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From Bob Helsel, Editor of the PXI Newsletter:

Welcome to the October 2019 edition of the PXI Newsletter.  Our intent is to educate and inform you about how the PXI standard is being used in modular test systems for a wide variety of industries.

In the New PXI Products section, we are showcasing PXI products recently released by members of the PXI Systems Alliance.

Our thanks go to Marvin Test Solutions, the sponsor of this month's issue.

Visit for more information.


PXI-Based RF Antenna Testing System

By National Instruments

Our customer needed a system capable of transmitting a variety of RF signals in a very controlled and flexible environment. We decided to build the solution on the National Instruments PXI platform to minimize cost and size while maximizing performance and flexibility. The solution called for three systems – one portable system for field work, one static system for main testing, and one backup system to fill in for the static system in the case of a malfunction.

The payload waveform, which was designed using a separate custom application, can be modulated using AM, FM, PM, PSK, FSK, MSK, or QAM. We set up scripts to send these waveforms at specific times for specific durations. The script utility lets the user define virtually any form of looping, including iteration or time-based loops, frequency stepping, and power stepping; it also supports multiple payload waveforms. In addition to the payload waveform, a header waveform is transmitted during each step of the script that provides a GPS timestamp and other parameters.

To begin a test, the user runs a waveform creator to modulate a given signal using AM, FM, PM, PSK, FSK, MSK, or QAM. This software can run on any PC, and the resulting files are transferred to the system.

The system then designs a script in the main application to determine which waveforms will be played, the frequencies to play them at, the power levels to use, and the timing between each step. As an example, a typical script might call for waveform A (modulated using FSK) to be played at frequencies from 10 MHZ to 70 MHZ in increments of 10 MHZ with a 30 millisecond delay between transmissions. Each of these cycles might be transmitted at powers from 100 W to 500 W in 100-watt steps. The entire script might then be repeated for waveform B (modulated as PSK).

The user then runs the script through a LabVIEW queue by loading the waveform into the NI PXI-5671 and setting it to trigger from the GPS card. The GPS card is loaded with the appropriate times for each transmission to begin. Using GPS for the timing allows extreme accuracy in transmission start times.

Diagnostics and Other Features
Signal diagnostics are fully integrated into the system, which uses the NI PXI-5660 to provide a pseudo-real-time FFT of the transmitted signal, and two ZTEC ZT002 cards to provide forward and reflected power measurements. Diagnostic scripts define a system baseline that measures power and voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) at various frequencies. A periodic system check is performed and compared to the baseline to ensure that all system components are functioning correctly. Power output is corrected over the entire frequency range via a power calibration mode.



Mini-Circuits Decreases Manufacturing Test Time by 80% with a Multiport PXI Vector Network Analyzer

By Keysight Technologies

More than a few high-tech companies started in someone’s garage. Mini-Circuits, a global leader in RF and microwave components and integrated assemblies, started in the kitchen of Harvey Kaylie’s Brooklyn, New York, apartment. Kaylie’s early efforts led to the development of a new line of mixers, transformers, and passive RF components. He helped transform a niche, low-volume cottage industry into one that provided volume and quality, at lower prices to support proliferation of wireless technology. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Mini-Circuits now designs and manufactures over 10,000 different products. The company achieved preferred supplier status with over 20,000 customers worldwide, including Keysight Technologies, by staying true to Kaylie’s simple formula for success. Manufacture quality products, sell them at a competitive price, and provide fast delivery with strong service and support.



Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

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New PXI Products

The PXI platform continues its explosive growth with many new product introductions. New products introduced in the last three months include (listed in the order received):

Marvin Test Solutions F-35 Armament Test Set

  • Rugged, portable tester for F-35 Lightning II Alternate Mission Equipment (AME)
  • Field and back-shop testing of launchers, pylons and subassemblies
  • Full support for MIL-STD-1760 assemblies and other JSF interfaces
  • State-of-the-art PXI architecture
  • Full parametric test with optional diagnostics

Coherent Solutions O2EPXIe – Modular Optical-to-Electrical Converter
The O2EPXIe is a high bandwidth, broadband OE converter designed for the PXI Platform. Available in a range of configurations; choose from 1 or 2 channels, AC or DC coupling and various conversion gain and operating wavelength ranges.

Keysight PXI Vector Signal Analyzers
For design validation and manufacturing applications that require fast, high quality measurements where quality control, product conformance and test optimization are essential. With a small footprint, speed, scalability repeatability, and the flexibility to configure a solution with a shared processor, frame/chassis, display, and interface, PXIe vector signal analyzers provide the building blocks for your single or multi-channel modular test solution.

Teledyne SP Devices 14-bit Arbitrary Waveform Generator with 2 GS/s Sample Rate
The SDR14TX AWG offers a complement to the previously released ADQ14 and ADQ7 digitizer families and can be used either for stand-alone operation or in system-level solutions with well-matched signal generation and data acquisition performance.

Advanced Testing Technologies PXI/PXIe Inserts
The Advanced Testing Technologies PXI Insert allows the user to easily incorporate PXI/PXIe instruments into an existing VXI chassis.

NI PXIe-1095 Chassis with 58 W Power and Cooling per Slot

The PXIe-1095 chassis offers 58 W of power and cooling in every slot, 50 percent higher than all previous NI PXI Express chassis.


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