Montreal, Quebec, Canada is the chosen site for the 60th birthday party of the IEEE's Microwave Theory & Techniques Society (MTT-S). As the location for the 2012 International Microwave Symposium (IMS2012), with its technical conference and workshops, it will draw some of the world's top high-frequency engineers. And as the site for the industry's largest annual exhibition, industry representatives will gather in Montreal this June to catch up and learn what's new in terms of the competition. For sure, the exhibition floor will be alive with thousands of visitors exploring the many high-frequency goods and services on display.

Whenever hundreds of RF/microwave companies and their representatives are gathered in one place, it is an event, and it will be no different this year in Montreal. Although the site for the RF/microwave industry's largest annual event is outside of the United States for only the second time in its history, attendance to the technical conference and exhibition hall is expected to be strong, even with some of the industry's leading companies, such as LeCroy and Mini-Circuits, choosing to pass on the exhibition floor this year.

Among the many component and subassembly products at booth 1425, MITEQ will display its JDMW series of low-noise amplifiers for K-band satellite-communications (satcom) applications (Fig. 1). These lightweight (less than 23 g) amplifiers feature hermetic packaging, enabling them to perform reliably in the harshest environments. The amplifiers, which can cover the full 18-to-21-GHz band, measure just 1.18 x 0.87 in. with less than 75 mA current consumption from a +12-VDC supply. The input and output VSWR is 1.50:1. The amplifiers boast a noise temperature of 97 K (or a noise figure of 1.25 dB) with 30 dB gain at room temperature (+25C). Suitable for airborne satcom applications, these rugged LNAs cover a full operating temperature range of -30 to +65 with +8 dBm output power at 1-dB compression. They can be supplied with optional RF input limiters, DC power connectors, and waveguide flanges.

Weinschel Associates will show examples of their attenuator lines, including their model WA74 fixed coaxial attenuator with 3.5-mm stainless-steel connectors. Designed for use from DC to 26.5 GHz, it meets MIL-DTL-3933 environmental requirements. The attenuator is rated for 25 W CW power and 500 W peak power (with a 5-s pulse width at a 2.5% duty cycle) and for operating temperatures from -55 to +125C. It exhibits 1.25:1 VSWR from DC to 18 GHz and 1.30:1 VSWR from 18.0 to 26.5 GHz. It weighs 3.5 oz (100 g) and is available with nominal attenuation values from 3 to 30 dB. The attenuator is 2 in. long (50.7 mm) with connectors.

JFW Industries will offer a sampling of its 50- and 75-O benchtop and 19-in. rack-mountable attenuation systems. For example, Model 50PA-513 consists of four individually controlled solid-state programmable attenuators, combining to provide 0 to 63 dB attenuation in 1-dB steps, from 200 MHz to 6 GHz. Capable of being operated manually, or under Ethernet or RS-232C remote control, this attenuation system exhibits 1.80:1 maximum VSWR from 200 to 800 MHz and 1.60:1 maximum VSWR from 800 to 6000 MHz. It is designed for maximum input power levels to +20 dBm (with a +25-dBm "no-damage" level), and shows 6-dB maximum insertion loss and 5-dB typical insertion loss. True to the company's strong reputation in attenuator technology, the system delivers attenuation accuracy of 0.50 dB for attenuation settings from 1 to 3 dB, 0.75 dB for attenuation settings from 4 to 7 dB, 1.00 dB for attenuation settings from 8 to 11 dB, and 1.25 dB from 12 to 63 dB. It promises 1 s typical switching speed after a command is received and processed, with typical switching time of 3 ms when including all the processing time.

On a somewhat smaller scale, the company will be exhibiting its model 50S-1887 single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) switch (Fig. 2) with 0.5-dB maximum insertion loss and 0.3-dB typical insertion loss from 225 to 400 MHz. The TTL-controlled switch provides 55-dB typical and 45-dB minimum isolation and requires only 10 s maximum switching time from 50% TTL to 10% or 90% RF level.

Visitors to Agilent Technologies at booth No. 1015 will no doubt want their first look at one of the company's Infiniium 90000 Q-Series oscilloscopes with 62-GHz bandwidth on two channels and 33-GHz bandwidth on four channels. These high-powered oscilloscopes (Fig. 3) combine the power of digital measurements with a true microwave frequency range, with the capability of digitizing signals through 100 GHz and capturing the third-harmonic levels of signals through 40 Gb/s. In addition, these scopes can measure as many as four differential channels in a single acquisition, enabling accurate analysis of crosstalk issues. Based on custom indium phosphide (InP) integrated circuits (ICs), these high-speed scopes (for more, see the review on p. 148) achieve a jitter measurement floor of 75 fs with a risetime of under 7 ps. In addition, Agilent will offer examples of the modeling power of its Advanced Design System (ADS) simulation software at its IMS2012 booth.

Visitors to Aeroflex at booth No. 2305 will see the company's expanded 3000 Series of PXI signal generators, including digital signal generators with top frequencies of 3 and 6 GHz. as well as several of its SVA series vector signal analyzers for use through 13 GHz. The models SGD-3 and SGD-6 PXI signal generators each deliver +13 dBm output power from 100 kHz to 3 GHz and 100 kHz to 6 GHz, respectively, with an option for output power to +20 dBm. The typical level accuracy is 0.3 dB. The signal generators incorporate an in-phase/quadrature (I/Q) modulator with 300-MHz bandwidth to generate wide-bandwidth modulated signals. A dual-channel arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) provides high-speed signals to 250 MSamples/s, with memory options to 4 GB.

Visitors to Anritsu at booth No. 807 will have a chance to demonstrate the features of numerous benchtop and handheld RF/microwave test instruments, including the MG37020A series of fast-switching signal generators for use from 10 MHz to 20 GHz (Fig. 4). Designed for test applications requiring agile sources, these signal generators provide frequency switching speed of 100 s per point with better than +23 dBm output power at 20 GHz. The phase noise is typically -86 dBc/Hz offset 10 kHz from the carrier. The MG37020A pulse modulation option includes an internal waveform generator, capability for single, double, triple andquadruple pulse burst modes, with leveled pulse widths as narrow as 100 ns and unleveled as narrow as 10 ns.

At booth No. 1615, Computer Simulation Technology will show the latest version of its CST STUDIO SUITE of design and simulation software tools. Based on electromagnetic (EM) simulation, these software design programs support engineers from circuit to system levels. The software's latest System Assembly and Modeling (SAM) functionality provides a design environment that simplifies the three-dimensional (3D) construction of microwave systems with designed components. Using the SAM feature, a user can specify which components are simulated in 3D and which should be represented by their S-parameters or an equivalent field source. This combination of different levels of simulation helps reduce the computational effort necessary to analyze a complex model accurately. The program is supported by new enhanced multilayer models, new curved tetrahedral elements in EM Studio, and a new method-of-moments (MoM) multilayer solver for planar structures.

Those in need of simulation tools will also find them at booth No. 1514, where AWR Corp. will be showing its Microwave Office suite of software tools with linear and nonlinear circuit simulation software, EM simulation software, integrated schematic and layout tools, parametric cell libraries, and design-rule-check (DRC) capabilities. AWR will also demonstrate its Virtual System Simulator (VSS) system-level software and its AXIEM 3D planar electromagnetic (EM) software.

Last but certainly not least, at booth No. 2237, visitors in need of an amplifier will find the model 0.125-0.500-125 solid-state offering from Aethercomm capable of 125 W output power from 125 to 500 MHz. The amplifier is equipped with a noise-quieting function that reduces its transmit power by 60 dB in less than 2.5 s. Its typical efficiency is 50% to 60%.