Millimeter-wave frequencies (30 to 300 GHz) were once considered out of reach for most applications due to the fine dimensions and tolerance of the circuits and components needed to support those small wavelengths. But as the bandwidths of lower frequencies become increasingly saturated, higher-frequency ranges (including millimeter-wave frequencies) appear more attractive for communications systems needed to transport large amounts of data, video, and voice. To help system integrators working at millimeter-wave frequencies, Spacek Labs has developed model RE-15FISO, a broadband receiver capable of translating E-band frequencies from 60 to 90 GHz down in frequency to an intermediate-frequency (IF) range of 2 to 32 GHz.

The receiver incorporates a mechanically tuned Gunn oscillator as the local oscillator needed to perform the frequency downconversion; the Gunn fires at 58 GHz with 15 mW output power. The oscillator draws 1 A typical current from a +7-VDC supply. The receiver also features a high-performance mixer with maximum conversion loss of 14 dB and typical performance of 7 dB. The mixer is protected from the LO source by a 20-dB isolator. The mixer loss includes that of the isolator as well as an image-reject filter. The broadband receiver, which uses a female coaxial K connector on its IF port and WR-12 waveguide on the RF port, is suitable for extending the frequency range of a microwave spectrum analyzer.