EMScan RFX Antenna Pattern Measurement Scanner, chamber alt.





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Technical Specifications

Chamber alternative on your benchtop for antennas 16 cm x 10 cm

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Extra Specifications
New. 3 year warranty. BRL Test is your authorized distributer. 407-682-4228


Product Description

EMScan RFX

BRL Test is your authorized EMScan distributer.  Call 407-682-4228 for quotes and free onsite demo's. 

Bench top antenna pattern testing in seconds - fast and accurate.  Stop wasting time and money in anechoic chambers.

The RFX is a compact bench-top scanner that characterizes antennas in your own lab environment in real-time. RFX provides far-field patterns, bisections, EIRP and TRP in seconds. Novel near-field results, including amplitude, polarity and phase give insights into the root causes of antenna performance challenges and help troubleshoot far-field radiation patterns.

Key Features & Functions

  • 300 MHz - 6 GHz
  • 384 H-field probes
  • Maximum radiator size: L 16 cm x W 10 cm (L 6.30” x W 3.94”) real-time scanning
  • Far-field resolution: 1.8° for theta and 3.6° for phi
  • Plug n play: no external analyzer is required to run the system. Simply excite your antenna/device and start testing
  • Test CP (circularly polarized) antennas
  • Get repeatable & reliable results that pinpoint the cause of a design failure
  • Optimize positioning & effects from design layout
  • Monitor changes from packaging or design layout changes
  • Verify performance of a final product
  • Programmable via DLL

The EMScan RFX can also integrate with a network analyzer to measure gain, efficiency and S11 of an antenna, and with a base station emulator to test cell phones. Users can execute real-time analysis of their embedded antenna designs and test multiple design iterations, on the lab bench, in seconds at each stage of the design process. RFX also gives wireless engineers the freedom to do rapid prototyping and explore new designs, new materials and new forms. Wireless engineers and designers can test multiple design variations and optimize complex embedded antenna designs at their lab bench in seconds without wasting time waiting in congested anechoic chamber lines. They can optimize positioning and effects from layout, monitor changes from packaging or layout changes or verify performance of final product in real-time and then go to the chambers for final certification requirements with their mind at ease, knowing that their design will achieve a first-time pass.

What’s Included: 

  • RFX2 (integrated antenna board & processing electronics)
  • Universal power supply & cable
  • USB cable
  • Sample reference chip antenna
  • Foam spacer
  • RFxpert antenna design software / pre-compliance software for trouble shooting.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you provide an accurate EIRP estimate despite the fact that only one side of DUT is measured?  

    Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) is the power that has to be supplied to an isotropic antenna to achieve the same maximum far-field strength. EIRP is determined traditionally by identifying and measuring the peak radiated value on the surface of the “measurement sphere”. For directive antennas, by measuring radiation in the main hemisphere there will be no difficulty in identifying and precisely measuring the peak value. So even if you had other devices under test that were not so specifically dominant in one direction, you could still accurately estimate the EIRP value. What gets potentially compromised in scanner measurements for omni directional sources is accurate far-field pattern. Radiated power (PRAD) is obtained by integrating power density (obtained from the NF to FF transform) over the hemisphere. So in the worst case when only measuring one side, the TRP error is 3 dB. Both “sides” can be measured and the power sum taken, to get accurate TRP. As a design tool, differential changes on the peak side (or the weak side in the case of SAR optimization) are probably all that are necessary for optimizing.

  2. How fast is the full measurement cycle?  

    Each measurement including processing and display takes 1 second on the RFX and 4 seconds on the RFX2. RFxpert collects the data in 40 milliseconds and then the PC may require an additional 1 second to process and display the data. The overall measurement time can be reduced to 300 milliseconds for a simple go/no go scan result (e.g. measuring EIRP against a spec limit). In TDMA mode the scan time will be longer, due to the fact that the system must wait for a pulse to appear.

    Currently, the total scan time for a GSM phone is approximately 3 seconds on the RFX and 12 seconds on the RFX2.

  3. When measuring GSM power, how do we address duty cycle?  

    We tested GSM sources at 1/8 duty cycle. At 1/8, it slows down the process. GSM has a 500 μs pulse. The system waits for the rising edge to level out and then measures it.

  4. How do we measure transmitters with rapidly changing power levels?  

    RFxpert requires the power level to remain constant for 40 ms. If it is less than 40 ms, power level measurements will not be reliable.

  5. What is the measurement sensitivity for accurate power measurements?  

    RFxpert can measure a minimum source power of 0 dBm for a reasonable antenna.

