Many the RF/microwave designer can recall days having to roll a cart with a heavy, shared vector network analyzer (VNA) to measure S-parameters. Those days may soon be over with the introduction of the compact, cost-effective TTR500 series VNA from Tektronix. With a price point 40 percent less than benchtop alternatives with equivalent performance, the TTR500 series offers a full two-port, two-path S-parameter VNA for such applications as measuring passive and active components, antennas and matching networks, RF modules, test cables and adapters. It features a solid set of specifications, including 100 kHz to 3 or 6 GHz frequency range, 122 dB dynamic range, less than 0.008 dB trace noise and −50 to +7 dBm output power, all in a compact package weighing less than four pounds.
For powering active devices, the TTR500 includes a built-in bias tee that handles 0 to ± 24 V and 0 to 200 mA on both ports. The TTR500 works with a Windows PC or laptop using a USB 2.0 connection and new VectorVu-PC software to control and calibrate the instrument. The software offers touch and point and click usability, along with an offline mode for data analysis. Output file formats are compatible with common electronic design automation (EDA) simulation tools. For automated test systems in design or manufacturing, VectorVu-PC offers programmatic support for standard commands for programmable instruments (SCPI) and legacy VNA compatibility. Rounding out the solution, the TTR500 series is available with a complete set of accessories: a sturdy carrying case, rack mount kits, rugged phase-stable cables, attenuators, adapters and calibration kits.
Prices are just $9,000 MSRP for a 3 GHz instrument and $12,000 for a 6 GHz instrument—which includes a three-year warranty—making for a reliable and cost-effective alternative to rental or shared VNAs.