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Low-cost portable USB spectrum analyser packs new features

Posted: 06 Nov 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Tektronix  spectrum analyser  USB  signal analysis suite 

Tektronix Inc. has unveiled what it says is a line of affordable spectrum analysers based on a USB architecture. The RSA306 supports a frequency range from 9kHz to 6.2GHz, 40MHz real time bandwidth and weighs about 0.54kg.

The RSA306 puts the power of a Tektronix real-time spectrum analyser within reach for the entire technical team, the company stated. In addition, Tektronix is providing its SignalVu-PC software at no cost, giving open access to powerful signal analysis tools that have previously been only available with the purchase of expensive bench instruments.

[In related news: RSA5000 spectrum analyser line expanded]


The RSA306 is Tektronix' first USB spectrum analyser and will be joined by similar instruments taking advantage of the availability of affordable desktop computers and laptops with sufficient processing power to handle complex test and measurement analysis along with high-speed USB 3.0 interfaces. At its introductory price point, the RSA306 is a fraction of the cost of a conventional spectrum analyser while offering comparable or even superior sensitivity, accuracy and dynamic range, Tektronix said.

The company also stated that the device's real-time processing capability is at least 1,000 times faster than spectrum analysers from other major suppliers. It works seamlessly with SignalVu-PC, which Tektronix describes as the most complete signal analysis suite for a USB instrument that leverages seven generations of real-time capability improvements. An open API allows customers to use their own custom Windows-based interface such as Matlab or Python to manipulate raw data coming from the instrument.

The RSA306 is designed to address customer RF test needs in a number of market segments including budget-conscious RF design and development, mobile radio network installation and maintenance, interference hunters and university lab classes.

More and more designs are including RF components such as inexpensive WiFi modules, dramatically increasing the need for spectrum analysis. Now labs working on wireless-enabled designs can afford to give everyone on the design team the RF signal analysis tools they require. For field applications, the RSA306 offers the convenience, analysis capabilities and user-friendly operation engineers and technicians need to get a fast handle on network health. Full spectrum analyser measurement capabilities provide far more versatility than the limited pass/fail of a dedicated tester.

Likewise, with its compact size and light weight, the RSA306 easily fits in a backpack while offering the sensitivity needed to quickly discover signals as short at 100us. This is key for spectrum managers and regulatory agencies who need a basic spectrum analyser and interference hunter in the field. In addition, for a relatively small investment, learning institutions can help students become better RF and microwave engineers by giving them the hands-on experience with spectrum analysers like what they will use once they enter the workforce. Vector analysis, frequency and phase trends, and other tools allow educators to teach concepts well beyond basic frequency and amplitude.

The RSA306 is available through the global network of Tektronix distributors and partners for $3,490.

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