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A system has been developed for measuring the complex permittivities of low loss ceramic materials at frequencies from 2 to 20 GHz and over a temperature range 20–1000 °C. The measurement technique involves a modified version of the conventional cavity perturbation method. Details of the design and fabrication of the circular cylindrical cavity and the input and output coupling transmission lines are discussed. Particular features related to high‐temperature operation and temperature cycling are described. Data are presented for an illustrative measurement of the complex microwave dielectric properties of NaCl single crystals between 20 and 400 °C. The experimental results are in excellent agreement with theoretical models. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.