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A new system and method for characterizing biological tissues in vitro and liquids in the VHF and UHF ranges is described. Bulk acoustic properties such as the sound velocity, attenuation, acoustic impedance, and density are determined in reflection and transmission modes, with the biological tissue/liquid specimen sandwiched between the parallel surfaces of synthetic silica glass buffer rods having ZnO piezoelectric film transducers on their opposite ends. The method is an ultrasonic transmission line comparison method wherein the reference medium is distilled water, for which all acoustic properties are known. Measurement errors due to diffraction losses in the acoustic media and to mode conversion at the buffer/sample interfaces are corrected. Special techniques for achieving precise parallelism between the two rod surfaces, for movement to adjust the gap distance, and for signal processing are employed in order to obtain high measurement accuracy. Attenuation and reflection coefficients are determined using the gated pulse echo method. The sound velocity is determined with the gated pulse interference method by sweeping the ultrasonic frequency, or by changing the gap distance. Results of measurements on castor oil, cottonseed oil, silicone oil, and bovine liver, in the frequency range from 10 to 500 MHz, are presented and compared with results of earlier reports.