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Signal Generator First to Offer High Performance in Small, Affordable Package

Device Combines 1 GHz Range with AC Coupled, Differential, and Digital Outputs Making it Ideal for Testing Both Digital and RF Systems

Austin, Texas, September 6, 2005, Signal Forge today released the first high-performance, digitally synthesized signal generator with an 800 MHz range, usable to 1 GHz, for under $1000. The Signal Forge 800 (SF800) features a dedicated digital output with programmable voltage levels for testing digital systems and integrated circuits. It also provides an AC coupled and a differential output for testing a wide range of wireless and radio frequency devices. The SF800 produces both sine waves and square waves across a frequency range of 1 KHz to 1 GHz, in 1 Hz increments. The small size and low price point, compared with other signal generators of comparable performance, makes the SF800 attractive to design and test engineers as well as field service engineers.

The numerous waveform modulation capabilities provided by the SF800 expand the applications for which it may be used. Waveform modulation capabilities include: frequency swept, with user-defined sweep rates, frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, and frequency shift keying (FSK), on/off keying (OOK), Shaped OOK, Asynchronous Shift Keying (ASK) and arbitrary modulation.

Unlike other low cost signal generators, the SF800 incorporates a low-noise, temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) which ensures a high level of precision and accuracy over a wide time span and temperature range. It also utilizes digitally synthesized signals and an embedded microprocessor which enable it to provide high quality signals, a rich feature set and the easy to use Wave Manager software for setup and operation.

The SF800 helps engineering managers address problems they have been struggling with for years: shorter product design cycles, the increasing cost of test and development tools, and budget limitations. The test and debug of circuit boards and integrated circuits (ICs) can account for as much as one-third to one-half of the entire design time. And it is the most unpredictable part of the schedule. One way to reduce test time is to run several tests systems simultaneously. Unfortunately, most high-performance signal generators are large and expensive making it difficult form most companies to do this. The small size—8.5in x 5.5in x 1.5in—and low price of the SF800 solves this problem.

“I decided to develop the SF800 after an early version proved itself in my own IC design lab,” said Steve Robalino, chief technical officer at Signal Forge. “To debug a 2 Gigabit/s Fiber Channel controller chip, I setup four test systems with two signal generators each and was able to find a design defect in a matter of days instead of weeks. I saved almost three months compared to previous debug efforts. In addition, I discovered a previously undetected bug in the physical layer (PHY) of the IC.”

A wide frequency range with a 1 Hz resolution and the waveform modulation features make the SF800 suitable for applications such as: characterizing narrow band communication systems, the IF and RF section of receivers and subsystems, and selected mobile and telemetry bands. For example, the SF800 may be used to test amplifiers for gain as well as for the 1dB compression point, and for testing the third-order intercept point (IP3) of WLAN, ISM, and Bluetooth radio systems. Other applications include: design margin testing of digital ICs and circuit boards; data acquisition system testing and oscilloscope clocking where a customized timebase is required for specific measurements; automotive electronics testing; determining the effect of oscillator drift on a circuit; examining the spectral response of circuits; FM CHIRP testing; and low cost manufacturing test

The Signal Forge 800 is priced at $985 and is available now. It may be purchased directly from the Signal Forge web site at: www.signalforge.com or by calling the company at 512-275-3733.

Company Background
Signal Forge, LLC was founded in 2004 by veterans of the semiconductor industry to develop and market high performance test equipment in small, affordable packages. The company takes an innovative approach to solving problems that the founders faced repeatedly in circuit board and IC design labs over the past 20 years—the need to accelerate a product development schedule on a limited budget.

Signal Forge uses a ‘design for cost and portability’ approach to its product designs. It’s first product, the Signal Forge 800 Signal Generator, achieves the company’s goal of a high-performance product in a small, affordable package.

Reader Contact Information:
Signal Forge Sales
Signal Forge, LLC ■ 2115 Saratoga Dr ■ Austin TX 78733
T 512.275.3733 ■ F 512.275.3735

Editor's Contact:
Dave Race
Signal Forge, LLC
T 512.275.3733 ext 55
F 512.275.3735

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Signal Forge  Phone: 512.275.3733   Fax: 512.275.3735
702 Crystal Mountain Drive Austin, TX 78733
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