—for wireless component and other types of multiport RF/microwave components used in aerospace & defense, radar, and satellite systems. And Keysight EEsof EDA SystemVue 2016 release, Phased Array Library and 5G Baseband Verification Library.
Maury Microwave is expanding their load-pull offering to work with any vector network analyzer (VNA). While the load-pull capability will be limited by the VNA, the user experience will be similar, i.e., with the same tuner and software regardless of VNA. Maury is also increasing load-pull measurement speed, offering a 4x increase through improvements in tuner mechanics, calibration and measurement algorithms. Featured at IMS was the company’s new MT2000E4-series 40 GHz multi-harmonic, mixed-signal, active load-pull system. Maury says this system  is uniquely able to control up to 240 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, making it compatible with wideband modulated signals between 700 MHz and 40 GHz (LTE, WCDMA, WLAN, 802.11ac and X/Ku/K/ Ka-Band communication protocols). Maury also featured the ColorConnect™ line of interconnect cable assemblies, adapters, attenuators and torque wrenches. The ColorConnect system uses a unique color for each interface, which helps to ensure that only the same connectors are mated, preventing damage to precision interconnects and equipment.
NINational Instruments (NI) showed an interesting “wideband technology” demonstration in their booth that was based on a shrouded 9-slot PXI chassis and featured generation, analysis, and real-time processing of a radar chirp signal.  Although specific details about the products inside the chassis were not yet available, the LabVIEW front panel revealed that the chirp waveform occupied 500 MHz of bandwidth. “Technologies like 5G, radar, and DPD require increasingly wideband instruments,” said David Hall, NI’s Principal Marketing Manager.  “In addition, many of these applications also require increasingly sophisticated software to process signals in real-time.”  Hall also mentioned that a new product will be coming out later this year. Separately, NI was also demonstrating new PXI solutions for 802.11ax device testing and an evolution of their semiconductor test system (STS) product for RF front end module (FEM) manufacturing test.  The 802.11ax solution is one of the industry’s first, and the FEM test system is the only production test solution to NI’s knowledge that is capable of extracting and applying DPD models in real-time.
RandSRohde & Schwarz has expanded its portfolio of midrange signal and spectrum analyzers. The new R&S FSVA offers a 160 MHz analysis bandwidth over its entire frequency range. The instrument’s advanced features include an improved phase noise of typically –117 dBc at 1 GHz with 10 kHz offset, together with an improved third order intercept (TOI) for frequencies lower than 7 GHz, for a higher dynamic range. As a result, the R&S FSVA offers enhanced spectrum measurements compared with the current R&S FSV family, e.g. spectrum emission mask and ACLR under higher power conditions. The sensitivity of the preamplifier of typically –166 dBm for frequencies lower than 7 GHz has also been improved. Like the R&S FSV, the R&S FSVA is available in five models, covering frequency ranges from 10 Hz to 4 GHz, 7 GHz, 13.6 GHz, 30 GHz and 40 GHz. The R&S FSVA supports all R&S FSV hardware functions and firmware options and both are fully remote control compatible for use in complex test setups.
The company also demonstrated the expansion of the analysis bandwidth of its R&S FSW high end signal and spectrum analyzer to 2 GHz via the R&S FSW-B2000 hardware option. This test solution enables R&D users to demodulate extremely wideband signals and analyze them in detail. With such a large analysis bandwidth with a frequency range up to 67 GHz, it opens up numerous applications such as the measurement of EVM values of communications signals or the chirp rate on chirped radar systems.
SAGE Millimeter, known for millimeter wave components, modules and test equipment, featured their new VNA extenders for E-Band and an E-Band calibration kit. SAGE is developing similar extenders and calibration kits for W- and V-Band. The company was also promoting a newly released E-Band power amplifier and a W-Band Gunn oscillator. The amplifier covers 63 to 90 GHz and provides +8.5 dBm output at 1 dB compression with a minimum small-signal gain of 10 dB. The Gunn oscillator is mechanically tuned and will cover a frequency range of 90 to 98 GHz. The design, combining a high performance InP Gunn diode with a proprietary cavity, typically delivers +15 dBm output with low AM/FM noise and harmonic emissions. The Gunn oscillator has a micrometer tuner for quick frequency tuning.
Signal Hound added an EMC Precompliance Tool Suite to its set of measurement features already available in Signal Hound’s free real-time spectrum analysis software, Spike. The new EMC precompliance features of Spike enable the USB-powered real time spectrum analyzer, the BB60C, to be used as a professional-grade EMC precompliance analyzer. Complete with quasi-peak detector, bar meter plots, spur tables, custom frequency sweeps, path loss tables, and antenna factor tables for test calibration, Spike 3.1.0 provides a high-end, cost-effective EMC precompliance solution when coupled with Signal Hound’s BB60C real time spectrum analyzer and EMC Probes. They also talked about their next released, the SM200A, that is a state-of-the-art spectrum analyzer and monitoring receiver. It tunes from 100 kHz to 20GHz, has 160 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, 110 dB of dynamic range, 300 GHz/sec sweep speed at 10 kHz RBW, and phase noise that is low enough to contribute less than 0.1% error to EVM measurements.
Vaunix announced a precision attenuator and compact signal generator at IMS. The LDA-203 digital attenuator covers 1 to 20 GHz and provides a 0 to 63 dB attenuation range with a resolution of 0.5 dB. The LMS-802DX, one of a new series of “Lab Brick” portable signal generators, covers 2 to 8 GHz. It has an output power range from -70 to +10 dBm, harmonics below -40 dBc and provides pulse widths as low as 100 ns. Vaunix products are powered by USB, controlled with easy-to-use software and usable in the lab or field, given their compact size.
