Block Diagram

Block Diagram

Last updated: February 13, 2012


RF Interface Module

Input and output signals are routed through the RF Interface module. The RF Interface module consists of:

  • A directional bridge for sampling incoming power.
  • Hybrid power splitters which create 4 bidirectional ports (two receiver ports and two source ports). The directional bridge couples power to the Power Detector.
  • RF amplifiers.
  • Video gain circuits.
  • Fast and thermal power detectors.

The RF Interface module provides two identical RF Source path connections to the In/Out port of the instrument. There is about 25 dB of isolation between the two source paths. There is about 35 dB of isolation between the source paths and either receiver path. The RFIO module has nominally 23 dB of insertion loss in the source path. A temperature sensing circuit facilitates compensation for path loss variation with temperature.

The source signals can be looped back through the input signal path to cross-calibrate the Measurement Downconverter and the Power Detector.

The sampled input power from the directional bridge can be amplified by as many as two 18 dB range amplifiers and then can be directed to the fast detector or the thermal detector. The input power to the fast detector is detected by a diode detector that is part of a feedback loop. The input to the thermal detector is measured in a bridge using a pair of RMS thermal detectors in a feedback loop.

Signal Downconversion

The test set's downconversion receiver section has two downconversion modules; a Measurement Downconversion Module for making measurements, and a Demodulation Downconversion Module for maintaining the radio link.

Demodulation Downconverter Module

The Demodulation Downconverter module is used as part of the demodulation receiver that maintains the radio link.

Measurement Downconverter Module

The Measurement Downconverter module provides high quality (wide dynamic range, spurious free) signals to the Analog To Digital Converter module's measurement sampler input.

The Measurement Downconverter module is designed for very high performance operation to ensure accurate and repeatable measurement results. The Measurement Downconverter module contains two downconversion stages, two local oscillators, and a logarithmic IF envelope detector . Both first and second LO synthesizers are tunable. The first LO is used when tuning to the RF input frequency, and the second LO is used when setting second IF frequency, which is fed to the measurement sampler on the Analog To Digital Converter module.

Link Subsystem

The Link Subsystem maintains the radio link for all CDMA formats. The Link Subsystem has two parts:

  • Protocol Processor
  • Optional Link Subsystem hardware

The Protocol Processor module is responsible for maintaining the radio link between the test set and the mobile station under test. The primary tasks of the Protocol Processor module are:

  • Generating the protocol messaging necessary for the forward channel and sending that protocol stream to the test set's RF source for transmission to the mobile station.
  • Decoding the protocol messaging received from the mobile station under test on the reverse channel.
  • Computing measurement results which are associated with data bits contained within the mobile stations messaging, such as bit error ratio and frame error rate.

The optional Link Subsystem hardware provides additional signaling link control for CDMA signaling formats. These include:

  • Layer 1 digital signal processing.
  • Providing I/Q baseband signals which are sent to the I/Q modulator in the RF Source

Analog To Digital Converter Module

Following the Measurement Downconverter and Demodulation Downconverter IF 1 is the Analog to Digital Converter module. The purpose of the Analog to Digital Converter module is to convert the downconverted analog signals into digital data streams which can be processed by the Digital Signal Processing module.

In order to maintain the radio link of non-CDMA formats, the downconversion path through the Demodulation Downconverter module has a dedicated A/D conversion path.

To optimize measurement throughput, the fast RF power detector also has a single dedicated A/D path. This allows power measurements, in many cases, to be made concurrently with other measurements. The two outputs from the Measurement Downconverter module and the Audio In signal share a single multiplexed A/D path.

The outputs of the various analog to digital converters on the Analog to Digital Converter module share a common data bus with the Digital Signal Processing module.

Digital Signal Processing Module

The Digital Signal Processing (DSP) module is responsible for a variety of tasks within the overall test set architecture. These tasks are:

  • Demodulate data from the radio under test (data received from the Demodulation Downconverter module) and sending the demodulated data bits to the Protocol Processor module.
  • For some systems, perform audio measurements using audio information sent to the DSP module from the Protocol Processor module.
  • Execute a variety of signal processing algorithms to perform measurements on the radio system of the currently loaded TA (data received from the power detector ADC, the measurement ADC and, in some cases, data received from the Demodulation Downconverter ADC).

The DSP processor communicates with the Host Processor and the Protocol Processor, as well as controlling the configuration and synchronization of the Analog To Digital Converter module.

