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conference

Early History of ARFTG
1972-1980


by
Edward J. Stevens


1st meeting - September 1972
2nd meeting - March 1973
3rd meeting - September 1973
4th meeting - March 1974
5th meeting - September 1974
6th meeting - March 1975
7th meeting - September 1975
8th meeting - February 1976
9th meeting - September 1976
10th meeting - March 1977
11th meeting - date??
12th meeting - March 1978
13th meeting - date??
14th meeting - May 1979
15th meeting - May 1980
16th meeting - November 1980

      The first formal meeting of ARFTG, which at the time was called the ANA-ATE Users Organization, was held at the Hughes Aircraft Company, Fullerton, California on September 21, 1972 and was hosted by Alan E. Holley. The attendees were primarily individuals who were users of Hewlett-Packard automatic network analyzers. Hewlett-Packard was represented by Stu Yellin, who discussed the new 8542B network analyzer. Harold Stinehelfer, of Microwave Associates, discussed applications applied to their 8542. Al Holley led the group in a discussion on HP's reluctance to supply source software to update older network analyzers. Stu Yellin defended the Hewlett-Packard/Computer Metrics position, stating that the Computer Metrics software newly acquired by HP would not be made available to 854X owners. Al Rosenzweig, of Western Automatic Test Services, formerly a subsidiary of Computer Metrics, described the services supplied by his company. Al Wilson, of NBS, functioned as Acting Secretary, a job that he would hold for many years.

 

      The second meeting was held in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 27, 1973, hosted by the RCA Corporation with Edward Stevens as Chairman, At that meeting Hewlett-Packard, represented by Jim Fitzpatrick, introduced the 8580B automatic spectrum analyzer. Hewlett-Packard also announced an attempt to bundle its operating software to its latest generation of hardware. This started hostilities between HP and the Group which would last several years. Al Rosenzweig of WATS-Wavecom, Palo Alto, California described his company's measurement services. WATS (Western Automatic Test Services) was formerly the Palo Alto branch of Computer Metrics. Next Roger Uibben, of RCA Camden, described the use of a simulator on time-share for HP-2100 series computer, featuring generation and editing. Richard Spalone, of Airtron FACTS (East coast equivalent of WATS), described the type of work his company was doing. John Fluke, Jr., of the John Fluke Manufacturing Company, presented his company's new System 10. The system 10 can be interfaced with any computer to carry out an assortment of automated measurements. The final speaker of the day was Harold Stinehelfer, of Microwave Associates, who explained how his company was using their new HP3000 computer with 32K of memory. Harold spoke of their plans to interface the 3000 with their ANA. At this meeting the first Steering Committee was elected, the members of which were Alvin C. Wilson, Al Rosenzweig, John Meeker and Edward Stevens. The steering Committee was to meet and draft by-laws to present to the membership before the next meeting.

 

     Meeting number three was held on September 11-12, 1973, at Ricky's Hyatt House and at the Hewlett-Packard plant in Palo Alto, California. By this time the Group membership had grown to 149 members from 112 organizations with 81 in attendance. The new name of Automatic RF TeChniques Group was adopted. Our first speaker was Tom McKenzie, of General Radio, who described their model 2260 automatic network analyzer which covered a frequency range from 200 MHz to 500 MHz. Lee Hemming and Sid Manning, of Scientific Atlanta, spoke on automatic antenna test systems. After the two vendor presentations, there were six technical papers. Al Holley, of Hughes Aircraft Company, spoke on interfacing an 8746 test set to his 8542. Bob Freyman, of Los Alamos Scientific Labs, described a technique for using the 8542 below 1 MHz. Al Rosenzweig, from WATS, spoke on his experiences using Flexco cable in place of the HP flexible arm. Algie Lance, of TRW System, spoke on coax attenuators. Al Wilson, of NBS, summarized the SMA connector problem and Harold Stinehelfer, from Microwave Associates, showed a videotape describing a new software program he was working on which transformed frequency domain data to the time domain. In June of 1973 the Steering Committee met at NBS and drafted bylaws for the Group. Those by-laws were adopted at this meeting.

 

     On March 26-27, 1974, the fourth meeting of ARFTG was called to order at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, hosted by John Meeker of Westinghouse Electric. The theme of the meeting was interface problems, including connectors, adapters, and insertion cables and arms for two port measurements. The first speaker for the vendor part of the meeting was Ray Schwartz, of Alford Manufacturing Company, who spoke on ANA calibration kits including adapters, mismatches, and terminations, etc. Next, we heard from Bill Pote, of Flexco Cable, about flexible cables for network analyzers. Al Rosenzweig, of Western Automatic Test Services, explained the services they provide. Last of the vendors, Orrin Mahoney of Hewlett-Packard, described the changes in organization at HP and the new 8542B software package. The technical papers were presented on the second day. They included a talk by Tore Anderson, of Airtron Incorporated, on the Proceedings of the International Connector Committee. Robert Beatty, of NBS, spoke on a two port standard to evaluate automatic network analyzers. After Mr, Beatty, Al Wilson, also of NBS, reported on ANA performance verification kits. John Wakefield, of NBS, gave a description of the NBS made power test .5et and its use for adapter evaluation. Bill Morris, of the Tobyhanna Army Depot, spoke on IR (infrared) testing as a possible solution to some interface problems. Bruno Weinschel addressed the problem of repeatability of connectors in the test set up versus connector life. Charles Gibbs, of the Army Metrology Center, reported on the results of an army traveling standards kit comparing army automatic network analyzers. Henry Leahy, of Westinghouse Defense Center, described the use of DOS-M software used on Westinghouse's measurement system. The idea of a traveling standards kit to establish the accuracy differences between the network analyzers of the members of the Group was spawned at this meeting.