VDIVirginia Diodes was featuring their Spectrum Analyzer Extension (SAX) modules provide high performance broadband down-conversion and frequency extension of microwave spectrum analyzers into the THz range. VDI SAX modules offer full waveguide band coverage and are available from WR15 (50 to 75 GHz) to WR1.0 (750 to 1100 GHz) with additional bands under development.  For spectrum analyzer extension mode, this turn-key, sweepable solution is compatible with most modern spectrum analyzers with external mixer option. For block down- and up-conversion, the SAX modules can be driven by an LO signal generator that meets the input frequency and power requirements.
Wireless Telecom Group (WTG) demonstrated the effect that limiters have on the crest factor of the signal as its level is increased.  The test set-up works with a pulsed test signal with a simulated OFDM modulation as the input signal to the limiter.  The broadband noise level generated by the WTG UFX7000A is varied using remote or manual commands to change the noise or carrier level in 0.1 dB steps over the unit’s full dynamic range to generate a desired SNR level. The output of the UFX7000A is connected to a Boonton USB55006 Peak Power Analyzer to display and measure accurate crest factor measurements. UFX7000A series allows the user to characterize Signal to Noise (C/N) performance of the Communication/Radar system by injecting precise AWGN onto the desired signal or provide broadband noise for jamming and interference applications for radar and communication receiver sensitivity measurements. The Boonton USB55006 sensors can measure up to 16 automatic measurements such as Rise time, Average and Peak power for Crest Factor Measurements. It can also measure the rise of the noise floor. It is interesting to see the various measurements and analysis that can be done using precision AWGN.


Ampleon made multiple announcements timed with IMS. With base station infrastructure its largest market, the company extended its power amplifier (PA) portfolio for pico, micro and wideband macrocells and has developed a 12 V LDMOS process for lower power (¼ to 2 W) PAs. It also demonstrated a wideband system that uses Xilinx’s digital predistortion (DPD) IP with All Programmable SoC and MPSoC technology. DPD and PA efficiency improvements are closely related, because PAs with higher efficiencies tend to be less linear and more difficult to linearize. The advent of wideband and multiband systems poses additional challenges to the predistortion system, because of the increased signal bandwidth that needs to be processed. While Ampleon develops amplifiers that handle ever-increasing signal bandwidth, Xilinx’s DPD linearizes them. Close cooperation is needed to optimize the full PA and linearization system using dedicated algorithms and programmable hardware.
ADIAnalog Devices (ADI) announced several new products at IMS. Arguably, the most impressive was the RadioVerse™ “technology and design ecosystem,” which provides customers with integrated transceivers, a robust design environment and market-specific technical expertise to quickly move radio designs from concept to creation. The new ecosystem’s transceiver technologies reduce size, weight and power (SWaP), while the design environment offers board support, software and tools to help customers simplify and accelerate radio development. RadioVerse is tailored to support applications such as wireless infrastructure, aerospace and defense sensors and T&M.  As part of the RadioVerse technology and design ecosystem release, ADI introduced the AD9371, the latest addition to the integrated wideband RF transceiver product series. It is a versatile, carrier-grade, system-on-chip radio solution that achieves a wide tuning range of 300 MHz to 6 GHz, 100 MHz signal bandwidth and power consumption of less than 5 W under standard operating conditions. It replaces or eliminates as many as 20 discrete radio components and can be used as a common design platform across multiple applications and standards, increasing R&D efficiency and reducing time-to-market. Other products in the wideband RF transceiver series include the AD9361 and AD9364. ADI also featured their 24 GHz radar transceiver, with four receive channels and two transmit channels. The system can be used as a sensor for automotive blind spot detection, traffic monitoring and stoplight control and other industrial applications. ADI and Escape Communications have partnered to create a reference design for a 10 Gbps E-Band link, which they demonstrated in ADI’s booth.
Anokiwave made big waves with its release of the world’s first commercially available Ka-Band transceiver quad core IC for 5G communications. The AWMF-0108 operates from 27.5 to 30 GHz, supports four Tx/Rx radiating elements and includes all requisite beam steering controls for 5-bit phase and gain control. The device operates in half duplex, enabling a single antenna to support both Tx and Rx operation. Anokiwave’s patent-pending IP blocks implemented in silicon technology enable low-cost hybrid beam forming for multi-antenna arrays with high energy efficiency. Additional features of the AWMF-0108 include gain compensation over temperature, temperature reporting, Tx power telemetry and fast beam switching using eight on-chip beam weight storage registers. They also announced the worldwide release of the Ka-Band Tx core IC family for earth terminal SATCOM applications. This Tx IC family, coupled with Anokiwave’s K-Band SATCOM Rx ICs, provide a complete K/Ka-Band earth terminal solution enabling auto-alignment of fixed earth terminals and auto pointing for SATCOM on the move using GEO satellite space assets. The AWMF-0109 operates from 27.5 to 30 GHz, supports four dual polarization elements with full programmable polarization flexibility and 5-bit phase and gain control. The AWMF-0113 supports eight single polarization elements with the same frequency range as the AWMF-0109. Each device provides 22 dB of gain per channel with +12 dBm output power per polarization.
Enabling market access to 94 GHz, Arralis announced 94 GHz transmit and receive MMICs, GaAs PHEMT devices that measure 5.2 x 2.2 mm. The two ICs function as up-converter and down-converter, simplifying system integration. The up-converter consists of a mixer with integrated medium power amplifier, achieving +13 dBm output with conversion gain and high image rejection. The down-converter contains a low noise amplifier and mixer, with a combined noise figure of less than 5 dB and more than 10 dB gain.
Broadcom introduced a two IC chipset, consisting of baseband and transceiver, that creates a 60 GHz mesh network for infrastructure applications. The baseband interfaces with multiple transceivers to support phased array antennas. Compared to other 60 GHz wireless solutions, Broadcom’s WiMesh design does not need high gain, fixed antennas; it enables a self-organizing, community-based mesh network, which minimizes equipment and infrastructure costs for mobile backhaul. On the mobile side, responding to the deployment of carrier aggregation (CA) to increase data rates, Broadcom has developed a “hexaplexer” filter for LTE bands 1, 3 and 7.
