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Author Topic: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?  (Read 3013 times)

Scott Holtzman

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Re: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 11:03:57 pm »

A tracking generator is needed if you want to measure coax cables for proper performance; tuning filters; confirming proper operation of RX multi-couplers, TX combiners, passive splitters/combiners and adapters; basically anything with two ports. Add a directional coupler or return loss bridge and now you can test antennas and terminations.


The RF Explorer signal generator is an RF signal generator, and a very cheap one at that, not an audio generator. If you want to test for receiver audio demod and SINAD (the RF world equivalent of SNR), you need a communications service monitor or other full test set (and a lot more money).

Henry's response is very complete however I wanted to elaborate on the tracking generator.  It generates a signal on one frequency of whatever width is specified and then sweeps that through the range of the analyzer.  The analyzer holds the image on the screen so you can see the loss of signal at each specific frequency.  Very useful for visualizing loss through cable and tuning filters. 

A respectable service monitor with a tracking generator is not that much more.  There is an HP8920A with Option 2 (tracking generator) on eBay for 2k OBO.  This is one of the finest service monitors ever built.  Even runs HP Instrument Basic so you can write automated tests.  It is a heavy piece of gear. 
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Dan Mortensen

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Re: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 02:58:04 pm »

The RF Explorer signal generator is an RF signal generator, and a very cheap one at that, not an audio generator.

Yes, I realized that one generates audio frequencies and one generates RF frequencies (is that redundant?), but assumed there was some kind of RF signal that was broadband like white/pink noise so that all of the spectrum is covered in a test rather than a single frequency with its slopes on either side.

It generates a signal on one frequency of whatever width is specified and then sweeps that through the range of the analyzer.  The analyzer holds the image on the screen so you can see the loss of signal at each specific frequency.  Very useful for visualizing loss through cable and tuning filters. 

That makes sense. However, if the analyzer I'm using is something exactly like Vantage, which as near as I can tell operates independently of the generator and has no idea of the generator's progression from one frequency to another, then it will be coincidence rather than intentional when the frequency generated coincides with the analyzer's view. The only way I've figured out on Vantage to get it to hold view is to use the Scan function set to View Maximums.

I confess I didn't look more closely at the sweep function on the RFE generator but will do so when I get back to my RF studies, which have taken a hiatus due to holiday, work, and AES Section responsibilities.

A respectable service monitor with a tracking generator is not that much more.  There is an HP8920A with Option 2 (tracking generator) on eBay for 2k OBO.  This is one of the finest service monitors ever built.  Even runs HP Instrument Basic so you can write automated tests.  It is a heavy piece of gear. 

As a newbie, I'd be scared to get a device off eBay that would be so pivotal to my work, which makes me also realize that I will not be like you guys with extensive and frequent needs to coordinate hundreds of devices. How could you be sure that it worked as needed?

I just want to use as automated a scanner, analyzer, and frequency coordination devices and software as possible to get within a small ballpark of having up to 50 transmitters and receivers work together. It seems like the RF Explorer/Vantage/WWB combo will be sufficient based on how many working people find it adequate for their needs.

It is fun to look at cool gear, though, and gratifying that the OP's thread has uncovered another well-regarded gizmo or two. TEquipment had a linked manual for the Rigol and it was interesting to read through it.

Perhaps more experience will make clear the need for more complex devices, which has often been the case IME.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 03:02:59 pm »

However, if the analyzer I'm using is something exactly like Vantage, which as near as I can tell operates independently of the generator and has no idea of the generator's progression from one frequency to another, then it will be coincidence rather than intentional when the frequency generated coincides with the analyzer's view. The only way I've figured out on Vantage to get it to hold view is to use the Scan function set to View Maximums.

The important part of the name is "tracking". It's part of the same piece of test gear, and it generates a signal at the same frequency as the spectrum sweep. So it gives the effective equivalent to an audio RTA measuring pink noise.

Very useful thing in the shop if you do much wireless - we've got a refurb FSH 3.13, and I use it quite a lot to test cables and other stuff.
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Brad Harris

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Re: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 04:17:37 pm »

Take a look at their site, it has some articles that you could apply to solve your issue (tracking generator)

http://j3.rf-explorer.com/43-rfe/how-to/145-how-to-sna-measuring-rf-filter-response-step-by-step

BRad



Yes, I realized that one generates audio frequencies and one generates RF frequencies (is that redundant?), but assumed there was some kind of RF signal that was broadband like white/pink noise so that all of the spectrum is covered in a test rather than a single frequency with its slopes on either side.

That makes sense. However, if the analyzer I'm using is something exactly like Vantage, which as near as I can tell operates independently of the generator and has no idea of the generator's progression from one frequency to another, then it will be coincidence rather than intentional when the frequency generated coincides with the analyzer's view. The only way I've figured out on Vantage to get it to hold view is to use the Scan function set to View Maximums.

I confess I didn't look more closely at the sweep function on the RFE generator but will do so when I get back to my RF studies, which have taken a hiatus due to holiday, work, and AES Section responsibilities.

As a newbie, I'd be scared to get a device off eBay that would be so pivotal to my work, which makes me also realize that I will not be like you guys with extensive and frequent needs to coordinate hundreds of devices. How could you be sure that it worked as needed?

I just want to use as automated a scanner, analyzer, and frequency coordination devices and software as possible to get within a small ballpark of having up to 50 transmitters and receivers work together. It seems like the RF Explorer/Vantage/WWB combo will be sufficient based on how many working people find it adequate for their needs.

It is fun to look at cool gear, though, and gratifying that the OP's thread has uncovered another well-regarded gizmo or two. TEquipment had a linked manual for the Rigol and it was interesting to read through it.

Perhaps more experience will make clear the need for more complex devices, which has often been the case IME.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 04:58:22 pm »

Take a look at their site, it has some articles that you could apply to solve your issue (tracking generator)

http://j3.rf-explorer.com/43-rfe/how-to/145-how-to-sna-measuring-rf-filter-response-step-by-step

BRad
Interesting video. They have a loss test (VSWR?) as well.
There is an RF Explorer combo kit for under $600 CDN on Amazon.
A good kit for the "average" user.
Oh, and those little cables?...$25 each!
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Re: Anybody familiar with this spectrum analyzer?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 04:58:22 pm »


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