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Reviews For: Signal Hound USB-SA44B spectrum analyzer and measurement receive

Category: Tools & Test Equipment for the amateur radio work bench

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Review Summary For : Signal Hound USB-SA44B spectrum analyzer and measurement receive
Reviews: 6MSRP: 919
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
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
DL8OV Rating: 2017-09-09
Nice Little Unit Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I purchased one of these about a year ago along with the companion tracking generator. There were many problems at first and at one point I considered sending the whole lot back, but now that I have everything working I think that it was a worthwhile purchase.


To make this unit work correctly you NEED a reasonably modern PC (less than three years old) and you NEED a decent graphics card with the most recent drivers loaded and working. These requirements are especially relevant with MS Windows 10. Also, use a short decent quality USB cable to connect the SA-44B to your PC.
G1HBE Rating: 2015-02-11
Much better now! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Pushing my luck now with a third review of the SA44B and TG44. I had stopped using this, as the software was poor and some modes unusable due to instability. However, the brand-new software (launched Feb 2015) has transformed the Signal Hound from a liability to a really useful piece of test gear. Now I can sweep my homebrew narrow filters without waiting for hell to freeze over and without the many crashes and re-starts. We also have more RBW's and spectrogram displays. Phase noise performance is 30dB better than the Rigol 815 and the tracking generator reaches all the way down, whereas the Rigol fades away below 10 MHz. At last the Signal Hound delivers!
WB3BD Rating: 2014-04-18
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 ;-)
WB4IVG Rating: 2013-05-09
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: 2013-02-23
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!
KE7SA Rating: 2011-10-10
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.