Custom MMIC introduced five new GaAs MMICs: DC to 22 and 2 to 22 GHz distributed amplifiers, a 26 to 35 GHz balanced driver and DC to 18 GHz SP3T and SP5T non-reflective switches. The CMD240 distributed amplifier covers DC to 22 GHz and has 15 dB gain, 19 dBm output at 1 dB compression (at 10 GHz) and noise figure down to 2.2 dB. The CMD241 distributed amplifier covers 2 to 22 GHz and has 13.5 dB gain, 21 dBm output at 1 dB compression and noise figure down to 2.3 dB. The CMD243 balanced driver has 15.5 dB gain from 26 to 35 GHz, with 21 dBm output power at 1 dB compression and 4.4 dB noise figure. Despite the industry move to SOI, Custom MMIC is sticking with GaAs for their switch designs, saying GaAs achieves better performance. The SP3T CMD234C4 achieves 2 dB insertion loss and 40 dB isolation at 10 GHz and contains an on-board binary decoder circuit. The SP5T CMD235C4 has an insertion loss of 2.5 dB and 40 dB isolation at 10 GHz. It also has a low power digital control circuit.
Empower RF was demonstrating their broadband high power amplifiers (HPA). The HPAs include system software that report diagnostics and can configure amplifier performance, including output power, gain and operating   mode. In addition to CW operation, handling digital waveforms is an increasingly common requirement.. Empower RF HPAs will linearly amplify pulse and gated pulse, AM, FM, digital modulation, multi-carrier and multitone signals. The amplifiers can be controlled wirelessly using an iPad, providing the capability for remote operation.
Under the brand WiMOD, IMST has launched a number of LoRa qualified radio modules in 2016. The modules are prequalified and working on the license-free ISM frequency bands. The iM881A radio module has an operating frequency of 868 MHz, maximum RF output power of +14 dBm and a maximum receiver sensitivity of -137 dBm (@ 293 bps). This radio module is utilized in the LoRa Mote II, which is protected by an IP65 rated housing and features pressure, magnetic, proximity, GPS, three axis accelerometer and temperature sensors. Other new radio modules are the iC480A with an operating frequency of 433 MHz, and the iC980A and iM980A, which both operate at 902 to 928 MHz.
GFGLOBALFOUNDRIES announced a next-generation RF silicon solution for its SiGe high-performance technology portfolio. The technology is optimized for customers who need improved performance solutions for automotive radar, satellite communications, 5G millimeter-wave base stations and other wireless and wireline communication network applications. The SiGe 8XP technology is the latest extension to the company’s 130nm high-performance SiGe family and enables customers to develop RF solutions that deliver even faster data throughput, over greater distances, while consuming less power. The advanced technology offers an improved HBT performance with lower noise figure, higher signal integrity, and up to a 25 percent increase in maximum oscillation frequency (fmax) to 340 GHz compared to its predecessor, SiGe 8HP.
Infineon Technologies AG introduced new broadband RF power transistors, showed its GaN and LDMOS transistor families for cellular base stations, and demonstrated applications of its SiGe-based mm-wave technology across a range of high-speed connectivity and radar sensor applications. The new RF power transistors, which are based on LDMOS and GaN-on-SiC technologies, are seen as key building blocks for current and next generation base station systems. A particular highlight was innovative gesture control for small and wearable electronics system based on a 60 GHz ‘radar-on-a-chip’ device that supports close-range, high precision tracking of hand and finger movements, which is the result of a collaboration with Google ATAP. Also featured were an E-band radio front-end reference design to support the critical need for multi-gigabit wireless backhaul data links based on Infineon 70 – 80 GHz transceiver ICs, and high-integration 24 GHz radar transceiver chip sets for compact, power-efficient motion sensing in building automation, industrial and automotive applications.  

Integra announced new GaN/SiC developments with their high-voltage bias for Aerospace and Defense applications, and a 0.25-micron process for upper C- and X-bands to serve the fast-growing US and International customer base. Claiming the highest power in the industry, they were showing the model IGN1011L1200 pulsed transistor for ELM Mode S avionics applications. Based on second-generation GaN-on-SiC semiconductor technology, the Class AB HEMT is capable of 1200 W output power and 17 dB gain from 1030 to 1090 MHz when fed with a typical input power level of 25 W. The GaN power transistor operates at +50 V DC with 75% typical drain efficiency and is supplied in a rugged metal-ceramic package. The depletion-mode device requires negative gate voltage and bias sequencing. Intega also announced a 10 W GaN transistor, model IGN0160UM10, for broadband applications.

Integrated Device Technology (IDT) released two silicon switches and a “constant linearity” variable gain amplifier (VGA). The SPDT absorptive designs cover 50 MHz to 8 GHz and achieve 0.93 dB loss and 66 dB isolation at 4 GHz. The two switches have similar RF performance, pin-out and control; one offers an enable/disable feature that allows all RF paths to be turned "off" and the VCTL feature disabled. The digital VGA amplifier, the first of a family, introduces IDT’s KLIN™  constant linearity technology, which maintains the amplifier’s 38 dBm output third order intercept (OIP3) for the first 12 dB of gain control range. The benefit is greater dynamic range for the system. The F1455 VGA covers 1400 to 2300 MHz with 32 dB flat and temperature invariant gain, with a gain control range of 29.5 dB in 0.5 dB steps. P1dB is 23 dBm and OIP3 is 38 dBm, both constant for the first 12 dB of gain reduction. At maximum gain, the noise figure is 4 dB (at 2 GHz). The amplifier operates with a single, 5 V supply.
Kuhne electronic featured several products. The KU BDA 240250-25 is a bi-directional amplifier designed to support various analog and digital modulation types and signal waveforms in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. The transmitter features LDMOS technology and delivers more than 20 W P1dB power. Switching between transmit and receive path is done automatically depending on the input power level. The receiver’s built-in LNA provides a very low noise figure and additional power gain, which enhances the sensitivity of your receiver.
