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Reviews Categories | Ham Work Bench Tools & Test Equipment | Signal Hound USB-SA44B spectrum analyzer and measurement receive Help


Reviews Summary for Signal Hound USB-SA44B spectrum analyzer and measurement receive
Signal Hound USB-SA44B spectrum analyzer and measurement receive Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $ 919
Description: The USB-SA44B is a USB conected, 1 Hz to 4.4 GHz spectrum analyzer and measuring receiver with an RF preamplifier. It is less than 8 inches long and weighing only ten ounces.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.signalhound.com/
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WB3BD Rating: 5/5 Apr 18, 2014 11:19 Send this review to a friend
Excellent entry-level spectrum analyzer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For the price, I feel that the Signal Hound SA44B is a better value than either the Rigol DSA-815 or the Instek GSP-730, which are the performance equivalents of the SA44B as entry –level spectrum analyzers. Customer service of Test Equipment Plus is also excellent. The attenuator on my SA44B was off calibration out of the box, but the TEP service dept. was able to turn it around in less than 48 hrs upon receipt back. The unit functions flawlessly now. I’ve since paired it up w their TG44A tracking generator, and mounted both of them in a Tac-Comm TRC-1 with N connector feeds. Here are the basic Pros and Cons compared to the Rigol and Instek units:

Pros: wider frequency coverage (out to 4.4 GHz); Narrower span settings and bandwidth filters; Better sensitivity ;Wider variety of useful accessory functions; Small Company (U.S.-based) with a direct sales website

Cons: “Black box” unit - software-defined operation only; Poor phase noise characteristics, BUT can be remedied w and external 10 MHz LO; Glitchy software interface for accessory tracking generator.

I should also mention that TEP also makes and markets a unit with coverage out to 12.4 GHz (SA124B), as well as a new broadband, real-time instrument, the BB60A. …I’m saving my dollars for the latter ;-)
 
G1HBE Rating: 3/5 May 12, 2013 01:18 Send this review to a friend
Update required!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Please excuse my second review of the Signal Hound. After using this for a while, I am finding it increasingly frustrating. In straight SA mode it works well, with good DANL and excellent RBW's etc. The user interface is annoying, as I have to scroll up & down to make adjustments. Good enough but needs sorting out.
My main problem is the TG. The software seems to be rather edgy and unstable, especially in 'slow high dynamic range' mode. Almost anything will cause a crash or lock-up, and on very slow sweeps (say when sweeping a narrow filter) the user is given no indication of progress. Any attempt to change a setting while in this mode will usually crash. A software update is due this Summer, so let's hope these things are fixed.
 
WB4IVG Rating: 5/5 May 9, 2013 16:29 Send this review to a friend
Best New test instrument I have bought in a long time!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been a Ham since 1966 and a professional RF communications engineer for over 35 years. I have used and owned many spectrum analyzers over the years, in fact I own 3 IFR, 2 Motorola, and in my Lab I have a Agilent HP 8569B and an Ailtech/Eaton. I also own a Agilent HP Next Gen PC based spectrum analyzer. Of all these The Signal Hound SA44B comes right up there with the rest of them. I use the units I have for different applications of those units the NextGen and the Signal Hound are the only two that easily interface with a computer through USB. A couple of the others interface with RS232 and couple of more through GPIB IEEE-488 though those are not software user friendly let alone menu driven or GUI operated. This little GEM is all those and more it lends its self to easy application in almost all uses as it is PC SDR based if it lacks anything it is selectivity certainly not sensitivity. It is excellent for use in EMI RFI or bug detection. It is easy to find inter-modulation mix offenders on any communications site with this unit. I love the SMA connector on the RF input and the 10 MHz input BNC where I can inject my Rubidium or GPS Standard for dead Nutz On accuracy. The unit has a Self Test Mode with a Self Test output port supplied BNC which also doubles as an external Sync if so desired or needed. This is not only a fantastic unit for the money it is straight up just a fantastic unit!!! I cannot wait to get the Tracking Generator that accompanies the unit I am quite sure it will be just as fantastic, and will allow me the ease of use and accuracy of operation as does the Signal Hound. Laurin Cavender Chief RF Engineer Western Electric WB4IVG
 
SM5GLC Rating: 4/5 Feb 23, 2013 13:55 Send this review to a friend
Good!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Signal Hound SA44B is a great addition to any experimental ham. Having a spectrum analyzer that covers 0-4.4GHz for under $1k nothing short of a miracle. Only major drawback is the somewhat sluggish sweeptime and due to the hardware and software realization the RBW is limited.

Competiton would be an old HP 8668 or the new Rigol 815. As for the HP it is *THE* standard, but showing its age when you need spare parts. The Rigol seems nice, but costs more and not sure it offers any real improvements, except for beeing a stand alone unit.

Still having a specrum analyzer that is small, portable and powered by your PC makes it a winner!
 
G1HBE Rating: 4/5 Oct 20, 2011 05:34 Send this review to a friend
Interesting....  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For the past 3 years or so, I've been the proud owner of a second-hand HP8568B analyser. It's a beautiful instrument - low noise, 10Hz BW, digital storage etc, but its bulk and high fan-noise are beginning to grate a bit! And in Summer, the heat output is most unwelcome.
When I first saw the ads for the Signal Hound I dismissed it as a toy and convinced myself it couldn't come near the precision and quality of my HP. But then I read a review by Sam Jewell G4DDK who seemed quite impressed, so I ordered one with the intention of sending it back under the 30-day policy if I wasn't satisfied. Ordering was fine, Kees Van Aalst helped me with the PayPal and e-mailed me a payment form with the details filled in ready to go. Once I'd taken care of that, a UPS tracker ticket arrived with a target delivery date. And all this on a Sunday!
The SH arrived a few days ago and although I'm still learning how to get the best out of it , I'm quite impressed. Wide spans can be a bit slow and there are limits to the RBW on some sweeps, but most of the limits are quite sensible.
It's a clever device which uses some nifty software tricks to banish the spurious responses one would expect from the low-IF architecture - keep the 'image reject' feature turned on if you don't want a nasty surprise!
It runs without hitch on my Win7 laptop with a 2.13GHz processor and 2Gigs memory.
There is a Yahoo group for the SH, please come along.
So far so good - it may not reach the standards set by high-end analysers, but it's fine, and I've still got my old HP just in case.
 
KE7SA Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2011 06:08 Send this review to a friend
Best cost-performance ratio for a new spectrum analyzer.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got tired of lugging around my 50 lb. Tektronix analyzer. It was in great condition and worked flawlessly. So, I looked around and found this product. Luckily, they had a booth at a ham show and I got to try it out. I was immediately sold. At only 10 oz. and 10 inches long, it's hard to believe that it compares very well with a $30,000 R&S analyzer. Performance is exactly as claimed, up to 4.4 GHz with spans that depend on your computer. I have a 7 year old HP laptop and can get spans of 5 MHz easily. My quad core tower PC can get spans up to 20 MHz. The recommended minimum for the computer is anything with an i3 processor for better span performance. I used it in the shop and in the field. The GUI display and controls are typical of what you'd expect. Images can be saved. Setups can be saved and recalled. It can demodulate AM, FM, SSB and CW audio. You can see a video demo and read the user manual on their web site. They also have a Facebook user community site. They have updated and improved the software several times in the past 6 months. They are receptive to suggestions and quick to fix bug reports. A companion tracking generator is also available.
 


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