Tektronix, a leading provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, has introduced a novel class of affordable spectrum analyzers based on a USB architecture with a list price of just $3,490. The RSA306 sets a new price/performance threshold for spectrum analyzers and features a broad 9 kHz to 6.2 GHz frequency range, 40 MHz real time bandwidth and weighs in at just 1.2 pounds. When used with Tektronix SignalVu-PC software, it offers advanced analysis capabilities for such applications as budget-conscious research and development, mobile radio network installation, interference hunting and university level lab classes.
Spectrum analyzers are inherently expensive and often there are not enough instruments for everyone to use in many labs, field organizations and universities. The RSA306 puts the power of a Tektronix real-time spectrum analyzer within reach for the entire technical team. In addition, Tektronix is providing its SignalVu–PC software at no cost, giving open access to powerful signal analysis tools that have previously been only available with the purchase of expensive bench instruments.
“As with nearly all areas of electronics design and test, requirements for RF and microwave test are changing quickly leading to the need for new instrumentation approaches,” said Jim McGillivary, general manager of RF and Component Solutions at Tektronix. “As the introduction of RSA306 demonstrates, we’re moving aggressively to address these changing requirements across multiple market segments with innovative, industry leading test and measurement solutions.”
The RSA306 is Tektronix’ first USB spectrum analyzer and will be joined by similar instruments taking advantage of the availability of affordable desktop computers and laptops with sufficient processing power to handle complex test and measurement analysis along with high–speed USB 3.0 interfaces. At its introductory price point, the RSA306 is a fraction of the cost of a conventional spectrum analyzer while offering comparable or even superior sensitivity, accuracy and dynamic range.
Featuring a 9 kHz to 6.2 GHz frequency range with 40 MHz instantaneous bandwidth, the RSA306 offers the industry’s best performance in a USB spectrum analyzer. In addition, its real–time processing capability is at least 1,000 times faster than spectrum analyzers from other major suppliers. It works seamlessly with SignalVu–PC, the most complete signal analysis suite for a USB instrument that leverages seven generations of real-time capability improvements. An open API allows customers to use their own custom Windows–based interface such as Matlab or Python to manipulate raw data coming from the instrument.
“It looks to me like Tektronix has hit the nail on the head with the RSA306,” said Stuart Nicol, CEO of Aprel. “In our hands-on preview of the product, the RSA306 has plenty of performance for most areas where you would need real-time spectrum analysis such as EMI Diagnostics and Scanning and low level, fast sweeping capabilities to find spurious signals. At this price, it’s hard to resist.”
The RSA306 is designed to address customer RF test needs in a number of market segments including:
Budget–Conscious RF Design and Development – More and more designs are including RF components such as inexpensive Wi–Fi modules, dramatically increasing the need for spectrum analysis. Now labs working on wireless–enabled designs can afford to give everyone on the design team the RF signal analysis tools they require.
Mobile Radio Network Installation and Maintenance – For field applications, the RSA306 offers the convenience, analysis capabilities and user–friendly operation engineers and technicians need to get a fast handle on network health. Full spectrum analyzer measurement capabilities provide far more versatility than the limited pass/fail of a dedicated tester.
Interference Hunters – With its compact size and light weight, the RSA306 easily fits in a backpack while offering the sensitivity needed to quickly discover signals as short at 100 us. This is key for Spectrum Managers and Regulatory Agencies who need a basic spectrum analyzer and interference hunter in the field.
University Lab Classes – For a relatively small investment, learning institutions can now help students become better RF and microwave engineers by giving them the hands–on experience with spectrum analyzers like what they will use once they enter the workforce. Vector analysis, frequency and phase trends, and other tools allow educators to teach concepts well beyond basic frequency and amplitude.
Pricing & availability
The RSA306 is available now, US MSRP is $3,490.