Industrial Electronics

New 40/42-788 family from Pickering Interfaces delivers highest channel count microwave multiplexer switches in PXI

15 May 2024

Pickering Interfaces, a provider of modular signal switching and simulation products for electronic test and verification, has announced a new family of high channel count PXI and PXIe microwave multiplexer (MUX) modules. Expanding Pickering’s range of radio frequency (RF) and microwave switching, the 40/42-788 family is based on industry-leading, superior-quality Radiall mechanical microwave switches, with bandwidth options from 8 GHz to 40 GHz. Versatile switching configurations are available with single or dual SP8T, SP10T or SP12T multiplexers, suitable for constructing complex microwave switching networks.

As well as microwave switching applications, the modules also suit many uses in the RF spectrum, where extremely low insertion loss and ultra-high isolation are critical. Microwave MUXs have numerous uses inSource: Pickering InterfacesSource: Pickering Interfaces communications test, including routing a measurement instrument, such as a network analyzer or even an antenna, to multiple UUTs (unit-under-test) in ATE systems.

The 40-788 (PXI) and 42-788 (PXIe) range of PXI microwave multiplexer modules are suitable for switching 50 Ω signals from 8 GHz up to 40 GHz. They are available in terminated and unterminated SP8T single and SP10T or SP12T single and dual configurations, with relays mounted on the front panel. The internal relay termination feature can improve signal integrity by routing unused signals to a 50 Ω load. Remote versions are also available, which can support one or two multiplexers in a dual-slot PXI or PXIe module. The panel or remote mount option enables users to place switches at the most convenient location for their application.

The panel-mounted multiplexers occupy four slots (single versions) or six slots (dual versions). The remote mount options connect each switch to the control module via two 1.5 m cables, providing flexibility in switch positioning. They also occupy less PXI chassis space and allow the microwave relays to be placed closer to the UUT and RF test equipment. This can shorten the length of cables and improve system performance.

“These modules give you the highest RF and microwave switching performance available within a Pickering switching system,” noted switching product manager at Pickering, Steve Edwards, “as well as the highest channel count microwave multiplexer switches available from any PXI vendor. This can result in fewer switches and associated interconnections being required for high channel count microwave switching applications, improving signal quality and ease of programming.”

The 40/42-788 family is provided with a switch cycle counting feature to aid with test system health monitoring. Determining the number of operations per channel can help manage the wear-out process by allowing alternate lower-usage paths to be substituted for high-use channels. LED indicators are fitted on the front panel to indicate a closed RF path.

Connection is made by high-performance SMA, SMA 2.9, or N-type connectors, as bandwidth dictates. High-quality interconnection cables are also offered to support RF and microwave applications.

The 40/42-788 is supplied with drivers that allow support in all popular software programming environments and operating systems. All standard products manufactured by Pickering Interfaces include a three-year warranty and guaranteed long-term product support.

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