The brand-new RFS8 8 GHz eight-port switch is available for purchase!→

Spike™ is Signal Hound’s free cross-platform spectrum analysis measurement application. When a customer purchases a Signal Hound spectrum analyzer, Spike is the main application they will use to control their instruments, and the software can be used with any Signal Hound spectrum analyzer.

Spike is a front-end measurement application built on top of each of our device’s programming interfaces. We expose a programming layer for each device, allowing you to make low level headless measurements such as sweeping and I/Q data acquisition. Spike builds on this data acquisition and provides measurements and displays through a desktop application that can run on Windows or Linux operating systems. It provides several industry standard measurements and utilities for performing general purpose RF analysis.

What sort of measurements can one perform in Spike?

The most used measurements in Spike are for standard spectrum analysis. This includes standard frequency domain measurements and plots. Characterizing the frequency response of your device or system is such a common and important task that many of our customers purchase our instruments to do just this.

If you need more advanced spectrum analysis measurements, Spike can help you troubleshoot intermittent, short duration transient events using the real-time and zero-span measurements. These measurements provide you with the ability to visualize extremely short duration events in the frequency and time domain. Again, very important measurements that are now industry standard, and we have been providing them in Spike for almost a decade now.

Spike also provides several demodulation capabilities. With the proliferation of wireless devices and the advancing communications standards, Spike is continually adapting to our customers’ needs. It provides general purpose analog and digital demodulation measurements, as well as demodulation capabilities for several commercial wireless standards such as LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

In addition, Spike offers many targeted spectrum analysis measurements catering to niche industries and tasks. These include measuring harmonics, testing emissions against spectrum masks or EMC pre-compliance limits, and characterizing phase noise or noise figure, as well as other measurement capabilities that may not fit into specific categories, such as interference hunting and mapping.

We have spent significant time in Spike ensuring the full measurement capabilities of the instruments are exposed. For Signal Hound, this means Spike must support sweep speeds from 1MHz/sec to 1THz/sec, digital demodulation of bandwidths from 250khz to 160MHz, and capabilities such as the SM200’s internal GPS to provide maximum value to the customer.

As you can see, this free Spike software covers many measurements, both commonly used and niche. We also want our customers to understand the limitations of Spike, which primarily targets the commercial test and measurement industry. We work with several companies that develop software platforms targeting specific applications. We support these 3rd-party platforms by providing additional hardware and software features. We treat these 3rd-party developers just like any other customer, taking feedback and improving our products so they can better serve their customers. Signal Hound is committed to developing new features and improving existing ones. Our goal with Spike is to continually evolve the platform to meet customers’ needs.

About the Author

Clint Burgess
Clint Burgess

With a passion for technology and innovation, Clint brings years of communication and relationship-building experience to his role as Signal Hound's marketing director. Even more than his enjoyment of creating and driving strategic marketing initiatives, Clint loves working with the good people of the RF test and measurement industry.

View Clint's profile on LinkedIn.