Free software from Tek: Signal Creation and AWG Control

December 15, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
The PC-based SourceXpress Platform offers remote control of Tektronix AWGs, and introduces a versatile plug-in architecture for waveform creation modules

Presenting it as a more convenient and flexible way for engineers to control signal sources and generate waveforms, Tektronix’ PC-based SourceXpress platform allows users to set up, synchronise, and remotely control multiple arbitrary waveform generators and introduces a versatile plug-in architecture for waveform creation modules that will span a wide variety of applications from high speed serial and coherent optical to RF and wireless. The AWG70000 Series of arbitrary waveform generators uses direct synthesis to create a virtually unlimited number of analogue or digital signals with up to 50 Gsamples/sec and 10-bit vertical resolution.

A key challenge to date, however, has been keeping pace with the rapid change in the electronics industry and the wide variety of applications for signal sources. With its plug-in architecture, the SourceXpress simplifies rapid development of new waveform creation modules as new applications emerge. Over time Tektronix plans to roll out an extensive library of modules to compliment the Generic Pre-Compensation and Multitone & Chirp plug-ins introduced today alongside SourceXpress.

"The SourceXpress application takes signal source instrument control and waveform generation to the next level, unlocking the full potential of our AWGs," said Jim McGillivary, general manager RF and Component Solutions, Tektronix. "Rather than having large software platforms for different applications, we are developing smaller waveform creation plug-ins that integrate into the AWG70000 user interface or on a PC using SourceXpress. This means customers can select only the modules they need for a particular application without the overhead and expense of features they don't need."

Running on either a PC or an instrument directly, SourceXpress features the same interface as the native GUI of the AWG70000 series. Many applications require multiple signal sources, which all must be precisely coordinated. With SourceXpress uses can control multiple signal sources from one location for faster test set up and execution.

When creating waveforms for testing wideband receivers, it is important that the test equipment generate signals with flat frequency and linear phase response. The Generic Pre-Compensation plug-in for SourceXpress creates correction coefficients that can be applied on waveforms to obtain flat frequency and linear phase response. The plug-in works for a variety of waveform types and applications including RF, IF, IQ & NRZ signals.