Spinnaker Microwave Press Release - March 10, 2009
Spinnaker Microwave Compact Converter/Exciter Delivers Waveforms for EW, ECM Systems
CLARA, CA (March 10, 2009) – Spinnaker Microwave today introduced the Model SMS-ACX RF converter/exciter,
a compact module that generates signals with modulating bandwidths up to 1 GHz with various combinations of phase,
frequency, and amplitude characteristics, and produces an output at any frequency from 10 MHz to 14 GHz, and
optionally to 40 GHz. The SMS-ACX is a cost-effective alternative to expensive arbitrary waveform generators
(AWGs), and an excellent choice for applications ranging from frequency-agile threat emitters in an EW training
platforms, to ATE systems and synthetic aperture radar systems.
Electronic warfare (EW), electronic countermeasures, secure communications, and electronic intelligence systems
must detect, characterize, and counter threats with a diverse combination of characteristics over a wide frequency
range. To accomplish this they must generate signals with precisely-defined attributes at the frequency of the
threat at high speed. At frequencies in the microwave range, this requires a high-performance AWG that at 10 GHz
(for example) must reach a sample rate of 40 Gsamples/s. Such high clock rates typically have only 8-bit
resolution and dynamic range and spurious suppression are constrained.
In contrast, the SMS-ACX can accept a wide range of IF signals from 10 MHz to 10 GHz and through a combination of
frequency translation stages, places the IF signal with undistorted modulating characteristics at any frequency in
its output range. This effectively eliminates the need for expensive high-sample-rate AWGs whose size, weight,
power consumption, and cost preclude them from being used in most embedded applications such as EW threat
simulators. The modulating input signal for the SMS-ACX can be generated using the Direct Digital Synthesizer
(DDS) within the module or externally by an intermediate frequency (IF) signal from a DDS or from an arbitrary
Standard switching speed of the SMS-ACX from any frequency within its 10 MHz to 14 GHz
range is 50 µs, minimum step size is 1 Hz, conversion gain is +10 dBm, group delay variation is 2 ns, spurious
signal rejection is typically -55 dBc, maximum modulation depth is 30%, phase adjustment range is 0 to 360 deg.,
and output third-order intercept point is +15 dBm. The SMS-ACX is housed in an aluminum enclosure measuring only
4.65 x 4.70 x 1.68 in., weighs less than 2.3 lb., and consumes less than 20 W from its +/-5 and +15 VDC supplies.
Spinnaker offers a wide array of options for the SMS-ACX including physical configurations, output frequency range
and bandwidth, phase noise of -110 dBc/Hz (at 1 GHz with a 10 kHz offset), switching speed of 10 µs, as well as
hermetic packaging and screening to military standards for shock, vibration, environmental conditions.
About Spinnaker Microwave
Spinnaker Microwave, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, was
founded in 1992 and has become an industry leader in the design and manufacture of microwave sources. Its products
include frequency synthesizers, voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs), and custom microwave subassemblies over a
frequency range of 100 MHz to 40 GHz. The company’s strength lies in producing microwave products that can be
highly customized with short turnaround times while delivering performance equal to or better than that of
competitive products. Spinnaker’s products are employed in air, sea, and ground-based communications equipment,
electronic warfare, signals intelligence, and other military applications, as well as microwave test equipment.