Noise Figure Measurement - A Practical Approach
7. Important Features that you need to look for when buying NF measurement equipment:
- Measurement Frequency Range: Ensure that the NF measurement frequency range is covered completely. If not, you may need to use external signal generators
and mixers to down-convert the signals before making noise figure measurements. Measurement frequencies up to 26.5 GHz in a single instrument is recommended
if you will be using the equipment for Ku band frequencies.
- Ensure that the NF analyzer can accurately measure the desired NF. For example, if you need to measure a fraction of a dB of noise figure, you may need to buy
NF analyzers that are specifically built for measuring NF. Methods such as Gain Method use spectrum analyzers for NF measurement, and do not provide accurate
and repeatable measurement.
- Consider local support. The equipment may need to be calibrated once a year. A local calibration facility for the equipment is recommended. Normally for a
new instrument, manufacturer assures measurement accuracies for the first 3 years. Please consult respective manufacturers before buying the equipment.
- Accessories: Normally, you need several accessories along with the main instruments. Some of the accessories that you may need to plan before making a purchase
- Connector adapters such as coaxial to coaxial or coaxial to wave guide adapters
- Attenuators, it is recommended to procure precision attenuators with wide frequency range (typically 10KHz to 26.5GHz).
- Noise Source with calibrated ENR table. Normally, the ENR table is stuck on to the device itself.
- Any other components such as frequency mixers and cables.
- Manuals: It is necessary that the manuals are provided with the equipment. Several equipment have specific settings to be made before making any measurements.
Without a product manual, the task becomes very difficult.
- Ease of Use: Flexible, intuitive user interface makes it easy to make the measurements.
1. Agilent Technologies
3. Scientific Atlantic