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New RF Upconverter from Rohde & Schwarz

Cost-effective Solution for Increasingly Demanding Satellite Payload Testing

To cater for the demand for higher data rates for end users of satellite links, satellite operators are increasingly seeking to use higher frequencies, such as the Q/V band, where greater bandwidth is available.

The new SZV100A RF upconverter from Rohde & Schwarz, announced on 10 August, offers a solution for testing broadband transponders in the payloads of very high throughput satellites (VHTS). With its 2GHz modulation bandwidth, the device covers the entire frequency range from 36-56GHz.

The Q/V band offers greater bandwidth for feeder links to satellites, making it ideal for the implementation of upcoming data links with high bit rates. This includes future communications and cellular backhaul networks that can provide end users with high volume data. Operators of conventional geostationary and low earth orbit satellites in the new space environment are discovering the advantages of these new satellite bands.

High demands are placed on microwave components in the Q/V band; they must therefore undergo extensive testing during development and verification. Amplifiers, converters, receiver modules and complete satellite payloads are just a few examples of components that have to be tested. For satellite payloads in particular, test equipment must meet very high standards for signal quality. Coupled with the R&S SMW200A vector signal generator, the SZV100A provides continuous coverage of all satellite bands from VHF to V band as well as frequencies for 5G in the Q/V band.

The test setup consists of the SMW200A, the SMA100B RF and microwave signal generator and the SZV100A. The former delivers the modulated broadband IF signal with bandwidths up to 2GHz, while the SMA100B provides the high-precision LO signal. The maximum output power of the SZV100A is as high as +16dBm (at 1dB compression point).

The compact housing design, low weight and mounting points of the SZV100A allow mounting as close as possible to the DUT, for example on the outside of a thermal vacuum chamber. The distance between the IF or LO source and the SZV100A can be as much as 10m, allowing for an optimised test setup. The upconverter and signal generators can be operated remotely via PC software over a LAN connection – Rohde & Schwarz SZV remote control software enables simple and convenient configuration of the entire device setup.

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