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PICList Thread
'[EE] Simple spectrum analyzer'
2019\09\17@081345 by David Van Horn

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I need a recommendation for a simple SA, to be used by non-engineers.
Resolution of about 1Hz, and accuracy of 1ppM or less.
The frequency of interest is a 200 Hz slice around 457kHz

--
David VanHorn
Lead Hardware Engineer

Backcountry Access, Inc.
2820 Wilderness Pl, Unit H
Boulder, CO  80301 USA
phone: 303-417-1345  x110
email: spam_OUTdavid.vanhornTakeThisOuTspambackcountryaccess.com<.....david.vanhornKILLspamspam@spam@backcountryaccess.com>

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2019\09\17@115445 by Denny Esterline

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I recently bought a Siglent SDS1202X-E 200 mhz Oscilloscope. It includes a
1Mpt fft function.
At about $350 it might be worth a look.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XZML6RD/

On Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 5:19 AM David Van Horn <
david.vanhornspamKILLspambackcountryaccess.com> wrote:

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2019\09\17@130744 by David Van Horn

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I like the price, but not the number of knobs.
It's basically salespeople who have to operate it.   A negative number of knobs would be best. 😊

--
David VanHorn
Lead Hardware Engineer

Backcountry Access, Inc.
2820 Wilderness Pl, Unit H
Boulder, CO  80301 USA
phone: 303-417-1345  x110
email: david.vanhornspamspam_OUTbackcountryaccess.com 

{Original Message removed}

2019\09\17@140741 by Bob Blick

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Hi David,

Most benchtop spectrum analyzers have a recall setup function. Saelig.com has some decent cheap ones, starting about $1300 for one that will do what you need.

Best regards, Bob

________________________________________
From: @spam@piclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu <KILLspampiclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu> on behalf of David Van Horn <RemoveMEdavid.vanhornTakeThisOuTspambackcountryaccess.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 10:07 AM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: RE: [EE] Simple spectrum analyzer

I like the price, but not the number of knobs.
It's basically salespeople who have to operate it.   A negative number of knobs would be best. 😊

--
David VanHorn
Lead Hardware Engineer

Backcountry Access, Inc.
2820 Wilderness Pl, Unit H
Boulder, CO  80301 USA
phone: 303-417-1345  x110
email: spamBeGonedavid.vanhornspamBeGonespambackcountryaccess.com

{Original Message removed}

2019\09\17@140837 by Denny Esterline

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I'd have to dig back into the manual to give you any real detail, but ISTR
reading about some sort of testing mode that allows the configuration to be
locked for applications like production line testing.  (that might have
been on a different scope, my memory is not what it once was)

On Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 10:12 AM David Van Horn <
TakeThisOuTdavid.vanhornEraseMEspamspam_OUTbackcountryaccess.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2019\09\17@143802 by Neil

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Different direction... If this otherwise solves the problem, and if
you're mildly mechanically inclined, then perhaps cut an acrylic plate
and bolt it over the whole face, so they can't change the knobs.
Most plastics shops and makerspaces can do this for you relatively easily.

Cheers,
-Neil.


On 9/17/2019 1:07 PM, David Van Horn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2019\09\17@151850 by AB Pearce - UKRI STFC

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> I need a recommendation for a simple SA, to be used by non-engineers.
> Resolution of about 1Hz, and accuracy of 1ppM or less.
> The frequency of interest is a 200 Hz slice around 457kHz

Hmm, while others are suggesting buying a purpose built instrument my initial reaction was a DSPic with a graphic display, with each column on the display being one bucket of the FFT. This shouldn't be too hard for a fixed centre frequency item. If needed a button to "Find Centre Frequency" could be fitted if the CF is likely to be off screen, and could then be annotated on screen once found.

Personally I would start with a dual core DSPic, one core doing the FFT, the other dealing with the display and miscellaneous other HMI details. While the DSPic couldn't handle 457kHz directly, by using aliasing and other DSP tricks it would handle this satisfactorily I think.



