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A Guide To Spectrum Analyzers - What You Need To Know

By: Low Jeremy

Among the more well known brands of spectrum analyzers include Agilent, Standford Research, Avcom, BK Precision, Advantest, California Instruments, IFR, Instek, Marconi, Noisecom, Protek, Aeroflex, Rohde & Schwarz, Wayne Kerr, Telecom, W & G Instruments, Dranetz, Hameg, Wavetek and Tektronix. But even if these are great brands and their manufacturers try to come up with the highest quality spectrum analyzer possible, eventually they will suffer from minor glitches to major problems.

Generally, a spectrum analyzer is a device that measures and analyzes signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. The analyzer divides into parts signal and splits them into an amplitude component and a frequency component. You can find a variety of spectrum analyzers in the market. You have the subaudio, audio, and radio-frequency analyzers. You can also find spectrum analyzers that are intended to measure microwave and optical signals.

Aside from the kind of signals it measures, a spectrum analyzer can also be divided into analog, digital or hybrid. Digital spectrum analyzers usually handle more complex analysis and are used mainly with Fast Fourier Transform or FFT. Digital analyzers are able to transform the electrical or optical signals into components that are much smaller and a lot simpler. The differences of each model can be traced on the bandwidth range, sweep rates, frequency, and resolution.

Even before you buy a spectrum analyzer it is truly important that you conduct a thorough research on the various models. Since these devices do not come cheap, it would be best to determine which one is right for your application. It is best to read and study the machine's features, images and specs and if possible conduct some trial tests with the spectrum analyzer to see if it is running and to see if it will be able to handle all your needs.

Meanwhile, when you start to notice that the measurements of your spectrum analyzer is way off that what it should be, you better bring your unit fin for recalibrations. You need to look for companies that perform calibrating, repairing and refurbishing of spectrum analyzers. There are several of them on the internet. And to ensure that you get the best service you should only rely on the services of experts. There are a couple of companies that comply with strict ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 17025 registration levels making them more than adept in performing repair works on your spectrum analyzers. When looking for such companies it is also best to study their turnaround policies and other services like 24-hour shipping of finished units.

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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About The Author, Low Jeremy


Low Jeremy maintains http://Spectrum.ArticlesForReprint.com. This content is provided by Low Jeremy. It may be used only in its entirety with all links included.

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