Electronics > RF, Microwave, Ham Radio

Looking for a USB controllable RF sine source

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I am looking for a USB based RF Sine generator for a test fixture. Frequency range between 100-250MHz and output power at about 10dbm. I dont need any Arb capabilities and looking for minimum harmonics. So far I am looking at the Signal Hound VSG25A, the only issue with that is it does not have any filtering so there can be issues with harmonics from the DAC. But I can always throw a low pass filter on it if I have to.

Any other ideas? Ideally something with labview support as well since the test fixture will be based around that.

Neomys Sapiens:
Mini-Circuits had a series of inexpensive, USB-controlled synthesizers. The one I used did cover 50...500MHz, IIRC.
I did not retain documentation and/or the designation. It was in a little desktop housing.

A lot of small form factor units seem to lack much output filtering, but what you're describing probably could be done with a standard benchtop arb - something like a Siglent may actually be more cost effective than a different brand's RF source.

That said, you could look at the Holzworth HSM as well.  They sort of specialize in low phase noise synthesizers, but their 1GHz source seems to be nominally -42dBc second harmonic, to +20dBm output, and USB controllable with an adapter (otherwise SPI and optionally ethernet).

Would an SDR be accurate enough?   Transmit capable ones that is, not the RTLSDR.  Eg HackRF

If it's just sine then I presume the (often 8-bit) data DACs don't matter. The frequency synthesiser's specs can probably be looked up in a datasheet once you spot the part.  Not sure about harmonics: presumably they're low enough to avoid spurious emissions, but I don't know how that compares to what you want.

Pts frequency synthesizer off Ebay and buy the third party USB adapter. Input connector on the back is straightforward BCD TTL  plus a voltage for RF level.  I like  PTS160, PTS 250 and PTS 500.

 Beware of the customized D3xx  series for simple applications. They show up a lot especially the OEM style  330 Dual. Its still an excellent synth but unlike the standard series you may spend a lot of time making adapter cables for the rear controls.

Programmed TesT Sources  inc.
Never owned one i didn't like. Never paid more then 250$ for one either. Yes' you may need a cheap SMA or BNC low pass. These are built like a brick outhouse. Often are made for MRI Machines.



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