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Doing two things at the same time with a PNA

Question asked by b.hall on Apr 29, 2014
Latest reply on May 9, 2014 by daras
I'm not sure whether this is a silly idea or not, so I would be grateful for some advice before I look more carefully at it.

I have a PNA 8363B with A.07.50 firmware (I know, it's out of date). I have written software to perform S-parameter measurements using SCPI and IEEE. This sets the frequency points (stepped scan), IFBW, turns correction off, single trigger sweeping, and a few other things. It's not terribly complicated. It does not make any use of the PNA display.

Now, quite independently, I find it useful to have the PNA set up for a time-domain display. This involves a linear frequency sweep with more points, a different IFBW, a different calset, continuous trigger, etc. Everything is set up manually on the PNA (no home-made software here).

What I would like to know now is whether it is feasible to run my software (a modified version) alternately with the time-domain measurements. That is, to set up the time-domain configuration, then make a measurement with my software, then go back to time domain, and so on. 

In short, I am wondering whether external software can be designed to take over the PNA to run a measurement sequence then return the PNA to it's previous state.

I note in the documentation that there is the concept of more than one 'channel', which seems to hold all the configuration info. So it seems that I might be able to switch between two channels to do what I want: one for S-parameter measurements and one for the time domain.  

Could it really be that simple?