EDI CON is the first industry event to bring together RF, microwave, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), electromagnetic interference (EMI) and high-speed digital design engineers and system integrators for networking, product demonstrations, training and learning opportunities. In its second year, EDI CON USA offered a unique combination of training, technical sessions, workshops and panels, with a commercial exhibition not found at similar events. Eight training courses were offered on the first day, followed by technical sessions, workshops/panels, plenary talks and an exhibition with more than 100 companies on the second and third days.

BYOBAmong several additions this year: the European Radar Summit, High-Speed Design Symposium, Bring Your Own Board (BYOB) Test Kiosk and a Student Scholarship Program. The European Summit was organized by Alfonso Farina, formerly of Selex, and covered various topics like conformal antennas, passive/active radars, high-speed processing for active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems and radar trends. Eric Bogatin, Professor at Colorado University and Dean of the Signal Integrity Lab at Teledyne LeCroy, organized a High-Speed Design Symposium that addressed materials properties and simulations for accurately designing robust high-speed channels. Steve Sandler of Picotest organized a kiosk offering free measurement services in the BYOB program. EDI CON USA raffled off two $500 scholarships to students who attended the event and visited three of the major sponsors. The winners were Rebekah Davis from Northeastern University and Ameya Ramdurgkar from the University of Colorado.

Adding to the three days of education, training and networking were the distinguished keynote speakers who addressed the latest engineering trends and challenges, including “in the trenches” stories of design challenges, successes and failures.

Scott McMorrow, CTO for Signal Integrity Products at Samtec, has helped numerous companies develop high performance products, while training signal integrity engineers. He presented “Betting Your Job – Finding Your Voice and Being a Change Agent in a Corporate World.” He discussed how his philosophy has helped develop diverse products, where the potential failure represented $100 million to more than $1 billion.

CameronDr. Thomas Cameron, CTO for the Communications Business Unit at Analog Devices, discussed the 5G industry’s goals and motivation in his talk “5G in 5 Years – How Will We Get There.” He predicted that connectivity in the future will be like air, available everywhere without any obstacles.

The final keynote talk, “Delivering value, everybody says it, but what does it mean – A look behind the Scenes of Test & Measurement,” was presented by Faride Akretch, segment marketing manager at Rohde & Schwarz.

The four panel discussions were well received:

  • The Ferrari of Amplifiers: How can we maneuver around the current challenges facing high performance GaN? The panelists agreed we have not even come close to the power densities possible with GaN technology – it is just a matter of thermal management.
  • Look Ma — No Steering Wheel! The State of the Self-Driving Car. Here, the consensus was that a suite of maturing sensor technologies will enable autonomy, yet many social and regulatory issues need to be overcome.
  • Bandwidth or Bust – Commercializing 5G mmWave Technology Today. Low cost semiconductor manufacturing and test methods are still not determined that can meet the needs for the mmWave 5G infrastructure, but we are getting close.
  • Solid-State RF Energy in 2017: How Far Have Applications Come and What Still Needs to Be Attained? The outlook is optimistic, as 300 W, 70 percent efficiency power amplifier modules have been achieved and potential materials and connectors appear likely to meet the cost goals required for commercialization in the next couple of years.

The exhibition comprised more than 100 companies, featuring many new products in both the RF/microwave and high-speed digital realms. Here are some of the highlights:

ADIAnalog Devices (ADI), EDI CON’s Host Sponsor, recently released the AD9375 RF transceiver that operates from 300 MHz to 6 GHz. The AD9375 is the first RF transceiver to incorporate the digital predistortion (DPD) algorithm on-chip – a design breakthrough that reduces DPD power consumption by 90 percent compared to competing solutions. The re-partitioning of the DPD system from the FPGA to the transceiver cuts the number of JESD204B serial data interface lanes in half, resulting in a dramatic power savings particularly as the number of antennas per base station increases from two to 128 in support of pre-5G massive multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) radio-channel density requirements. Other benefits include a more compact radio circuit layout, which simplifies routing and system design, reduces base station size and allows designers to use a lower-cost, less complex FPGA. In small cells these benefits allow more frequency bands per cell for increased network capacity, while minimizing the impact to system power consumption and size. ADI was also featuring a complete 24 to 44 GHz radio in 28 nm CMOS. They had configured a full radio transceiver using their baseband and microwave components showing how they can provide the entire signal chain and customize the solution based on the application needs.

John Richardson, president of X-Microwave, was demonstrating X-Microwave’s building block approach to microwave circuit and system development in the Analog Devices’ (ADI) booth. ADI is one of X-Microwave’s partners, recently releasing 250 of their products in the X-MWblock format. Assembling X-MWblock circuit functions from ADI or another of X-Microwave’s partners on a standard grid, designers can quickly prototype a multi-function circuit or subsystem, swapping blocks to optimize performance. Once configured, the components can be packaged in a machined housing for low rate production or, if the volumes are higher, X-Microwave can integrate the functions and customize the packaging.

