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Advice on pre-amp for 8510C

Question asked by samtsitrin on Jul 15, 2013

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. 
83020A which gives 1W output and a gain of 30db, this amp is pretty expensive and after asking a question on this forum another poster suggested we try a pre-amp on port 2 as a possible solution. However he was unsure of the parameters and potential models that would work with 8510C.

Has anyone had to deal with this in the past? Any advice on connecting a pre-amp to 8510C and whether you think this will work? 
the previous forum posting can be viewed here
Help on Chosing an Amplifier for 8510C and understanding Amp parameters 
, where I explained more about the experiment.

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