Tek takes USB spectrum analyser range to 7.5 GHz, in field & on the bench

March 22, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Following the introduction in 2015 of its RSA 306 USB, screenless and PC-hosted, spectrum analyser, Tektronix has now expanded its range to three USB real-time spectrum analysis units; a rugged unit for field use, a version intended for bench use in the lab; and an uprated version of the RSA 306.

Each of the RSA 500 and 600A units covers from 9 kHz up to 7.5 GHz, with 40 MHz capture bandwidth; pricing is under 10,000. In total there are four variants that offer measurement dynamic range from -161 dBm/Hz displayed average noise level, and up to +30 dBm maximum input.

The added USB-based spectrum analysers develop, Tek says, the design approach of the 6.2 GHz RSA306 USB-based real-time spectrum analyser introduced in 2015, aiming to serve a market which sees more and more non-RF specialists having to make spectrum measurements, and working with many new wireless standards. The development takes the USB instrument to a higher performance level and offers a line-operated laboratory package and a rugged battery-operated package with a tablet PC option. Both the RSA500 and RSA600 also have an optional tracking generator with an integrated internal bridge for basic device, cable and antenna testing. The company says that the specifications come at a price point around 60% of comparable performance in a conventional benchtop format.

Through a standard USB 3.0 connection, the instruments are operated from a desktop PC, laptop or tablet using an updated version of the full-featured SignalVu-PC software suite – included at no additional cost – that provides 17 measurements, real-time DPX (“digital phosphor”) signal processing, and a range of application-specific add-on modules for in-depth analysis.


The portable units are aimed at “spectrum management” - tasks such as interference locating, characterising the spectral environment in a particular location, installation and fault-finding. Powered from and internal battery and housed in a rugged outer case, the 500 units have an optional tablet PC based on Panasonic's ToughPad, to rpvide the user interface. Even with the tablet, a spokesman commented, the unit has a 20% price/performance advantage over other solutions. The series includes the 3 GHz RSA503A and the 7.5 GHz RSA507A, qualified to MIL-STD 28800 Class 2 for shock and vibrations and rated IP52 for