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Software lets your PC display RF power

Posted: 21 Mar 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:aspen electronics? software package? rf? microwave system? bird electronic?

Just developed by Aspen Electronics is a software package that lets those of you working with RF and microwave systems use Bird Electronic Corp.'s 5010T RF Thruline Power Sensor in conjunction with a PC. Normally, an additional digital power meter is required to read and display measured parameters.

Aspen developed its VDPM (Virtual Digital Power Meter) software together with a hardware data interface that connects to your PC across an RS-232 serial cable or via a USB adapter. Everyone from power-amplifier designers to antenna specialists, to field engineers to licensed Radio Amateurs, will likely find this a useful product; more so since it can work with a notebook computer in the field.

Windows displays
Using this package, you can read, store and display RF power measurements. An adjustable windowed display lets any one of four measurements (forward power, reflected power, VSWR or return loss) be presented in a large size for viewing at a distance.

Each of these four RF transmission line parameters can be programmed with set limits, so that if out-of-limits measurements are recorded, a numerical display highlights the data in red. Below each power indicator is an analog bar graph that indicates value relative to full scale, for adjustment purposes. Typically, the system will log four readings across all parameters. Parms are saved as .TXT text files.

The software features additional settings facilities, letting your communications ports be specified. It also lets you enter the rated power of the forward and reflected elements (plug-in slugs) that you're using on your Bird wattmeter.

A range of interchangeable plug-in elements cover frequency ranges to 2.7GHz, with forward power ranges spanning 125mW to 5W, 1.25W to 50W, 12.5W to 500W, and 25W to 1kW. Reflected power ranges from 125mW to 5W, 1.25W to 50W, and 2.5W to 100W. Insertion VSWR is only at 1.05:1 from 450kHz to 1GHz. Accuracy is 5 percent (of reading), rivalling that of thermal wattmeters.

Additional information can be found at Aspen's website.

- Alex Mendelsohn
eeProductCenter




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