They may be best known for their high-frequency integrated circuits (ICs), but Hittite Microwave Corp. also dabbles in the test equipment market...often with impressive results. Their latest venture into measurement-grade equipment is the model HMC-T2220 synthesized signal generator. It is broadband, from 10 MHz to 20 GHz, which means it can serve a wide range of commercial, industrial, and military test applications.

It definitely puts out the poweras much as +28 dBm through its frequency range, which can be controlled in 0.1-dB steps over a 60-dB dynamic range. And it is frequency synthesized, with the frequency stability that implies, delivering phase noise of -99 dBc/Hz offset 100 kHz from a 10-GHz carrier. The HMC-T2220 also boasts impressive harmonic and spurious numbers, at -30 and -57 dBc, respectively.

Even better, it tunes frequency with 1-Hz resolution and with switching speed of 300 s, making it a time-and-money saver on automated measurement setups. And best of all, it sells for two dollars less than 10 grand! So what is there not to like about this instrument? Perhaps the perception that an "IC company" could produce a winner when it comes to test equipment. Had this been from a company with a name like Agilent Technologies, or Rohde & Schwarz, or Anritsuin short, a company with a legacy in testthis thing would be back-ordered through next year.

It may still be, though, even without the "proper" legacy; it is that good a deal. Certainly, it is fair to have questions over the level of support available from a company that is "part-time" when it comes to test equipment, but there is only one way to find out the answers.