In 2001, Fluke Calibration was considering entry into the RF calibration marketplace. Martin Technical Research was hired to:
Understand what issues and trends were affecting the existing environment for RF calibrations.
Identify market drivers that would shape the future needs of RF calibration labs.
Using my own industry contact lists, I interviewed a mix of:
Dedicated third-party RF calibration labs.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who performed their own RF calibrations.
OEMs who shipped their equipment to outside sources for RF cals.
OEMs that were interviewed included Fairchild Semiconductor, Belden Communications, Lucent Technologies, Hamilton Sundstrand, Siemens-Stromberg Carlson, Dictaphone, 3Com, Xircom, Baldwin Contract Electronics, Honeywell, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Novatel, Motorola, Verizon, Storage Tek and Singular Wireless.
Results: The final report identified the two most frequently RF-calibrated items – spectrum analyzers and signal generators. Additionally, 57% of respondents to an open-ended question said that development of automated software test procedures would be the single greatest improvement to their RF capabilities.
And anecdotal comments from end-users, including this comment from a communications engineer describing his RF application as it related to the Patriot Missile defense system, brought valuable insight to the RF design team….
Application quotes from end-user : “We're testing radio equipment, mostly. Also for field testing, to see if there’s a jammer out there. Typically we set up a spectrum analyzer to see if anyone’s jamming us. (We) measure RF frequencies where we are. We’re trying to find out who’s out there.”