Host Processor Module

The Host Processor module is responsible for a variety of tasks within the overall test set architecture. These tasks include:

  • Control of the manual user interface (MUI).
  • Executing commands and processing data received from the LAN interface.
  • Executing commands and processing data received from the GPIB interface.
  • Controlling hard disk access.
  • Control of all RF and audio hardware modules.
  • Routing measurement results received form the Digital Signal Processing and Protocol Processor modules to the appropriate output device (display, GPIB, LAN, serial, etc.).



The voltmeter is used to measure internal voltages for instrument self-diagnostics.

Frequency Counter

The Frequency Counter is used to measure external frequencies from the front panel Audio IN, High or Low BNC connectors, and to measure internal signals for diagnostics. The external input can receive a signal between 20 Hz and 50 MHz, with a level from 25 mV to 8 V rms.

Audio Section

Audio Analysis Path

Externally applied audio signals can be analyzed through the test set's DSP module for such characteristics as AC level, SINAD, or distortion.

The audio signal to be analyzed is input to the test set using the front panel Audio IN High/Low connectors. The signal is then routed to the Analog To Digital Converter module's measurement sampler for analysis by the DSP module.

The Audio In connector accepts signals from 20 Hz to 15 KHz, at input levels from 10 mV to 20 V peak.

Audio 1 Path

The Audio 1 path provides analog baseband signals used for frequency modulation of the test set's RF sources. Up to four separate audio sources may be summed together in any combination to provide the composite Audio 1 output. These include the external FM input, internal direct digital synthesis (DDS,) regenerated SAT, and audio echo input.

The external FM input accepts an externally supplied audio signal with a peak voltage between 0.25 and 2 V peak.

The internal DDS generates low distortion audio signals from DC to 20 KHz with 0.1 Hz resolution. One to four signals may be generated and internally summed, with independent level control of each waveform.

The SAT regeneration circuit outputs a signal which is phase-locked to a received SAT signal. This is useful for testing situations where the test set needs to emulate a mobile station.

The audio echo input is used for retransmitting the received audio after a selectable time delay, to check both radio transmit and receive paths simultaneously.

For most applications, only one or two of these Audio 1 path sources are enabled at any given time.

Audio 2 Path

The Audio 2 path provides a secondary means for sending analog baseband signals to the FM modulator. Audio 2 contains only one source, a DDS similar to that used for Audio 1.

Typically, the Audio 2 path DDS is used for cases where multiple signals must be summed together with the lowest possible distortion. Another potential use of Audio 2 would be to obtain higher output levels than Audio 1 is capable of (up to twice as much), assuming the two outputs are set to the same frequency and phase, and then summed together at the Baseband Generator module.

Audio 2 is rarely used in practice because the DDS used for Audio 2 is the same DDS that is used for the front panel audio output.

Audio Out Path

Any one of four inputs may be coupled to the front panel audio output connector. These include a 4 channel DDS (shared with Audio 2), receiver discriminator audio from the Demodulation Downconverter module, audio echo from the Analog To Digital Converter module, and audio vocoder.

The front panel output is capable of providing signal levels up to 9 V peak into > 600 ohm loads, and up to 0.8 V peak into an 8 ohm load (e.g. speaker). The output level is calibrated for all modes except discriminator audio,
The discriminator audio has an uncalibrated volume control provided due to the high tolerances involved.

Typically the DDS mode is used to feed the MIC input of a radio, or it may simply be used as a general purpose low distortion function generator.

Audio echo can be selected to route the received audio to the front panel audio output connector.

RF Sources

The test set has up to two identical RF sources. The RF sources are used to provide analog or digitally modulated RF carriers for use in parametric testing of mobile stations encompassing a variety of cellular radio formats. In general, the sources have a frequency range of 292 MHz to 2.7 GHz and an amplitude range of -10 dBm to -127 dBm.

The RF sources consist of a Synthesized Signal Generator module followed by a Vector Output module and an RF Attenuator module. Baseband modulation information is supplied to the RF sources from a Baseband Generator module preceded by an Audio Section module.

Baseband Generators

The purpose of the Baseband Generator module is to provide, for the modulation type currently in effect, properly formatted baseband signals to the modulation circuits on the RF Source modules.

The Baseband Generator performs several functions related to the generation and processing of these base-band modulation signals. These are:

  • Transform data and clock signals from the Protocol Processor module into base-band analog I/Q modulation signals for the I/Q modulator in the Vector Output module
  • Transform data from the Protocol Processor module into baseband FSK modulation for the FM modulator in the Signal Generator module
  • Provide baseband FM path source selection, gain adjustment and summing node for analog FM signals from the Audio module and internally generated baseband FSK signals which are output to the FM modulator in the Signal Generator module
  • Transform burst and adjacent timeslot signals from the Protocol Processor module into baseband burst modulation signals for the burst modulator in the Vector Output module