Modulation Domain Analysis
• View dynamic frequency changes
• Emulation of Agilent 53310A MDA
• Accurate FM analysis on carriers up
to 20 GHz
• Sample frequency changes every
4µs in real time
• Analyze frequency in burst signals,
hopping, chirp radar, frequency
• Powerful analysis: Statistics
(histogram), FFT, smoothing, ADEV
and MADEV vs τ
• Zero dead-time measurements,
detect phase jumps
New version for
CNT-91 & -91R
Background – What’s a Modulation Domain Analyzer?
• Oscilloscope (Voltage vs. time - the time domain)
• Spectrum or FFT-analyzer (Voltage vs. frequency - the frequency
• Modulation Domain Analyzer (Frequency vs. time - the modulation
• Fast sampling front-end CNT-91
• Standard PC with USB or GPIB-interface running TimeView 3
The signal to be characterized is connected to the front-end input
(CNT-91 Timer/Counter/Analyzer), which samples the frequency
(or time, or phase, or voltage if selected). The data is transferred
to the PC and post-processed. All setting controls are made from
the PC. Graphs can be printed on the PC-printer and settings and
results are stored as ASCII-files, that are easily imported in various
programs, e.g. MS-Excel for further analysis.
TimeView 3 is a further refinement of the current TimeView 2 SW,
with some extra functionality and a slightly different User Interface.
To make use of the extra functionality, TimeView 3 requires the
models CNT-91 or CNT-91R as front-ends. The TimeView 2
software can use any CNT-9x counter (CNT-90, CNT-90XL,
CNT-91 or CNT-91R).
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. . . quality
To analyze all dynamic properties of a signal, three basic tools are
needed, see figure 1:
The Pendulum Modulation Domain Analyzer TimeView 3 consists
of two parts:
Amplitude and frequency contents are the two most important
signal properties of any signal. Oscilloscopes are used to
analyze changes in amplitude but not changes in frequencies. The
traditional tool for analyzing the frequency contents of a signal is
the Spectrum Analyzer. This can find static frequency components
or give an averaged view of dynamic (changing) frequencies. To
view also changing frequencies a third type of tool is needed; the
Modulation Domain Analyzer (MDA).
TimeView™ - an MDA Solution
Dynamic Signal Analysis of Amplitude and Frequency
The modulation domain is the “missing domain” that complements
the time and frequency domains. TimeView™ 3 is a piece of SW
that works with the Pendulum Timer/Counter/Analyzers CNT-91
and CNT-91R (via USB or GPIB) and converts the Timer/Counter/
Analyzer into a Modulation Domain Analyzer.
An MDA (Modulation Domain Analyzer) could be thought of
as a frequency sampler analogous to a digital oscilloscope that
is a voltage sampler. An MDA displays frequency vs time, just
like an oscilloscope displays voltage vs time. You could think
of a Modulation Domain Analyzer as a “Frequencyscope”. For
example for an FM signal, the MDA would show the modulation
frequency (f vs t), whereas an oscilloscope would show the carrier
frequency (V vs t).
Modulation Domain Analysis Examples
Figure 1: The modulation domain (f vs. t) complements the time (V vs. t) and the frequency (V
vs. f) domains.
Figure 5: ADEV vs τ (Zero-dead-time measurement) reveals poor performance of a synthezised
Figure 9: Frequency settling of VCO after step
change of input voltage.
Figure 2: Jitter (rms and peak-peak) and noise
is quantified in distribution histograms.
Figure 6: Frequency hopping in high quality
military troop radio with panorama view.
Figure 10: Frequency sweep of an analog
Figure 3: The FFT-diagram reveals the modulation frequency, whether intended or unwanted.
Figure 7: Frequency hopping in low cost
commercial radio channel scanner with
Figure 11: Frequency sweep of a digital
low-cost sweep generator with panorama view.
Figure 4: 10 MHz with 1kHz FM –Modulation
domain view with panorama view.
Figure 8: Frequency hopping in 2.4 GHz
Figure 12: Jitter of optical CD-pulses T3
through T11 in CD player.
