A spectrum analyser is a piece of equipment that is used during EMC measurements. It's primary purpose is to measure the amplitude of individual frequencies that are contained in a RF signal. This RF signal is very often an electromagnetic field that is received by an antenna.
RadiMation has divided spectrum analysers in three different classes:
- Spectrum analyser
- Scanning receiver
A receiver is only measuring a single RF frequency. The receiver itself is not able to measure multiple frequencies. If more than one frequency need to be measured a PC has to change the selected frequency on the receiver, before a new measurement is performed.
A scanning receiver is a more intelligent receiver, which is able to step through a frequency range on it's own, so multiple frequencies can be measured automatically. A PC that is controlling the scanning receiver can instruct the scanning receiver to measure a certain frequency range. The scanning receiver will then return the data of the all the measured frequencies after (or during) the measurement is finished.
A scanning receiver is always measuring on all and the exact frequencies that are specified by the start-, stop- and step-frequency.
A spectrum analyser is a measuring device that sweeps in a short time along the frequency range that should be measured. During this sweep all frequencies are measured, and a PC can retrieve a list of the measured amplitudes from the spectrum analyser. The list of measured amplitudes is often a reduced list of a specific amount of frequencies (401 points, 601 points, etc...)
Most scanning receivers and spectrum analysers include a lot of functionality to make it easier for an end-user to perform certain measurements. This additional functionality can be:
- EMC Overview measurements
- Completely automated EMC measurements including peak detection and peak measurements
- telecommunication measurements
All the device drivers for spectrum analysers maintain the following information:
- Allowed frequency range
- if the device is a receiver / scanning receiver / spectrum analyser
- Instructions on how to
- Wikipedia: Spectrum analyser