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Why VNA calibration and verification kits are so highly priced.

Question asked by theamberco on Aug 15, 2013
Latest reply on Aug 16, 2013 by Dr_joel
Hi, just out of curiosity I dont know if anyone would bother to answer this but the first time I looked at a calibration kit and the price at I was shocked. Actually from the outside the materials were a few look like steel connectors, foam, a nice wooden box. I can only imagine how precise has to be the tolerances, grade of materials for repeated use and probably that is where the high price comes from or maybe is because of its uniqueness. Probably they are hand made by experts I just dont know. What kind of special equipment is necessary to make this kits, is there any ultra expensive materials inside and does Agilent makes them o some third party. 
A VNA is a state of the art electronics machine that must have precision mechanical parts inside as well and with its design complexity I feel they are not as highly priced as cal kits. 
Also I know some machines have a factory cal inside that can be recalled in case they is no standards available, of coarse measurements will have more uncertainties. But would it be possible to make a VNA totally self calibrating at the end of the cables maybe with the standards self contained in the VNA. Could this be more affordable and less cumbersome than it is now with the calibration and verification kits and procedures?
By the way I do love the wooden boxes I hope Agilent dont change them with plastic ones.  

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