 

     The fifth meeting was held on September 9-10, 1974 at the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colorado. The meeting was hosted by Alvin C. Wilson, of NBS. This was the first meeting to break with the practice of holding our meetings at the same time and place as the IEEE show. The meeting was opened by a welcome from Dr. Robert Kamper, Deputy of the NBS Electromagnetics Division. The meeting got under way with vendor papers, the first of which was by Al Rosenzweig, of Western Automatic Test Services. Al's talk was on the network analyzer software available from W.A.T.S. Next we heard from Mario Maury, of Maury Microwave Corporation. Mario described the ANA calibration kits available from his company. Ray Schwartz, of Alford Manufacturing Company, also presented calibration kits for ANAs. Ron Corelli Hewlett-Packard, was the last speaker of the morning. He described a hardware and software package which was available to update 8542A models to 8542B models. The price was between $19K and $20K and the offer was only good for one year. After lunch the business meeting was held. It was decided that the next meeting would be held at Microwave Associates of Burlington, Massachusetts, with Walter (Bill) Stockman as host. The theme of the next meeting would be automated measurement systems in conjunction with computer-aided design. Alan Holley, of Hughes Aircraft Company, was elected to the Steering Committee replacing Allen Rosenzweig. After the business meeting,tours of the NBS facilities were conducted.

     The second day, James Andrews of NBS talked on the design, theory and use of the NBS time domain ANA. Robert Freyman, of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory gave a comparison of various computer-aided design programs and their cost. A representative from Bell Telephone Laboratories, Warren Smith, spoke on the use of their ANA for crystal measurements. A paper on the design and use of the NBS automated micropotentiometer calibration system for the calibration of micro-potentiometers and thermal voltage converters was given by Frank Ries, of NBS. Motohisa Kanda, of NBS, gave a talk on the design, theory of operation, and use of the NBS automatic "Y"-factor measurement system for measuring noise figure. David Agy, of the Navy Meteorology Engineering Center, reported on the results from the Navy's interim calibration support plan. NBS's bolometer test set which utilizes their ANA was explained by Ernest Komarek. William Little. also of NBS, discussed their recommended standards for calibration kits for calibrating ANA's. Next Al Rosenzweig expounded on the modification in both hardware and software necessary to make noise figure measurements on an ANA. George Pentico, of Western Electric, gave comparison results on computer operated transmission measuring systems. A paper was given by Edward Stevens, of RCA, on a frequency error-correction program for use with 8542A's. John Wakefield, of NBS, described the use of the NBS designed and constructed 100 KHz complex ratio assemblies to improve the accuracy of ANA'S. The final speaker of the day was Bill Yates, of NBS, who spoke on ANA software modeling.

 

     On March 17 and 18, 1975, the sixth meeting of The Automatic RF Techniques Group was held at the Ramada Inn in Woburn, Massachusetts, with Walter (Bill) Stockman hosting. The meeting opened with.vendor presentations. The first speaker was Bill Ryland of Hewlett-Packard. Bill gave a detailed description of an optimized node analysis software package called OPNODE. Opnode Is used to aid in the design of linear circuits and systems from D.C. to microwave frequencies. The second speaker was Ray Schwartz, of the Alford Manufacturing Company. Ray described a complete line of coaxial and waveguide accessories available for automatic network analyzer users. The importance of SMA connector gap and the errors resulting from out-of-specification tolerances were emphasized. Next Mike Cunningham, of Hewlett-Packard, presented Hewlett-Packard's position on measurement software. Main and sub-programs are sold at a price which allows Hewlett-Packard to recover itS investment in program development. UtilitY routines and instrument driver programs will be made available to the ARFTG library and will also be available at cost from the H.P. library. The fourth speaker was Steve Stark, also of Hewlett-Packard. Steve explained HP's system of informing their customers of the availability of new software or changes in existing programs. The last speaker before lunch was Mike Cunningham. Mike disclosed Hewlett-Packard's plans for the 8542 and 8580 systems. These plans were quite lengthy, for complete details consult the minutes of the meeting. After lunch Al Rosenzweig, of Western Automatic Test Services, spoke on the construction and use of dedicated transistor test fixtures and general purpose transistor test fixtures. This concluded the vendor presentations. Prior to the business meeting, Ed Stevens reported on the ARFTG standardization kits. One kit was complete and on its way to NBS for evaluation. The other would be ready soon. During the business meeting, Al Rosenzweig, of WATS, reported on the state of the library. Bill Stockman, of Microwave Associates, was elected to the Steering Committee replacing John Meeker of Westinghouse. The date and location of the next meeting was decided. it will be at NBS on September 15-16, 1975, with a one day seminar on the ASCII bus to be held on September 18 by HP. On the second day the following technical papers were presented. John Trudel, of Tektronix, talked on computer-aided design and the network analyzer. Following John, Bob O'Nan, of Sandia Laboratories, gave a paper on the circuit analysis program OPSNAP (Optimizing S-Parameter Network Analysis Proqram). Bob explained the modes of operation, advantages and gave examples of circuits analyzed by OPSNAP. Next Richard Chich, of MIT's Lincoln Laboratories, gave a paper entitled Automated Testing of the Les-8/9 Communication Satellite System. The paper described the software and hardware configuration of an automatic test facility used in the testing of the Les-8/9 communication satellites. Efficient methods of utilizing such a system were discussed, the results of the use of the system for the Les-8/9 were presented. The last speaker was Harold Stinehelfer, of Microwave Associates. Harold described the analysis of microwave network circuits by time and frequency domain comparisons. Comparisons were demonstrated by actually producing theoretical time domain plots from their calculated frequency reflection response. The meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM and all those interested were invited to go to Microwave Associates to see their automated systems. The two computer aided design programs were demonstrated on the Microwave Associates system.

