Hand-held instrument can now pinpoint sources of pulsed or sporadic signals

February 13, 2013 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Now available from Link Microtek is an enhanced version of the IDA-3106 interference and direction analyser, which offers a number of new features, including the ability to pinpoint sources of pulsed or sporadic signals. This is believed to be a world first for a hand-held device.

Manufactured by Narda Test Solutions, the IDA-3106 is designed to enable communications or security personnel to quickly identify and locate the source of any unwanted interference or suspicious transmissions.

Using its integral GPS receiver and a choice of three active directional antennas covering frequencies from 20MHz to 6 GHz, the instrument carries out a horizontal scan to establish the position of the signal source and then either displays the relative bearing in a polar diagram or shows the location on a street map, just like a satnav system.

With the device's new 'max hold' algorithm, the horizontal scan can now locate the source of pulsed-and-cyclic or sporadic signals, e.g., from radar installations, where the radar beam sweeps past at specific time intervals, or from walkie-talkies, which are operated intermittently.

Another new feature is the spectrogram function, which generates a coloured 'waterfall display' of variations in the spectrum over time. This provides information about the type of signal, enabling the user to distinguish between different sources.

In addition, the instrument now offers the ability to save spectra as reference traces and to display the current spectrum as a difference or delta spectrum. With this facility, deviations from the normal status can be seen immediately, allowing any necessary remedial action to be taken without delay.

The unit's display has also been enhanced to provide three selectable colour schemes for optimum visibility in normal lighting, bright daylight or darkness.

Existing IDA-3106 users can add the new features via a downloadable firmware upgrade.