The KU SG 2.45 - 25 A is a fixed frequency Signal Generator at 2450 MHz with a maximum output power of 25 W. The power level is adjustable between 1 W and 25 W. An isolator at the output protects the signal generator against high VSWR. The PLL stabilized oscillator provides low phase noise. Typical applications are electromagnetic wave propagation tests, microwave heating and EMC tests. The KU LNC 2027 C PRO is designed to translate a block of S-Band RF input frequency to the VHF/UHF range 160 - 860 MHz. This downconverter has the quality and performance required for demanding receiver applications with today’s signals such as DVB-S, DVB-T, WCS, COFDM and QPSK.
MACOMMACOM added new plastic-packaged, GaN MAGb power transistors that provide 320 W and 160 W output peak power with efficiency up to 79 percent with only fundamental tuning across the 400 MHz bandwidth– an improvement of up to 10 points compared to LDMOS. Linear gain is 20 dB maximum. These transistors provide a compelling alternative to ceramic-packaged devices without compromising RF performance or reliability. Thermal behavior is improved by 10 percent compared to ceramic-packaged MAGb offerings. These power transistors enable the implementation of a simple symmetric Doherty amplifier design while maintaining excellent RF performance, compared to lesser performing and complex asymmetric Doherty topologies imposed by LDMOS-based transistors. With MACOM’s MAGb series transistors, Doherty amplifiers show the same level of DPD friendliness as LDMOS-based solutions.
Marki Microwave T3 mixers with broadband overlapping LO, RF, and IF bands, have the potential for extremely high linearity. They are available as stand-alone units, or with an integrated amplifier. Integrated amplifier options include a high performance square wave driver as well as the T3A3 low cost, single positive bias option. Since it is a true-commutating mixer, it will provide increasing two-tone intermodulation suppression, input 1-dB compression, and spurious suppression (for most spurs) as the rise time of the LO signal is increased by either increasing sine wave LO drive or using a square wave LO. To generate a fast rise time LO signal Marki recommends the use of an integrated or stand-alone saturated LO amplifier.
Maxim released the SC2200 dual-channel RF power amplifier linearizer that enables power amplifiers to consume up to 70% less power compared to operation in back-off. In addition, it reduces the bill of materials cost by up to 50%, and is up to 8x smaller than other digital pre-distortion (DPD) solutions on the market. The SC2200 application, which occupies less than 1 square inch of board space, substantially increases power amplifier efficiency while consuming less than 1.5W when both paths are fully operational. This allows manufacturers to realize significant competitive advantages and helps operators meet their requirements for lowered operating and deployment costs. The linearizer is suitable for 2G, 3G, and 4G systems, including TD-LTE and FD-LTE. It is ideal for cellular infrastructure applications such as macro and small cell base stations, distributed antenna systems (DAS), active antenna systems (AAS), remote radio heads, and other multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems.
MCV-Microwave designs and manufactures high-performance LC, Ceramic, Cavity, Helical Filters and Dielectric Resonators. Ultra-high Q Dielectric Resonators achieve QxF greater than 300,000 at 10 GHz. New products include high power / low PIM LTE ceramic filters, microstrip filters, high frequency LC filters and novel antennas. Their filters cover wide frequency range including UHF/VHF, 4G LTE, DVB-T, CATV, GPS L1/L2/L5, ISM915 MHz/2.4 GHz/5.8 GHz, 802.11, SATCOM and mm-wave for cellular DAS, small cell, public safety, industrial and military applications.
Mercury Systems was showing off its expanded capabilities in the RF/microwave (RF/M) and digitization space including new capabilities in RF/M, SSDs, direct digitization, and memory and dense packaging technologies. In addition, Mercury featured advanced digitization techniques, ruggedized digital RF memory (DRFMs) for deployed EW applications and OpenRFM, a proposed standard for RF integrated microwave assemblies. They recently announced the completion of its previously reported acquisition of the embedded security, RF and microwave, and custom microelectronics businesses from Microsemi Corp. expanding their presence in EW and radar markets.
Mini-CircuitsMini-Circuits exhibited their full portfolio of products and featured a new line of test solutions. Combining hardware and software into a turn-key solution speeds development time, as customers only have to focus on product development — not test systems. These solutions are based on a building block approach, which allows many custom configurations to be delivered within two weeks. Systems can be configured as combinations of amplifiers, signal generators and signal routing and distribution. Applications include 3G and 4G base stations, satellite communications and RF burn-in systems. They also featured their absorptive/reflectionless filters from DC to 21 GHz. They prevent unwanted reflections in the stopband and are well suited for pairing with mixers, multipliers, signal sources and more.
Microsemi is expanding their product portfolio, diversifying into adjacent functions in their core markets. The company announced 15 new products at IMS, including six L-Band GaN drivers and power transistors for avionics, radar and communications. The devices provide 120 to 750 W output power. At the other end of the signal chain, Microsemi's ZL70550 is a very low power dissipation, sub-GHz transceiver for telemetry and low duty cycle applications. It operating in the 779 to 965 MHz ISM band and consumes only 2.8 mA while transmitting at -10 dBm, 2.5 mA during reception. Sleep state current is only 10 nA, making it ideal for low duty cycle applications. In developing the transceiver, Microsemi leveraged the IP from its ultra-low power implantable pacemakers and hearing aids. Other products featured at IMS were GaAs MMICs, PIN diode switches and PIN diodes, Wi-Fi PAs and front-end modules.
Morion was showing off a miniature high frequency precision low phase noise OCXO. The MV354 is a 100 MHz standard frequency with very low phase noise of <-178 dBc/Hz @ 100 kHz offset. Warm up is less than 2 minutes and it has high stability versus temperature of up to +/-5 X 10E-8. It is packaged in small 21 x 14 x 7.5 mm housing.
