Many of these scenarios take place far from the equipment pool. Only the best gear — rugged, dependable and flexible — makes it into the field kit. Measuring up and earning a spot is the driving idea behind Agilent’s FieldFox handheld microwave analyzers. Increasingly, high-performance handheld analyzers are needed to test the power and bandwidth of jamming systems, check the alignment of antennas in point-to-point microwave links, and validate antenna and cable systems in commercial and military aircraft.
Inside and out, the FieldFox family was designed with these applications — and end users — firmly in mind (Figure 1). To provide precision virtually everywhere, FieldFox delivers Agilent-quality microwave measurements in a compact, 6.6-lb package: cable and antenna analysis, vector network analysis, and spectrum analysis. Additional capabilities include a power meter, vector voltmeter, an independent signal source, a variable DC supply, a frequency counter, an interference analyzer, and built-in GPS receiver.
Designing from the ground up
It’s one thing to assemble a luggable analyzer that includes multiple functions. It’s quite another to create a handheld instrument designed for the day-to-day workflows of technicians and engineers in the field. It’s still another to provide on-the-go microwave measurements that agree with those made with Agilent benchtop analyzers.
Rather than trying to repurpose an existing benchtop instrument, the industrial and electronic design of FieldFox started with a clean sheet of paper. That meant getting out of the office and tagging along with techs and engineers in the field. As they performed routine maintenance, in-depth troubleshooting, and everything in between, we were there — observing, interviewing and listening.
Creating a truly field-worthy industrial design
We traveled to a variety of sites in vans, pickups and trucks. The “good” instruments often rode up front with the crew; other gear was often tossed into the cargo