Journal of Visualized Experiments, 10.3791/60874, June 2020

Calibration of Vector Network Analyzer for Measurements in Radio Frequency Propagation Channels

Chriss A. Hammerschmidt; Robert T. Johnk; Savio Tran


In situ measurements of radio frequency (RF) spectrum activity provide insight into the physics of radio frequency wave propagation and validate existing and new spectrum propagation models. Both of these parameters are essential to supporting and preserving interference-free spectrum sharing, as spectrum use continues to increase. It is vital that such propagation measurements are accurate, reproducible, and free of artifacts and bias. Characterizing the gains and losses of components used in these measurements is vital to their accuracy. A vector network analyzer (VNA) is a well-established, highly accurate, and versatile piece of equipment that measures both magnitude and phase of signals, if properly calibrated. This article details the best practices for calibrating a VNA. Once calibrated, it can be used to accurately measure components of a correctly configured propagation measurement (or channel sounding) system or can be used as a measurement system itself.

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Keywords: propagation modeling; calibration; spectrum measurement; propagation measurement; radio frequency (RF) measurement; vector network analyzer (VNA)

To request a reprint of this report, contact:

Lilli Segre, Publications Officer
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-3572

For technical information concerning this report, contact:

Chriss A. Hammerschmidt
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-5958

Disclaimer: Certain commercial equipment, components, and software may be identified in this report to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, nor does it imply that the equipment or software identified is necessarily the best available for the particular application or uses.

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