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USB spectrum analyzer, next chapter

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, Nov 16, 2011.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Ok, so here I am in need of a somewhat portable spectrum analyzer that
    covers the whole EMC range. Not just part of it like the Aaronia
    handhelds. There's the ones from TTi but they are based on some sort of
    PDA which is kind of long in the tooth by now. USB would be better.

    The only decent candidate I could find was one that was recently
    mentioned on the MSP430 Yahoo group:

    http://signalhound.com/

    They even make a tracking gen for it. This analyzer doesn't seem to have
    any elaborate analog signal procesing, they just calculate the image out
    in software. Not sure how good that works in the real world and that's
    why I am asking.

    Does anyone have this SignalHound and can share their experience? Or
    heard reports from someone else who has it? And what if you don't
    provide the "required" screaming 2GHz computer but want to use the li'l
    netbook that only has a slow Atom processor?
     
  2. Andrew Holme

    Andrew Holme Guest

    There was a generally favourable review in the September 2011 RadCom (RSGB
    magazine) which only listed one negative: apparently wide band sweep can
    take several seconds to complete, which could be a problem when making
    certain types of adjustments.
     
  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yes, I've read it. That's the review they have stored on the above web
    site. So I wanted to see if there was a 2nd opinion :)
     
  4. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Just remembered that Nico Coesel had mentioned it here. Nico, did you
    buy it?
     
  5. Someone else too. It does look like a decent analyzer for rough EMC
    measurements.
    There is an API so you can do custom programming of measurements. Which
    you'd probably want to to for EMC.

    Someone pointed out the phase noise(or something related) isn't all that
    good.

    Cheers
     
  6. Joerg

    Joerg Guest


    Pre-compliance is all I need. I don't know what the TSA security folks
    will say when they see it in my carry-on. It sure would be better than
    hoping the client got their rental analyzer in time, and not always
    knowing which one they got. This way they'd only have to rent antennas
    and those are nearly always the same.

    That's great but programming isn't my turf. I've done some but can't say
    I'd ever enjoyed it.

    Bram (ham radio call sign SM0FLY) seemed to be quite happy. Further
    below in this thread but not in English:

    http://www.zendamateur.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=5662&sid=b179aec5f1c528e0602fb5833d21779b&start=15

    On page 2 he has a PDF attachment (it won't link to here) and it doesn't
    look all that bad WRT phase noise. Anyhow, I just sent him an email, see
    if he still likes it after using it for a year.
     
  7. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Nope. I went for an old junker from Advantest and patched it up. It
    still cost me about the same but people here had some doubts about the
    specs of the Signalhound. I also considered building one of the many
    homebrew devices floating around the internet but I soon figured that
    building a proper spectrum analyser is not easy at all hence the steep
    prices you pay for new and used ones.
     
  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Ok then, I might still bite. The old Advantest would wrinkle up the
    shirts and trousers in the carry-on, and give me a back pain :)

    What I really like are things such as their harmonics display. That
    would have helped with many PFC efforts, big time. In that mode it hops
    from one harmonic to the next and displays all of them on one screen.
    The large analyzers usually don't have stuff like that.

    So far I haven't seen any other USB-operated device like this, at least
    not this small.
     
  9. Baron

    Baron Guest

    Joerg Inscribed thus:
    Likely written by someone with a vested interest !
     
  10. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    That I don't think. He is a British ham radio operator, and also a bit
    far away for vested interest. However, I am surprised that the device
    seems to be less popular than I thought. I've asked in a German NG as
    well and it appears nobody there knew it.

    I've emailed them asking about the computer requirements, to see if
    it'll work on a netbook that is slower than they recommend (when
    accepting slower scans). Mentioned my intent to buy, yet no response
    from their sales folks all day.
     
  11. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    They can search me or ask me all sorts of questions. That's no problem
    because I usually arrive early enough. What would not be so cool is if
    they'd want to take it away.
     
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Should have said "nucular", then it would have been waived right on
    through :)
     
  13. Guest

    Isn't that why they were renamed to MRIs?
     
  14. At Birmingham Airport (UK):

    "And what is *that* sir?"

    "Uh... Equipment"

    "Equipment?"

    "Yes... I can go into detail if you like!"

    ".... Uh, no thats OK. Carry on."
     
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