The new Spectran V5 Series is claimed to be the world’s first real-time handheld spectrum analyzer, so with such claims what does it have to offer? Featuring 12 new patents it aims to provide innovation and the best performance achievable by a handheld instrument. And weighing just 850 g it is truly ‘handheld’ as it fits comfortably in one hand.
With a frequency range from 1 Hz to 20 GHz and a sensitivity of -170 dBm/Hz this real-time spectrum analyzer enables continuous analysis and real-time data streaming, for example USB to hard disk. The real-time bandwidth of the V5 can provide unlimited recording/streaming up to 175 MHz, which together with a Probability of Intercept (POI) below 1 µs demonstrates its lab performance and puts it on par with more expensive benchtop units. A significant feature is the use of poly-phase-filters, which are even used overlapped and shifted.
Direct Digital Synthesis
The Spectran V5 also offers a ‘classical’ spectrum analyzer mode by means of an ultra-fast Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) sweep: In addition to LO-modulation the V5 has a DDS-synthesizer with up to 800 MSPS I/Q for extremely fast frequency hops of the local oscillator. This technology allows sophisticated measuring programs over the full frequency range up to 20 GHz and offers a pulse detection of 10 ns.
The signal processing is realized by a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), which also includes a vector processor for statistical analysis and demodulation. Together with the powerful Dual Core Blackfin DSP-CPU and the 800 × 480 pixel high-resolution color display and touch screen, the possibilities for analysis of even the most complex signals are claimed to be limitless.
Within the analog process, the signal is sampled by a real 14 Bit A/D converter with up to 500 MSPS (250 MSPS I/Q) data rate. This process always ensures a dynamic range of 80 dB and a high quality of analysis. The internal 200 GB memory offers a gapless recording of two hours or more, while the modular construction allows a fast extension and customization of the front-end, to fit nearly every end-users requirement.
The Spectran V5 series is available in different versions, each specially equipped for its specific application. Besides the handheld version there is the USB (X and OEM) series, remote-control analyzers (19" RSA and outdoor box), military grade counter-surveillance receivers (XFR V5 PRO) and a portable triple screen command center (real-time RF Drone and Radar Detection System).
Only a USB 2.0 output (not a 3.0 output) is required to connect the analyzer to the PC and the instrument comes with a USB-slave port to connect and control external USB devices. The Spectran V5 also comes equipped with an integrated 8000 mAh lithium polymer (LiPo) battery, which offers an operation time of two hours. It doesn’t need power from a connected laptop/PC and an optional 20,000 mAh external power pack will provide an additional four hours of runtime.
Figure 1 shows the Spectran V5 operating with a laptop. Aaronia’s operating and monitoring system is 100 percent coded in Germany and the included RTSA PC analysis software suite transforms the V5 into a fully-featured benchtop spectrum analyzer. This powerful software is available for MAC OS, Linux and Windows and comes with lifelong free upgrades. Real-time remote control software is also included to run the Spectran V5 directly over the desktop. An application programming interface (API) offers custom system integration, while more advanced software-evaluation and analysis-options are currently under development and will be available for retrofit when requested.
Thanks to the FPGA pre-processing and optimized software code the standard V5 RTSA suite software runs on an Intel Atom processor. Intel i5 is recommended for full feature availability. This offers the possibility for low-power and low-cost OEM system integrations. The software further uses GPUs from graphic cards for optimized signal processing.
The company also offers many options and accessories for the Spectran V5 to help achieve the best performance available for specific customer measurements, such as a 6 GHz IQ vector signal generator, a 40 GHz oscilloscope/peak power meter, an OXCO time base or a GPS Logger including compass, gyro, tilt and barometer. The high quality CNC cut aluminum housing of the Spectran V5 turns this first-class measurement instrument into an optical highlight.