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2019\09\17@170703 by Dwayne Reid

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Hi there, Dave.

I think highly of the Signal Hound line of spectrum analyzers.  Their lowest-cost analyzer is WAY overkill for what you need **BUT** you can write your own application using their API and have exactly zero controls if you wish.  <http://www.signalhound.com>

The USB-SA44B analyzer is 1 Hz to 4.4 GHz <<https://signalhound.com/products/usb-sa44b/>https://signalhound.com/products/usb-sa44b/>

Interestingly, Signal Hound just release a customer success story where they used the SA44B in an unattended site to gather data for FCC compliance.  The description of what they did is on the Signal Hound website.

You may also be will to consider Ariel Rocholl's <EraseMEarochollspamgmail.com> RF Explorer.  His products are now available from Seeed and Digikey.  I'm not sure if you recall, but Ariel is a long-time PIClister.

Just food for thought.

dwayne


At 06:12 AM 9/17/2019, David Van Horn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

-- Dwayne Reid   <RemoveMEdwaynerTakeThisOuTspamspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
780-489-3199 voice   780-487-6397 fax   888-489-3199 Toll Free
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing
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2019\09\17@171338 by Michael Johnston

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HI guys, check out this Link;https://www.tech-tools.com/logic-analyzer.htm
I've been wanting to get one of these and i just don't have the budget
good luck
Michael Johnston

On Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 4:10 PM Dwayne Reid <EraseMEdwaynerspamspamspamBeGoneplanet.eon.net> wrote:

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2019\09\17@202749 by Brent Brown

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part 1 844 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii" (decoded quoted-printable)

David Van Horn wrote:
> I need a recommendation for a simple SA, to be used by non-engineers.
> Resolution of about 1Hz, and accuracy of 1ppM or less.
> The frequency of interest is a 200 Hz slice around 457kHz

Perhaps an SDR? PC can use preset config to hide all/most controls and just show what's required. I have one of the following, covers 1kHZ to 2GHz, basic accuracy 0.5ppm & trimmable, USD169: https://www.sdrplay.com/rsp2/
The RSP1A has fewer inputs but otherwise similar specs for USD109.

Just for fun I tried it here, approx 456.9kHz signal with display centered on 457kHz. Attached image, if small enough to be make it through. The minimum sampling BW is 1MHz, so zoomed to the max only shows divisions of 10Hz... perhaps not quite the resolution you are looking for.



part 2 29297 bytes content-type:image/jpeg; name="SDRb.jpg" (decode)


part 3 197 bytes content-type:text/plain; name="ATT00001.txt"
(decoded base64)

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2019\09\18@001907 by Bob Blick

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Hi Dwayne,
I was an early adopter of Signal Hound, and I have the exact opposite opinion. The early units had problems, which evidently they have mostly fixed. And as the company grew, they completely abandoned me. Even though I supported them with good cash money at the beginning when they needed it most, there was no upgrade path for me and my orphaned unit. Not even a trade-in discount for the new version was offered to me when I asked. Bad taste in my mouth, for sure. Bottom line from me: "Avoid"
Friendly regards, Bob

________________________________________
From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspamEraseMEmit.edu <@spam@piclist-bounces@spam@spamspam_OUTmit.edu> on behalf of Dwayne Reid Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 2:06 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] Simple spectrum analyzer

Hi there, Dave.

I think highly of the Signal Hound line of spectrum analyzers.  Their
lowest-cost analyzer is WAY overkill for what you need **BUT** you
can write your own application using their API and have exactly zero
controls if you wish.  <http://www.signalhound.com>

The USB-SA44B analyzer is 1 Hz to 4.4 GHz
<<https://signalhound.com/products/usb-sa44b/>https://signalhound.com/products/usb-sa44b/>

Interestingly, Signal Hound just release a customer success story
where they used the SA44B in an unattended site to gather data for
FCC compliance.  The description of what they did is on the Signal
Hound website.

