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What You Need To Know About Spectrum Analyzers

A portable spectrum analyzer is a passive receiver that allows the display of the signal in the form of easily recognizable data. Spectrum analyzers also display raw and crude signal information that may include valuable data on voltage, power, and frequency. The portable spectrum analyzer can also provide the user with a clear and highly accurate window that has the ability to monitor the whole frequency spectrum.


The main use of spectrum analyzers is the analysis of the electrical signals that run through or are being transmitted by a system or device. They are widely used in a variety of circumstances where design, manufacturing or repair of electrical systems or devices is required. By analyzing the different characteristics of the signal once it has gone through a certain system or device, the data taken can be used to determine the performance, find defects on the product and repair the problem.


Different applications available today allow a signal to have several different characteristics. One example is in the communications department. Before sending information such as those that contain audio data, the signals should first be modulated onto a higher frequency carrier.


Every modulated signal has unique characteristics depending on the type of modulation process used. Spectrum analyzers provide a visual comparison of different modulated signals in order to allow for calibration of signals. Giving signals visual characteristics and understanding what specific signals look like allow for better comparisons and analysis.


When looking for good portable spectrum analyzers, established product specifications can help in choosing the right one for the job. An example of such specifications includes important physical aspects of spectrum analyzers such as mounting and form factors. For these, choices include handheld models, the portable or bench top varieties, and the fixed models. Other things to consider when choosing a spectrum analyzer include instrument or PC based units.


There are also important frequency and modulation performance specifications to consider when searching for portable spectrum analyzers. This includes the sensitivity of the frequency range, frequency accuracy, as well as frequency resolution. It is vital that a spectrum analyzer you choose should be able to cover the fundamental frequencies of the application to which it will be used for.


Frequency accuracy is often listed under the frequency readout accuracy table and can be differentiated as the sum of several sources of errors which include frequency-reference inaccuracy, span error, and RBW center-frequency error. Frequency resolution is an important specification when trying to measure signals that are close together and need to be apparent from each other.


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