This was a team project which aimed to evaluate the possibility and performance of a RF signal generator built with off-the-shelf components. This project has both the hardware the software. The hardware part includes a frequency synthesizer, filter array, modulation circuit, power controller and micro-controller. The software part includes micro-controller code, CPLD code and a control interface on PC. The accomplished prototype has an output frequency ranging from 150 kHz to 3 GHz with 0.1 Hz step. The phase noise of the 2.2 GHz carrier frequency is -84 dBc/Hz at 1 KHz offset and -93 dBc/Hz at 10 KHz offset. The output amplitude can be controlled from -130 dBm to 20 dBm with 0.1 dB step.


Tools used to design the hardware

  • Agilent ADS: For the design of microstrip filters
  • Cadence Capture / OrCAD: For the design of PCB schematic and layout

Fig. 1. System block diagram
Fig. 1. System block diagram

Fig. 2. Photo of the prototype
Fig. 2. Photo of the prototype



  • Device: Atmel Atmega88PA
  • IDE: AVR Studio
  • Language: C


  • Device: XILINX XC995144XL
  • IDE: XILINX ISE Design Suite
  • Language: Verilog


  • IDE: Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Language: C#

Zhengyu Peng

Ph.D., Senior Radar Systems Engineer @ Aptiv


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