Author Topic: RF Explorer Signal Generator  (Read 8300 times)

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Offline Terabyte2007

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RF Explorer Signal Generator
« on: November 22, 2014, 10:52:00 pm »
Just picked up the new RF Explorer Signal Generator. This is a small handheld RF frequency generator capable of 24MHz to 6GHz with a .5ppm frequency stability! It is temperature compensated 0-45C with both frequency and amplitude sweep functions and a 1Khz step resolution. The firmware and software are still in late beta but seem to work well. So far the testing I have done is impressive for the $200 price tag. If you couple this with the RF Explorer spectrum analyzer using the latest build of the software you can get a nice tracking generator setup which seems to work very well.

I had already purchased the RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer prior to this which makes this RF Generator a very nice companion to the SA. I have provided links to the Arocholl website and also seeed. Even though seeed is out of stock Amazon has quite a few.

http://micro.arocholl.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=124:rf-explorer-signal-generator&catid=40:article

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/RF-Explorer-Signal-Generator-RFE6GEN-p-2074.html
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Online Marco

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2014, 11:08:57 pm »
So is this a sine wave or a square(-ish) wave generator?
 

Online Fraser

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 12:44:24 am »
I also own one of these
 A very handy tool especially as I aready have the Explorer. Not a replacement for a bench RF sig gen though.
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 02:37:30 am »
So is this a sine wave or a square(-ish) wave generator?

This was snapped at about 43MHz. I will check the higher frequencies tomorrow. It's square(-ish), at least at the lower frequencies.

Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Online nctnico

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 11:41:03 am »
It will output a square wave in the GHz region as well.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 01:51:23 pm »
I also own one of these
Not a replacement for a bench RF sig gen though.

Absolutely. I have a decent Rigol bench SA which can run circles around this RF Explorer, but for a small quick portable signal source it's well worth the money. I used it to check the carrier on a few radio's the other night, connected my 50 Ohm antenna and worked like a champ!
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 01:52:56 pm »
It will output a square wave in the GHz region as well.

Thanks, the wife was yelling at to last night to hurry up so I only had time to check and grab the lower end of the range.  ;D
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Online nctnico

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2014, 02:47:02 pm »
Please don't connect the RF explorer to an antenna! You'll most likely cause interference in many frequency bands!
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2014, 02:52:36 pm »
Please don't connect the RF explorer to an antenna! You'll most likely cause interference in many frequency bands!

These were quick isolated tests. Please explain, the spectrum on both my Rigol and PC based SA did not show any other spurious frequencies outside the selected generated frequency. I would be interested to know more about your post.
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Online nctnico

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2014, 03:00:23 pm »
Please don't connect the RF explorer to an antenna! You'll most likely cause interference in many frequency bands!
These were quick isolated tests. Please explain, the spectrum on both my Rigol and PC based SA did not show any other spurious frequencies outside the selected generated frequency. I would be interested to know more about your post.
The RF explorer is based on the ADF4351 chip. I have experimented with the ADF4351 a lot; because the ADF4351 outputs a square-ish wave it has a lot of energy in the harmonics starting from the second harmonic. If you output a 90MHz signal it will also have a considerable amount of energy at 180MHz, 270MHz, 360MHz, etc. This should be visible on the spectrum analyser.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2014, 03:05:43 pm »
Please don't connect the RF explorer to an antenna! You'll most likely cause interference in many frequency bands!
These were quick isolated tests. Please explain, the spectrum on both my Rigol and PC based SA did not show any other spurious frequencies outside the selected generated frequency. I would be interested to know more about your post.
The RF explorer is based on the ADF4351 chip. I have experimented with the ADF4351 a lot; because the ADF4351 outputs a square-ish wave it has a lot of energy in the harmonics starting from the second harmonic. If you output a 90MHz signal it will also have a considerable amount of energy at 180MHz, 270MHz, 360MHz, etc. This should be visible on the spectrum analyser.

Ok, now that makes sense. Thanks for the input. I have had very little time to play with this unit so far. Thanks again!
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
Electronics Designer, Prototype Builder
 

Online Marco

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 04:30:22 pm »
The higher harmonics don't really matter for a tracking generator I guess.
 

Offline Mr Simpleton

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 11:09:43 pm »
I have yet to do a teardown of a RF Explorer sig gen but looking at the specs, I highly doubt you will find an Analog ADF chip there!
It's much more likely to be a Maxim 2870 (or 2871) which seems to match the numbers dead on!
Not that it makes a big difference they both do offer good performance on lower frequencies  but pretty poor above 1 GHZ, and the square-ish wave output.

Still, nice implementation and I can see with some simple add-ons this may be a useful little gadget!
 

Offline SNGLinks

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Re: RF Explorer Signal Generator
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2014, 03:13:06 pm »
Here are pics of 3 of the chips in my RFExplorer Sig Gen.

Ashley

 


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