[eagle] Re: Help Needed - Progress Report

Juan Rivera juan-rivera at sbcglobal.net
Sat Jul 7 19:00:57 PDT 2007

Hi everyone and thanks for the suggestions!


I rummaged around in my junk box and found a high quality ovenized 10 MHz
oscillator that I pulled out of an organ donor HP signal generator last
year.  I mounted that bad boy in a box and powered it up with two 9-volt
batteries (The oven is off so it’s slightly off frequency).  The plot below
shows what it looks like on the 8566B.  That’s the cleanest signal I’ve ever
seen from anything in my shop.  The 8566B says the SSB phase noise at a 5
kHz offset is -106.7 dBc/Hz.



I then looked at it on the SDR-14 which is powered from a wall wart and it
had lots of 120 Hz sidebands.  I whipped up a power cord so I could run the
SDR-14 from a lab bench supply, and guess what... Sidebands gone!  It’s a
loaner so I won’t use it after this weekend.


Next I went to my SDR-IQ half way expecting to have to dig into it to fix
ripple since it’s powered from the PCs USB port, but it was clean.  I had to
stick a 21.5 dB pad in the line to keep from overloading the SDR-IQ so the
levels are relative.



Now, we’re starting to cook with Gas!  My plan is to take the
battery-powered oscillator to work Monday and see if I can check phase noise
using something expensive and designed for the job.  Then I’ll have a
standard I can bring back here for comparison.  Once we iron out this last
ambiguity we should all have confidence when we get to the Rev-B receiver


73, and thanks for the help!






-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Ress [mailto:bill at hsmicrowave.com] 
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2007 6:14 PM
To: juan-rivera at sbcglobal.net
Cc: eagle at amsat.org
Subject: Re: Help Needed


Hi Juan,


What your likely seeing when looking at your low noise 10 MHz signal is 

the phase noise floors of the three devices your using for measurement.


For instance, the 8566B has a typical phase noise floor at 100 to 320 Hz 

of around -95 dBc/Hz and it's spec'ed at -80 dBc/Hz (yours might be 

lower) which is essentially the noise of the phase locked YIG first LO 

in the 8566B and you won't be able to resolve any thing lower than that, 

at those frequency offsets. The -85dBc spur at 120 Hz could very well be 

the 120 Hz spur on the 8566B's LO's. I can't recall what the power line 

spurious spec is for the 8566B but it should be in your manual.


I can't speak for the SDR's, not having played with them, but I would 

guess that their phase noise will be much better than the 8566B. Hence 

you would read a different value than obtained on the 8566B. So what now 

- right?


Well, from the data you've shown earlier for the 10.7 MHz output of the 

URx, its phase noise is greater than that of the 8566B's phase noise 

floor (not to be confused with its "sensitivity floor"). Hence the 

reading you get on the 8566B is the phase noise of the combined LO's in 

the URx and the phase noise of your 435 MHz signal generator (and let's 

assume its at least 10dB lower than the phase of the URx LO's and hence 

you can ignore it) . Now if you take that data on the 8566B and then run 

the URx 10.7 output into the SDR's, you should get the same phase noise 

readings (or very close to it).


In other words - if the expected phase noise of the device under test is 

greater (by at least 10dB) than the phase noise floor of the measuring 

device, the measurement is going to be accurate enough for our application.


Clear as mud - huh? Phase noise measurements are not straight forward in 

most cases unless you have a "phase noise analyzer" ala HP or RDL.


Regards...Bill - N6GHz


Juan Rivera wrote:


> Hello All,


> I'm trying to arrive at a reliable method of measuring phase noise for 

> the testing I'm doing on the 70 cm Eagle Receiver.


> I recently purchased an SDR-IQ software defined radio. It makes a 

> great spectrum analyzer below 30 MHz, with a very low noise floor and 

> great resolution. I took it to work to show to my coworkers and the 

> lab manager liked it so much he purchased the big brother of this 

> unit, the SDR-14, which I borrowed and brought back to my shop. I also 

> sent my Agilent 8566B spectrum analyzer out for calibration so now I 

> have three pieces of test equipment that I can use to measure the 

> phase noise of the 70 cm Receiver. My problem is that I can’t get any 

> two of them to agree...


> I’ve fed the same 10 MHz 0 dBm signal into each unit, recorded all of 

> their settings and created the attached PDF file. As you will see, 

> they all differ. If we look at the 120 Hz power supply sidebands you 

> get the following:


> SDR-IQ: -102 dBm


> SDR-14: -93 dBm


> 8566B: -84 dBm


> The 8566B automatically calculates RMS noise levels normalized to a 1 

> Hz noise power bandwidth by correcting for the analyzer’s log 

> amplifier and detector response and compensating for the resolution 

> bandwidth setting. It’s capable of accurately measuring noise levels 

> down to 10 dB above the spectrum analyzer’s noise level (-131.6 dBm) 

> and reading out in steps of ±0.1 dB. At a 150 Hz offset it measures 

> -104.0 dBc/Hz. Looking at the two SDR units it’s hard to reconcile 

> this measurement with either of them, or to reconcile any of the power 

> supply sidebands.


> Both SDR units measure power levels in a very linear way. I’ve 

> confirmed their accuracy at the levels I’m interested in around -90 dBm.


> Can anyone shed any light on this? No combination of FFT block size, 

> span, RF or IF gain, or filter bandwidth can make any two of these 

> devices agree on the noise floor or the amplitude of the power supply 

> sidbands.


> 73,


> Juan – WA6HTP


> /A man with a watch will always know what time it is - a man with two 

> watched can never be sure./



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