 

     Meeting number seven opened on September 17, 1975 at the National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado. hosted by Alvin C. Wilson. The group was welcomed to NBS by C. McKay Aldred, Associate Chief Electromagnetics Division. David Russell, Program Chief of Microwave Metrology Services at NBS, talked about the 100 KHz detector system developed by NBS for use with their automatic network analyzer. With this system accuracies of .005 dB/10 dB were being obtained. Mike Culbertson, of Western Automatic Test Services, described the modifications they had made to their 8743 test set and associated software to allow the calibration of thermistor mounts. Glenn Engen, of NBS. reported on the automated calibration of directional-coupler-bolometer-mount assemblies. John, L. La Brecque, of NBS, gave a brief description of Youden plots, their construction, use dnd interpretation. The results of a round-robin experiment between several laboratories was presented. Ray Schwartz, of Alford Manufacturing Company, described Alford's full line of adaptors and ANA calibration kits. He stated that improved SMA measurements were obtained using Alford's calibration kit as opposed to HP's. Ed Stevens, of RCA, reported on the IEEE Network Analyzer Subcommittee paper, "Proposed IEEE Standard on Network Analyzers 100 KHz to 18 GHz," released on July 3, 1975. An outline of the paper was included. At the business meeting Al Wilson was re-elected to the Steering Committee. There was a discussion on ARFTG's role in calibration of ANAs. A committee was formed to look into this problem. Following the business meeting Harold Stinehelfer informed the Group that the time domain program (TIMED),which he had reported on several time at past meetings, was now available for purchase. Next Stuart Arnold, of M.E.L. Equipment Limited, Sussex, England discussed the use of automatic network analyzers in the United Kingdom. George Rogers, of NBS Washington, reported on NBS' special publication 400-5, "Measurement of Transistor Scattering Parameters". E. H. Jackson, of the Stanford Research Institute, talked of the radar cross-section measurements being conducted for the Navy by Stanford Research Institute. Gordon Judd, of Hughes Aircraft Company, spoke on the measurement of lossy surface wave delay lines. Mike Culbertson reported the status of the Group library. Ron Corelli, of Hewlett-Packard, described some of the applications of the 8580B automatic spectrum analyzer. The last speaker Frank Stewart, of OT/ITS Boulder, Colorado. Frank described the use of an RTE system on the automatic spectrum analyzer, some of the problems and their solutions.

 

     The eighth meeting was held on February 23-24, 1976 in Philadelphia, hosted by Ed Stevens of RCA. The welcoming address was given by Joe Howe, Chief Engineer of RCA-GCS. The first paper of the day was given by Ross Speciale, of Tektronix Incorporated. The paper was entitled, "A New Procedure for Calibration and Error Removal in Automated S-Parameter Measurements". In the paper, Ross disclosed for the first time his "TSD" (through, short, delay) calibration procedure. Next we heard from Ralph Grabowski, also of Tektronix, who described their digital processing oscilloscopes. We then heard from Ron Corelli, of Hewlett-Packard, Ron's topic was news from HP. He informed us that he was replacing Mike Cunningham as HP's liaison person to the Group. He announced that the 8542B was the only ANA being produced by HP and that there was no plan to market a "C" model. Harold Stinehelfer, of Microwave Associates, spoke of the enhancement and innovations of his TIMED program. Barry Perlman, of RCA Laboratories, discussed a multi-programming mini-computer system approach to laboratory automation using RTE. RTE was defined as a system to (1) receive data, (2) process data, and (3) return the results sufficiently fast to affect functioning of the environment or process. Following Barry we heard from Algie Lance, of TRW Systems. Algie described the basic measurement system used at TRW to verify their automatic spectrum analyzer CW/white noise ratio measurement accuracy. The next speaker was Peter Lacy, of Wiltron Company. Pete explained techniques used to make high return loss measurements using precision bridges. Alan Holley, of the Hughes Aircraft Company, reported on the interface of his 8542 system and his HP3000 system, using RTE as an operating system. Next Paul Weijers, of RCA Quebec, described how they test their communication satellites using both an 8542B automatic network analyzer and an 8580 automatic spectrum analyzer, controlled by the same computer. The last speaker was Walter Geldard, of Bell Labs, who described the computer controlled measurement system developed by and in use at Bell Labs. The error models were discussed. At the business meeting Ed Stevens was elected for another two year term. Al Wilson reported on the standardization experiment. Ed Stevens reported that a number of companies were ready to buy the proposed calibration kits and were waiting for NBS to quote a reasonable price for their calibration on the 100 KHz system. The meeting was adjourned and a tour of RCA's Camden plant was conducted.

 

      The ninth meeting of the ARFTG was held at Sandia Laboratories, Kirkland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 9-10, 1976. Mr. Robert O'Nan of Sandia Labs hosted the meeting and handled the local arrangements. Gene Reed welcomed attendees and described Sandia Labs' long standing involvement and interest in user groups. Thursday morning was primarily spent on vendor presentations. Mario Maury, of Maury Microwave Company, described extended calibration kit capabilities including double ridge waveguide and SC and LT coax fittings as well as the wide range of accessories available from Maury Microwave. Mike Casey, of Computer Data Systems, described an extended interface system for the HP21xx computers which allows the D.00 TTY driver to control and acquire data from a wide variety of peripheral equipments. Peter Lacey, of Wiltron, described precision reference lines suitable for the "long line" calibration technique and discussed the problem of proper physical mating of coaxial center conductors "to gap or not to gap". John David,of Tektronix, described an automated network analysis system based on their Digital Processing oscilloscope. A demonstration system was set up at the White Winrock Hotel. The system uses the calibration technique described at the Eighth ARFTG Meeting, by Ross Speciale, involving only a "short" a "through" and a "delay" reference. Larry Amsden, of Hewlett-Packard gave an extensive explanation of the HP policy and plans regarding automatic RF measurement systems. Steve Stark, of HP, discussed product support for these systems. At the business meeting two amendments to the by-laws were approved. Alan Holley, of Hughes Aircraft, was re-elected to the Steering Committee and Robert O'Nan, of Sandia Labs, was elected to the Steering Committee, replacing Al Wilson. An annual dues of $10 was approved. The remainder of Thursday afternoon, as well as Friday morning, were devoted to technical sessions which are summarized below.