R&SRohde & Schwarz, EDI CON’s Diamond Sponsor, announced that the FSW85 signal and spectrum analyzer now provides 5 GHz analysis bandwidth, which is required for analyzing wideband signals such as automotive radar FMCW chirp signals, IEEE 802.11ay signals and 5G waveform candidates. Rohde & Schwarz is addressing the fast-growing demands for characterizing wideband components and systems by introducing the new R&S FSW-B5000 option. In combination with the R&S RTO2064 digital oscilloscope as an external digitizer, the R&S FSW85 signal and spectrum analyzer equipped with the new hardware option provides equalized 5 GHz signal analysis bandwidth. They also recently released an external preamplifier that improves the sensitivity of the R&S FSW85 or another spectrum analyzer. The FSW firmware automatically recognizes the HA-Z24E and loads the calibration data. It is connected to the spectrum analyzer with an USB cable, which also provides a 5 V supply.

Anritsu (EDI CON Gold Sponsor) was showing off the MS2760A, the first handheld millimeter wave spectrum analyzer to provide continuous coverage from 9 kHz up to 110 GHz, positioning it for growing millimeter wave applications such as 5G, 802.11ad, satellite communications and automotive radar. It is USB-powered and controlled from a Windows-based PC, laptop or tablet, making it uniquely flexible for the lab, manufacturing floor or field. Its ultraportable size enables a direct connection to almost any device under test (DUT), eliminating the need for lossy, expensive cables or antennas. Another ultraportable solution, the new Power Master™ MA24507A frequency selectable millimeter wave power analyzer, was also on display. It is an ultraportable USB-powered instrument that measures the RF power of signals up to 70 GHz and as low as –90 dBm. Unlike spectrum analyzers that are bulky, expensive and complex or power meters that are not frequency dependent and have limited dynamic range, Power Master enables simple, numeric, frequency-based amplitude measurements of up to six signals from 9 kHz to 70 GHz in a package slightly larger than a cell phone and at an extremely affordable price.

NINational Instruments (EDI CON Gold Sponsor) was demonstrating its latest innovations for smarter microwave design and test. Wireless test demonstrations featured NI’s latest advancements in test technology for 802.11ax, LTE Advance Pro and 5G. Demonstrations included technology for 5G RFICs based on the second-generation Vector Signal Transceiver in conjunction specialized software for generation and analysis of Verizon 5G and NR waveforms. They recently developed a PXI baseband unit that is separate from the VST in order to increase the bandwidth. The PXIe-5820 module is the industry’s first baseband VST with 1 GHz of complex I/Q bandwidth and is designed to address the most challenging RF front-end module and transceiver test applications, such as envelope tracking, DPD and 5G test.

In addition, NI accelerates product development with RF/microwave circuit and system design using the latest release of NI AWR Design Environment, version 13. V13 offers new technology for design automation, circuit and system simulation and design assistance. Enhancements to the design environment UI include new capabilities to automate PCB, MMIC and module design flows, design synthesis, addressing file format standards for import/export support, and third-party links. V13 also features speed and functionality improvements to simulation engines, including harmonic balance, system-level and planar and arbitrary 3D electromagnetic (EM) solver improvements.

RF LambdaRF-Lambda (EDI CON Gold Sponsor) featured their new line of solid-state, USB-controlled RF switches and a new series of wideband solid-state power amplifiers (PA), with output power from 50 to 140 W CW. The switches have high isolation, low insertion loss and fast switching speed and cover a broad frequency range. With software provided, controlling the switches is easy, and no DC supply is required because the switches are biased through the USB interface. The switches support applications from the lab bench to production test. The new wideband solid-state PAs are in a standard rack-mountable enclosures with built-in forced air cooling and feature a user-friendly, interactive interface. These amplifiers are used in wireless communications, medical, EMC and applications that require high power over a wide frequency range.

The ANSYS HFSS SBR+ field solver provides the ability for antenna systems designers to model the antenna and its environment before the antenna is built or installed. Some of these environments can be quite large. An extreme antenna-environment scenario might be the interaction of a 77 GHz automotive radar sensor with 300 meters of roadway and buildings, which adds up to an environment spanning 85,000 electrical wavelengths in size. In the ANSYS Electronics Desktop 18.2, the integrated HFSS SBR+ solver now provides a powerful pre-processing feature to show significant anticipated EM interactions posed by the environment: Visual Ray Trace (VRT). With VRT, desingers can visualize the direct paths taken by EM fields radiated by an antenna through an environment, giving insight into multi-path routes, causes of signal delay spread from one antenna to another, hot coupling zones for nearby antennas, shadowed zone locations and indirect radar scattering paths. ANSYS was a Silver Sponsor of EDI CON.

