Compact RF signal recording and playback system features wide bandwidth

March 23, 2015 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
X-COM Systems, LLC, a subsidiary of Bird Technologies, has introduced the IQC5000B RF record and playback system designed for applications such as electronic warfare, interference analysis, surveillance, and spectrum monitoring and management.

Claiming to offer the industry’s smallest form factor, the IQC5000B has the widest instantaneous bandwidth, 4 Tbytes of removable, high-speed solid-state data storage, and other features tailored for the most demanding applications.

The IQC5000B builds on the success of its “A” predecessor, with higher performance and more features in the same small size, at the same cost. Its design reflects the need to record signals with greater bandwidths than ever before, including IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi, satellite communication channels, and many radars. Each of the IQC5000B’s two recording channels has an instantaneous bandwidth of 165 MHz that when combined produce a record bandwidth of 330 MHz. These signal bandwidths can be recorded at any input frequency from HF through millimeter wavelengths.

The system has twice the internal signal storage than the IQC5000A, with two high-speed, easily-removable 2-Tbyte solid-state drives configured in RAID 0 for 4 Tbytes of combined capacity. Together they allow the IQC5000B to store 83 minutes of continuous recording at the system’s full bandwidth. External SSD storage of up to 15 Tbytes can be added to allow recording times of up to 5 hours.

As the IQC5000B will often be used in secure classified environments, its SSDs can be removed and a declassification procedure performed, leaving the system entirely free of data and restoring it to factory defaults, effectively making it useless when falling into the wrong hands.

The IQC5000B employs state-of-the-art signal analyzers from Keysight Technologies, Rohde & Schwarz, or Tektronix to act as its “front end”. As these analyzers output pristine I and Q waveforms without errors or instrument-generated artifacts, the information stored on the IQC5000B is virtually identical to the original captured analog waveforms.

Applications will often dictate that the IQC5000B reconstitute the original waveforms in analog I and Q format for two simultaneous channels of playback at the original or any frequency within the capabilities of a high-performance vector signal generator. The system is capable of providing a single frequency output at 2.4 GHz as well.