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Measuring Basic Pulse Parameters with a Boonton RTP5000 and Boonton Power Analyzer Software

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The RTP5000 Real-Time USB Peak Power Sensors with Real-Time Power Processing (RTPP) technology deliver 100,000 measurements per second, the widest video bandwidth (VBW) of 195 MHz, and fastest 3-ns rise times to ensure no gaps in signal acquisition and zero measurement latency. Using this performance with the Boonton Power Analyzer (BPA) complementary measurement and analysis software, Boonton provides fast, accurate, reliable, and automatic RF power measurements. This article will explain how to harness Boonton’s powerful RF power measurement capabilities to take basic pulse readings using the Boonton RTP5000 Series and BPA.

This exmple utilizes a PC with at least two USB ports. In addition, the setup includes one RTP5000 peak power sensor and a 1 GHz RF demo source that provides a 50-ns wide pulse with a 100-μs period on the first channel (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Demo configuration for basic pulsed signal measurements.

The RTP5000 series sensors are complemented by the BPA, which is an advanced measurement and analysis software package. Unlike other power measurement software alternatives, the BPA provides all standard features without requiring the purchase of license options. In addition, the BPA is available for free distribution among workstations where needed. With both the RTP5000 series sensors and BPA, the automatic measurement feature can be used to instantly get up to 16 pulse parameter measurements (see Figure 2). These measurements include the pulse width, rise time, fall time, period, pulse repetition frequency (PRF), duty cycle, off time, waveform average, pulse average, pulse peak, overshoot, droop, pulse top power, pulse bottom power, edge delay, and skew. All measurements are based on what is seen in the trace view. Therefore, to gather valid values for measurement such as period, PRF, and duty cycle, the time base must be set up accordingly.

Figure 2 – The automatic measurement feature provides up to 16 pulse parameter measurements.

As mentioned, the RTP5000 series offers the widest VBW of 195 MHz. Detecting pulse and peak power measurements correctly relies on the modulated signal’s rate of change in amplitude to be within the sensor’s VBW. A detector with adequate VBW for a desired pulse can accurately track the envelope power, which minimizes measurement errors. As depicted in Figure 3 below, the red trace shows how a sensor with insufficient VBW cannot track signal changes and distorts the measurement.

Figure 3 – The red trace has insufficient VBW to track the actual signal in blue.

The VBW joins Boonton’s industry-leading rise time of less than 3 ns and effective sample rate of 10 GS/s to make the RTP5000 series capable of measuring signals with pulse widths as narrow as 10 ns, easily measuring the approximate 4-ns rise time and 6-ns fall time of the pulse below (see Figure 4).

Figure 4 – Boonton’s industry-leading performance can measure the pulse’s 4-ns rise time and 6-ns fall time.

With superior USB peak power sensor performance and complementary BPA measurement and analysis software, Boonton provides the ideal solution for fast, accurate, and reliable RF power measurements. To learn more, please watch the brief demonstration on measuring basic pulse parameters with the Boonton RTP5000 series and BPA at

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