Sea Technology

FEB 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 17 of 52 February 2018 | ST 17 M ission-critical signal ana- lyzers that measure mul- tiple aspects of a signal need to be accurate and consistently perform at optimal levels. Vari- ations in temperature, humidity and the corrosive nature of the environment can cause dam- age. The most critical challenge is ensuring that there is no sig- nal failure. Spectrum analyzers are ver- satile radio-frequency (RF)/ microwave measurement tools most commonly used to measure signal. The U.S. Navy required their Keysight model number N9030A PXA sig- nal analyzer to be calibrated to ensure accuracy and in- tegrity for use. The PXA is often used in aerospace and defense wireless communications for signal analysis. It analyzes signals over wider bandwidths, reduces mea- surement uncertainty and reveals previously hidden sig- nals with noise floor extension. When the Navy needed their PXA signal analyzer calibrated, they sent it to Tra- Cal Lab to ensure that it is calibrated to meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standards. NSCA Technologies and Tra-Cal Lab, which are based in Gaithersburg, Maryland and are service-disabled vet- eran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB), have served the electronics and military industries since 1988. NSCA and Tra-Cal Lab are ISO/IEC 17025, ANSI Z540.1 and ANSI Z540.3 accredited. Tra-Cal Lab, an electronic test and measurement calibration lab, specializes in RF and microwave calibration and repair services. They per- form high-quality testing services to achieve accuracy in modern spectrum analyzers. The company works close- ly with manufacturers, like Keysight, to ensure that all manufacturer specifications are met when calibrating in- struments. Tra-Cal Lab performs rigorous internal and ex- ternal quality checks to comply with industry standards, plus equipment calibrations and repairs that follow 100 percent of manufacturer specifications. In this way, Tra- Cal Lab assures their customers of reliable, repeatable measurement capabilities. Tra-Cal Lab's procedures re- quire verification that equipment inspection is performed and that the equipment is adjusted, replaced or repaired as needed to prevent future measurement inaccuracies. What Is Calibration? Calibration is a comparison of two measurement de- vices or systems, one of known uncertainty (standard) and one of unknown uncertainty (test equipment). Gen- erally, the targeted accuracy of the standard should be 10 times the accuracy of the measuring device being tested. However, the accuracy ratio of 4:1 is acceptable by most standards organizations. The objectives of calibrating measurement instru- ments are two-fold. First, the accuracy of the instrument is checked. Second, the traceability of the measurement is determined. In practice, calibration also includes de- vice adjustments, if it is out of specification. A report is Proper Calibration of Electronic Equipment Techniques to Calibrate Essential Defense Tech By Todd Chaikin • Darwin Phillips Calibration service level procedures for standard level one to level five (ANSI Z540.3).

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