You may also be will to consider Ariel Rocholl's <spamBeGonearochollspamKILLspamgmail.com>
RF Explorer.  His products are now available from Seeed and
Digikey.  I'm not sure if you recall, but Ariel is a long-time PIClister.

Just food for thought.

dwayne


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2019\09\18@034334 by Forrest Christian (List Account) n/a

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I was also going to suggest the rtl-sdr based ones, but they apparently
only go down to 500kHz.

But I agree, there are lots of SDR's out there for not a lot of money, and
most of them have open source spectrum analyzer tools which one could
modify to fit the 'ease of use' needs.   You could conceivably provide a
USB dongle and a bundled piece of PC software which would do the spectrum
analysis piece.

If you're really bored you could probably include some data/protocol
decoders as well if this is a data radio you're looking at.....



On Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 6:39 PM Brent Brown <.....brentspam_OUTspameds.co.nz> wrote:

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2019\09\18@083505 by David Van Horn

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I'd prefer closer to 1Hz here, the ETSI standard allows beacons to be anywhere from 456.920 to 457.080

--
David VanHorn
Lead Hardware Engineer

Backcountry Access, Inc.
2820 Wilderness Pl, Unit H
Boulder, CO  80301 USA
phone: 303-417-1345  x110
email: TakeThisOuTdavid.vanhorn.....spamTakeThisOuTbackcountryaccess.com 

{Original Message removed}

2019\09\18@083652 by David Van Horn

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The transmitters are simple OOK, no modulation other than that.
Unfortunately, all the software based approaches would take time that I don't have to create a locked down front end. The pulses make it hard to use any sort of counter based approach.
Some beacons have diagnostic modes that will run continuous carrier, but not all.

--
David VanHorn
Lead Hardware Engineer

Backcountry Access, Inc.
2820 Wilderness Pl, Unit H
Boulder, CO  80301 USA
phone: 303-417-1345  x110
email: TakeThisOuTdavid.vanhornKILLspamspamspambackcountryaccess.com 

{Original Message removed}

2019\09\18@130347 by Dwayne Reid

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Hi there, Bob.

I had exactly the opposite reaction from Signal Hound.  I originally had the "A" version of the analyzer.  I found that the LO leakage out the input port was completely destroying the performance of the Wireless Mic and Intercom receivers that the spectrum analyzer was supposed to be supporting.  This was in a live broadcast situation and it took a while to figure out that the periodic (repeating) interference we were experiencing was coming from the Signal Hound located several hundred feet away.  What we were seeing was the LO as it swept across the spectrum that we were using.

I talked extensively with Signal Hound and urged them to do something about the problem.

They offered me the option to upgrade to their about-to-be-released "B" version.  I received one of the very first production units.  I don't recall how much they charged me but it seemed entirely reasonable at the time.  I sent my original unit back to them and they sent me the replacement.  Bonus: they sent me the temperature-calibrated version at no extra cost - the first batch of production analyzers were all calibrated over temperature as part of their development process.  I got lucky!

The SA-44B analyzer has been working perfectly.  It is in use at many live Broadcast events, especially live Curling events that originate in North America (both Canada and USA).  There are so many channels of Wireless Mic receivers in use at any one time that the lead A2 on the show finds that having a spectrum analyzer is almost essential for him.

All I can do is suggest that you reach out to Signal Hound and see if they will offer you an inexpensive upgrade to the "B" version.

dwayne


At 10:19 PM 9/17/2019, Bob Blick wrote:
{Quote hidden}

-- Dwayne Reid   <TakeThisOuTdwaynerspamspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
780-489-3199 voice   780-487-6397 fax   888-489-3199 Toll Free
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

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2019\09\18@130945 by Dwayne Reid

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Hi there, Dave.

