Maximize accuracy. Reduce uncertainty. Speed up signal processing.
RF Engineer, Systems Engineer and Test Engineer Solutions
Greater Speeds · Higher Power · Faster to Market
Increased Integration · Lower Cost · Improved Reliability
These are the requirements the modern RF engineer is asked to achieve. The industry is moving fast, and technological demands are evolving the role of the RF engineer whether in consumer, commercial, military or aerospace applications.
Measure | Adjust | Improve
To achieve these demands requires a higher level of RF and mixed-signal expertise that the entire engineering team is expected to deliver.
Wireless and RF technologies have undergone a transformative period in recent years. The continuing proliferation of wireless devices and technologies and their integration into seemingly every facet of modern life on the consumer side and increased demand for high power density and the ever increasing efficiency needs in industry, are putting new pressures on manufacturers for faster product development, lower product costs, and increased technical innovation.
Resolve RF, Microwave, and Wireless Test Challenges
Get ahead of shortened product development cycles with help from Ball Systems’ custom RF test design services and the latest software-defined instrumentation.
Reliable | Reusable | Higher ROI
In conjunction with our leading equipment partners: National Instruments, Agilent (Keysight), Rhode & Schwartz, Anritsu and others; we are addressing the needs of the RF/microwave test and measurement sector by offering custom testing solutions and support that includes:
- RF Power Amplifier Test
- RF, Mixed-Signal and High-Power RF Semiconductor Test
- Mobile Devices/Wireless from GSM to LTE-A A to 802.11ac
- Communication System Test
- Wireless Infrastructure Test
- Radar and Electronic Warfare Test
- Spectrum Monitoring/Signal Intelligence
- RF Manufacturing Test including RFICs, mobile devices, wireless infrastructures, infotainment, set-top boxes, cellular devices and more
Led by RF Experts
RF engineers form the core of the specialized testing services at Ball Systems and are well equipped to meet some of the most challenging and rapidly developing new areas of RF, microwave, and wireless testing demands of our clients’ test environments. Their focus is on test solutions that can:
- Cut costs
- Improve test times (5X, 10X, plus)
- Resolve prototyping issues
- Maximize accuracy
- Reduce time to market
- Increase reliability
Ball Systems offers a unique custom test system integrator pedigree: PhD level RF, microwave, and wireless engineering expertise from companies including Agilent, Anritsu, Honeywell, National Instruments, Motorola, and Sandia Labs among others, combined with decades of experience in the integration of test system design and customized approaches.
Proficiency | Efficiency | Effectiveness
Our RF test team is also well versed in modular and software-defined test system and test software development using flexible hardware platforms such as NI’s PXI, and scalable software, such as LabVIEW and TestStand. Proficient with most of the major industry RF and wireless hardware and software platforms, our team has helped revolutionize RF design and testing for our clients.
RF Test Capabilities:
- RF test system design, programming, and integration
- Automated testing of all popular RF standards and protocols
- Component, module, and system level testing
- Characterization, performance assessment, verification
- High-power compression testing
- Test fixture development, fabrication, assembly, and tuning
- Test system fabrication and test, including build-to-print
- Legacy RF test system hardware and software upgrade/conversion and validation
- RF test plan development
- Custom RF test software
- Custom RF hardware designs
- RF capability, DC to 40 GHz+
- From simple to complex modulation
- Implementations from design verification to production test
Ball Systems’ position as a National Instruments Gold Alliance Partner, in combination with deep specialized RF and semiconductor expertise, and an extensive team of certified software architects and developers, provide the technical underpinnings to solve the most complex engineering problems.
Customization | Precision | Performance
Our history as a test system integrator also allows us to provide custom integration and hardware development where an off-the-shelf system may not meet the customer requirements. Finally, our ability to manufacture both custom and COTS-based test systems in prototype or high volumes is unique in the industry.
Is Your Challenge Something Less Extreme?
You do not have to be overwhelmed with a complex cutting edge technical challenge in order to employ our services. At Ball Systems, we enjoy being involved with RF projects of varying degrees of technical involvement. Regardless of the challenges confronting you, our goal is to make it easier for you to get the solution you need.
Utilize Ball Systems’ services and let our experienced RF engineers and team of test experts apply their skills and training to your RF, microwave and wireless test challenges.
High-Power RF Semiconductor Test System
NI’s PXI-based high-power RF test system and software. Custom designed for semiconductor customer testing high-power WiFi IC.
Ball Systems developed a customized high-power RF IC test system based on NI’s PXI-based semiconductor testing platform for the testing of high-power WiFi semiconductor IC. RF testing included the following requirements:
- Operates from 700 MHz to 6 GHz
- Gain of 20-25 dB
- Provides 2 channels of high-power and coupled monitor power
- Bypass path for each amplifier configured for power-up state
- Input and output ports are SMA-female connectors
- Switch lifetime of infinite cycles
- Switching time of less than 1 msec including settling
- Control and bias of switches via PXI modules
- Output saturated level of +33 dBm or greater at 6 GHz and +36 dBm at 2.5 GHz
Sonobuoy Transmitter Simulator
Developed multiple acquisition streaming demodulation process that captured all packets without loss in the presence of Doppler effects with decryption routine running on host computer.
Sonobuoy transmitter simulator was developed to test FPGA-based demodulator over variable parameter space.
Characterization and validation of the demodulator algorithm derived from: variations in data rate, Doppler shift, and signal-to-noise ratio.
Mixed-Signal ASIC Test
Developed parametric characterization tester for a mixed-signal ASIC used in a solar micro-inverter. LabVIEW drivers and a TestStand sequence, with subsequences, were developed for 15 measurements using 27 chip configurations over voltage and temperature limits. PXI hardware consisting of an 18-slot chassis with ARB, scope, HSDIO, DMM, MUX, relay, analog out cards were used with GPIB interface to the thermal test head and external modular power supplies.
Power Regulator/Synthesizer Test Fixture
The functional test fixture was designed to test two distinct assemblies, a “Power Regulator” CCA, and a “Synthesizer” CCA. Both assemblies form part of the RF module assembly of a GPS communications system.
Radio Base Station Power Amplifier Test Fixture
Custom designed RF test fixture capable of testing first responder base station radio power amplifier PCAs.
Design included custom RF interconnect design, water-cooled heat management, and VPC interconnect to test system based on Agilent and Rhode & Schwartz COTS equipment.
XM-Radio and GPS Automotive Test Console
Custom designed NI-based PXI test console, for automotive customer, including custom XM-Radio and GPS test configuration, Virginia Panel (VPC) test interconnect for fixture/ITA mating, programmable Agilent power supplies, and APC UPS in compact cabinet. Design also incorporates safety E-Stop and other associated power wiring. Custom design includes all mechanical design and modeling, all electrical design and wiring, and custom LabVIEW application.
Automotive Audio Test Fixture, Including Floating Probe Blocks & RF Design
Custom designed test fixture for testing automotive audio products, including floating design to provide self-alignment in automated fixture. Probe block designs created using 3D modeling technologies. Captive test probes mate via highly reliable probe block design that provides mating connector features in robust package cable of sustained performance in high-volume production environment. Tester designed to support production functional testing of automotive audio system product. Includes both digital and RF interfaces and capabilities.
Floating Test Probe Blocks (Digital and RF)
Probe blocks custom designed, including floating design to provide self-alignment in automated testing fixture. Probe block designs created using 3D modeling technologies. Captive test probes mate via highly reliable probe block design that provides mating connector features in robust package cable of sustained performance in high-volume production environment. Tester designed to support production functional testing of automotive audio system product. Includes both digital and RF interfaces and capabilities.