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A few years ago, we sent the devices in our 4.4 GHz scalar network analyzer product combo to the editors of QST magazine for a review. They received the USB-SA44B and USB-TG44A in brand-new, just-off-the-manufacturing-line condition, and we were really excited to get some feedback from such veterans in the field.

4.4 GHz scalar network analyzer from Signal Hound

USB-SA44B and USB-TG44A devices from Signal Hound

We anxiously waited. And then we waited some more. But before we knew it things like bug fixes and product development dominated our day-to-day actions at work, and the anxiety of receiving the feedback waned a bit. As we continued our progression in enhancing our products and devices, we began to realize that there were sometimes some undesirable performance issues with the TG-series tracking generators. We wondered if, possibly, this factored into the delay from QST magazine… 

Needless to say, we were a bit concerned.

Fast-forward a couple years to the summer of 2015 when a marketing brainstorm session brought back the issue of the nonexistent QST review. Curiosity got the best of us, so we decided to ask the publication what ever happened to the review.

It turns out that our concerns were valid. Our contact at QST told us that some issues with our early software and the instability of our tracking generator made it difficult to complete the review. Over time the devices were essentially forgotten about in the daily activities of the busy magazine. We were in fact told that our devices were collecting dust in an office closet somewhere, headed to an upcoming surplus sale.


Not what we wanted to hear. Maybe not totally unexpected given the circumstances, but definitely not something we wanted to hear. Being somewhat prepared for a response like this, we were waiting with an ace up our sleeves.

The name of this ace? Spike.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Spike is our new spectrum analyzer and device control software created not only to enhance the feature set of our existing software, but to increase the overall stability of our devices as well. Spike launched just over a year ago to much fanfare (well, within the Signal Hound community anyways), and the response since then has been overwhelmingly positive. After our inquiry we discovered that the reviewers at QST hadn’t yet attempted to run our devices with the new software, so we were quick to request another shot at a review, this time running their devices along with the latest version of our Spike software. 

The publication was nice enough to attempt another review of the hardware, and they were curious if the hardware needed any updates (after all, it had been a few years). We told them that the devices were good to go as is, and that they just needed to download and install the latest version of Spike. 

And just like that, we were waiting once again…

Third Second Time’s a Charm

This time, however, the outcome was much different. Thanks to Spike, not only were our devices and software working perfectly in tandem this round, but the results of the review were outstanding. I can’t spoil the article for you, but I can tell you that the reviewer put the devices through a number of experiments and configurations (including great details on measuring return loss), and we are definitely happy with the conclusion. It’s nice to see our products tested by knowledgeable experts who really know how to leverage all that our devices are capable of.

Signal Hound 4.4 GHz SNA review in QST magazine

QST reviews our 4.4 GHz scalar network analyzer

We’ve spoken with a number of people who have had a positive impact after upgrading their software to Spike, and QST is no different. 

If you’re interested in getting QST magazine, you’ll need to subscribe [Update 2016.12.26: QST gave us permission to post the article on our website. You can download a PDF of the article here]. If you already subscribe or have the publication, the review is found on pages 55-60 of the February 2016 issue.

And, if you happen to be running Signal Hound devices and haven’t yet switched to Spike, download and try it. After all, it is free.