Performing component verification in the field using a rugged vector network analyzer: Page 5 of 5

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.
If even greater precision is needed, FieldFox also supports advanced calibration methods: one-port open-short-load (OSL), full two-port short-open-load-through (SOLT), quick SOLT (QSOLT) and enhanced response. Although these offer the highest level of accuracy, they do require the user to carry high-quality cal kits into the field. In terms of tradeoffs, greater accuracy comes at the expense of cal complexity and set-up time. Also, the cal kits include coaxial and waveguide standards that must be kept clean and protected from damage.

Carrying precision into the field

With the configurations and capabilities outlined above, it is possible to carry precision into the field and perform accurate, repeatable vector network analysis. Making this a reality requires a handheld instrument that is on the leading edge of today’s technologies—electrical and mechanical.

Making it economical comes from configurability: the ability to carry multiple instruments in a compact, durable package provides a meaningful cost advantage. For example, the initial purchase can be for a unit that provides many useful capabilities while fitting into existing budget constraints. Additional capabilities can be added later as budgets allow.

Design category: