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Recommendation for Affordable Portable RF Spectrum Analyzer

pnielsen

Member
I am looking for a portable RF spectrum analyzer that will read up to around 6 GHz.

What are the most cost-effective models currently available for enthusiast use? I am just doing basic operations such as telemetry alignment and field intensity readings. I would consider USB types but probably not SDR variants. I notice suppliers on the low end tend to come and go, making it difficult for me to keep track of what is currently worthwhile.

I have considered secondhand Anritsu units, like the MS2721B, but would rather spend the same money (or less) on a new device and settle for fewer features.

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
i know you said "not" SDR, but the HackRF One can tune 1-6000Mhz with a span of up to 20Mhz. if you require a calibrated timebase, there are timebase input and output connectors. it's the best $300 i ever spent, as it can function as a spectrum analyzer, all mode transmitter or receiver. it's small, about the size of a deck of playing cards. all you need is a phone, tablet, or laptop to run it. i have a tablet i can run mine from.
 

pnielsen

Member
Here is a link. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13001

That looks like a good compromise between cheap $10 USB stick SDR's and (overpriced?) devices like the Signal Hound.

Sparkfun also sells a matching extensible antenna for 75MHz to 1GHz. But the HackRF is specified up to 6GHz. What antenna types could I use for coverage of 1-6GHz, preferably the widest possible bandwidith each, and without frequency gaps overall?

Are there any other recommendations for spectrum analyzers in the price range between HackRF and Signal Hound or Tektronix USB products ($2,000-3,000) that cover a similar bandwidth?
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
i know you said "not" SDR, but the HackRF One can tune 1-6000Mhz with a span of up to 20Mhz. if you require a calibrated timebase, there are timebase input and output connectors. it's the best $300 i ever spent, as it can function as a spectrum analyzer, all mode transmitter or receiver. it's small, about the size of a deck of playing cards. all you need is a phone, tablet, or laptop to run it. i have a tablet i can run mine from.
Thanks for that unclejed,
just updated my HackRF firmware to use the sweep function and have now installed Spectrum Analyzer from github:
Much learning to be done....
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
What antenna types could I use for coverage of 1-6GHz, preferably the widest possible bandwidith each, and without frequency gaps overall?
look up an antenna design called "planar disk". they are easy to make and offer very wideband performance. they can be made any size necessary. i'm currently looking for a pair of 20 inch pizza pans to make one for 144Mhz and up. if you want 1Ghz and up, the disks should be 75mm in diameter,
 

pnielsen

Member
This person is selling planar type antennas online for reasonable prices. https://wa5vjb.com/products5.html

One is specified as 700MHz to 26GHz. According to the chart, it is not very linear. https://wa5vjb.com/pcb-pdfs/UWB_700M26Gdatasheet.pdf

Is there any way the Hack RF can be set up to compensate for the antennas gain characteristics to enable accurate wide sweeps?

Would it be possible to chain multiple planar antennas of differing wavelengths together for even wider coverage? If so, how is this done?
 

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