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Author Topic: Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro  (Read 1946 times)

Tom Hester

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Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro
« on: May 26, 2014, 11:04:39 pm »

Looks like a new product, any one use one of these? They seem pretty cheap, but not a ton of features. Looking for something I can throw in a rack for light RF work on the road.

http://www.rfvenue.com/rf-explorer-rackpro
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brian maddox

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Re: Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2014, 11:12:54 pm »

Looks like a new product, any one use one of these? They seem pretty cheap, but not a ton of features. Looking for something I can throw in a rack for light RF work on the road.

http://www.rfvenue.com/rf-explorer-rackpro

Been using the portable version for a couple years now. Super handy box. Great value. Definitely not a replacement for a big money analyzer but works fine for most light duty applications. Certainly beats flying blind.

Not sure what advantage there is to the rack version other than just putting it in the IEM or RF Rrack for convenience. Still, for what it is, these units work well.
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brian maddox
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Kirby Yarbrough

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Re: Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 08:26:46 am »

Been using the portable version for a couple years now

+1.  The handheld unit comes with a USB cable and there's a Windows app that provides some additional features.  Well worth the small investment.
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Brad Harris

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Re: Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 11:53:38 am »

Looks like a new product, any one use one of these? They seem pretty cheap, but not a ton of features. Looking for something I can throw in a rack for light RF work on the road.

http://www.rfvenue.com/rf-explorer-rackpro

I'd pass personally.

The RF Explorer platform can give you a view of the RF Spectrum for sure, but just as much as looking out through a stained glassed window (distorted, coloured and not quite accurate*).

It's a $100 platform (RFExplorer handheld) vs a $1,000 (TTi) or $10,000 (R&S/Tek/Agilent/etc) platform. It appears they have put it into a rack unit, made some changes to their software to integrate with it, and perform the same functions as the handheld unit with the free software.

Having said that, the Waves coordination software will spit out theoretical frequencies (hopefully) based on the input from the RFExplorer, whereas the RFExporer software is just a GUI and larger display for the device.


While I do always carry a RF Explorer handheld in my tool kit, I only use it when I haven't brought my SA, or are in a instance where I just want to see if there is a few MHz free in a nearby band (which happens to be roughly 2-5 times a year). It doesn't take up much space, and the battery lasts a long time if you don't use it (unlike my R&S).

Actually most times I use it, it's as a graphical frequency counter, when someone has borrowed my frequency counter on a gig (usually FOH guys with media wireless... hey what's channel 5 on a xyz no name wireless?)


YMMV


BRad



*I've gone through a few cards for the RFExplorer to find something that was reasonably usable. The closest that I got out of 4 cards, was ~70KHz from a target frequency (before 'calibration' and it did get worse after calibration). It all depended on where in the spectrum I was looking. Closer to the ends of its range it gets worse. For comparison, thats almost three step sizes more than most of the wireless out on the market (25KHz steps), and some are in 5KHz steps (Sennheiser). Looking at something thats 70KHz off, can be interesting.
Also I found there were lots of spurs and other artifacts being displayed that the unit was producing itself.
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Brad Harris

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Re: Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2015, 12:30:36 pm »

I'd pass personally.

The RF Explorer platform can give you a view of the RF Spectrum for sure, but just as much as looking out through a stained glassed window (distorted, coloured and not quite accurate*).

It's a $100 platform (RFExplorer handheld) vs a $1,000 (TTi) or $10,000 (R&S/Tek/Agilent/etc) platform. It appears they have put it into a rack unit, made some changes to their software to integrate with it, and perform the same functions as the handheld unit with the free software.

Having said that, the Waves coordination software will spit out theoretical frequencies (hopefully) based on the input from the RFExplorer, whereas the RFExporer software is just a GUI and larger display for the device.


While I do always carry a RF Explorer handheld in my tool kit, I only use it when I haven't brought my SA, or are in a instance where I just want to see if there is a few MHz free in a nearby band (which happens to be roughly 2-5 times a year). It doesn't take up much space, and the battery lasts a long time if you don't use it (unlike my R&S).

Actually most times I use it, it's as a graphical frequency counter, when someone has borrowed my frequency counter on a gig (usually FOH guys with media wireless... hey what's channel 5 on a xyz no name wireless?)


YMMV


BRad



*I've gone through a few cards for the RFExplorer to find something that was reasonably usable. The closest that I got out of 4 cards, was ~70KHz from a target frequency (before 'calibration' and it did get worse after calibration). It all depended on where in the spectrum I was looking. Closer to the ends of its range it gets worse. For comparison, thats almost three step sizes more than most of the wireless out on the market (25KHz steps), and some are in 5KHz steps (Sennheiser). Looking at something thats 70KHz off, can be interesting.
Also I found there were lots of spurs and other artifacts being displayed that the unit was producing itself.




Just for some followup with my claims of inaccuracy. The unit reads 112 data points. In most of my previous tests and usage of the unit, I never took this into account, which describes the discrepancy between what I know what the frequency should be, and what the unit is showing.


In order to see 100KHz (0.1MHz) resolution, the SPAN should be set to 11.2MHz.


I have not gone back to check my previous units for accuracy.




BRad
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brian maddox

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Re: Opinions on RF Explorer Rack Pro
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2015, 01:31:19 pm »




Just for some followup with my claims of inaccuracy. The unit reads 112 data points. In most of my previous tests and usage of the unit, I never took this into account, which describes the discrepancy between what I know what the frequency should be, and what the unit is showing.


In order to see 100KHz (0.1MHz) resolution, the SPAN should be set to 11.2MHz.


I have not gone back to check my previous units for accuracy.




BRad

interesting info.  i use my RF Explorer as a very rough analyzer since that's all i really need it to do, but knowing how to approach at least some semblance of greater accuracy is nice to know.
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brian maddox
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'...do not trifle with the affairs of dragons...

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