  6. Are the measurements reliable in noisy ambient environments without an anechoic enclosure?  

    In testing of active antennas using a BSE, we put an intentionally radiating device 30 cm away from the scanner and it did not compromise the cell phone results. If the interfering element is 20 dB higher than a DUT and no closer than 1 meter from the RFxpert, the effect is minor. In more extreme cases where there is predictable interference, frequency and level coordination can be used. For adjacent test systems operating at very different power levels, frequency discrimination isolates the measurement systems. The scanner and DUT do not need to be put into an “anechoic” enclosure.

  7. Can you measure multiple antennas on different planes?  

    Yes. This can be done if you know the location of each antenna on the DUT, their locations in relation to the sensors, and if each antenna can be excited individually and not all on at the same time. The measured data will then be adjusted based on distance tables.

  8. What kind of power supply can be used?  

    Use the 6 VDC power supply for RFX and 12 VDC for RFX2 that is shipped with the system only. It is an universal 50/60 Hz and 100 v/240 v converter.

  9. What is the range of supported power levels?  

    The supported power level range is from +33 dBm to 0 dBm. There is no risk in running RFxpert with less than the minimum supported power. RFxpert software will indicate if the signal level is too low to be detected or measured accurately. For power levels greater than +40 dBm, RFxpert may be damaged.

  10. Where do I place the DUT?  

    To test a device it should be placed on the scanner. The device should be placed with the radiating surface down, and ideally positioned in the white area. The maximum device size can be larger than the scan area, but the radiating surface should be small enough to fit in white scan area (depicted by blue arrows in below picture).

    rfx-faq-1

  11. What is the accuracy of RFxpert measurements?  

    Current accuracy values for a calibrated RFxpert with the latest configuration file are summarized as follows:

    rfx-faq-2

    For even more details on accuracy, look at the following error distribution of the RFX2 measured efficiencies compared to chamber data:

    rfx-faq-3

  12. I have a network analyzer that is not on the list of supported analyzers, can it still be supported?  

    If your network analyzer is not on the supported network analyzer list, please contact your local representative or EMSCAN at info@emscan.com for details.

  13. What are the minimum system requirements?  

    Intel Core, 3.2 GHz, 1 GB RAM recommended. Windows XP SP3 OS and a CD ROM Drive.

  14. What is the maximum power level that RFxpert can receive without being damaged?  

    The maximum power level for accurate measurement is approximately +33 dBm into the antenna.

    Damage may occur above +40 dBm.

  15. What are the effects on the measurement from driving the antenna with lower power (e.g. dBm vs. 20 dBm)?  

    As long as the power received at the reference probes is high enough, there should be no change other than a lower power level. As the source power goes out of range, you will start to see phase errors first which will influence far-field results.

  16. The features/specifications indicate measuring dipoles and helical antennas. I assume that this is done by laying the DUT flat on the scanner bed? How do you feed the antenna without having the cable on the scanner bed, without some sort of de-embedding? Both of these conditions would seem to compromise the integrity of the near-field and alter the measurement accordingly.  

    The system always provides measurement results as is, in the near-field. If a cable is present, then very often currents can be seen on it. The onus is on the tester to set up the conditions so as best to represent what they want to measure. If the cable cannot be moved away from the scanner surface then absorbing foam may help to reduce the impact on the test.

  17. When selecting “Pattern Settings Properties”, “Amplitude Scale”, “Comparison Type”, switching from linear to Log10 seems to have no effect. What is this supposed to do? I thought it changed the scale of the near-field and far-field patterns.  

    The linear/log switch applies to the difference mode of the comparison scan. When comparing the near-field of two scans that have different power output, it is often more instructive to compare the fields in a log sense

  18. If I put my cell phone on the scanner, does it scan?  

    You cannot measure your cell phone since it is being managed by a live network. The output power and transmit times are too variable to get a good measurement. However, if you were to connect to your phone using a base station emulator, RFxpert will be able to measure it accurately.

  19. How can I measure each side of the DUT in order to get a full spherical pattern?  

    Refer to Aggregate Node. The DUT should be rotated around the Y axis of the scanner for the second measurement. This will ensure the aggregate node combines them together properly.

    rfx-faq-4

  20. Can RFxpert be integrated into existing test applications or simply automated to provide faster measurement results?  

    RFxpert system can be easily integrated into existing test applications or simply automated to provide faster measurement results. This is done by accessing the API of RFxpert dll. There is a documented installation package included with RFxpert installation CD in RFxpertDLL folder. This package includes a sample program to remotely control RFxpert. For more information please contact EMSCAN Technical Support.

  21. Why am I getting low power warning? How can I test an antenna while getting low power warning?  

    RFxpert can measure a minimum source power of 0 dBm for a reasonable antenna. Reasonable means that the antenna is effective at radiating the available input power into free space, also known as being efficient. A Low Power error messages pop up at – 5 dBM of measured power. There is however, not a clear cutoff on when the low power measurements become inaccurately. This is mainly because we define the limit based on input power which is what the customer knows, but the RFxpert measures radiated power.

