Sinusoidal jitter is produced by simply modulating a clock frequency sinusoidally with a given frequency and amplitude. But this can be expressed as phase jitter, frequency jitter, or cycle-to-cycle jitter, rms or peak, absolute units, or normalized to the base clock frequency. Jitter using other waveforms requires calculating and downloading these waveforms to an arbitrary waveform generator, and helping the user manage relationships among phase jitter crest factor, frequency jitter crest factor, and cycle-to-cycle jitter (CCJ) crest factor.

Software was developed for managing these relationships, automatically configuring the generator, and saving test results documentation. Tighter management of clock jitter and jitter sensitivity is required by new codes that further extend the already high performance of space communication links, completely correcting symbol error rates higher than 10 percent, and therefore typically requiring demodulation and symbol synchronization hardware to operating at signal-to-noise ratios of less than one. To accomplish this, greater demands are also made on transmitter performance, and measurement techniques are needed to confirm performance. It was discovered early that sinusoidal jitter can be stepped on a grid such that one can connect points by constant phase jitter, constant frequency jitter, or constant cycle-cycle jitter. The tool automates adherence to a grid while also allowing adjustments off-grid. Also, the jitter can be set by the user on any dimension and the others are calculated. The calculations are all recorded, allowing the data to be rapidly plotted or re-plotted against different interpretations just by changing pointers to columns.

A key advantage is taking data on a carefully controlled grid, which allowed a single data set to be post-analyzed many different ways. Another innovation was building a software tool to provide very tight coupling between the generator and the recorded data product, and the operator’s worksheet. Together, these allowed the operator to sweep the jitter stimulus quickly along any of three dimensions and focus on the response of the system under test (response was jitter transfer ratio, or performance degradation to the symbol or codeword error rate). Additionally, managing multi-tone and noise waveforms automated a tedious manual process, and provided almost instantaneous decision-making control over test flow. The code was written in LabVlEW, and calls Agilent instrument drivers to write to the generator hardware.

This work was done by Chatwin Lansdowne and Adam Schlesinger of Johnson Space Center. MSC-24814-1

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