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From the IMS 2017 show floor

Simplify Your Test Setup

Simplify Your Test Setup
Video from the IMS show floor

The RF Test engineer is used to the idea of building their own feedback control system around the standard RF amplifier with a typical setup consisting of external dual directional coupler, power sensors, power meter, signal generator, with a PC running either their own custom code or heavily invested in customized Matlab or Labview coding. Besides this approach being a very slow feedback control loop, the cost of the system engineering and coding is high which results in a costly and lengthy development program. At the recent IMS show in Honolulu, Empower RF's CEO talks briefly about this topic and how a Smart amplifier can simplify your system hardware and software development. That the typical dumb amplifier actually operates in an open loop is the reason you have to build a closed loop around it. The dumb amplifier cannot be calibrated, requires a manual power lookup table, has a rollercoaster looking output vs. frequency curve, drifts with temperature, and doesn't measure accurately its own output power. Because of these shortcomings you have to build a control loop to make the amplifier work in your system.

Now imagine that you integrate into the amplifier the external DDC, sensors, and power meter into a real time closed feedback loop. Then couple this architecture with sophisticated RF detection to properly measure power of virtually any modulation scheme. What you now have is an amplifier capable of Automatic Level Control (ALC) and can be calibrated. ALC is simply a mode where you tell the amplifier what output power you want via the user interface or SCPI command. The signal generator does not need calibration and it's amplitude can vary but won't affect the amplifier output power. In other words, you no longer need to adjust the signal generator amplitude and can eliminate the external DDC and power meter from your test setup. This is just one capability built into Empower RF's newest amplifiers and if you would like to discuss how this architecture and features can benefit your application please reach out to to schedule a technical call or demonstration.

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