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RF Phase Noise Analyzer Manufacturers | VCO tester

This page covers RF Phase noise analyzer Manufacturers or Vendors used for VCO testing. The popular manufacturers of VCO tester to check its phase noise include Rohde & Schwarz, Keysight, Microsemi, Holzworth Instrumentation and Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation.

Introduction: The various RF parameters are used during testing of transmitter and receiver part of RF devices and components. The phase noise is very important out of these parameters. It is measured at the transmitter output of the DUT (Device Under Test) which can be LOs, VCOs, PLLs etc.

What is VCO ?

The component VCO is short form of Voltage Controlled Oscillator. It generates output frequency based on applied input voltage. There are many applications of VCO which include function generator, PLL, synthesizer, fixed LO (Local Oscillator), variable LO, frequency modulator etc.


The following specifications are considered before selecting VCO for your design.
• Operating Frequency range
• DC tuning voltage range
• Output power
• Phase Noise
• Vcc/Icc
• Pushing and Pulling
• Tuning speed
• Package type

The figure depicts position of VCO in PLL (Phase Locked Loop) circuit. VCOs are categorized into tuned oscillator and untuned oscillator types. Refer basics of VCO types and tuning methods >>.

What is Phase Noise ?

This is used as purity measurement of VCOs, Synthesizers and crystal oscillators. Phase noise is measured using different techniques by various test equipments. The most common method is using spectrum analyzer as shown. It is measured at some distance away from desired carrier frequency viz. 10 Hz, 100 Hz, 1KHz, 10 KHz etc. It is measured in units of dBc/Hz. It is basically ratio of signal to noise power in 1 Hertz bandwidth.


The figure depicts phase noise measurement using spectrum analyzer. As shown phase noise is measured using following simple calculation and power levels measured on spectrum analyzer.
Phase noise = - ( D + 10*Log10(RBW) )
"D" is the difference between instantaneous power of desired frequency and sideband frequency (@1KHz or any other spacing).
RBW is Resolution Bandwidth

RF phase noise test setup

The figure depicts simple test setup of phase noise measurement using RF spectrum analyzer.
Refer RF Phase Noise Measurement >>.

RF Phase Noise Analyzer Manufacturers

Following table lists popular manufacturers of RF Phase Noise Analyzer. This test equipment is very useful to characterize sources such as VCOs, DROs, Synthesizers and OCXOs. The test and measurement equipments are used for various applications such as satellite and radar in various frequency bands such as C band, Ku band, X band, K band etc.

Manufacturers Description
Rohde & Schwarz Model : R&S® FSWP
Features : Frequency range from 1 MHz to 50 GHz, Higher sensitivity, high measurement speed etc. It houses three ultra low noise DC sources in order to supply VCOs and sweep them.
Website : rohde-schwarz.com
Keysight Technologies Model : N5511A Phase Noise Test System
Features : Measures phase noise with sensitivity down to thermal phase noise floor (KT) of about -177 dBm/Hz. Covers frequency range from 50 KHz to 3 GHz/26.5 GHz/40 GHz or up to 110 GHz with external mixers
Website : keysight.com
Microsemi, subsidiary of Microchip Technology Inc. Model : 53100A
Features : Frequency range from 1 to 200 MHz, measures phase noise and AM noise at offsets from 0.001 Hz to 1 MHz and levels below -175 dBc/Hz
Website :microsemi.com
Holzworth Instrumentation Models : HA7062C (Frequency range : 10MHz to 6 GHz) , HA7062D (Frequency range : 10 MHz to 26 GHz/ 40 GHz)
Website : holzworth.com
Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation Model : Model 7000 Series
Frequency range : 1 MHz to 40 GHz , Measurements down to -190 dBc/Hz
Website : berkeleynucleonics.com


Following are the useful links on wireless and rf measurements.
Error Vector Magnitude   RF Link Budget   Physical layer measurements  Design of RF frequency converter  C band RF Transceiver Design and Development  Production tests on RF and SoC devices  RF Terminology  what is RF  RF Power Amplifier   RF Mixer basics   rf synthesizer design   Noise figure vs Noise Temperature 

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