NIC recently introduced a low profile, high performance 4 channel switched filter bank that covers a wide frequency range from 10 MHz to 18 GHz. The bands include a 2500 to 8000 MHz highpass filter, 10 to 8000 MHz Lowpass filter and 2 Bandpass filters. This switched filter bank uses PIN‐diode technology and is TTL compatible. The filter bank offers low VSWR, excellent passband flatness, fast switching speeds, and is housed in a compact, ruggedized enclosure making it a perfect fit for high‐reliability radar, EW and space applications. Custom designs are available from 10 MHz to 18 GHz.
Northrop Grumman Corp. announced the expansion of its GaN multi-project wafer prototyping service with an updated schedule for 2016 and 2017. This new service will combine designs from various customers onto a single wafer and significantly reduce the development cost for all participants. The company’s GaN prototyping service features the GAN20 process, which was used to manufacture the APN248 Ka-band power amplifier that features Psat of 45.6dBm and 30% PAE and offers the highest output power at Ka-band frequencies. The GAN20 process features 0.2um e-beam T-Gate, NiCr TFR and MIM capacitor, 4mil through vias on 100 mm SiC substrates. The process is optimized for frequencies from Ku-band to Q-band. The company’s process development kits are available in both Microwave Office and Advance Design Systems, and samples are available on request. They also announced the availability of two GaN power amplifiers with high power output for the newly released 24-28 GHz frequencies, for applications including satellite communications terminals, point–to-point and point-to-multipoint digital radios. The APN243 is a balanced high power amplifier that offers 20 dB of linear gain and a saturated output power of 40.5 dBm with PAE > 27 percent. The second, APN244, is the single ended version of the APN243 that also offers 20 dB of linear gain. Additionally, the APN244 provides a saturated output power of 38 dBm with PAE > 31percent.
NXPAnticipating the eventual arrival of small cells, NXP introduced eight, 28 V LDMOS Doherty PAs, four symmetric and four asymmetric. These two-stage ICs cover 700 to 3800 MHz and provide 2.5 to 12 W output power, with gain ranging from 24 to 31 dB. NXP also launched four, 48 V GaN on SiC power transistors for Doherty PAs in cellular base stations. The four new devices collectively cover 1805 to 3600 MHz. For defense applications, NXP introduced six GaN on SiC transistors for driver and power amplifiers operating in the 1 MHz to 3 GHz band, with output power levels from 12 to 250 W. Their broadband coverage from HF to S-Band covers virtually all frequencies used by military radios or the lower frequency sections of defense systems. The company extended the power capability of the plastic package yet again, introducing a 1.5 kW LDMOS power transistor covering 1 to 500 MHz, for applications such as broadcast, CO2 lasers and MRI systems. NXP also featured a portable microwave oven designed for camping. Cylindrical and fairly small, like a camp lantern,  the oven uses a 250 W LDMOS PA to heat the food and is powered by a 12 V battery contained in the bottom of the unit; the battery lasts for about 30 minutes of cooking. The oven will be available at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s next year.
Nuvotronics has released its GigaSwift™ E-Band Radio for the high capacity point-to-point communications market.  2 Watts Psat, 64 QAM and over 800 MHz bandwidth in an ultra miniature package offers a communications platform not available anywhere else.  For demanding high altitude long range UAV applications or low profile terrestrial stations, GigaSwift radios are the well suited.
OMMIC announced the significant launch of a 27 to 32 GHz, 6 W GaN/Si power amplifier, with engineering samples and evaluation boards scheduled for Q4 of 2016. Key features of the three stage Ka-Band PA include: Vdd of 12 V, Psat of 38 dBm, gain of 24 dB and a PAE of 25% at 30 GHz. Applications include radar, satellite communications and instrumentation. Also featured was the CGY2351UH/C1 high performance GaAs MMIC T/R core chip with two RF ports operating in Ka-Band – covering the frequency range from 27 to 30 GHz. It includes a 6-bit phase shifter, and a 5-bit attenuator. It has a phase shifting range of 360° and attenuation setting range of 22 dB. The on-chip control logic with serial input register minimizes the number of bonding pads and greatly simplifies interfacing to the device. The die is manufactured using OMMIC’s 0.18 μm gate length ED02AH PHEMT technology. The MMIC uses gold bonding pads and backside metallization and is fully protected with Silicon Nitride passivation to obtain the highest level of reliability. This technology has been evaluated for Space applications and is on the European Preferred Parts List of the European Space Agency.
Pasternack introduced the new PEM009-KIT 60 GHz development system which offers designers the ability to perform product development and experimentation of single and multi-carrier high bandwidth modulation covering 57 to 64 GHz in the globally unlicensed ISM frequency spectrum. Applications include baseband development up to 7 Gbps data rates using WiGig/WiFi 802.11ad and 802.11aj IEEE standards, GigE wireless LAN, FMCW Radar, uncompressed HD video, RFID, radiometry, remote sensing, and campus networks. The PEM009-KIT 60 GHz development system incorporates the use of compact and unique Transmit (PEM001-MIM) and Receive (PEM002-MIM) WR-15 waveguide modules that utilize SiGe BiCMOS semiconductor technology. These modules are controlled by integrated Rx and Tx circuit board assemblies that provide processing functions, power supply regulation and include reference crystal oscillators that offer much improved phase noise performance that results in enhanced signal to noise ratio and receiver sensitivity. The Rx and Tx circuit boards can also be phase locked to an external reference source. Command control functions are made via a USB interface with a host PC (running GUI software).
PeregrinePeregrine Semiconductor introduced an 8 to 12 GHz beam former with 6-bit amplitude and phase control. The PE19601 MPAC–Beamforming solution integrates a digital step attenuator, a phase shifter, Rx/Tx switching and a digital serial interface on a single SOI die. Key specs are 44 dBm input IP3 and 50 dB isolation. Peregrine also introduced a Ku-Band image reject mixer that integrates two mixers, a local oscillator path 90-degree coupler and RF port baluns on a single die. Integrating these functions provides good image rejection, reduces LO leakage and improves the LO to RF isolation. This mixer operates with single-ended signals on the RF and LO ports, and it can be used as an up-conversion or down-conversion mixer. The RF frequency range is 10 to 19 GHz, the LO port covers 12 to 19 GHz and the IF port accepts broadband quadrature signals from DC to 4 GHz. The PE41901 achieves LO to RF isolation of 38 dB, LO to IF isolation of 23 dB and 21 dBm IIP3. The mixer has 10 dB conversion loss and achieves image rejection of 25 dB. No external blocking capacitors are required if 0 VDC is present on the LO or RF pins.
