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Agilent spectrum and signal analyser series

Posted: 19 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:spectrum analyser  signal analyser  interpretation display 

The spectrum analyser was originally designed to look at the output of radar transmitters. A pulse radar signal is a train of RF pulses with a constant repetition rate, constant pulse width and shape, and constant amplitude. By looking at the characteristic spectra, all-important properties of the pulsed signal such as pulse width, occupied bandwidth, duty cycle, peak and average power etc., can be measured easily and with high accuracy. Perhaps an even more important application of the spectrum analyser is the detection of transmitter misfiring and frequency pulling effects. This application note is intended as an aid for the operation of the spectrum analyser and the interpretation of the displayed pulse spectra.

The formation of a square wave from a fundamental sine wave and its odd harmonics is a good way to start an explanation of the spectral display for nonsinusoidal waveforms. You will recall perhaps at one time plotting a sine wave and its odd harmonics on a sheet of graph paper, then adding up all the instantaneous values. If there were enough harmonics plotted at their correct amplitudes and phases, the resultant waveform began to approach a square wave. The fundamental frequency determined the square wave rate, and the amplitudes of the harmonics varied inversely to their number.

A rectangular pulse is merely an extension of this principle, and by changing the relative amplitudes and phases of harmonics, both odd and even, we can plot an infinite number of wave shapes. The spectrum analyser effectively separates waveforms and presents the fundamental and each harmonic contained in the waveform.

View the PDF document for more information.

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