How to read a spectrum analyzer?

By: Matt Nelson on June 24th, 2013

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How to read a spectrum analyzer?

wireless  |  radio  |  networking  |  RF  |  spectrum  |  analysis

The Basics Of Spectrum Analyzer

Science has always been about the observation of the existing phenomena and the discovery of new things from the same. Talking about the analysis and observation, one of the major scientific equipment meant for this purpose is the Spectrum Analyzer. The basic function of a Spectrum Analyzer is to measure the magnitude of input signals (both known & unknown). Though the input signal in a spectrum analyzer is generally electrical, other signals like - sound waves, light waves, etc. can also be measured. For this, however, a suitable transducer needs to be used along with the Spectrum Analyzer. The Spectrum Analyzer can be used to monitor the incoming signals on various parameters like dominant frequency, bandwidth, distortion, etc. Such analysis proves helpful in the characterization of Wireless Transmitters & other such electronic devices.

Basic Classification Of The Spectrum Analyzers

The Spectrum Analyzers are broadly categorized as Analog and Digital Spectrum Analyzers. Irrespective of the classification, the Spectrum Analyzers are highly sensitive equipment that measure incoming electrical signals.

  • Analog: Measures the input signals with the help of the band pass filter or the super heterodyne receiver.

  • Digital: Measurement is dependent on the process called Discrete Fourier  Transform (DFT) for waveform interpretation as well as proper classification into frequency spectrum parts

  • Hybrid: Uses the super heterodyne for conversion of the signal into low-frequency input and studies the same through Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT)

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