QorvoQorvo introduced six, 50 V GaN power transistors for radar, avionics and communications. The devices operate up to 4 GHz with saturated output power from 10 to 125 W. For wireless infrastructure, the company displayed three GaN drivers and PAs, including an asymmetric Doherty designed for China Mobile's 2575 to 2635 MHz band. The PA provides 36 W average at 53 percent efficiency and 15.9 dB gain. For indoor small cells and distributed amplifier systems (DAS), Qorvo announced eight PAs that are drop-ins for similar ANADIGICS amplifiers. The PAs provide either 24 or 27 dBm linear output and -47 dBc ACLR. Qorvo also announced a 15 W GaN on SiC, wideband, input-matched transistor that completed stringent environmental testing, demonstrating its reliability for use in defense and emergency response communications equipment. The QPD1000 GaN transistor is offered in a low cost, space-saving, surface-mount plastic DFN package and operates across 30 to 1215 MHz providing wideband gain, power and efficiency. Finally, Qorvo introduced three GaN power amplifiers optimized for military radar, communications and electronic warfare systems: the TGM2635-CP, an X-Band, 100 W MMIC amplifier for satellite communications, data links and radar; the TGA2307-SM, a C-Band, 50 W MMIC amplifier in low cost plastic for radar; and TGA2963, a 20 W MMIC amplifier for wideband communication platforms, radar systems, electronic warfare and test instrumentation. Lots of GaN at Qorvo!
Reactel was featuring a high performance notch filter. This highly selective cavity notch filter eliminates GPS, GLONASS, COMPASS and BeiDou signals simultaneously while allowing a passband up to 3000 MHz. Reactel manufactures a wide variety of notch filters which are well suited for co-location interference; please contact the factory with your specifications.
RelComm Technologies added to its product line with a high performance 1P2T coaxial relay configured with ‘SC’ type connectors and excellent RF performance to 6 GHz. Power rating is 1250 watts CW to 1 GHz and 500 W CW to 6 GHz. Operating temperature range is -30° to +70° C. The relay measures 3.50” in width with a depth of 1.00” and is less than 2.4” tall. It is fitted with standard eyelet terminals for ease of wire up and is fully RoHS compliant. The relay is available in both failsafe and latching configurations with 12 and 28 V DC operation. Options include position indicators, D-SUB wire up header, splash proof sealed and TTL controlled input.
SkyworksSkyworks released products for small cells and the IoT. For FDD and TDD small cell base stations, the SKY66184-11, SKY66185-11 and SKY66186-11 cover 728 to 768, 850 to 900 and 2100 to 2200 MHz, respectively, with 1 W output and gain greater than 36 dB. Operating from a single, 3.3 V supply, the minimal number of external components and an integrated coupler for output power monitoring makes these devices easy to use. Skyworks also featured two Bluetooth low energy (BLE) front-end modules (FEM) for home, wearable and industrial applications. The FEMs require only 10 mA when transmitting, making them compatible with products operating from coin cell batteries. They more than double the range compared to stand-alone system on chip (SoC) solution. In the booth, Skyworks demonstrated Iotera's IOTA® GPS-enabled tracker that uses Skyworks' SE2435L front-end module, integrating a power amplifier, low noise amplifier and antenna switching with transmit/receive diversity. Other applications for the SE2435L include smart meters, home appliances and smart thermostats.
Smiths Microwave Subsystems announced the release of the TRAK X-Band surface mount (SMT) circulator. This device is a low-cost, true SMT circulator compatible with tape-and-reel (pick-and-place) and standard solder reflow profiles. It is designed to replace “drop-in” and microstrip style circulators. This unit provides a 10 percent bandwidth at X-Band, a minimum of 20 dB isolation, and 0.45 dB maximum insertion loss. With 20 W CW power handling, a 0.25” square by 0.066” high package and an operating temperature from -40 deg C to +85 deg C, these circulators offer high performance in minimal real estate. They greatly reduce costs by eliminating the custom mounting configurations required with other circulator styles and can be assembled on the PCB the same as other SMT components. These circulators are well suited for phased array radar antennas, EW and communications systems.
United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) focused on its GaN transistors and its technology aimed at automotive applications. Among the new GaN transistors available is the new GH25 PDK for ADS2016. This 4.0 version still includes a nonlinear electro-thermal FET model for HPA design but now also integrates two additional features: A DRC file is provided within the PDK which means users can run the ADS DRC engine layouts; the EM stack is embedded in the PDK which allows generation of the 3D view directly from the layout for Momentum simulations.
In the automotive field the company enables designers to build their own RF front-end automotive sensors by offering 24 GHz integrated solutions. The latest release is the CHC2442-QPG Rx/Tx core chip. The receiver section has an RF bandwidth of 24.0 to 24.5 GHz and a noise figure of 11.5 dB, while the transceiver section has tuning bandwidth of 2 GHz and an output power of 13.5 dBm.
Wavetek, a pure play foundry started in 2010, released a 0.15 μm optically defined ED-PHEMT process (ED15). The gate length of the enhancement mode device is 0.15 μm, while the depletion mode device has a 0.5 μm gate. Wavetek uses a high throughput, 248 nm deep UV stepper to expose the gates. The ED15 process has a typical ft of 100 GHz, a NFmin less than 0.45 dB at 12 GHz and integrates high density capacitors, epi and thin-film resistors. The process is suitable for 802.11ac front-end modules, point-to-point radio and pending 5G systems. Wavetek is shrinking the Egate length to 0.1 μm, which will be available in a future node. Wavetek offers other foundry processes, including a 0.15 μm D-mode PHEMT process, GaAs HBT, PIN diode, VCSEL, optoelectronic IC, SAW and temperature compensated (TC) SAW, high voltage CMOS and GaN on Si (for power electronics).
