$2900 USB spectrum analyser get noise & dynamic performance upgrade

May 30, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Signal Hound BB60C is a USB (display-less) real-time spectrum analyser/RF recorder that follows on from the similarly named BB60A; priced at around $2,900 it has an instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) of 27 MHz and frequency sweep of 24 GHz/sec

The BB60C has a frequency range of 9 kHz to 6 GHz, and relative to its predecessor has improved SFDR (Spurious-Free Dynamic Range) by typically 20 dB; the noise floor has been flattened by reducing frequency band transitions more than 8 dB; operating temperatures have been extended down to -40°C and up to +65°C; and streaming I/Q (In-phase Quadrature) bandwidth is now selectable from 250 kHz to 27 MHz.

“The Signal Hound BB60C... embodies the 80-20 rule by being able to accomplish more than 80% of the work for less than 20% of the cost...[it has] small size and its weight of 1.1 lbs., but... it’s a serious instrument,” said Bruce Devine, CEO, Signal Hound, adding, “Now the BB60C makes it hard for companies to justify buying a high-end spectrum analyser. There are other competitors but they lack one or more of our key features—spectral purity, wide temperature range operation, broadband I/Q streaming capability, open source code spectrum analysis software, and an application programming interface (API),”

By adding custom software and a low-cost Intel i5 NUC vPro-enabled computer, model DC53427HYE, the user can also remotely perform spectrum analysis, manage system recovery, turn on and off the BB60C, and update software, all over the Ethernet. The Signal Hound BB60C ships with a fully documented API written in C++. The open source spectrum analyser software provides examples of efficient techniques for creating new functions and interfacing the API when writing customised applications.

Signal Hound; www.signalhound.com