USB vector analyser provides portable passive characterisation

March 04, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Anritsu’s ShockLine single-port USB vector network analysers offer an economical and compact route to testing cables, antennas, and other passive RF devices.

The MS46121A series of 1-port USB VNAs embed the company’s ShockLine VNA technology in a compact package. Two models with frequency coverage of 40 MHz to 4 GHz and 150 kHz to 6 GHz are powered and controlled via a user’s computer to simply and cost-efficiently test passive RF devices where 1-port measurements up to 6 GHz are required.

A single computer connected to a USB hub with enough ports can run up to 16 different ShockLine MS46121A VNAs. Sweeps can be conducted at 100 microseconds per point and the MS46121A VNAs have a corrected directivity of 42 dB so engineers have greater measurement confidence. Wide dynamic range and multiple IF bandwidths optimise measurement setups to shorten test times and maximise throughput.

The MS46121A series is controlled through the ShockLine software that provides the tools and graphical user interface (UI) for easy debug and testing of 1-port RF devices. It also provides remote programming capabilities that enable the ShockLine MS46121A to be programmed and integrated into manufacturing applications.

Anritsu has developed two MS46121A models for specific measurement requirements. The USB VNA with 40 MHz to 4 GHz frequency coverage is suited for base station antenna testing where limited frequency bands are required. The wider frequency range model covers 150 kHz to 6 GHz and is designed to test cellular handset antennas and other devices that must transmit and receive on multiple frequency bands.

The ShockLine family now has five series comprising the MS46122A low-cost full-reversing 2-port VNAs, the MS46522A 2-port series with coverage of 50 kHz to 4.5/8.5 GHz, Economy ShockLine MS46322A 2-port VNA for measurements up to 40 GHz, and the MS46524A 4-port VNAs for differential and multi-port device testing.