     On Thursday evening the Group traveled by bus and tramway to the Summit House Restaurant for a special banquet in honor of Al Wilson who was the person who founded the Group and had served faithfully as Group Secretary and has now retired.

     The first technical paper presented was by Roger Chaffin of Sandia Labs who spoke on RF amplifiers design with large signal S parameters. Roger described the problems of obtaining meaningful S parameters of transistors operating at large signal levels. The next speaker was Bob Moyer, also of Sandia Labs. Bob who is associated with the primary standard lab at Sandia described hts work in the certification of the automatic,network.analyzer. Following Bob, Ralph Grabowski discussed the need for automation in measurements where the concern is what happens to an RF signal as a function of time. TR tube spike leakage and VCO settling time are examples of such measurements. Richard Markley of the Bendix Corporation described the development of a system for production testing of RF transistors using an automatic network,analyzer and an adaptation of an I.C. handler and test chamber, Alan Holley of Hughes Aircraft Company briefly described the capabilities and limitations of the automatic spectrum analyzer and gave some examples of how its special features can Be used to make measurements which are not possible with conventional equipment. The last speaker was Edward Stevens of RCA who described a system controlled from a 9830 calculator, programmed in BASIC. All communication with the instrumentation was via ASCII-BUS. This system, although slower, showed a considerable cost saving.

 

     The tenth meeting was called to order on Monday, March 21, 1977 at the National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, Maryland, by George Rogers, host. The group was welcomed by Alvin H. Sher, Deputy Chief of the Electronic Technology Division. The first speaker of the day was George Skidmore of Hewlett-Packard Stanford Park Division. George spoke on an automatic transceiver test system operated via an HP-IB with a 9825 calculator as a controller. It is capable of measurements from 1 MHz to 1000 MHz on transceivers of 100 watts or less. The second speaker was Leon Saulsbury of NBS, Boulder, Colorado. Lee informed the Group of the reduction in services provided by NBS due to cuts in manpower. Following Lee, John David, of Tektronix, updated the Group on the continuing work on the Tektronix' ANA. The improvements were in the areas of software and calibration procedures. Next, Peter Lacey, of Wiltron Corporation, discussed the development of high return loss termination and conducted a discussion of beaded vs unbeaded coaxial components. Jim Fitzpatrick, of Hewlett-Packard, gave a demonstration of a semi-automatic network analyzer, utilizing a 9825 calculator as the control. The procedure is described in HP applications note 221. Normal Somes, of NBS Gaithersburg, explained the procedure for the National Voluntary Laboratories Accreditation Program.

     At the business meeting, Ed Stevens and Bill Stockman were forced to resign from the Steering Committee due to occupation changes. They were replaced by Ray Tucker and Dick Swartley. The idea of hiring an Executive Secretary for the Group was introduced at this meeting, but no action was taken.

     On the second day, Roy Howard, of Hughes Aircraft Company, presented data on using an 8500 console and a 2100 computer as a high speed data acquisition system with distributed system capability to an HP3000 system. Ralph Kenton, of Hewlett-Packard AMD, delivered the latest in a series of policy statements for details (see the Minutes of the Meeting). Ross Speciale, of TRW, generalized on his TSD (through, short, delay) method of calibration for network analyzers. He presented a general case for an N-port device. A second paper was given by Ross on, "The Ability of the TSD Method of Calibration to Remove Errors Due to Repeatable Port Impedance Changes in S-Parameter Test Sets Such as the HP8746".

      Next we heard from Harmon Banning, Weinschel Engineering. Harmon made his presentation on a semi-automatic method of making 100 dB dynamic range measurements with 0.2 dB accuracy. Ralph Grabowski, of Tektronix, described a system of making VSWR measurements using a slotted line and Tektronix's digital processing ocsilloscope. The scheme involved automatically,collecting data from a series of rapid sweeps over a frequency range of 1 GHz to 18 GHz. Following Ralph, we heard from Dick Swarthy, of General Electric Space Systems. Dick presented measurement data on transducers taken using his 85BO automatic spectrum analyzer and in-house software. The last speaker was Algie Lance, of TRW Corporation. Algie presented two methods of making phase noise measurements on oscillators. The first was the two oscillator method whereby one oscillator is phase locked and mixed with the unknown. This allows measuring at any frequency offset greater than the bandwidth of the phase lock loop. The second method used a phase shifter and delay line to cancel and mix with the unknown. This method allows measuring close to the carrier. This closed the tenth meeting.

