A fast spectrum analyzer no longer means an expensive analyzer

In our new Tech Brief, 7 Reasons You’re Paying Too Much for Your Spectrum Analyzer, we discuss how a company (or individual) may be spending too much money on RF test equipment for features they may be able to find in lower-cost devices.

It sweeps how fast?

For many applications sweep speed is of critical importance. For example, spectrum monitoring situations often require broad frequency sweeps in search of a variety of signal situations. Signal Hound’s $11,900 SM200A offers an industry leading 1 THz/sec sweep speed at any of its resolution bandwidth settings ≥30 kHz (see table below). Covering 1 GHz to 20 GHz in just 19 milliseconds allows for a constant sweep of the airwaves. Best of all, this can be done automatically, with no operator present, over long periods of time. Simply define a baseline and any signals that violate it will be logged to a CSV file in real-time. This maximizes both efficiency and security, as data is preserved even if the computer shuts down.

Signal Hound USB-SA44BSignal Hound BB60CSignal Hound SM200A
Sweep speeds140 MHz/s ≥ 10 kHz RBW24 GHz/s ≥ 30 kHz RBW1 THz/s ≥ 30 kHz RBW

In production environments, throughput can mean everything. The cost of test equipment can become insignificant as volumes increase. However, with the need to constantly drive down costs, saving money on test equipment may also allow for more production lines.

Write code, get results

The Signal Hound spectrum analyzer architecture also allows for an additional technique to further increase speed performance. In many cases, the instrument software can consume computer processor overhead. The added use of the Spike (GUI) program may have a small impact on overall test times. In cases where fractions of a second are critical, Signal Hound lets users bypass the Spike software application. This allows for direct device API programming for even faster measurements. Signal Hound spectrum analyzers can be programmed in C++, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Python, C# or any language that has C bindings.

Increase your measurement speed further with direct device API programming of the Signal Hound spectrum analyzer

If the idea of getting this level of performance for this price is enticing, you should check out the other reasons you may be paying too much for your spectrum analyzer. We’ve got 7 reasons, in fact, in this handy guide – 7 Reasons You’re Paying Too Much for Your Spectrum Analyzer. Download the guide, read through it, and if you have any questions be sure to post them in the comments!


Want to see all 7 reasons?

Listen, we understand that it’s hard to believe that a lower-cost spectrum analyzer can provide high-quality RF analysis data – it sounds almost too good to be true. There are a few things that make sense, though, when you understand the reasons why our devices cost less. This tech brief helps clarify these reasons.

Download the Tech Brief now (4 MB PDF)