Wenzel was featuring their very low noise multiplied crystal oscillators operating from 200 MHz to 12 GHz. The MXO series is made of Wenzel’s VHF low phase noise OXCO integrated with several low noise multiplier stages. It can be customized to any fixed frequency with options such as phase locking (PLL) on some models to phase lock an external source. They have excellent spectral purity and high power options.
WIN Semiconductors announced volume production in its third 150 mm wafer fab. Fab C presently has 3,000 wafer-per-month capacity; a further expansion, scheduled to be online by the end of 2016, will increase output to 5,500 wafers per month.
Wolfspeed™ was demonstrating the CGHV14800, a new high power GaN HEMT device designed for L-Band radar applications. Providing a minimum of 800 W of pulsed power at 1.2 to 1.4 GHz with better than 65 percent drain efficiency, it is reported to be the highest output power 50 V GaN HEMT demonstrated to date. They also demonstrated the CGHV59070 GaN HEMT for C-Band radar systems. The CGHV59070 delivers 50 percent drain efficiency at high gain, making it an ideal driver for the 350 W, 5.2 to 5.9 GHz CGHV59350 device released last year. Finally, they showcased a wideband LTE Doherty power amplifier, developed using the company’s high performance 0.4 µm, 50 V GaN foundry process. The amplifier operates from 1.8 to 2.2 GHz instantaneously, with 55 percent power-added efficiency at 7.5 dB back-off to improve linearity.


Isola was featuring several laminates such as TerraGreen laminate materials that exhibit excellent electrical properties which are very stable over a broad frequency and temperature range. These materials feature a Dielectric Constant (Dk) that is stable between -55° and 125°C, up to 20 GHz. I-Tera® MT40 is suitable for many high speed digital and RF/microwave printed circuit designs. I-Tera MT40 features a Dk that is stable between -55° and +125°C up to 20 GHz up to W-band frequencies. I-Tera MT40 also offers a lower dissipation factor (Df) of 0.0031 making it a cost effective alternative to PTFE and other commercial microwave and high-speed digital laminate materials. Astra MT77 laminate materials exhibit exceptional electrical properties which are very stable over a broad frequency and temperature range. Also being featured was Astra MT77 that is suitable for many commercial RF/microwave printed circuit designs. It features a Dk that is stable between -55° and +125°C at up to 110 GHz up to W-band frequencies. In addition, Astra MT77 offers a lower Df of 0.0017, making it a cost-effective alternative to PTFE and other commercial microwave laminate materials.
Pride of place on the LPKF booth was taken by the ProtoLaser S4 for the laser structuring of prototype PCBs and small series. It utilizes a green laser, which increases the range of applications and is much less likely to burn the substrate. It can also reliably machine inhomogeneous metal layers up to 6 μm in thickness – e. g., boards with fully metalized surfaces following galvanic via plating. It can also cut rigid or flexible substrates efficiently with thicknesses of up to 0.8 mm. The LPKF ProtoLaser S4 has a newly designed camera and image processing system that has been optimized for circuit board prototyping, while higher resolution and faster detection algorithms accelerate the manufacturing process. For drilling through-holes in printed circuit boards, an LPKF ProtoMat is said to be the perfect complement to a LPKF ProtoLaser S4.
Packaging supplier RJR Technologies was featuring the new air cavity plastic package platform (ACP3), developed for Ampleon’s LDMOS and GaN power transistors. The new design uses a Cu flange, which reduces thermal resistance by 25 percent compared to the prior generation. The lower thermal resistance enables a single-transistor Doherty amplifier up to 80 W average at the antenna, according to Ampleon. Compared to the prior generation ACP2, the cost of the ACP3 drops dramatically — by approximately 50 percent — helping power transistors meet the cost targets for emerging RF energy applications. The ACP3 is based on RJR’s liquid crystal polymer (LCP) technology. The packages are fabricated with an insert-injection molding process that combines a metal alloy lead frame with an LCP sidewall and matching lid with a pre-applied B-staged epoxy. RJR Technologies has shipped over 10 million air cavity packages.
RogersRogers was featuring RO4835™ LoPro® Laminates, 92ML™ Materials, TC Series™ Laminates, RT/duroid® 6035HTC Laminates and the RF Energy Alliance. RO4835™ laminates, with a dielectric loss tangent of 0.0037 at 10 GHz, are now available with Rogers proprietary LoPro® reverse treat copper foil. These materials are ideal for applications requiring low insertion loss characteristics. 92ML™ thermally enhanced laminates and prepregs are specifically engineered and manufactured to meet the demands of high power applications. 92ML materials are halogen-free, flame retardant, thermally conductive epoxy based prepreg and laminate systems. TC Series™ laminates are designed for applications where high power RF signal demands improved PCB thermal management. RT/duroid® 6035HTC laminates have a thermal conductivity of almost 2.4 times the standard RT/duroid 6000 products, and copper foil (ED and reverse treat) with excellent long term thermal stability, makes them an exceptional choice for high power applications.


Dynawave was featuring their express service for standard and custom lengths. They provide standard lengths of 24, 36 and 48” DynaTest cable assemblies within 24 hours for in-stock product (next day for Friday or holiday orders).  For DynaFlex standard low loss cable assemblies in custom lengths, they provide the quote within 24 hours and deliver within 2 weeks.
