[time-nuts] OCXO Voltage Input?

Demian Martin demianm.pds at gmail.com
Sat Sep 6 12:31:15 EDT 2014

I have used an FM tuner pretty successfully to look at modulation and phase noise in oscillators. For a 10 MHz oscillator you will be looking at the 10th harmonic so modulation and phase noise is multiplied and much easier to see. You do need a square wave output to get a lot of harmonics. Sinewave outputs will be pretty low at the 10th harmonic if the oscillator is working well. This does work and I have tried it  both on 10 MHz and 5 MHz oscillators with some success. It's not a replacement for a real phase noise analyzer but its way cheaper and adequate to spot real problems.

The math to transform the output of a tuner into quantifiable phase noise was more than I had patience for.

The low frequency limit is in the 5-10 Hz range. The AFC of a good tuner will eliminate most everything below that frequency.

More details here http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/blogs/1audio/983-fm-tuner-jitter-analysis.html 

>Subject: Re: [time-nuts] OCXO Voltage Input? (Bob Camp)
>Message-ID: <CCC8BC9E-C7AF-4965-88C5-D3D21B41DC98 at n1k.org>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252


>Yes indeed, as you go below 1 Hz (or 1 radian/sec) all the things that “help” you roll off wise now hurt you. If you are worried about sidebands inside 1 Hz, you need to change a sign here and there. The >only thing that saves you is that the noise floor is now coming up pretty fast. 

>If you modulate a crystal oscillator, the loaded frequency of the crystal is changed to accomplish the modulation. When your FM swings 100 Hz high, your crystal is tuned 100 Hz high. When your >modulation swings 100 Hz low, your crystal is tuned 100 Hz low. The Q has no impact in this case. No I did not believe it worked that way until I did it …. Since then I’ve built a *lot* of VCXO’s with >modulation bandwidths >> than their crystal Q bandwidths. The biggest problem comes from crystal spurs rather than crystal Q.


>On Sep 6, 2014, at 6:09 AM, Magnus Danielson <magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org> wrote:

> Bob,
> On 09/06/2014 03:00 AM, Bob Camp wrote:
>> Hi
>> Oddly enough (and yes it is odd) you can modulate an oscillator well outside the crystal’s bandwidth. The bigger issue is that the EFC does not pull the crystal very far on a normal OCXO. The FM modulation index drops to very small numbers pretty fast as you go up in modulation frequency.
>> You typically only worry about modulation sidebands that are above the phase noise floor. Since phase modulation sidebands go down as 1/Fmod on an FM modulator (for small modulation index) they get pretty low pretty fast.
>> If your OCXO has an EFC range of 0.1 ppm at 10 MHz, it will swing 1 Hz p-p (+/- 0.5 Hz) for the full EFC voltage. At 5 Hz, you have a modulation index of 0.1. Of course if you are multiplying to 10 GHz, the index could be quite large. This gets back to the “this all depends on what you are doing”.
>> If your EFC is 5V, a reasonably quiet signal would have noise below 0.5 mV. That’s already 80 db down. A very quiet supply should be in the < 5 nV / sqrt(Hz) range.  That would put the noise down 180 db.
>> It’s unlikely that your OCXO has a phase noise spec of -180 dbc / Hz 
>> at 10 Hz. We may already be done …
>> To bring all the numbers together:
>> At 1 Hz the modulation will do a sideband X db down at your desired frequency.
>> You will drop 20 db by the time you get to 10 Hz simply due to the 1/F FM->PM.
> Since the oscillator integrate frequency into phase, you have a 1/(2*pi*f) factor. The typical LaPlace model for an oscillator is Ko/s, where Ko is the input sensitivity of the oscillator.
> A more complete model needs to include the Q of the crystal, naturally, unless you are "in-band" of that Q where it has less drastic properties.
>> Bottom line - it’s not all that hard to get a quiet enough EFC voltage.
> Agreed.
> I've found that thinking about systematic noises of low frequency (i.e. comparator frequency and overtones) as well as loop dynamics is what one should think about. Lack of DAC resolution hurts.
> Cheers,
> Magnus
> _______________________________________________
> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com To unsubscribe, go to 
> https://www.febo.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/time-nuts
> and follow the instructions there.

More information about the time-nuts mailing list