Tektronix spectrum analyzers feature real-time analysis

-January 25, 2013

Tektronix, Inc. recently announced an expansion of its real-time spectrum analyzers that it claims offers the lowest cost combined with the industry’s most advanced signal discovery and triggering capabilities. Earlier this month, I spoke with Matt Maxwell, Product Manager, Tektronix real-time signal analyzers for a sneak peak at these new instruments.

Included in the expansion of the RSA5000 real-time spectrum analyzer series are new 26.5 GHz and 15 GHz models along with the recently-announced 110 MHz bandwidth option that is now available on all Tektronix real-time spectrum analyzers. Some applications include EMI diagnostics on mobile phones and mil/aerospace systems.

The key specs for this new RSA5126A instruments are:
  • Frequency range: 1 Hz to 26.5 GHz
  • Displayed average noise level (DANL) @ 10 kHz: -129 dBm/Hz
  • DANL w/preamp @ 26 GHz: -155 dBm/Hz
  • Phase noise @ 1 GHz: -113 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz
  • Bandwidth: up to 110 MHz

The new analyzers also provide core signal analyzer capabilities, including general purpose digital and analog modulation analysis for most popular modulation formats (option); pulsed signal analysis to quickly characterize pulsed signals (such as military, radar, EW, and commercial radars) and  27 different vector and scalar measurements for up to 10,000 pulses; core spectrum analyzer measurements including ACLR, channel power, occupied bandwidth, and phase noise; as well as spurious measurements and EMI pre-compliance sweeps.

To achieve real-time signal processing, the instrument digitizes the signal and displays it on the screen. Any signal that is seen on the screen can be triggered on with the Tektronix Trigger on This! capability. To use it like a conventional spectrum analyzer, you can reduce the resolution bandwidth, which allows you to see further down into the noise. With a frequency range up to 26GHz, the new spectrum analyzers allow users to sweep in steps of about 100MHz.

As an application example, the instruments can be used to analyze and store Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and microwave oven signals that operate the same bandwidth. Typically, microwave ovens are not shielded well and use cheap oscillators, which can cause issues (see video).

Maxwell pointed out that the FCC and other spectrum regulatory bodies have their hands full to make sure a device doesn’t cause interference in parts of the spectrum that it wasn’t intended to transmit in. Because these signals are bursting and hopping, it can be hard to find with traditional spectrum analyzer. “We’ve heard of cases where a WLAN device is interfering with a radar at an airport. In one instance, they first became aware of the problem when planes would disappear from the radar screen!” says Maxwell. He observes that this illustrates the fact that there is a problem due to explosive growth. And, older generations of tools that use sweeping technology and assume CW or 30-40yr old analog signals are no longer sufficient, so we now need something that looks at a wider bandwidth in real time.

Pricing & Availability
RSA5000 26.5 GHZ and 15 GHz models available now. U.S. MSRP starts at $47,900 for the 26.5 GHz model.

More information:
Product web page

Related Articles:
How to test modern radars
Need for EMC testing benefits spectrum analyzer market
Portable spectrum analyzers track elusive signals

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