Review: Tektronix RSA306 spectrum analyzer (part 1)

The spectrum analyzer has always been a vital tool for the EMC engineer. Until the last few years, these instruments have been rather large and heavy desktop instruments, weighing up to 60 pounds, or more. With the breakthroughs in components used for wireless technology, the size and weight of these instruments has decreased dramatically. This is good news for product designers whose workbenches may already be cluttered with other test instruments or for those like myself who work a lot in the field or travel a lot.

Review: Tektronix RSA306 spectrum analyzer (part 1)

A few other manufacturers have pioneered the concept of PC-controlled spectrum analyzers and Tektronix has recently entered the fray with their new RSA306, which has dramatically raised the bar as far as performance and measurement capability. The RSA306 is a well-built rubber-covered unit that about the size that will slip into the jacket pocket of your suit (5 in. x 7.5 in. x 1.2 in.). It would also fit easily into a briefcase along with a 15-inch PC laptop. It is designed to meet MIL-STD-28800 Class 2 environmental, shock and vibration for use in harsh environments. The RSA306 is powered solely through the USB 3.0 port. The frequency range is 9 kHz to 6.2 GHz and can measure from +20 to -160 dBm (at minimum resolution bandwidth of 100 Hz). The unit can capture fast transient pulses with its 40 MHz real-time IF bandwidth. There are also external 10 MHz reference and trigger/sync SMA inputs, so you can sync to line frequencies, for example. The measurement input is an N connector with protective rubber cap. With all this, Tektronix has been able to keep the cost down to just $3,490 for the basic unit. Included in this price are a safety/installation manual, USB 3.0 cable and USB flash drive containing the documentation files, user manual, drivers and SignalVu-PC software.


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