    For example, if an antenna with less than 10% efficiency is tested with a 0 dBm source, the radiated power would be less than -10 dBm. RFxpert would very likely not be able to measure this antenna accurately even though minimum input power requirement is met. Whereas, an antenna with an efficiency of 50% fed with the same input power radiate -3dBm and can easily be characterized on RFxpert. So at a minimum we can measure an omnidirectional antenna that has an efficiency of 50% (-3 dB) from a 0 dBm source. If the efficiency or directivity drops then the minimum source power must be increased correspondingly.

    The actual power that can be measured accurately changes versus frequency and also from system to system. This is why we use the more ambiguous term “reasonable” rather than a specific number. Additionally, it is often the case that the radiating properties (e.g., efficiency and directivity) of the antennas that are tested on RFxpert are not known.

    Although 0 dBm is the minimum specification RFxpert can still perform accurately down to -5 dBm or -10 dBm at most frequencies. A low-power warning message will pop up when the maximum measured near-field is too close to the noise floor. First check phase pattern to judge whether the results are reasonable and add 3 dB to PRAD results. If in doubt, please send the file to EMSCAN.

    How to check phase pattern? The phase will start to degrade first as RFxpert approaches minimum radiated power. The degradation will show up as ‘noise’ in the phase plot as is shown in the three images below. The center image is marginal and the right image is poor.

    rfx-faq-5

  22. What is the resolution bandwidth of Rfxpert?  

    The built in receiver has an IF bandwidth of 60 MHz. For modulated signals that are wider than 60 MHz there may be slight offset in the reported far-field values. This offset can be determined by comparing a modulated signal to a CW signal for the same antenna or by comparing a chamber measurement to the RFxpert reported value.

Options for EMscan RFX:
Part Number Description
3000-0815 Hard Transit Case RFX with customized insert
3000-0303 CP analysis 
3000-0300 BSE function 
3000-0819 RF source 
3000-0129 NRE Charge for custom development of a VNA driver 
3000-0130 NRE Charge for custom development of a VNA driver 
3000-0301 NRE Charge for custom development of a BSE driver 
3000-0302 NRE Charge for custom development of a BSE driver 
3000-0305 NRE Charge for custom development of a BSE driver 
3000-0960 NRE Charge for custom development of a PM driver 
3000-0961 NRE Charge for custom development of a PM driver 
3000-0121 RFxpert 3 GHz - 6 GHz upgrade
3000-0122 NRE Charge for custom development of a PM driver 
3000-1610 Calibration 3 year 
3000-1611 Calibration 5 year 
3000-0900 On-site installation and customer training per day 
3000-0902 Trainer’s travel, accommodations and expenses 
3000-0901 Trainer’s travel, accommodations and expenses 
3000-0903 Training at EMSCAN's Education Center per participant per day

Supported VNA

Below is a list of network analyzers that can be configured with and are supported by RFxpert. If your network analyzer is not listed, contact us.

Supported Base Station Emulators

RFxpert supports base station emulators from different manufacturers. If your base station emulator is not listed, contact us.

  • Agilent 8960 – Series 10 Main Frame Model E5515C  

    FIRMWARE: A.18.28
    LA MODEL OPTIONS:
    E6785T - Revision: T.01.12
    E6702T - Revision: T.04.04
    TA MODEL OPTIONS:
    1962B (CDMA/IS-95/AMPS Support) - Revision: B.17.08 and B.16.12
    1963A (WCMDA Support) - Revision: A.16.08 and A.15.12
    1968A (GSM/GPRS Support) - Revision: A.12.08, A.11.12
    CONNECTION: GPIB

  • Rohde & Schwarz CMW500  

    FIRMWARE:
    CMW Base: 3.0.11.15
    CMW LTE: 3.0.20.8
    OPTIONS: KS500 - LTE FDD R8 SIG BASIC
    CONNECTION: GPIB

  • Rohde & Schwarz CMU200  

    FIRMWARE: v4.30
    OPTIONS:
    CMU-K21:GSM900-MS V4.30
    CMU-K22:GSM1800-MS V4.30
    CMU-K23:GSM1900-MS V4.30
    CMU-K24:GSM850-MS V4.30
    CMU-K84:CDMA2000(Cellular)
    CMU-K85:CDMA2000(PCS)
    CMU-K86:CDMA2000(IMT-2000)
    CMU-K-- : WCDMA(Bands 1-11)
    CONNECTION: GPIB

Supported Power Meters

Below is a list of power meters that can be configured with and are supported by RFxpert. If your power meter is not listed, call 407-682-4228.