Like fine-tuning a race car: the role of calibration and maintenance in optimising VNA performance : Page 3 of 6

June 16, 2014 //By Adam Purkiss, Anritsu (UK)
The modern Vector Network Analyser (VNA) is an extraordinary feat of engineering, enabling the precise measurement and analysis of signals across a broad frequency spectrum, in some cases up to 110 GHz.
High-quality cables are fragile parts, and require careful handling and storage. When not in use, they should always be removed from the VNA’s ports to avoid the risk of accidental damage or wear.

It is also important that VNA users should have a good understanding of the various cable and connector types that they use with the VNA. In particular, coaxial cable and coaxial connectors can suffer from failure or poor performance because of any of the following:

  1. Over-tightened adaptors to Universal connectors;
  2. Damaged threads;
  3. Splayed centre pins (see Figure 2).

Users who have a proper understanding of connectors will know how to avoid damaging them when mating and unmating. A general understanding of connector care will also help to prolong the life of adaptors, standards, connectors and cables.

In relation to the VNA itself, users can do much to ensure high reliability and a long operating life by taking the following precautions:

  1. Know the RF specifications of the instrument, and avoid subjecting it to excessive RF power;
  2. Follow normal ESD safe practices;
  3. Store and use the VNA in a clean working area with low levels of dust and other particles, and keep both temperature and humidity stable.


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