 

     The eleventh meeting was held at Hewlett-Packard's Santa Clara Division on March 20-21, 1978 {Editor's note: This date may be in error; this appears to be the Fall 1977 Conference}. The meeting was opened by our host, Ralph Kenton, Program Manager for Hewlett-Packard Automatic Test Systems. Neal Kuhn, of Hewlett-Packard's Santa Clara Division, presented a paper on the calibration of power sensors. Calculation of the calibration factor and mismatch uncertainty were discussed and a flow chart of the program was given, Peter Lacy, of Wiltron, gave the Group an update on the development of their high return loss terminations and continued discussions on beaded vs. unbeaded coaxial components. Next, A. J. Roberts, of Dicom Industries, presented their new model 374 cassette tape system which is a direct hardware/software replacement for the model 344 system which was supplied with most HP8500 terminals, Hale Forley, of Tektronix Signal Processing System Division, talked of his Division's in-waveform with SPS-basic and the Tektronix digital processing oscilloscope and transient digitizer. Also from Tektronix, John Stanley introduced the Group to the capabilities of their new TEK 7Ll8 spectrum analyzer. This plug-in unit is used with their 7000 series oscilloscope mainframe. The frequency range is from 1.5 GHz to 18 GHz with 80 dB display range. Next John David, of Tektronix, introduced their calculator-based, IEEE-488 interface bus, digital processing oscilloscope system. Manly Weidman, of the National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado, presented a paper on the NBS six-port measurement system. Design criteria of the six-port as an automated microwave tool was discussed. Performance of the system was described as comparable with that of a tuned reflectometer. Microwave Associates' Harold Stinehelfer presented a paper on modern microwave measurement systems and diagnostic software. It discussed the development of the Microwave Associates' three HP automatic network analyzers and how they were incorporated into a network, hosted by a real time executive disc-based computer system. Harold also related some of the history of the development of TIMED (a time domain software package available from MA for HP8542B ANA systems), and showed several examples of its use. Al Holley, of Hughes Aircraft Company, talked about methods of non-insertable device calibration and the use of the new adapter option in the Hewlett-Packard MAP software. Peter Linden, of Hewlett-Packard's Santa Rosa Division, gave a demonstration of the power of the new 8568 spectrum analyzer as a stand-alone instrument (with its built-in microcomputer), or as part of,the calculator based 8581 automatic spectrum analyzer. At the business meeting, George Oltman, of Hughes Aircraft Company and Lee Saulsbury, of NBS, were appointed to the Steering Committee to replace Al Holley and Bob O'Nan. George Oltman and Lee Saulsbury were assigned to investigate the feasibility and desirability of becoming part of IEEE/MTT-S.

     The second day started with a paper by Grey Gillen, of Hewlett-Packard. Grey spoke on the history of Hewlett-Packard automatic measurement systems and how they view the future. Turn-key systems with full application software will not be produced. The present generation and future generations will be based on HP 1000 RTE computer systems. Some software modules will be provided but no applications software packages. HP will sell its system engineer's time by the hour to help customers program specific system applications. Joe Pope, of Scientific Atlanta, gave a talk on their 2020 automatic antenna analyzer. The 2020 is controlled by an HP 21MX computer with 7900 disk drive. The software is of a modular type and is available in source. The Scientific Atlanta's van with a system in it, was available for demonstration. Jim Stinehelfer, of Hewlett-Packard, gave an update on the automatic transceiver test system reported on at the last meeting. Bill Coyle, of Hewlett-Packard, presented a paper on the operation of 8542A and B systems in an RTEII and RTEIII environment. He described some of the advantages and disadvantages of converting. Robert Matheson, of the US Department of Commerce, described some of the capabilities of the radio spectrum measurement system, a van deployed HP ARS-400 automatic spectrum analyzer, operated by the Office of Telecommunications for frequency management studies. Al Seely, Manager at Hewlett-Packard's Automatic Measurement Division, gave a report on the past, present, and future of the various systems manufactured by AMD, For details see minutes of the meeting. David Ricci, of Hewlett-Packard Santa Clara Division, introduced their 5390 frequency stability analyzer. The system utilizes a 5345A counter controlled by a 9825 calculator. Richard Swartley, of General Electric Company, presented a paper on RTE/FORTRAN programming on the 8580 and 8542 system. A method of swapping between BSC and RTE was described with the necessary software presented. The last paper of the day was also by Dick Swartley and it covered how he automated his lab using HP-IB and RTE.

 

     The twelfth meeting was opened on March 20, 1978 by our host Lee Saulsbury who welcomed the group to the National Bureau of Standards at Boulder, Colorado and introduced Dick Swartley of General Electric Company, the program chairman. The first speaker was Lloyd Robinson of SRI International. He presented a paper entitled "Application of the Automatic Network Analyzer as a High Resolution Radar". The second speaker was Dick Swartley whose paper was titled "Satisfying DOD Requirements on Computer Security". Ways of complying with DOD 5220.22M were covered in areas of computer communication, storage and memory. Neal Kuhn of Hewlett-Packard Data System Division presented a tutorial on the history, technical make up and current status of the HP-IB. Following Neal the business meeting was held. Lee Saulsbury and Dick Swartley were reelected to the steering committee. Dick Swartley reported on the progress of the proposed affiliation between ARFTG and IEEE/MTT-S. At the end of the business meeting the group toured several of the NBS microwave facilities which were related to papers to be given the following day. The second day started with a paper by Glenn Engen of NBS presenting his recollections on the history of the NBS six port network analyzer. It was his conclusion that this method of reflection measurement could be a breakthrough in microwave metrology. Next, Cletus Hoer of NBS presented a paper on scattering parameter measurements using two six-ports. The construction of the six-ports was described and the calibration and error models were discussed. Ernest Komarek of NBS presented a paper on the performance characteristics of an automated broadband bolometer calibration system. The system was implemented using a 9830 calculator and a six-port. This system is used daily at NBS to calibrate bolometer mounts. The next talk was by Manly Weidman of NBS who presented the error model mentioned in Ernie Komarck's paper in greater detail. The last NBS speaker was Andy Repjar who presented a paper on automated microwave antenna measurements. Planar, spherical and cylindrical near field measurement techniques were presented. After lunch we heard from Neal Kuhn of Hewlett-Packard. Neal presented H.P.'s new computer, the 21MX-F, and a new operating system for it, called RTE-IV Robert Biller of Micro-tel spoke on Micro-tel's automatic attenuator measurement system. The system covers a frequency range from .01 to 18 GHz with 100 dB dynamic range and is IEEE-488 controlled. Peter Stone of Hewlett-Packard's Loveland Division presented a paper entitled, "The Desk-Top Computer as a Friendly HP-IB Instrument Controller". Mario Maury of Maury Microwave spoke on the calibration kits available from his company for 8549 automatic network analyzers. Scott Wright of Hewlett-Packard Santa Rosa Division introduced the 8409 semi-automatic network analyzer. It is an HP-IB calculator controlled system offering high accuracy, phase locked, S-parameter measurements with the same error correcting model used in the 8542. Next, Peter Lacey, of Wiltron, talked on some of the problems and solutions of integrating different manufacturers. IEEE-488 equipment and controllers into an operational test system. The last speaker was Robert Anlindson of the Digital Equipment Company (DEC). He gave a review of DEC's implementation of the IEEE-488 interface bus. DEC uses friendly calls to get around some of the not so friendly instrument commands. This closed the twelfth ARFTG meeting.

