Agilent Unveils N5530S for Calibrating Signal Generators, Attenuators

7/14/2004 - Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) introduced the N5530S measuring receiver system for calibrating RF and microwave signal generators and attenuators. The Agilent N5530S has greater precision, ease of use, and flexibility than any previous measuring receiver available.

The N5530S is the successor to the Agilent 8902A for signal generator and attenuator calibration. The 8902A -- the industry standard in calibration performance for 20 years -- is used by most commercial and military calibration laboratories as well as manufacturers that calibrate their own instruments and attenuators. The Agilent N5530S delivers even higher performance than the 8902A and provides much broader frequency coverage without the need for external downconverters, a simple yet comprehensive user interface, and many other advantages.

Unlike the Agilent 8902A, which was dedicated exclusively to use in metrology, the N5530S is based on Agilent's PSA Series (E444xA) high-performance spectrum analyzers and EPM/EPM-P (E441xA/B) power meters. This approach allows these instruments to be used in the measuring receiver system and individually for general-purpose measurement tasks. Current owners of these instruments already have the bulk of the measuring receiver solution and require only one or more sensor modules, measurement software, and a Windows(r)-based PC to complete the system.

Higher Performance, New Features
Agilent's minimum performance goal when designing the N5530S was that of the 8902A configured with Option 050, which had been chosen by most 8902A owners because it provided the highest possible performance. The N5530S meets or exceeds all key 8902A/Option 050 specifications and performs calibration much faster.

Some of the new features of the Agilent N5530S include standard frequency coverage of 3 GHz (1.3 GHz in the 8902A) and, when configured for microwave applications, a smaller footprint with fewer components. The N5530S can perform measurements to 26.5 GHz without external downconverters, which are required for the 8902A above 1.3 GHz. The N5530S has a minimum RF bandwidth of 1 Hz (200 Hz in the 8902A) and 160 different bandwidths (the 8902A has two). The N5530S has integrated demodulation distortion measurement capability; the 8902A requires an external distortion analyzer.

Seamless Transition
The Agilent N5530S software (PSA Series Option 233) makes the transition easy for 8902A users. It has three modes of operation: standard, advanced and batch. In standard mode, the display mimics the front panel of the 8902A with functional "buttons" and a simulation of its LED display. In advanced mode, the display gives users more choices, such as the ability to change filters, detector types or the number of averages performed in a measurement. In batch mode, users can automate the measurement process by controlling the instrument or attenuator under test via the general purpose interface bus (GPIB). For example, a signal generator under test can be commanded to change values such as power level or frequency, while an attenuator can be stepped through its range of attenuation levels.

The Agilent N5530S software automatically sets up the PSA Series spectrum analyzer and EPM power meter to make accurate measurements. It runs on PCs with Windows 2000 or XP operating systems. The PC must have a GPIB interface, such as the Agilent 82357A USB-to-GPIB converter, to communicate with the instruments. The system uses a Microsoft(r) COM API (application programming interface) that makes automation and integration into larger test systems convenient for COM environments. In addition, data generated by the system can be pasted into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, and data and measurement routines can be transferred anywhere via the LAN and Internet.

The Agilent N5530S is supported by three new sensor modules N5532A (Option 504, 518 and 526) that connect the device under test to the spectrum analyzer and power meter. They require only a single connection for both power and RF measurements. To improve repeatability, reliability and performance, the N5532A uses a passive splitter, where the 8902A sensors (11722A/11792A) had a mechanical RF switch. The loss in the spectrum analyzer path has been reduced by 4 dB compared to the previous-generation sensor module, ensuring maximum sensitivity for low-level microwave signal measurements. The three sensor modules cover 100 kHz to 4.2 GHz, 10 MHz to 18 GHz, and 30 MHz to 26.5 GHz.

More technical and application information about the Agilent N5530S measuring receiver system is available at Photos and screen shots of the N5530S are available at

U.S. Pricing and Availability
The price of the Agilent N5530S measuring receiver system, which includes a PSA Series spectrum analyzer, a power meter, a sensor module and measurement software, begins at $69,160 and will be available this month.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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