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Test and Measurement Channel / Industry News

Handheld Tektronix spectrum analyzers use DPX to track elusive signals in the field

January 9, 2013
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Tektronix Inc., a leading innovator of signal generation and analysis solutions required for the microwave and RF industry, today announced the H500 and SA2500 Handheld Spectrum Analyzers that include DPX™ waveform image processor technology to provide a live RF view of the spectrum. With unique DPX technology along with built-in mapping and signal classification features in a compact, ruggedized package, the instruments are designed to allow spectrum regulators to efficiently manage and monitor spectrum in the field and hunt down elusive signals and interferers.   

Spectrum management is more difficult than ever with the rapid explosion of digital RF and wireless everywhere. Particularly tough are difficult-to-detect transients and signals that use time varying transmission techniques to evade detection. By color-coding events based on the rate of occurrence over thousands of spectrum captures per second, DPX technology provides insight into transients as brief as 125 μs with 100 percent probability of intercept. This offers a tremendous improvement over conventional swept analysis techniques.

“The H500 and SA2500 combine benchtop spectrum analyzer performance with ruggedized packaging resulting in a powerful and versatile tool ideal for almost any spectrum management assignment,” said Jim McGillivary, general manager, Source Analyzer Product Line, Tektronix. “But what makes these instruments truly revolutionary is our unique real-time DPX live RF spectrum display technology. No other instrument or technology offers such a practical, fast and easy way to discover unknown, randomly occurring digital RF events.”

Portable Real-Time Spectrum Analysis

The H500 and SA2500 with 10kHz-6.2GHz frequency coverage, 20 MHz real time bandwidth and -163 dBm Displayed Average Noise Level (DANL) match the performance of many benchtop spectrum analyzers. And with a spectrum processing rate more than 100 times faster than any conventional spectrum analyzer from other vendors, the H500 and SA2500 provide 100 percent probability of intercept for transients with minimum event durations of 125 μs on the H500 and 500 μs on the SA2500.

To support demanding field environments, the new models feature intuitive user controls for quick and simple classification and location of both analog and digital RF transmissions. The user interface is designed specifically for enhanced productivity in the field including a touch screen for easy navigation. While other solutions may require offline GPS and mapping software, the H500 and SA2500 include integrated GPS and mapping tools to allow more efficient interference location capability.

Fully ruggedized to withstand shock and moisture, the H500 and SA2500 weigh in at just over 12 pounds (5.5 kg) and feature the industry’s only hot swap power system. Battery life is rated at five hours of continuous spectrum scanning.

DPX Makes All the Difference

DPX waveform image processor technology in the H500 and SA2500 displays the live spectrum by processing >2,500 or >10,000 spectrum measurements per second respectively. This is orders of magnitude more information than is shown by any other conventional spectrum analyzer without DPX, minimizing the analysis gaps inherent in swept spectrum and vector signal analyzers. To achieve thousands of spectrum measurements per second, DPX makes use of dedicated, real-time hardware to process the incoming signal.

In addition to live RF, the waveform image processor also provides an intensity-graded persistence display that holds anomalies until the eye can see them to show the history of occurrence for dynamic signals and immediate feedback on signal variations over time. This provides engineers the ability to rapidly see on screen both transients and signals that ordinarily could not be seen, either because they are masked by other signals or could only be deduced after time consuming offline analysis.

H500 and SA2500 Join Digital RF Test Portfolio

Tektronix offers a portfolio of digital RF test tools from signal generation to acquisition. In addition to spectrum analyzers, arbitrary waveform generators can be used to generate ideal, distorted or “real-world” signals. Logic analyzers enable the capture and analysis of the digital I/Q information to more quickly debug elusive problems within the digital baseband segment of a digital RF design. Digital oscilloscopes, including the world’s only mixed domain oscilloscope, allow measurements of strict timing relationships across time and frequency domains. With these instruments and supporting vector signal analysis software, Tektronix offers solutions for both RF design and spectrum management applications.

Price and Availability

The SA2500 is priced at $24,600 and the H500 is available for $43,400. Prices are U.S. MSRP. All models and options are available for order.  Additional information can be found at: www.tek.com/RTSA/handheld.   

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