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Author Topic: seeking a low cost spectrum analyzer  (Read 5259 times)
N3RDX
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Posts: 1




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« on: April 10, 2012, 10:42:25 PM »

I often design equipment for ham radio use, and occasionally some of them work :-) earlier in my career I had a fun time doing VSAT Satellite Earth station engineering, with spectrum analyzers, 70 MHz IF, satellite modems, up/down converters, HPA, SSPA etc. etc. Miss those days while I am earning a Ph.D .. if I'm lucky. I was looking for a low-cost spectrum analyzer to help in diagnosing the RF circuits and EMI/EMC/RFI that my boards/modules are producing. There is a cheap unit on ebay called "Anritsu ME453C Microwave System Analyzer Receiver" - can this be used as a spectrum analyzer? If so, what are its usable specs?

Thanks.

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WX7G
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Posts: 6028




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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 03:23:05 AM »

http://www.megawavz.com/product.aspx?id=335211&desc=Anritsu_ME453C_Microwave_System_Analyzer

This link says it is a 70 MHz receiver. If so it's not what you need for EMC work.
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K1ZJH
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Posts: 972




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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 08:14:54 AM »

How much do you want to spend, what frequency coverage do you need, and what are the IF Bandwidth
requirements?

Pete
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AD4U
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Posts: 2164




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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 10:59:43 AM »

I do not know if there is such a thing as a low cost spectrum analyzer - that works.

Years ago I bought a HP-141T that covers 0-1200MHz.  It was "calibrated" and cost around $1000.  A while later I added the matching tracking generator bought off ebay for $200.

I own 3 repeaters and maintain 2 more for our club.  Having a spectrum analyzer is invaluable to insure maximum performance from repeaters and duplexers. 

I also home brew QRP transmitters and transceivers and on ocassion a tube type transmitter.  I use the spectrum analyzer to make sure the transmitters are "clean".

This combo has served me very well for around 10 years.

Dick  AD4U 
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K1ZJH
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Posts: 972




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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 06:28:36 AM »

There are tons of SA that cover to 1 GHz that be had for under 1000 dollars, Avcoms, Tek 492s, Cushman CE-15,
etc. The real question is what is his minimum IF BW resolution requirements?  Big difference between for looking at harmonics, or doing narrowband SSB signal analysis... I've seen really nice HP service monitors being dumped in the 1k range, but they start at 20MHz.

I have three 141T analyzers with the popular RF decks and with the TGs; they were all bought with problems
and nursed back to health. In a few instances the correct matching manuals almost doubled the purchase price!

Pete
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AE6RV
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Posts: 146




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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2012, 07:09:34 AM »

Check into an HP 853A and either the 8558B or the 8559B SA plugins.  They're still fairly inexpensive, don't have the concerns of a flood gun in the CRT (HP141T), and there is an active support group on yahoo.  If you need a Tracking Generator, the HP 8444A with Option 059 works with these.
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W4LGC
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 11:00:21 AM »

A spectrum analyzer has been added to the "Classifieds" section of this Web site, today. Go get it! Cheesy
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NA4IT
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 11:46:58 AM »

See http://www.science-workshop.com/
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