Back To Basics – What IS a Real Time Spectrum Analyzer and How Do They Work?
Unlike oscilloscopes, which display signals in the time domain (voltage against time), RF spectrum analyzers display signals in frequency domain (amplitude against frequency). This allows users to track signal levels and phase noise, as well as identify spurious signals and signal frequencies. Essentially, the RF spectrum analyzer is used to measure signals we know (our own transmitters or electrical equipment), or to track and identify spurious signals that we do not already know.
There are two main types of spectrum analyzer: digital and analog (often called sweep analyzers). The majority of spectrum analyzers available on the market today are digital, though there are still analog analyzers out there. As RF congestion continues to worsen, more and more spectrum analyzer users are understanding the need for digital sweeps, and are beginning to realize that what they truly require is real time spectrum analysis. Fortunately for them, real time spectrum analyzers (sometimes just referred to as “RTSA”) are more popular now than ever, offering instant real-time visualization of the RF environment without waiting for individual sweeps. [Read more…]