Interface wizard supports real-world measurement classroom lessons

Functionality and value are added to Pico Technology’s low-cost, high-performance vector network analyser (VNA), as the company announces a PicoVNA interface wizard.

The PicoVNA interface wizard links the affordable VNA to the National Instruments’ (NI) AWR (Applied Wave Research) design environment. The wizard supports the entire design cycle with import of real-world component, system or subsystem measurements from the PicoVNA in a single-click transfer.

Key features include the ability to control and view PicoVNA output from inside a design environment. There is also one-click measurement transfer to electronic design automation (EDA) software. The tool offers fast, convenient comparison of ideal, modelled and measured components through to subsystem data between test and simulation environments.

Measured data has been extended to 300kHz to 6GHz, for passive component simulation at DC. Active device measurements and plotting of maximum stable and available gain, K‑factor and B1 are also included.

The company also offer the PicoVNA 106. This is designed to help institutions and organisations which may find the high costs of microwave network measurements compromise classroom teaching. The PicoVNA 106, is a 6GHz, full-function, professional-grade vector network analyser with support for exporting EDA-ready measurement data. It can be combined with the Pico Technology network metrology test kit, which includes active and passive circuit elements and all the low-cost calibration standards and test leads needed for the PicoVNA 106 in classroom microwave network measurement. This PCB-hosted kit was designed using NI AWR software, specifically the Microwave Office circuit simulator. Device under test (DUT) elements can be modified by students and the kit is supplied with the associated EDA project design file for immediate engagement with any of the available circuit elements at any point in the design cycle.

Either coupled to EDA software such as NI AWR software or used standalone with the PicoVNA 106, this teaching accessory supports teaching objectives around reflection and transmission measurements, S-parameters and standard linear network measurement quantities. These can be presented and interpreted as log, linear, phase, real, imaginary, polar and Smith charts, with derived quantities such as group delay and time-domain transmission and reflection. Additionally, by including an active broadband amplifier element, nonlinear compression measurements such as P1dB and AM to PM phase due to amplitude modulation can be explored using the PicoVNA 106 built-in measurement utilities.

Pico Technology will be exhibiting at Microwave Week 2019 (29 September to 4 October) in Paris, France, stand 2285.

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