40MHz real time handheld spectrum analyzer – the lab in your hand

Back in February of this year, Narda Safety Test Solutions revealed the SignalShark to the trade in a premiere at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Engineers at this RF measurement technology specialist have succeeded in developing an extremely powerful real time handheld Spectrum Analyzer. This device, with its handy format, is capable of dealing with today’s complex measurement and analysis tasks reliably and quickly to the same standard as laboratory instruments. For example, it can examine entire communications channels at once in real time without needing to jump to and between frequencies. It reliably captures field situations outdoors, without any gaps, and right there where the interference is happening. Back in the laboratory, this same flexible Spectrum Analyzer is the first of its kind that can be further used for complex evaluations, dependably and conveniently, as there is no need to set up and get familiar with additional equipment, or even to purchase such equipment in the first place. Although the current standard for handheld devices with regard to real time bandwidth (RTBW) is around 10 MHz, the SignalShark provides four times this, at 40 MHz. The RTBW basically means that the receiver is capable within this defined bandwidth of capturing in real time even brief sporadic signals without any gaps, so that not even one event is missed. This is guaranteed by a POI (probability of intercept) specification of 100% for signal having a duration of > 3.125 µs. Time, cost and security concerns make it more important than ever in RF measurement technology to reproduce as high a real time bandwidth as possible. There is heavy traffic in the occupied frequency bands, due to the rapid developments in wireless technology, with the tendency being towards continuous growth. The consequences—more complex modulation methods, more densely packed signals and bandwidths—increase the risk of interference. A glance at the latest wireless technologies is enough to show that a RTBW of 10 MHz is not enough to meet modern requirements. For example, LTE utilizes a bandwidth of 20 MHz, while 2.4 GHz WLAN uses 40 MHz, and even shares this with Bluetooth and microwave ovens. Taken together, the technical parameters and capabilities of the newly developed SignalShark as well as its flexibility make it into the ideal real time handheld spectrum analyzer and direction finding system for both laboratory and field use. These features include its frequency range from 9 kHz to 8 GHz, its extremely high sweep rate of 40 GHz/s , and its real time bandwidth of 40 MHz, which is unheard of in this category. The SignalShark therefore defines the current state of the art, providing the best conditions for gapless detection and analysis, classification, and localization of RF signals, with a view towards future developments—5G is on its way!


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