 

      Dick Swartley opened the thirteenth meeting of ARFTG, at Orlando, Florida, with a brief discussion of the history and purpose of the Group. Dick then introduced Ernie Romarek, Chairman of MTT-11, who described the makeup and purpose of MTT-11, with which ARFTG is planning to affiliate. The technical session opened with a paper by Dick Horgrove of the Hughes Aircraft Company entitled, "Complete Package of Basic Callable Measurement/Analyzer Programs for the 8542B". Dick described a group of 8542B programs that are improvements of those furnished by HP. The programs are now in the ARFTG library. Next we heard from Robert O'Nan, of Sandia Labs. Bob described a bulk wave, acoustic delay time combined with a laser readout that his organization has used to Perform automatic measurements. Dynamic radar range testing was described by John R. Guth, Sandia Laboratories. Their dynamic tester is designed to test height finding radars for loop sensitivity and range. Ross Speciale, of TRW, reviewed the TSD and Super TSD methods prior to discussing performance on a commercial ANA. Measurements of six and 10 dB attenuators using Super TSD calibration were discussed. No comparison was made with measurements taken using the HP standard calibration procedure. Norman Spector of Norsal Industries, described automatic measurement products that Norsal is manufacturing and will be available. They include a 2-18 GHz six-port. Norman estimated that a dual six-port system could be assembled from commercial components for $58K (audience remarks indicated that the detectors were More expensive than estimated). Steve Holdaway, of Hewlett-Packard, took us on a pictorial tour of their typical manufacturing testing line that use the HP-IB. Comparison with prior procedure clearly showed the advantage of automatic testing. As a consequence, HP will soon no longer offer HP-IB as an option. Instead, it will be included as a standard component on most products. Herb Thal, of GE Space Division, described test procedures and output data for testing several RF products. Rodger McAleenan, of Texas Instruments, is moving toward fully automated testing in all areas. They are basing their developments on the 9825 calculator with TI's TM9900 microprocessor on the TM990/101M circuit board. One goal is to achieve automatic tuning (no technician) of MIC amplifiers using controlled lasers for trimming circuits. Ernest Komarek, NBS, is using a dual six port system for measuring RF power, reflection coefficient, and phase. The six-port software they have developed is in the public domain and is available to all. With the six-port they expect to achieve percentage uncertainties from 0 to 18 GHz of 0.5 to 1.3, respectively. This is only about 1.6 times worse than the best achievable accuracy of their most accurate methods. Dick Swartley, of GE Space Division, presented an update on their use of a two-port standard (Ref. R. Beatty) to calibrate ANAs. They have produced accurately machined quarter wave length sections of waveguide and obtained checks of accuracy showing substantially improved accuracy over what HP can claim for the systems. At the business meeting a plan was presented by Messrs. Komarek and Swartley to affiliate ARFTG with MTT-S. The plan is to maintain ARFTG identity but cooperate with MTT-S by exchanging people on their respective program committee and holding a joint meeting (sequential within the meeting week) once each year. The normal second ARFTG meeting will be held approximately six months from the joint meeting and will be held in "cooperation" with IEEE/MTT-S in order to enhance ability of ARFTG members to obtain permission from their companies to attend. It was moved that ARFTG continue to be affiliated with according to the Plan described. Passed without dissent. Mario Maury and Edward Stevens were added to the Steering Committee. Ray Tucker was re-elected to the Steering Committee. After the business meeting Dayle Rhodes, of Sperry, described Sperry's techniques for designing a microwave automatic test station for the military to enable the latter to test their avionics. Sperry's ATE will become modules of the VAST system. ATLAS language and IEEE-488 bus is used for control. Next a panel discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of the six-port analyzer was held. The panel members were John Barr, of HP, Cletus Hoer of NBS, and Peter Lacey of Wiltron. The panel was moderated by Dick Swartley. Hoer started by using the ideal equation relating reflection coefficient to detector output. Cletus opened discussion with comments on the resolution and accuracy of the six-port. [Note: Copies of a rough transcription of the tape recording of this discussion were at one time available from the Secretary, George Oltman, Bldg. 268/A55, Hughes Aircraft Company, Canoga Park, California 91367, (213) 883-2400, extension 2293.]

