Spectrum analyser sets new price/performance threshold

3rd November 2014
Source: Tektronix
Posted By : Mick Elliott
Spectrum analyser sets new price/performance threshold

There has been a shift in the spectrum analyser market. Customers are demanding more and more instantaneous bandwidth and frequency range which is pushing up the price of these instruments. So much so that some customer can’t afford them – they are not willing to pay the premium for a high-end instrument.

Trouble is they have difficulty finding the right signal analyser at the low end of the market.

Tektronix set itself the task of developing an affordable, high performance spectrum analyser and today (November 4) it has unveiled a new class of spectrum analysers based on a USB architecture with prices starting at €2,810 or £2,340.

The new RSA306 features a broad 9 kHz to 6.2 GHz frequency range, 40 MHz real time bandwidth and weighs in at just 1.2 pounds. Tektronix’s SignalVu-PC software comes free and it offers advanced analysis capabilities for such applications as budget-conscious research and development, mobile radio network installation, interference hunting and university level lab classes.

“It puts the power of a Tektronix real-time spectrum analyzer within reach for the entire technical team. 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,” says Dean Miles, Senior EMEA Technical Marketing Manager at Tektronix.

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.

The instrument works seamlessly with SignalVu-PC, 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.

Tektronix sees a host of different customers wanting to get their hands on the RSA306.

Budget-Conscious RF Design and Development will be able to widen access to RF signa analysis tools with the new instrument. More and more designs are including RF components such as inexpensive Wi-Fi modules, thus dramatically increasing the need for spectrum analysis.

The new spectrum analyser will also target Mobile Radio Network Installation and Maintenance including field applications where 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.

Interference Hunters will find the lightweight instrument easily fits in a backpack while offering the sensitivity needed to quickly discover signals as short at 100 µs. This is key for Spectrum Managers and Regulatory Agencies who need a basic spectrum analyser and interference hunter in the field.

Tektronix also expects demand from the educational sector where for a relatively small investment, learning institutions can now help students become better RF and microwave engineers by giving them the hands-on experience with spectrum analysers that they are likely to 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 now through the global network of Tektronix distributors and partners. Prices start at €2,810 or £2,340.

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