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Introduction to Microwave Measurements Experiments

A Set of Laboratory Experiments to Accompany

ECE5690

Microwave Networks

Prepared by

J.

E.

Mulholland, Ph.D.

K.

A. Pitale, Ph.D.

L. J. Hanby, MSEE

Revised in 1999 by

R. H. Caverly, Ph.D.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Microwave Measurements Experiments

1. Frequency, Wavelength and Attenuation Measurements

2. SWR Measurements

3. Impedance and Admittance Measurements using Smith Chart

4. Directional Coupler (Reflectometer)

5. Slide Screw Tuner

6. Waveguide Tees

INTRODCTION TO MICROWAVE MEASUREMENTS

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the Electrical Engineering student with microwave measurement parameters and techniques necessary to understand the expanding area of Microwave Engineering.

The first widespread use of microwaves was for early warning radar during World

War II.

radar and telecommunication systems, antenna engineering, materials investigation, industrial and consumer heating equipment, satellite communication systems, microwave integrated circuits, holography and burglar alarm systems.

Microwave circuits (300 MHz - 300 GHz) differ from ordinary lumped electrical circuits in that their size is comparable to the wavelength of operation. The measurement parameters and techniques used are considerably different from those involving lumped circuits. Considering the range of the electromagnetic spectrum that is currently of interest to the electrical engineer (very low frequency through audio, microwave, millimeter, infrared and optical), this course will have achieved one of its main purposes if it allows the student to break out of old stereotype images of what a component should look like under all conditions, and rather, focus on the conceptual understanding of fundamental electrical parameters. In this light, it is interesting to observe the materials and interior structure of the microwave components being used. Understanding these designs will broaden the students outlook to encompass the many varied ways electrical signals are propagated and processed.

Today the uses of microwaves have multiplied enormously, for example:

The Government presently

sets the maximum exposure to microwave

radiation at 10 mW/cm 2 . If the microwave components we will be using are not completely closed, leakage radiation can exceed this maximum at certain frequencies. Therefore, before turning on the signal generator, the waveguide sections must be tightly secured with a minimum of two screws placed diagonally on the waveguide flanges. Never operate the generator until the waveguide sections are completely secured. If you wish to observe the interior structures of the various microwave components, do this while the circuit is apart and hold up the component to the light. Never stare into an open waveguide while the generator is operating and connected. The eye is particularly susceptible to microwave radiation damage. If the above instructions are followed, the operation of these experiments will be completely safe.

The tentative experimental sequence will be as follows:

Frequency, Wavelength, Attenuation and SWR Impedance and Smith Chart Directional Coupler Slide Screw Tuner Tee's Swept Frequency Measurements Automatic Network Analyzer Measurements

TABLE I

Laboratory Experiments

1. FREQUENCY AND WAVELENGTH IN WAVEGUIDE An experiment that shows the basic relationship between frequency and wavelength in a rectangular waveguide operating in the TE 10 mode. This study is performed using a slotted waveguide section.

2. ATTENUATION AND SWR This experiment develops the definitions for input/output characteristics for passive devices (attenuators) and standing wave ratio (SWR) in waveguide systems. The attenuators used are flap and rotary vane. SWR is demonstrated on the slotted line.

3. IMMITTANCE AND THE SMITH CHART Measurements are performed on the slotted line and results plotted on the Smith Chart. The process also includes the procedure for resolving λ g /2 ambiguities.

4. DIRECTIONAL COUPLERS This experiment demonstrates the properties of waveguide directional couplers and their use in the measurement of unmatched loads.

5. MATCHING OF COMPLEX LOADS WITH THE SLIDE SCREW TUNER A simple unknown load (open-ended waveguide) is matched to the characteristic impedance of a waveguide system using a slide screw tuner. Match is determined by minimizing reflected power from the load tuner combination monitored by a directional coupler.

6. WAVEGUIDE TEE'S The properties of waveguide T junctions are examined including the shunt, series, and hybrid. These properties are described in terms of S-parameters.

The Policy for the Microwave Laboratory (CEER 214) is as follows:

1. Each laboratory section meets for a two hour period each week.

2. The student attends one of these sections regularly, on time.

3. One or two people per group. Under no circumstances should there be three people in a group.

4. Typed reports are due one week after the experiment is completed. The report must be turned in at the start of that class period to the laboratory instructor. Reports turned in after this will be considered late and will lose points.

5. Students may work together (only as laboratory group) in preparing the reports. The written portions, including all graphs, art, etc., can be a group effort unless noted by the instructor.

6. If a laboratory is missed, you must make up the laboratory during a lab period.

Since you are now "Technical Writers" the laboratory reports will be graded accordingly.

Good luck and enjoy doing these microwave experiments!!

EXPERIMENT 1

FREOUENCY, WAVELENGTH AND ATTENUATION

OBJECTIVE To determine the relationship between frequency and wavelength in rectangular waveguide, and to measure attenuation.

