After lengthy discussions with Rich, Alastair and I have decided that the best course of action (in the interest of time) is to order 4 aLIGO RFPD boards, modified to make room for standoffs so that we can mount it to the box we will design.
Rich seemed confident that our application falls within the capabilities of the board as it is, with the appropriate changes to the components. I have not done the LISO modeling to figure out what needs changing, but I will get on that immediately. I realize that part of the plan was for me to learn to use Altium. I am not opposed to this, but it seemed that holding up the entire experiment so that I could do this in order to reproduce something that already exists was a little silly. I will still start playing with the program to get a feel for it. This way, we can decide if changes need to be made to the prototype boards, and I will have the know-how to do it when we go to finalize the design of the general-purpose PDs.
We are planning to use Front Panel Express's online applet to make the packaging. This is the company that makes all the LIGO panels. We will have BNC out for DC, and two SMA outs for the two RF readouts (of which we will only use one for the gyro applications), and some sort of standard power in jack. These will all be connected to the board via SMP adapters or what-have-you. We should also put an LED on it for style points. We can design the box ASAP and then decide how we want to stuff the board while we wait for the boards and boxes to show up.
Is there anything fundamentally wrong with this plan?
Let's see a schematic and what connectors go on the box before making anything. What about the noise and dynamic range spec?