Receiver Performance Tests

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Revision as of 02:00, 27 October 2009 by W9KFB (Talk | contribs) (added measurements by Marco IK1ODO / AI4YF)

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Instruments required

  1. Two (3) Signal generators
  2. Hybird combiner
  3. Audio AC voltmeter
  4. Distortion meter (FM Only)
  5. Noise figure meter (for noise figure measurements only)
  6. Two (2) step attenuators with 10dB and 1dB steps
Top to bottom, HP 3406A Broadband Sampling voltmeter, Tektronics TAS 465 Two Channel 100MHz Oscilloscope, HP 3586B Selective Level Meter, and HP 8656B Signal Generator

The signal generators at the W9KFB lab are as follows:

  1. HP 3586B Selective Level Meter (dBm measurements are calibrated for 75 Ohm characteristic impedance, signal is 0 dBm out only at the level measurement frequency)
  2. HP 8656B Signal Generator 0.1-990 MHz (dBm measurements are calibrated for 50 Ohm characteristic impedance)
  3. HP 10544A Crystal Oscillator
Formulas and Values for a 45 Ohm Hybrid Combiner
Homebrew 45 Ohm Hybrid Combiner

The Hybird combiner was made from an old PC network splitter. The device was found in an used PC warehouse. It was a four port device with 4 BNC jacks on it. On inspection of the device, we found that it was a resistive splitter with four 39 Ohm resistors connected to each BNC center contact and a common point. These were removed and replaced with 15 Ohm 2 Watt 2% resistors metal film resistors (NTE 2W015 Flameproof Resistors).

To design you own splitter/combiner see this web site for a calculator[1]



The Sensitivity test is very simple to do on an HPSDR rig:

  1. Calibrate the level and frequency on the rig with the output of the signal generator using PowerSDR's Setup calibration at the test frequency using a -40 dBm signal.
  2. Set the panadapter to average the signals.
  3. Set the Mode to CWL, the bandwidth to 100, and the preamp to Off.
  4. Read the value of the noise floor with the PowerSDR meter set to "SigAvg", with the signal generator turned off. This value will be the minimum discernible signal (MDS).
  5. Obtain a MDS value with the preamp on at the same test frequency by repeating all the above steps.

SSB Phase Noise

Block Diagram of MDS and SSB Phase Noise Measurement Setup
  1. Use the MDS obtained per the process above as A0, then tune away from the signal until you can't distinguish a tone in the noise or to your first defined offset frequency. At this frequency, increase the amplitude of the signal until the displayed amplitude (using the PowerSDR meter set to "SigAvg") is the same as A0 plus 3 dB (the MDS will be a minus number, so this number will be 3 dB lower in absolute value), note the frequency f1, and then go back to f0 and measure the amplitude A1 using the PowerSDR meter set to "SigAvg".
  2. To calculate SSB Phase Noise use this equation from KI6WX's March and April, 1988, QST article (The 2009 and earlier ARRL Handbooks have a missing minus sign in the equation): L(f)=A1-A0-10Log(BWnoise), Where L(f)= SSB phase noise in dBc/Hz; A1= The attenuation required at the offset frequency for the same noise level as A0 plus 3 dB; A0= MDS; and BWnoise= The CW bandwidth used during the test.
Actual measurement of the SSB Phase Noise on a HPSDR Mercury with the Pre-Amp OFF by W9KFB 10/26/2009. Note the output limit for the oscillator was reached at an ofset of 1KHz.
Actual measurement of the SSB Phase Noise on a HPSDR Mercury with the Pre-Amp ON, CW BW=100 by W9KFB 10/26/2009. Note the the A/D Overload limit was reached at an offset frequency of 1 KHz.
Measurement of Mercury's SSB Phase Noise by Marco IK1ODO / AI4YF and some comparables

Dynamic Range

40 dB Step Attenuator purchased at the 2009 Indy Radio Club Ham Auction for 25 Cents

Two-Tone IMD Test

Third-Order Intercept Tests