Mini-CircuitsMini-Circuits (an EDI CON Silver Sponsor) exhibited their wide range of products, highlighting several recent releases. The frequency range of the company’s precision fixed attenuators has been extended to 50 GHz (BW-V series), with fixed attenuation values of 3, 6, 10 and 20 dB. The KAT-D-series of attenuators are fixed value, absorptive attenuators in die form, with nominal values to 10 dB in 1 dB steps and 12, 15, 20 and 30 dB. The passive MMICs, fabricated with thin film resistors on GaAs substrates, cover DC to 43.5 GHz. Mini-Circuits has joined X-Microwave’s X-MWsystem® with an intial portfolio of some 400 components, including LTCC filters, MMIC reflectionless filters, attenuators, mixers, multipliers, limiters, couplers, splitters and MMIC amplifiers.

Cadence (an EDI CON Bronze Sponsor) was featuring their Virtuoso® Analog Design Environment that is the advanced design and simulation environment for the Virtuoso platform. It gives designers access to a new parasitic estimation and comparison flow and optimization algorithms that help to center designs better for yield improvement and advanced matching and sensitivity analyses. By supporting extensive exploration of multiple designs against their objective specifications, the Virtuoso Analog Design Environment sets the standard in fast and accurate design verification. Integrated with Cadence® Allegro® PCB and IC package design, editing and routing technologies, Allegro Sigrity™ SI provides advanced SI analysis both pre- and post-layout. Operating early in the design cycle allows for “what if” scenario exploration, sets more accurate design constraints, and reduces design iterations. Allegro Sigrity SI reads and writes directly to the Allegro PCB and IC package design database for fast and accurate integration of results. It provides a SPICE-based simulator and embedded field solvers for extraction of 2D and 3D structures. It supports transistor-level and behavioral I/O modeling, including power-aware IBIS 5.0 model generation.

Copper Mountain Technologies (an EDI CON Bronze Sponsor) showcased their CobaltFx Frequency Extension system for mmWave solutions with waveguide bands available in 50 to 75 GHz, 60 to 90 GHz and 75 to 110 GHz. The system is anchored by a 2- or 4-port Cobalt USB VNA available in maximum frequencies of 9 GHz or 20 GHz. Their customer Compass Technology Group is showcasing the application of a CMT 1-Port VNA model R180 for materials measurements. A major benefit to that arrangement is its ability to be lightweight and easily transported while still obtaining lab-grade results. The R180 USB VNA has a frequency range of 1 MHz to 18 GHz. CMT also has the Compact VNA S5065 with a frequency range of 9 kHz to 6.5 GHz testing PCB antennas. The Compact Series USB VNAs offer a full-featured lab-grade performance in a compact size suited for many applications.

Menlo Micro (an EDI CON Bronze Sponsor) is a new name in the industry, a spin-out from GE that is developing microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches for RF and power electronics applications. The company’s name reflecys the technology’s distant heritage at Menlo Park, where Thomas Edison invented and patented the first circuit breaker — a switch — in 1879. 138 years later, Menlo Micro aims to replace relays and PIN diodes with MEMS, leveraging GE’s $40 million investment to optimize the materials to assure a MEMS switch with a life of at least 3 billion cycles. Menlo Micro’s first production revenue is from GE Healthcare, replacing the PIN diodes in MRI machines — 2,600 per system. The MEMS switches are smaller, require far less current, and save GE more than $10,000 per system.

ARAR exhibited a range of products, including hybrid power modules covering 1 to 6 GHz, 20 and 40 W instrumentation amplifiers covering 6 to 18 GHz and an 18 to 40 GHz solid-state amplifier integrated with a horn antenna in a single package that can generate 50 V/m signal levels for EMC radiated susceptibility testing. AR also featured their single band amplifiers that cover 7 MHz to 6 GHz and provide 350 and 500 W CW output. The solid-state amplifiers deliver 100 percent of their rated output power without foldback and can survive opens or shorts at the output. These single band amplifiers can be used for radiated susceptibility testing, EW jammers or device stress screening.

Ardent Concepts was featuring their LinkOVER PCB connector system that provides system designers and layout engineers the ability to bypass lossy board traces when transmitting signals in next generation board-to-board, system-to-system or chip-to-chip applications requiring high bandwidths. The LinkOVER system supports data rates up to 56 Gbps+ with low resonance and VSWR providing flexibility in high-speed design.

