Pico Brings Low Cost, Real World VNA Measurements to the Classroom

Pico Technology has released a new PicoVNA Interface Wizard that adds significant functionality and value to the company’s low-cost, high-performance vector network analyzer (VNA). The Wizard links the highly affordable vector network analyzer to the NI AWR Design Environment. It supports the entire design cycle with import of real-world components, system or subsystem measurements from the PicoVNA in a single-click transfer.

Key features of the PicoVNA Interface Wizard Include:

  • Controlling and viewing of PicoVNA output from inside your design environment
  • One-click measurement transfer to electronic design automation (EDA) software
  • Fast, convenient comparison of ideal, modeled and measured component through to subsystem data between test and simulation environments
  • Extension of measured data (300 kHz to 6 GHz) for passive component simulation at DC
  • Active device measurements and plotting of maximum stable and available gain, K‑factor and B1

A Powerful Education and Training Alliance

Unfortunately, for educational purposes, the high costs of microwave network measurements has compromised the experience in the classroom. However, the more affordable PicoVNA 106, 6 GHz, full-function, professional-grade vector network analyzer with support for exporting EDA-ready measurement data could change this.

Add to that mix the newly available Pico Technology Network Metrology Test Kit - A low-cost-per-student item. The kit includes active and passive circuit elements and all the low-cost calibration standards and test leads that are needed to use the PicoVNA 106 in the classroom for microwave network measurements. This printed-circuit board (PCB)-hosted kit was designed using NI AWR software, specifically the Microwave Office circuit simulator. Device under test (DUT) elements can be modified by students and the kit is supplied with the associated EDA project design file for immediate engagement with any of the available circuit elements at any point in the design cycle.

Either coupled to EDA software such as NI AWR software or used standalone with the PicoVNA 106, this teaching accessory supports teaching objectives around reflection and transmission measurements, S-parameters and standard linear network measurement quantities. These can be presented and interpreted as log, linear, phase, real, imaginary, polar and Smith charts, with derived quantities such as group delay and time-domain transmission and reflection.

Additionally, by including an active broadband amplifier element, nonlinear compression measurements such as P1dB and AM to PM phase due to amplitude modulation can be explored using the PicoVNA 106 built-in measurement utilities.

PicoVNA106PicoVNA 106 6-GHz USB VNA$5995€5085£4205

Network Metrology Training Kit, Carry Case and EDA Software Project File

Includes: PQ189 Training PCA, PQ190 SMA(f) Training SOLT Kit, 2x N(m)-SMA(f) Inter-Series Adaptor, 2x TA312 60 cm SMA(m-m) Test Lead, TA177 SMA Wrench, MWO Project File

PQ189Network Metrology Training PCA (Printed Circuit Assembly) with EDA Software Project File & Carry Case$469€399£329
SoftwarePicoVNA 2 Instrument Control GUI & DLL

PicoVNA Interface Wizard