Technical Specifications: Timeview
Cross-reference table TimeView 3 versus TimeView 2
CNT-90, CNT-90XL, CNT-91, CNT-91R
Agilent 53310A emulation mode
Special FM modulation calibration
Burst frequency vs time view
MTIE, TDEV, MRTIE calculation
TIE (or phase back-to-back values) are sampled
and displayed. Various post-processing
alternatives gives ADEV, MADEV for short-term
stability measurements and MTIE, MRTIE, TDEV
for Wander analysis
Input A, B: DC to 250 kHz (capture and
timestamp ALL trigger events);
DC to 160 MHz (count all trigger events,
timestamp events with set pacing interval)
Input C: Full input C freq. range (see
specification for actual input used)
Sample interval: 4µs to 500 s
Sampling speed- free run
Sampling speed – repetitive sampling
Resolution time stamps
35 ps rms
35 ps rms (CNT-91, CNT-91R)
70 ps rms (CNT-90, CNT-90XL)
375k Samples (CNT-90, CNT-90XL)
1.9M Samples (CNT-91, CNT-91R)
Input frequency range max
20 GHz (CNT-90, CNT-91, CNT-91R)
60 GHz (CNT-90XL)
Max frequency p-p deviation
20 GHz (CNT-90, CNT-91, CNT-91R)
50 MHz (CNT-90XL)
View all frequency and time related
parameters vs time
View totalize functions
This capture mode requires a repetitive signal.
Voltage resolution is 1.0 mV
HW and SW Requirements
35 ps rms
Pendulum CNT-91 or CNT-91R
MS Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Windows 7
USB (CNT-90-family only)
GPIB (National Instruments, Agilent
Measurement & Speed
Frequency (normal, BtB, burst, PRF, ratio)
Period (average, BtB, single shot)
Voltage max/min/p-p, ratio
Sample speed to internal memory:
Up to 250 000 samples/s
1.9M results (result plus timestamps)
Measurements are captured as quickly as
possible and stored in internal memory
Zero dead-time: Frequency and Period BtB, TIE
All other functions, except voltage
Measurements are repeated with a delayed start
that is incremented for each new measurement.
The results are combined into a resulting graph
(similar to repetitive sampling DSO:s). This
capture mode requires a repetitive signal
Equivalent sample time: down to 10ns delay
between measurements (effective 100 MSa/s)
This capture mode shows frequency vs time for
pulsed RF signals
Presentation modes summary
MDA: Emulating the behavior of 53310A,
including for example value trigger and
TIE: Short term stability and Wander meas.
Single shot: Any measurement function vs time
Repetitive sampling: Measurement function
vs time – repetitive with start arming
Display draft signal waveform over time
Burst: Display pulsed RF signals
FM: Accurate FM modulation calibrator
Frequency Back-to-Back values are sampled
and displayed in a similar way as an
oscilloscope. Horizontal and Vertical axis are
set via timebase and limit controls. The display
trace is triggered using “value trigger”, a
given frequency value, just as an oscilloscope
is triggered on a certain voltage level. The
presentation mode is very similar to an Agilent
53310A MDA (Modulation Domain Analyzer).
Sample interval: 4µs to 500 s
Value trigger: Manual value (positive
or negative slope), or auto triggered (50%
between peak deviations).
This capture mode measures accurately
all FM parameters
• Carrier frequency up to 20 GHz1)
• Modulation frequency up to 125 kHz
• Frequency deviation up to 10 GHz1)
limited by measurement range
Statistical distribution (histogram)
Statistical numerical analysis
• max value
• min value
• mean value
• standard deviation
• Allan deviation
Dual cursor readout in graphs with calculation
of dx, dy and dy/dx
FFT analysis (detect modulation frequencies)
Window functions: Hamming, Hanning,
Smoothing (digital LP-filter via a moving
average of data points)
TIE analysis: ADEV vs τ, MADEV vs τ, MTIE vs τ,
MRTIE vs τ, TDEV vs τ
Option 29/91: TimeView 3 for CNT-91 or CNT91R. Software for PC. One license per user.
The program will be delivered on a CD-ROM.
May 3, 2012 - 4031 600 29911 - rev. 02
Specifications subject to change or improvement without notice.
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