Sweden's National Testing and Research Institute has launched a programme to provide a capability whereby it can test the impact of radar-generated electromagnetic interference on processors used to control automobile functions such as throttle control, gear (shift) changing and braking.

While not yet as common as potential risks from sources such as mobile phone base stations, the Swedes feel that the potential threat from radars such as air traffic control sensors at airports is sufficient as to warrant an interference test programme.

Accordingly, UK contractor TMD Technologies Ltd. has developed and supplied a dedicated L-band (1 to 2 GHz) amplifier for use in the effort. Designated as the PTC6468, the new equipment operates from 1.1 to 1.5 GHz at 20 kW (min), with 24 kW (typ) at the band edges and 35 kW at mid-band. Created over a six-month period, PTC6468 incorporates a high power L-band travelling wave tube source, a switch mode power supply and control circuitry.

The unit is liquid cooled (water with anti-freeze and anti-corrosion additives) and control is via a digital front panel or remotely using an IEEE standard interface. Of the various components, the amplifiers switch mode power supply is a re-engineered variant of TMD's standard 50 kW radar power supply and the company sees PTC6468 as the starting point for an interesting niche market in such test equipment.