Radio qualification and testing

Radio qualification and testing

One multi-purpose radio tester for all your military radio testing needs

Many professional users of classic analog and noncellular digital radio rely on the R&S®CMA180 (NATO stock number NSN: 6625-12- 397-3866) to verify the performance of portable soldier radios, on-board tactical radios or public safety APCO P-25 or TETRA radios. This performant radio test set can be used during the software defined radios engineering phase, during qualification testing or even for repair and maintenance.

The R&S®CMA180 is a radiocommunications tester for radio systems operating in the 100 kHz to 3 GHz range and 20 MHz bandwidth in the single radio testing configuration. However, its frequency range can be increased up to 6 GHz and 160 MHz bandwidth with the R&S®CMA-XRT100 option for production, with up to eight parallel radio testing at once. With a technology based fully on digital signal processing , advanced computing , featuring intuitive operation and efficient measurement capabilities, the R&S®CMA180 is an indispensable tool for performing radio measurements. This complete and versatile radio test set can perform all relevant measurements without additional tools and has small form factor that makes it portable.

Waveform diagram

The test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz ensure flawless performance and reliability on every level, from testing of assemblies and components up to verification of the complete radio communication system.

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Wideband I/Q Data Recording for waveform testing

Radio Qualification

The public safety radio market has faced a tremendous evolution over the past 20 years after the introduction of new standards released by ETSI. These standards were initially rapidly adapted by public agencies such as law enforcement and public safety, and the standards have prevailed for decades. A good example of it is the MPT 1327 standard, predominant with 1980s law enforcement agencies. The standard can still be found on a smaller scale in few police or firefighting forces around the globe. Standards that are predominant today like APCO P25 or TETRA were introduced in the mid-1990s while more recent ones such as DMR and dPMR have become increasingly popular in the market since their introduction in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

Radio manufacturers have been updating their products to comply with the new requirements. This is why software defined radios have been so convenient and popular platforms in this segment. Qualifying specific hardware and firmware on a given standard requires exhaustive testing in development and production as well as in maintenance in order to ensure that the parameters of the radios are within the limits required by the standard.

The R&S®CMA180 radio test set enables, on the one hand, the automation of the complete testing and running of the qualification test sequences. On the other hand, it automates the autotuning for radios manufactured by Harris XL and XGor JVC Kenwood, among others.

New radios may include LTE, Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi, NFC and other commercially available standards. Consequently, new military communications radios are intended to comply with more than just a single commercial or secure standard.

This is the environment where instruments from Rohde & Schwarz such the R&S®CMA-XRT100 and the R&S®CMW500 can provide you with the most value. Compared to the R&S®CMA180 featuring LTE capabilities, the R&S®CMA-XRT100 increases the frequency range up to 6 GHz and 160 MHz bandwidth with up to 8 parallel radio testing. With the R&S®CMW500, compliance with other commercially available standards such Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® or 5G can be verified.

R&S®CMA180 Radio Test Set

The R&S®CMA180 radio test equipment demodulates and modulates all common analog RF signals, making it ideal for testing transmitters and receivers. For receiver tests, audio signals from the internal generators or from external sources can be modulated onto the RF carrier. The audio signals demodulated by the device under test (DUT) are fed into the R&S®CMA180 via analog or digital inputs and then analyzed. For transmitter tests, the solution demodulates the received signal and measures the demodulated audio signal and the RF signal.

The test set also incorporates a digital signal generator and an analyzer, both can be used in combination to carry out digital receiver and transmitter measurements. The R&S®CMA180 can be powered by batteries, making it independent and portable. Results are displayed in a straightforward manner, and the graphical user interface is easy to operate.

Using the ARB generator, users can play back nearly any type of signal. These signals can be generated with MATLAB® or R&S®WinIQSIM2™simulation software, including proprietary waveforms from software defined radios (SDR), and then loaded into the R&S®CMA180 and replayed. The advanced and efficient user interface makes it easy to learn to use the solution. Users can quickly reach all settings and easily perform measurements. Measurement results are clearly and conveniently displayed.


How to measure the performance of a secure radio design under development?

Radio makers need to start performing the initial performance tests on early SDR development boards. Moving from waveform tests to the lab using arbitrary waveform generator or vector signal generators, generating the desired RF signal based on the secure waveform files. Similarly, the transmitter tests are carried out to verify how the radio modulates the signal and sends it to a receiver.

A signal and spectrum analyzer with the secure waveform demodulator is used to verify the bit error rate and other potential problems with signal and to compare the received values to the expected ones. These Tx and RX tests will be performed along different stages of the development of that radio, and even in later maintenance phases.

What is a radio test set for?

The most efficient way to completely test a secure radio is by using a radio test set, such as the R&S®CMA180. These instruments offer a full set of capabilities to automatically run all typical radio and power performance test routines in parallel, with the possibility to verify up to 8 radios in parallel at the same time.

These tests and instruments are commonly used on one side by radio makers to ensure the readiness of the radios right before the delivery, or on the other side, by operators for evaluation or tradeoff analysis before purchasing or during regular maintenance. These radio testers offer capabilities to verify the RF parameters calibration status, compare them to the reference values and, if needed, automatically readjust these parameters using the configuration port of the secure radios.

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