Keysight Technologies (formerly Agilent) has donated software that will augment the feature set of the ARRL Laboratory’s MXA-9020A spectrum analyzer. The donation includes 89600 VSA vector signal analysis software. According to ARRL Lab Senior Test Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM, 89600 VSA gives the MXA-9020A the ability to measure the parameters of digital signals. Keysight also contributed its BenchVue software, which can control the instrument and capture data and images without requiring programming.
“With the help of Keysight and ARRL Laboratory technical advisors, the ARRL Laboratory will be able to develop test methods to better quantify the performance of digital Amateur Radio transceivers,” Allison said.
Under the direction of Keysight Vice President Bob Witte, K0NR, application engineers Ken Voelker, K0KV, and Tom Holmes, N8ZM, delivered the 89600 VSA software to ARRL Laboratory Manager, Ed Hare, W1RFI, and Allison at the close of the 2015 Dayton Hamvention®. The donated software includes provisions to assess additional modes of operation, including the ability to analyze I/Q signals and to measure noise figure, pulse signals, and phase noise.
“Each new mode was demonstrated by Ken and Tom during a 2-day training session, using the Lab’s MXA-9020A,” Allison said. In addition, Brian Wood, W0DZ, showed how the free BenchVue software, which facilitates the simultaneous display of multiple measurements, can eliminate the need for custom programming. “BenchVue is Windows-based and easy to learn,” said Allison. “The software will enable the ARRL Laboratory to perform measurements and capture data and images without having to manually set up the analyzer for each measurement.”
Allison expressed gratitude to Voelker, Holmes, and Wood “for the excellent training on behalf of Keysight Technologies.” Visit the Keysight website for more information on the MXA-9020A, 89600 VSA software and BenchVue.
“The Lab is grateful to Keysight for this significant donation, which provides us with previously unavailable capabilities to analyze the characteristics of digital signals, said Hare.