     Mario Maury, of Maury Microwave, spoke on SMA connectors and calibration kits. He reviewed the SMA history, the original coaxi-tube connector, and the evolved SMA standard connector widely used today. Roger Costa, of Hewlett-Packard, informed us of HP's plans to support the 8542B and C systems through October, 1983. Thereafter it will be on a best effort basis. The TODS-III Disc Operating System will be sold through November 1979. Swartley, on behalf of ARFTG, requested that the support references be made available. Costa stated that could be arranged. Peter Lacey, of Wiltron, introduced their new Scalar network analyzer. It features bus control, 10 MHz to 18 GHz coverage, and +15 to -55 dBm dynamic range. Modulation is not required and extension into the millimeter bands is practical. They will have Basic Language programs available for several commercial controllers. A second paper by Peter Lacey described their new 3.5 mm air/dielectric SMA interface. The major change is to the female centerpin which now incorporates a cylindrical sleeve over a triple fluted female contact. A helical twist to the fingers provides repeatable contact. The last speaker was Al Armstrong, of Hewlett-Packard, who described HP's new 100 Hz to 23 GHz spectrum analyzer. Sensitivity is -134 dBm per 100 Hz bandwidth at 3 GHZ. External mixers will be available shortly to extend the range to 60 GHz. Three microprocessors are used in the instrument. With this, the Thirteenth Meeting of the ARFTG came to a close.

 

     The fourteenth meeting was held in Culver City, CA on May 3-4, 1979 and was opened by George Oltman. George thanked Tadso Mukiahata for hosting the meeting and attending to the local arrangements. The first speaker of the day was Algie Lance of TRW, who presented a paper which he co-authored with Wendell Seal. The paper was on the calibration of power sensors. Methods of calibration for thermistor mounts were discussed and the meaning of calibration factor. A second paper by Algie, also co-authored by Wendell Seal, was on phase noise measurement techniques. Problems associated with phase noise measurement, such as spectrum analyzer bandwidth and carrier suppression techniques, were discussed. Ron Wittmann, of the National Bureau of Standards, reported on RF methods of measuring earth surfaces. Techniques for measuring earth layer structure, using 8542, 8507 and 8409 network analyzers, are being investigated as part of a mine safety program. Robert Nelson, of National Bureau of Standards, posed the question, "How do we test the testers?". With the advent of large automated systems, how can NBS traceability be demonstrated? Bob explained that NBS was setting up a program to determine the need for transportable standards an other methods of calibration for such automated systems. The Group broke for lunch, after which, Peter Lacey of Wiltron, discussed the life expectancy of the SMA connector and the greatly improved life of the WSMA (a Wiltron product) connector based on a pin removal force study. Force and angle of insertion were also related to expected connector life. George Oltman, of Hughes Aircraft Company, reviewed some of the pit-falls associated with automatic network analyzers. One of the most common is measuring the thru used in calibration to verify that calibration. The subject of measuring compensated vs uncompensated vs precision SMA connector was discussed and an approach was offered. Peter Lacey remarked on the survival of IEEE-488 bus standard. He commented that the semi-conductor manufacturers are now starting to produce bus interface chips as a result of its popularity. Following Pete, Neal Kuhn of Hewlett-Packard presented a paper entitled, "Getting On Board The Bus-Your Route, Map and Direction". He presented a logical procedure to follow when implementing a bus system. Areas covered included device introduction, addressing, system preparation, programming and performance. The business meeting was called to order by George Oltman. The proposed changes to the by-laws were approved. George oltman was re-elected to the Steering Committee for another three year term. After the business meeting, the general meeting was adjourned for the day. On the morning of the second day Jim Fitzpatrick, of Hewlett-Packard, spoke first. Jim presented data on work done at HP on some of the calibration standards. In particular, the open. The values of capacitance used in some of the HP automatic network analyzers were incorrect. New values have been determined. The next speaker was Harold Stinehelfer, formerly of Microwave Associates, now heading up his own company, Made-It Associates. Harold is now marketing TIMED and gave a presentation on same. Mr. Charles Boyd, of the Microwave Applications Group, described modifications to the HP8410 detectors in order to obtain more accurate measurements in a semi-automated system. They designed this system to measure AWACS antenna modules. These modifications gave his company the ability to make calibrated automatic network analyzer measurements which they otherwise could not have afforded.

      Mario Maury, of Maury Microwave, updated the Group in the availability of standard, as well as special, ANA calibration kits. These include the original SMA kits and the newer precision APC-3.5 mm kits. He also discussed extension to 40 GHz which his MPC-3 mm connector allows. Jim Fitzpatrick, of Hewlett-Packard, presented the HP8409B semi-automatic network analyzer. This system, using a new implementation of the full S-parameter error correction model, offers high accuracy, phase locked measurements similar to those of the now obsolete HP8542B automatic network analyzer. Peter Lacey, of Wiltron, discussed the measurement results obtained using the Wiltron automatic scalar network analyzer. A GP-IB controlled analyzer, measures over the frequency range of 10 MHz to 18 GHz.

     The next four speakers explained what the Group would be seeing on the Hughes tour, which we are going to attend at the close of the day.

     Ted Mukiahata gave an overview of the Hughes Metrology program. He pointed out the automation which they have achieved was necessitated by the ever Increasing volume of calibrations. Dick Johnstone presented the flatness, attenuation, and frequency meter semi-automated calibration facilities. Les Lacour presented the semi-automated digital voltmeter calibration facility. Although some DVM's now have bus options most are still operated by hand and are calibrated using the technician as the interface. Gerald McGrath presented the length and angle calibration facility as well as the laser power calibration facility. The emphasis in all these semi-automated facilities is allowing the technician to concentrate on the calibration rather than on data taking or calibration report writing. Reports of calibration are automatically generated by all systems. The meeting was adjourned and the tour began.

