Customer Success Story:
Global defense and aerospace company choose Boonton 4542 peak power analyzer for engineering and production. The analyzers are used in a program commissioned by the US government to track and map retired satellites and space debris.
The customer used a test setup that required a combination of diode detectors, oscilloscopes, and both, average and peak power meters. The instruments were required to obtain a particular set of information about the measured pulsed signal, including Rise Time, Fall Time, Peak Power, Average Power, Duty Cycle, Pulse shape and imbedded pulse coding similar to IFF (Rem: Identification Friend or Foe). The fast, high dynamic signal pulses required test equipment that could handle pulse rise times of 7 nano seconds, and that in a very stable manner. The customers had only power meters from one of our competitors, which were unfortunately unable to trigger accurately on that signal. They provided only poor waveform fidelity and the limited trigger resolution and dynamics was far below the needed specification. As a result, measurements from these power meters were not usable for system performance measurements. This gap had to be overcome by utilizing additionally a diode detector and oscilloscope.
Problem or Challenge and its Impact:
The need to always use a set of equipment, rather than one single instrument for obtaining the required information turned out to be a very cumbersome and time-consuming procedure for the customer. Furthermore, the diode detector had to be calibrated for linearity before a measurement could take place. Information from the oscilloscope and the average power meter had to be manually copied into a spreadsheet to calculate and record the results. This laborious procedure had a very negative impact on test and measurement time.
Alternative Approaches to Solve/Improve:
A fast, convenient and very accurate alternative is using the 4540 peak power analyzer. Due to its sophisticated trigger capabilities, it can easily find stable trigger points at complex signals, and immediately capture the wanted information. The customer was looking for a certain set of RF pulse related measurements to gage the performance of their system. All these measurements are standard with the 4540 series and on top of that, the power analyzer performs them automatically.
Solution Implemented/Action Taken:
The client had stated in a previous meeting "that if there was a peak power meter with appropriate trigger capabilities, they could get accurate readings". We knew that the 4540 series was just right for this task and provided an evaluation unit. The client tested a two channel 4542 power analyzer thoroughly to see if it was suitable for the challenges. Feedback after the evaluation turned out to be very positive and the customer stated that the unit performed as promised. They especially liked the waveform fidelity and the trigger stability. The way they summed it up was, "This unit is making us rethink about how we use power meters for our RF Testing"! The customer is now replacing his sets of old units with Boonton’s 4542 peak power analyzers.
The powerful combination of 4540 features, including speed, high dynamic range and sophisticated trigger capabilities proved that customer could not only perform all their measurement requirements, even at complex pulse forms, but the automatic measurements performed by the analyzer reduced their test cycles dramatically and saved them valuable time.