GoreGore has continuously expanded the company’s microwave/RF solutions at higher frequencies by designing cable assemblies that are reliable and will perform over time, and is now addressing industry requirements for enhanced performance in the 60-70 GHz range.  At the 60-70 GHz range, there is increased need to maintain measurement accuracy, especially in network analyzers, oscilloscopes, analog signal generators, communication testing, chamber testing, and mm-Wave to name a few key applications.  To address these challenges, Gore has developed a new 70 GHz VNA cable assembly; prototypes are currently available for evaluation. They also introduced an online tool designed to complement the existing GORE™ Microwave/RF Assembly Builder.  The new GORE™ Microwave/RF Assembly Calculator is used to calculate insertion loss, VSWR and other parameters of GORE® Microwave/RF Assemblies for different cable types. The Calculator is particularly useful when the initial cable type is unknown and needs to be specified independent of the connector.
HUBER+SUHNER showcased its new SUCOFLEX 500V, SUCOFLEX 126, Microbend L and RF-over-Fiber products. The new SUCOFLEX 500V is a VNA test assembly that is claimed to provide high measurement accuracy with outstanding phase and amplitude stability as well as exceeding current industry standards for VNAs. The SUCOFLEX 126 is a multi-functional cable assembly which uses a patented swaging technology. This enhanced cable design provides excellent electrical stability and return loss combined with low loss.
The company’s Minibend series has been extended with Microbend L, which is said to offer the best loss performance for a small form factor cabling solution and provide flexibility paired with a unique bend-to-end feature. Also demonstrated its RF-over-Fiber System capability After launching its first solution in early 2015, HUBER+SUHNER has developed a comprehensive portfolio covering a wide range of requirements, like the fully configurable RF-over-Fiber solution from 1 MHz to 20 GHz for simplex and duplex systems, or the GPS-over-Fiber system for L1 and L2 bands, multiport receivers for 1PPS and 10 MHz, or the LAN-over-Fiber ‘Field LAN’ ruggedized Gigabit connectivity for up to 20 km per link.
Semflex, a Cinch Connectivity Solutions brand, presented new additions to the low loss (LA series) cable family, with introductions of LA190S and LA200S.  They are an excellent choice for RF applications where phase stability over temperature and flexure are critical.  They offer a low phase change of 700 ppm from -65 to +200 deg C, with frequency range up to 30 GHz.  
San-Tron was promoting a newly announced, quick-turn cable assembly service, which supplements their standard product catalog. Cycle times can be as low as three days, depending upon the required connectors and cable. Built to customer specs, custom cable assemblies are cut to exact lengths, terminated with advanced techniques by experienced technicians and can include customer-specified markings and stress relievers. San-tron has precision CNC coaxial bending equipment for complex RF and coax assemblies. Fully verified test data can include VSWR, insertion loss, delay specifications as well as confirmation of phase and amplitude matching. San-tron’s ultra-low loss cables cover frequencies up to 40 GHz with diameters of .120” through .450”. They’re available armored or unarmored and are used in antenna distribution systems, high performance test benches, ATE racks, EW, SATCOM and other military/aerospace installations.
Molex products highlighted at the show included more than 90 RF connector interface types. The product and application portfolio includes Temp-Flex® specialty wire and cable products and the SDP Telecom product portfolio, which ranges from complex surface-mount passive microwave structures to sophisticated sub-assemblies and integrated subsystems. Therefore the applications featured at the show ranged from I/O to radar, automotive, specialty cable, and cellular communications.
They were displaying Multi-Port 50 and 75 ohm connectors that are offered in several configurations to provide a solution for multiple RF channel applications. The connectors can be customized to meet specific customer requirements. The Multiport RF series (MPRF series) offers the perfect size for any application where features such as package size, quality, low loss, VSWR, and ganged mating are critical. They were also featuring Temp-Flex® Foam-Core Ultra-Low-Loss Coaxial Microwave Cable, which provides both customized and off-the-shelf options. The cable combines space savings with an effective dielectric that eliminates “phase knee” and provides ease of termination. Temp-Flex Foam-Core cable achieves 80% velocity of propagation (VOP), allowing it to deliver reliable signal performance and lower loss characteristics than air-enhanced PTFE cable.
Pasternack introduced a new family of flexible high performance right angle test cables with low profile design. This release consists of 16 unique assemblies covering a frequency range from DC to 27 GHz for the SMA versions and DC to 18 GHz for the Type-N and TNC terminated cables. Pasternack’s flexible high performance right angle test cables have a low profile design and are rated up to 27 GHz. The right angle SMA and Type-N connectors incorporate an internal radius design that optimizes performance in a low profile configuration. These test cables are also available in 0.086” and 0.141” diameter double shielded, silver plated copper braid over silver plated copper tape, coax designs.
Rosenberger focused on its Modular Connector System and Spring Loaded Coax System. The Modular Connector System fulfills the increasing requirements of test and measurement industries and covers frequencies up to 50 GHz. There is only one PCB contact for various female connector head types. The system has a low profile a cast center conductor, locking screws with Tuflok and is robust against multiple solder cycles. It is suitable for applications with different interfaces on one board, with repair friendly products and where maintenance is important.
The Spring Loaded Coax System is designed to make quick, reliable and low abrasion connections up to 40 GHz to single or multi-layer PCBs with the microwave layer on top. Prepositioning and coding is enforced by the design and more than 2500 matings are possible. Applications include for test and measurement, quick board characterizations and where the DUT changes frequently.
Times featured new weather seal strain relief boots that eliminates the need for heat guns and fits most popular LMR-240, 400 and 600 EZ connectors. They also had the new IPB Weather seal boot system that eliminates the need for messy butyl or mastic tape. For cables, they featured the new SilverLine VNA cables for 50, 67 and 110 GHz. The 50 and 67 feature armored yet flexible construction for long RF stable flex times. The 110 GHz model is also robust yet flexible with very low loss.
SVMicrowave (Amphenol) was featuring their Rapid Response cable assemblies. It has a user friendly RF Cable Builder application where one can choose from a variety of in-stock standard connector series and cable types with length up to 99”. Over 125 connector and cable combinations are available. Instant pricing, mechanical/electrical specifications and data drawings are available and the builder is mobile compatible (iOS and Android).