I'm not sure if this might help, but I purchased some extremely inexpensive hand-held frequency counters several years back.  These are from China and offer two different modes of operation: continuous carrier **OR** OOK reception.  The menu calls that mode "Digital" and it is intended to measure the frequency of OOK transmitters such as car door unlock key fobs.  I don't often use that mode but it does seem to work.

I can dig up one of those units and try to find a current listing if you need.

Just a thought.

dwayne


At 06:37 AM 9/18/2019, David Van Horn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>{Original Message removed}

2019\09\18@131433 by David Van Horn

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Sounds interesting, can they go down to 457kHz, and will they work with a 70mS pulse?

--
David VanHorn
Lead Hardware Engineer

Backcountry Access, Inc.
2820 Wilderness Pl, Unit H
Boulder, CO  80301 USA
phone: 303-417-1345  x110
email: RemoveMEdavid.vanhornEraseMEspamspam_OUTbackcountryaccess.com 

{Original Message removed}

2019\09\18@162852 by Bob Blick

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I think I'd rather just talk trash about them in public forums and social media :)

Seriously, I was basically told to buy the new model at full price or go away.

Bob

________________________________________
From: @spam@piclist-bouncesRemoveMEspamEraseMEmit.edu <EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspam@spam@mit.edu> on behalf of Dwayne Reid <@spam@dwaynerspam_OUTspam.....planet.eon.net>
Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 10:03 AM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] Simple spectrum analyzer

Hi there, Bob.

I had exactly the opposite reaction from Signal Hound.  I originally
had the "A" version of the analyzer.  I found that the LO leakage out
the input port was completely destroying the performance of the
Wireless Mic and Intercom receivers that the spectrum analyzer was
supposed to be supporting.  This was in a live broadcast situation
and it took a while to figure out that the periodic (repeating)
interference we were experiencing was coming from the Signal Hound
located several hundred feet away.  What we were seeing was the LO as
it swept across the spectrum that we were using.

I talked extensively with Signal Hound and urged them to do something
about the problem.

They offered me the option to upgrade to their about-to-be-released
"B" version.  I received one of the very first production units.  I
don't recall how much they charged me but it seemed entirely
reasonable at the time.  I sent my original unit back to them and
they sent me the replacement.  Bonus: they sent me the
temperature-calibrated version at no extra cost - the first batch of
production analyzers were all calibrated over temperature as part of
their development process.  I got lucky!

The SA-44B analyzer has been working perfectly.  It is in use at many
live Broadcast events, especially live Curling events that originate
in North America (both Canada and USA).  There are so many channels
of Wireless Mic receivers in use at any one time that the lead A2 on
the show finds that having a spectrum analyzer is almost essential for him.

All I can do is suggest that you reach out to Signal Hound and see if
they will offer you an inexpensive upgrade to the "B" version.

dwayne


At 10:19 PM 9/17/2019, Bob Blick wrote:
{Quote hidden}

--
Dwayne Reid   <.....dwayner@spam@spamEraseMEplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
780-489-3199 voice   780-487-6397 fax   888-489-3199 Toll Free
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

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2019\09\18@193732 by John Gardner

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....I'd rather just talk trash about them in public forums...

  "8)

Nearly 20 years ago I bought a CCS PIC C compiler.

Me & that compiler got along like a house on fire,  and when

the upgrade offer came along I could'nt wait,  more devices,

bug-fixes,  woohoo!

CCS  wanted to "verify" I was the legal owner of the compiler

by installing software on my computer that would examine my

HDD & report back to the mother ship - A problem because the

compiler was installed on a computer which was'nt,  never had

been,  & never would be,  on-line.

Eventually I talked to the Great Man himself,  who offered to sell

me the upgrade at full boat - Or go away.  I went.


I got another CCS upgrade offer just the other day...   "8)

 ...




On 9/18/19, Bob Blick <.....bobblickRemoveMEspamoutlook.com> wrote:
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