Using the UBA-9290 RF Field Strength Analyzer to Test for EMC Compatibility

2.9 GHz field strength analyzer

The UBA-9290 is a handheld portable radio frequency (RF) field strength analyzer with spectrum capability that you can use to perform a variety of RF signal measurements including electromagnetic (EMC) compliance. All electronic products — including switching power supplies, which are commonly used in almost all types of electronic equipment — must conform to specific regulations with regard to susceptibility and emissions of RF interference. This article will discuss how to use an RF field strength analyzer to perform measurements related to EMC compliance.

The aim of the EMC regulations are to ensure that electromagnetic disturbance generated by electrical or electronic equipment doesn’t reach levels that would prevent radio, telecommunications, and other equipment from working properly. The frequency range required to comply with the EMC directive is from 150 Khz to 30 Mhz for conducted emissions and from 30 Mhz to 1 Ghz for radiated emissions. The frequency range of the UBA-9290 RF frequency analyzer is specified from 100 Khz to 2.9 Ghz, making it ideal for performing these measurements.

Conducted emissions refer to RF signals that are being generated by the device under test that have the potential for being conducted out of the unit via cords and cables. The device under test is first placed on an insulated table above a ground plane, and then you monitor the RF signal levels of any necessary cords or cables with the UBA-9290. RF signals in the range of 150 Khz to 30 Mhz must be below the maximum values in amplitude. Since the UBA-9290 has an input sensitivity of -117 dBm, it will easily perform the required measurements. Any RF levels above the values specified in the directive must be reduced.

Radiated measurements refer to RF signals that are radiated from the device through the air. The UBA-9290 must be placed a specified distance from the device under test and positioned at various heights so as to maximize the received signal. The device under test must also be rotated 360 degrees so as to produce maximum RF signal levels. The acceptable frequency range for radiated emissions is 30 Mhz to 1 Ghz.

The UBA-9290 may be connected to various antennas or probes to facilitate the required measurements specified in the EMC directive. These can be near current probes, field probes, and dipole-type antennas. These probes and antennas can be purchased commercially or fabricated in the laboratory.

The UBA-9290 RF field strength analyzer provides a relatively low-priced method of performing initial compliance testing for the EMC directive. Its wide frequency range and excellent signal sensitivity make it perfect for performing the required conducted and radiated emissions measurements required to comply with this directive.

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George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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