{Editor's note: It appears that no Fall meeting was held in 1979}

 

     The fifteenth meeting opened on May 26, 1980 at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. This was the second meeting to be held in conjunction with MTT-S. The attendees were greeted by Dick Swartley, Group Chairman and Technical Session Organizer. The first speaker was Dick Swartley, of General Electric. Dick's paper was entitled, "DSCS III satellite Transponder Production Testing". Stringent specifications made accurate and repeatable testing necessary to insure consistent thru-put. An 8542 was used for phase measurement and an 8580 for amplitude measurements. The system is controlled from an 8500 console tied to an HP1000 distributed system. Peter Lacey, of Wiltron, presented a paper titled "Application of Automated Precision Reflectometer Measurements Using Windowed Fourier Transforms". Pete explained the two methods of error correction and how phase information could be extracted from scaler measurements using the windowed Fourier transforms. Ross Speciale, of TRW, presented a paper entitled, "Multiport Network Analyzers". The paper, published in the June 1980 issue of Microwave System News, discusses methods being implemented at TRW for the simultaneous measurement of all ports on an n port device. John Taylor, of MIT Lincoln Labs, discussed making multimeters wave measurements on an automatic network analyzer. The Ka-band signals are down converted to the 2 GHz band for analysis. Rodger McAleenan, of Texas Instruments, described the testing of microwave mixers at TI. The technique employs a 8672 synthesizer as a source and an 8410 network analyzer controlled by a 9825 calculator. Jerome Cohen, of Norsal Industries, presented design details of their microwave integrated six-port reflectometer now in production. Garry Hesselbacher, of General Electric, described an in-house designed IEEE-488 bus extender. Mario Maury, of Maury Microwaves, presented a paper entitled, "SMA Connector-Interface Problem and Measurements". The various SMA connector interfaces were presented. Ross Speciale, of TRW, presented a paper entitled, "Projective Matrix Transformation in Microwave Network Theory". The results of recent theoretical investigations show a dominant role for a new type of matrix transformation in the theory of microwave networks composed of multiport elements. At the business meeting Dick Swartley was re-elected to the Steering Committee. After the business meeting we adjourned for the day. The first speaker of the second day was Barry Perlman, of RCA Laboratories. Barry presented a software package which he had written called PLANA (Phase Locked Automatic Network Analyzer). The package is designed to operate an 8409 network analyzer in an HPIOOO environment. John David, of Tektronix, introduced us to their new programmable microwave spectrum analyzer model 492P. The 492P is available with a Tektronix 4052 controller and application software or can be used with any controller and the example programs. Bruno Weinschel, of Weinschel Engineering, presented the VM4. The VM4 is an automatic broadband vector voltmeter with 100 dB dynamic range. Bruno described the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods of making accurate high attenuation measurements. Mario Maury updated the Group on the availability of standard, as well as special, ANA calibrating kits from Maury Microwaves. Les Besser, of Compact Engineering, presented his company's line of computer-aided design, synthesis and optimization programs for use by microwave design engineers. Les also presented a paper by Wayne Brown on COMSAT's production process management system. It covers the total production process including: project management, design, procurement, fabrication, test, production and inventory control. Following Les there was a panel discussion on the status of the SMA connector. The panel consisted of seven members - four of whom are Harmon Banning, Sal Bruno, Peter Lacey and John Bryant - each gave a fifteen minute introductory comment. The other members of the panel were Mario Maury who chaired the panel, Ramon Jesch and Ray Schwartz. At the conclusion of the panel discussion the meeting was adjourned.

 

     The sixteenth meeting was hosted by Texas Instruments and was held on November 6-7, 1980 at the Marriott Hotel on the LBJ Freeway in Dallas. The meeting was called to order by the Conference Chairman, Lee Saulsbury, of the National Bureau of Standards. He introduced the first speaker, George Oltman, of Hughes Aircraft who spoke on an evaluation conducted at Hughes evaluating two, four, six and dual four-port automatic network analyzers the tradeoffs of each, and why they had elected to build their system using a dual four port.

     Ed Stevens was the second speaker. He presented a paper on an RTE instrument driver he had written for the 8542 network analyzer allowing it to be used in an HPIOOO environment. The third speaker was Kenneth Bradley of Texas Instruments. He spoke on how they had automated their factory testing using 8409 automatic network analyzers controlled by 9825 calculators with software written to emulate the 8542B software. After lunch, Rodger McAleenan of Texas Instruments Advanced Technology Lab, talked on how they had utilized the GP-IB (IEEE-488) for instrument control at Texas Instruments. Rodger was followed by Mario Maury of Maury Microwaves who spoke on their work with the APC 3.5 connector. He described how they were building the connectors and then evaluating them with their 8409 automatic network analyzer and special software. The final speaker of the first day was Mark Roos of Hewlett-Packard. Mark spoke on the work being done at HP's lab in Santa Rosa on using an open circuit as a standard to 18 GHz. After Mark's talk, Mario Maury conducted the business meeting. Lee Saulsbury was reelected to the Steering Committee. A committee was formed to look into better forms of getting NBS traceable calibration for automatic network analyzers. Merlin Hed was appointed Chairman of that Committee. The fall 1981 meeting will be in the Philadelphia area. The Conference Chairman will be Ed Stevens. A four year schedule should be ready for mailing by January. The second day started with a talk by Ross Speciale, of TRW entitled, "Statistical Evaluation of an Experimental Digital Vector Voltmeter". Ross used a Preston Scientific high speed A to D and signal processor. His talk was followed by one from Bernard Spear, of Preston Scientific, speaking on that hardware. The next speaker was Doug Rytting of Hewlett-Packard, who gave a tutorial on the vector error models used by automatic network analyzers. He detailed the models commonly in use, how to enhance them, and the drawbacks involved in using the large error models. After lunch we heard from Charles Gustof on how his company, Texas Instruments, is pairing and cascading multioctave amplifier stages for gain and phase matching. The final speaker of the day was Gary Lerude, also of Texas Instruments, who gave us some exposure on T.I. automated mixer matching. After Gary's talk we were taken to the Texas Instruments plant and given a tour. They standardized some years ago on the 9825 calculator as their general controller and they now have more than 50 test stations using calculators as controllers.