Author Topic: Questions about RF test equipment  (Read 571 times)

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Offline kisleini

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Questions about RF test equipment
« on: June 22, 2020, 03:11:44 pm »
I'm looking into purchasing some RF test equipment so that I can do some design work at home. My current job doesn't offer any RF design opportunities and I was thinking that this might be my only way to get into the design field (and out of test engineering).

There are some spectrum analyzers with tracking generators on Amazon for $5k, but I've never used GOWE or RIGOL products before. I was hoping that someone on here would have some advice.

Offline nctnico

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Re: Questions about RF test equipment
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2020, 03:16:28 pm »
Add Siglent to the list. I recommend getting a VNA (network analyser); it is a more versatile tool compared to a spectrum analyser although VNAs are typically less sensitive compared to spectrum analysers. OTOH a spectrum analyser with a tracking generator has limited use. For example: if you want to create an antenna matching network then a VNA will tell you the complex impedance of the antenna and calculating the matching network is easy. With a SA+tracking generator you only know the antenna isn't optimally tuned.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.

Offline Wallace Gasiewicz

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Re: Questions about RF test equipment
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2020, 07:43:53 pm »
If you tell us what type of RF stuff you wish to experiment with or develop and what frequencies you are planning to deal with. Maybe someone could point out what equipment is appropriate.
There is a lot of old equipment that can outdo the stuff you mentioned at far less cost.

Offline Grandchuck

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Re: Questions about RF test equipment
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 02:08:05 pm »
As mentioned, a bargain VNA is a no-brainer.  Also, the frequency is important to know.  RF can mean 1 MHz, 1 GHz, 10 GHz and so on.  The cost and complexity go up as frequency does.  What is your general target?

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