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Identifying 2.9mm Fixed Attenuators from 2.4mm Fixed Attenuators

SMA, 2.9 mm, 2.4 mm RF connectors

With the push to 5G by wireless cellular providers, lab benches are now being occupied with a greater number of high frequency fixed attenuators with 2.9 mm (aka 2.92 mm) and 2.4 mm RF connectors.  It is important to be able to tell these RF connectors apart because 2.4 mm and 2.9 mm connectors will damage each other if mated together.  2.9 mm connectors operate up to 40 GHz.  2.4 mm connectors operate up to 50 GHz.  There are notable visible differences between SMA, 2.9 mm and 2.4 mm connectors.  SMA and 2.9 mm connectors can be mated to each other without causing damage.  Their connector threads are identical and their male/female pin diameters are mechanically compatible.  The obvious difference between a SMA female and a 2.9 mm female is the dielectric.  SMA female has PTFE dielectric and 2.9 mm has an air dielectric.  2.4 mm connectors are not compatible with SMA or 2.9 mm.  The 2.4 mm connectors have a different thread and male/female pin diameters are 56% smaller.  The RF specifications for fixed attenuators that work up to 18 GHz, 40 GHz, and 50 GHz vary greatly.  The RF specification differences can be seen with these three low power fixed attenuator models:  50HF-xxx SMA (DC-18 GHz), 50HFAR-xxx 2.9mm (DC-40 GHz), 50HFAT-xxx 2.4mm (DC-50 GHz).

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Power Divider/Combiner Types and Functionality

This application note covers resistive and reactive power divider/combiners.  The main goal of this app note is to help customers choose the correct power divider/combiner type for their application.  The functionality differences between the two types are discussed with example block diagrams.  The block diagram makes it easy to see why resistive divider/combiners are used for military radio testing.  The block diagram for reactive power divider/combiners shows how its construction is better suited for the fan-in or fan-out of RF signals to multiple devices.   If you have any questions, please contact our engineering team for assistance.

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RF Matrix Switch Types and Functionality

This application note discusses the four different construction types for RF matrix switches with pros and cons for each type.  The matrix switch types are:  blocking matrix switches, non-blocking matrix switches, super non-blocking matrix switches, and common highway matrix switches.  The functionality of each construction type is discussed with example block diagrams.  Please contact our engineering department directly if you have any questions or requests.

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Remote Command Syntax Testing with JFW’s Ethernet Test Box

Dedicated Ethernet Test Box at Fixed IP 96.82.36.45 port 3001

The number one FAQ we receive from customers about our remotely controlled test systems is “How easy is it to connect and control the test system?”.  So we setup an Ethernet test box that is accessible 24/7 for engineers around the world to try out.  It is running our latest 3.x.x firmware.  Connect to the test box via a telnet connection at fixed IP address 96.82.36.45 on port 3001.  You can use your own telnet program or one of our sample test GUI programs to communicate with the text box.  All of our 3.x.x firmware remote commands are detailed with examples in our 3.x.x firmware manual.  If you have any firmware or networking questions, you can contact our engineering department directly with questions.

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Understanding The Limitations of Modern Military Radio Testbeds

This application note discusses three different testing configurations that can be used to test military radios.  The test configurations are:  Hub Fan-out, Full Fan-out, and Limited Fan-out.  Each configuration has its own testing features and limitations which are discussed.  We do provide direct access to our engineering team if you have any questions or want testing recommendations.

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Fixed Attenuators can Improve your Harmonic Distortion Test Setup

Typical harmonic distortion test setup:  Signal Generator, Low Pass Filter, DUT (device under test), Spectrum Analyzer.  The low pass filter is used to filter out any high frequency distortion created by the signal generator.  The low pass filter ensures that the fundamental test signal (Fc) is the only RF signal being input into the DUT.  However, this only cleans up the first half of your harmonic distortion test setup.  The other source of distortion that must be accounted for is the harmonic distortion cause by the front end of the spectrum analyzer.  Spectrum analyzers cause a substantial amount of signal distortion.  It must be accounted for before testing the DUT.  Because the distortion caused by the spectrum analyzer is in your testing band you can not use a filter to fix this problem.  Instead, use fixed attenuators.  Take the DUT out of the test setup.  We want to check the harmonic distortion level measured of just our test setup.  If you add a 10dB fixed attenuator on the front end of the spectrum analyzer and the difference between Fc and 2Fc increases, then you just improved your test setup.  Keep adding 10dB fixed attenuators until the difference between Fc and 2Fc stops increasing.  Now your harmonic distortion test setup has been optimized.

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40GHz Matrix Switch for SATCOM or Wireless 5G Signal Routing

JFW Model #50MS-367 2.9MM is a 4 X 4 blocking matrix switch that operates DC-40 GHz.  The RF connectors are 50 Ohm impedance 2.9mm female type located on the rear panel.  The unit is remotely controlled via Ethernet or RS-232.  This RF matrix switch utilizes our 3.X.X firmware command set for remote control.  All unused input ports and unused output ports are self-terminating at 50 Ohms.  The current IP settings and serial baud rate are displayed on the front panel display.  The IP settings and baud rate can be updated using the keypad.

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40GHz Fixed Attenuator with 2.9mm Connectors for 5G Test Labs

2W Fixed Attenuator DC-40GHz

JFW is pleased to announce a new low power 2.9mm fixed attenuator that will be needed in every 5G lab technician’s toolbox.  The JFW Model #50FHAR-xxx 2.9MM is a fixed attenuator that covers the frequency range DC to 40 GHz.  It can handle 2W of RF Input power.  It has 2.9mm male/female RF connectors and a compact length of 0.86 inches.  This attenuator is available with attenuation values:  3, 6, 10, 20, or 30dB.

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75 Ohm Programmable Attenuator for CATV DOCSIS Equipment Testing

75 Ohm Programmable Attenuator 5-2150MHz

The DOCSIS cable TV standard has created the need for equipment verification testing for frequencies up to 1002MHz, 1218MHz, and 1794MHz.  JFW offers a number of products for signal routing, signal combining, or signal fading that cover the DOCSIS specified frequencies.  JFW Model #75P-193 F is a 75 Ohm solid state programmable attenuator with F female RF connectors.  It covers the frequency range 5-2150MHz with an attenuation range of 0-63dB with 1dB steps.  The 75P-193 is offered as a component or can be integrated into a remotely controlled (Ethernet/RS-232) attenuator assembly.  Please email our engineering department your requirements and we will work with you to find a model for your exact RF testing needs.

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