Performing component verification in the field using a rugged vector network analyzer

May 07, 2014 // By Rolland Zhang, Agilent Technologies
The installation and maintenance of specialized systems—radio networks, satellite ground stations, radars—often requires in-field verification and adjustment of filters, diplexers, duplexers and antennas. Although the preferred tool is a vector network analyzer (VNA), typical benchtop units are neither portable nor rugged enough for field use.

To address this need, Agilent’s FieldFox family of RF and microwave analyzers makes it possible to make precise measurements under non-ideal conditions: in a hangar during a snowstorm, aboard a ship sailing rough seas, or at a satellite trailer in a sandstorm (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The handheld FieldFox microwave vector network analyzer enables favorable tradeoffs between speed, accuracy and calibration in the field.

When working in the field, reality often dictates the need for a balance between precision and practicality. In the case of vector network analysis, the key tradeoffs are between speed, accuracy and the complexity of the calibration process. This article will focus on analyzer configurations and calibration methods that support high quality vector network measurements in a short amount of time.

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