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Help on Chosing an Amplifier for 8510C and understanding Amp parameters

Question asked by samtsitrin on Jul 10, 2013
Latest reply on Jul 18, 2013 by drkirkby
Hello everyone. I am a complete newbie here!
We are using an old 8510C to send microwaves through photonic crystals and are getting a really low signal when we switch to using a coaxial antenna as receiver. The max power at output for this VNA is 25dbm (is that the same as 316mW) 

Some collaborators suggested an amplifier to amplify the signal. 
Browsing the amplifiers , I found for example these two models:
83018A which gives 125mW and a gain of 27db (cheap!)
and
83020A which gives 1W output and a gain of 30db (Expensive)

So my questions are: It seems we are paying for Watts of output so that's the parameter to pay attention to?
If we go with the cheaper model , does that mean that our max VNA signal of 316mW will be amplified by an additional 125mW and that's it?

Please help, since I am a physics student and not an engineer and any words of wisdom are appreciated...  

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