Berkeley Nucleonics was featuring its Model RTSA7550 real-time spectrum analyzer that is a high performance Software-defined Radio Receiver designed for various electronic warfare applications. The large operating frequency range of 100 kHz up to 27 GHz and wide instantaneous bandwidths (up to 160 MHz) allow users to meet the challenges of spectrum monitoring. Packaged in a small, remote deployable form factor allows for field use at a superior cost performance than rival high-end receivers.

Exodus Advanced Communications’ AMP1090 GaN power amplifier covers the 2 to 8 GHz frequency band and provides 10 W minimum output power; models with output power to 50 W are also available. The AMP1090 module handles all modulation standards and, with high reliability and ruggedness, can be used for radar, EW, satellite communications terminals and EMI/RFI testing. To address the increased interest in millimeter wave systems, Exodus is developing loe noise amplifiers (LNA) and medium PA that operate to 50 GHz.

HolzworthHolzworth displayed the HSX series of synthesizers and the HA7062C phase noise analyzer. The HSX series was developed to be one of the cleanest CW sources available — phase noise and spectral purity — and offers frequency coverage from 10 MHz to 3, 6, 12 or 20 GHz. The synthesizer provides up to +20 dBm output power. The C version of the HA7062 phase noise analyzer offers extended measurements to 40 MHz offset, input splitter bypass ports, independent baseband input ports and AM measurements with PM signal immunity. Each analyzer includes a calibration traceable to NIST.

Integra Technologies announced the IGN1214L500B, a high power GaN-on-SiC HEMT transistor supplies 550 W of peak pulsed output power at 50 V drain bias, with 17 dB gain and 70 percent efficiency, at 100 microseconds, 10 percent pulse conditions for L-Band Radar applications operating from 1.2 to 1.4 GHz.

Maury Microwave’s AMCAD third generation pulsed IV system was featured. The key highlights over the second-generation include:

  • Simultaneous high voltages and currents up to 30 A at 250 V
  • Short pulses down to 200 ns to eliminate self-heating
  • Long pulses up to 40 s to study trapping effects
  • 18 bit A/D for highest resolution and accuracy
  • Improved current measurements as extremely low currents
  • Built-in protection circuits (hardware and software, factory and user defined)
  • SCPI commands for direct programming
  • Ethernet and USB control
  • Mix-and-match pulsers for 2-32 synchronized channels

ReactelReactel featured their notch filter capabilities, displaying two products. The first was a highly selective cavity notch filter, designed to eliminate GPS, GLONASS, COMPASS and BeiDou satellite navigation signals from the DC to 3 GHz frequency spectrum. The lower and upper passbands cover DC to 1540 MHz and 1620 to 3000 MHz, respectively, with less than 5 dB insertion loss. In the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) bands, attenuation is 70 dB or greater except for the 1609 to 1615 MHz band, where the attenuation is specified at 50 dB or greater. The second filter notches the 1501 to 1591 MHz band, with more than 75 dB attenuation. The lower and upper passbands extend from 100 to 1450 MHz and 1645 to 3000 MHz, respectively.

RelComm Technologies' was highlighting their RDL-2N3A8-HI device, a high power 1P2T relay fitted with type ‘N’ connectors and is capable of hot switching 100 W CW at 2.0 GHz and 60 W CW at 8.0 GHz. Hot switching life is rated at 100,000 cycles per position. The relay is a 28 Vdc pulse latching actuation type that features low VSWR, low IL and high isolation performance from DC to 8 GHz. Relay position indicators are included.

TeledyneTeledyne exhibited GaN amplifiers from Teledyne Microwave Solutions and relays from Teledyne Relays. The GaN amplifiers were developed for harsh airborne and land-based systems and have a calculated MTBF greater than 40,000 hours at +85°C. Export of the amplifiers is not governed by ITAR. Teledyne Relays promoted the recently introduced GRF121 electromechanical relay, a magnetic-latching SPDT product designed for broadband, high repeatability, RF and digital applications. The performance of the GRF121 supports RF systems from DC to 18 GHz or signal integrity applications to 40 Gbps. Teledyne LeCroy demonstrated their HDO8000, 1 GHz, 8 Channel 12-bit oscilloscope for Power Integrity Measurements and their 4 GHz HDO9000 oscilloscope with HD1024 Technology.  Both provide exceptional signal fidelity with and upgraded user interface to deliver faster time to insight. 

WenzelWenzel Associates promoted their ORb Sync series, a low noise oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) coupled with a very stable Rubidium oscillator in a small, ruggedized housing. The combination offers exceptional phase noise and stability. The ORb Sync series offers multiple options covering HF and VHF frequencies (10 to 500 MHz), low g sensitivity and vibration isolation.