THEORY

In Experiment 1, the frequency meter is used to determine the oscillation frequency of the signal generator. A measurement of wavelength in a waveguide will be made and from that, frequency will be determined.

In free space,

c = f λ 0

(1-1)

and in an air-filled rectangular waveguide,

λ g = λ 0 / [1-(λ 0 /λ c ) 2 ] 1/2

(1-2)

with, the cutoff wavelength

λ

c =2a

(1-3)

for the dominant TE 10 mode.

Therefore,

f = c/λ 0 = c { [1/λ g } 2 + [1/λ c ] 2 } 1/2

(1-4)

where ,

c

- Speed of light in free space (3 x l0 8 m/s)

f

- Frequency, (Hz)

λ o - Wavelength in free space, (m) λ g - Wavelength in waveguide, (m) λ c - Cutoff wavelength in waveguide (m) - 2a

a - Broad dimension in waveguide, in wavelength units

b - Narrow dimension in waveguide, in wavelength units

See Figure 1-1.

The waveguide wavelength, λ g can be measured as twice the distance between two successive minima in the standing wave pattern. From Eg. (1-2), we see that the waveguide wavelength is greater than the free space wavelength. At the cutoff frequency, λ g is infinitely long, which means that no field variations occur along the axis of the waveguide, therefore no energy is propagated.

PROCEDURE

1.

GENERAL

1.1

Read the SWR meter operating instructions and observe the instructor demonstration of the

SWR meter operation.

1.2 DO NOT APPLY POWER TO THIS MICROWAVE CIRCUIT UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY ASSEMBLED. TURN OFF POWER BEFORE DISCONNECTING ANY PART OF THIS MICROWAVE CIRCUIT.

1.3 Set up the equipment as shown in Fig. 1-2, using the termination as a load.

1.4 Set the variable attenuator to 0 dB.

1.5 Set the range on SWR meter to 30 dB, Xtal to 200Ω, (Lo).

1.6 Turn on the SWR meter and signal generator.

1.7 Modulate the generator output with a 1KHz square wave (this is internally selected and

should be already set up for you).

1.8

Adjust attenuator, SWR meter range, modulation and modulation frequency (on the SWR meter front panel) for maximum response on the SWR meter.

2.

FREQUENCY MEASUREMENT WITH THE FREQUENCY METER:

2.1

Tune the signal generator to a frequency greater than 8.5 GHz, then tune the frequency meter until a dip is observed on the SWR meter by a small deflection of the meter needle.

2.2

Record the frequency meter setting and then detune (or move off frequency) the frequency

meter.

2.3

Move the detector probe carriage along the slotted line and note the deflection of the SWR meter.

3.

WAVELENGTH MEASUREMENT

3.1

Set the RF Switch (Modulation Selector) to "off" and replace the termination with the variable short.

3.2

Turn the RF Switch to "ON" and move the detector probe carriage along the slotted line, and note the strong deflections on the SWR meter. Reset SWR meter gain as needed. Compare with step 2.3.

3.3

Move the detector probe carriage to a minimum deflection point. To get an accurate reading, it is necessary to increase the SWR meter gain when close to a minimum. Record the probe

probe carriage to the next minimum and Record the position. and find a third minimum as a check point.

Repeat this procedure

to the next minimum and Record the position. and find a third minimum as a check

Table 1-1

Frequency

First

Second

λ

g

a

EQN 1-4

meter reading

Minimum

Minimum

(mm)

(mm)

(GHz)

(mm)

(mm)

f

3.4

Calculate the waveguide λ g , as twice the distance between the minima.

3.5

Calculate and Record the frequency using Eq. 1-4, where for the X-band guide, a = 2.286 cm (WR90) or 1.58cm (WR-62). Be careful with your units!

4.

ATTENUATION MEASUREMENT. THE POWER RATIO METHOD

4.1

Set the RF Switch (modulation selector) to "off"

4.2

Replace the variable short with the termination and return the RF Switch to "ON" (the modulation selector to "square wave").

4.3

Adjust the SWR-meter gain to obtain full scale deflection.

4.4

Record attenuator and SWR meter readings as the attenuator is increased in 2dB steps. Do not change SWR meter dials.

Table 1-2

Attenuator Setting dB

SWR-meter deflection dB

0

 

2

 

4

 

6

 

8

 

10

 

QUESTIONS

1. Compare the frequencies in parts 2 and 3.

Explain any differences. Include the

accuracies of the devices in your explanation.

2. Explain the difference in the strength of the deflections of the SWR meter when the termination was in place (part 2.3) as opposed to when the short was in place (part 3.2).

3. Why do you think the frequency meter was detuned (moved off the operating frequency) in step 2.2?

4. The attenuation measurement requires square-law detection (i.e., the DC current output of

Why do you

the detector is proportional to the square of the microwave voltage/current).

think square-law detection is necessary when measuring microwave power? See the class

website for a short description of square law detection.

5. What will be the result of too much power on the detector (see square law detector

explanation above)?

(Input power below "burn-out" level).