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Vector Network Analysis Software

Pico VNA512 May 2023 - Pico Technology launched a new software platform for its USB-controlled PicoVNA vector network analyzers. Cross-platform and light footprint, PicoVNA 5 will run at speed on Linux, Windows, and macOS, and PCs, Macs, and embedded systems, including Raspberry Pi 3. Whatever your VNA application, PicoVNA 5 brings a snappy live presentation of your measurements, your instrument status, and your controls; with a crisp, clean focus to optimum results area and your application, with minimal clutter.

Using an innovative drag and snap viewport grid, arrange your measurement plots, single or dual axes, across as many individually sized, shaped, and positioned plot channels as you wish. At any monitor size and resolution, you can keep a user-configured eye to all the live and stored trace plots that you need; if required an arbitrary mix of frequency and time domain plots.

On-plot parameter controls give direct intuitive access to sensitivities, offsets, reference positions, and sweep or time domain parameters. Even the plot type (Log, lin, Smith, polar, phase, etc.) can be changed as you focus on a particular view. Handy on-trace cursor readouts present under mouse or touch hover, allowing precise trace marker drop with a single click for a more permanent readout. Simply drag or click the marker again to access precise editing of the marker, its type, its position, its grouping, and the multiple parameter or delta readouts that you need from it.

Within each plot, the user can add a second axis, maximize the plot, add a zoom of frequency or time span, or a live spy-glass magnified view. Now you really can see just how tight your impedance matching is on your Smith chart!

Displayed traces and marker readouts are vector or linear interpolated when not snapped to a measure point; and the user has access to several interpolation alternatives to optimize between point plot and measurement integrity, against a particular application.

There you are! Most of your frequent instrument operations are fully covered without any need to find an off-plot menu! And where there was need, a minimal, decision-centric menu simply popped up right underneath your mouse or touch point.

Naturally, the UI supports network remote and mirroring operation too. Everything you need for today’s hybrid, hardware share, and global collaborative working, training, or assistance. Offline working, i.e., without a connected instrument, is also fully supported, whether your data derives from a PicoVNA or any other TouchStone origin.

The OEM embed or test system integrator has been front and center of mind throughout the conception of PicoVNA 5. Programmer command and retrieve access to PicoVNA 5 has been designed for fast data transfer, familiar SCPI, and multiple simultaneous UI access points. Via Git-hub, Pico provides a comprehensive set of SCPI and advanced API SDK examples for Matlab, Labview, Python, C, C#, and C++.

PicoVNA 5 supports all existing 8 and 12-term calibration methods; SOLT, Automated E-Cal, and TRL/TRM, and unknown Thru with ultra-clear graphical calibration wizards, all with step-by-step connection diagrams. For the manual calibration standards, live calibration measurement plots are displayed to help the pick-up of unexpected connection or damage-related problems during the process.

You will also find multiple network de-embed and reference plane offset, e.g., for fixtures elimination. Save setups; usefully with user options at recall to include or exclude settings, calibration, and current measurement data. The software also supports data and trace export as raw ab-wave, calibrated .csv, or Touchstone (RI, DB, and MA formats). Likewise, it is possible to import Touchstone V1 or V2 of any span or points spacing.

For existing PicoVNA owner/users, the PicoVNA 5 application will unlock new hardware functionality via a boot-load embedded software update. A nominal charge is made in local currency for this update via an in-application internet purchase.

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