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RSA7100B Wideband RF Signal Analyzer and Streaming Recorder Targets Challenging Real-World Test Scenarios

The new RSA7100B wideband RF signal analyzer and streaming recorder is now available, giving engineers a powerful solution for evaluating and characterizing wideband communications, radar and electronic warfare systems. This latest addition to the Tektronix family of real-time spectrum analyzers offers impressive specs and capabilities, including more than 2.5 hours of streaming RF storage at 800 MHz real-time bandwidth and a minimum duration for 100% Probability of Intercept (POI) of 232 ns. Its 16 kHz to 26.5 GHz frequency range covers a broad range of analysis needs.

Probability of Intercept specifications are exclusive to Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers (RSAs). POI is defined as the certainty to which a signal can be detected with a given configuration. It's usually expressed in terms of a minimal signal duration that leads to a 100% POI. RSAs’ unique ability to monitor swaths of spectrum at a time allow them to discover elusive effects in RF signals, trigger on those effects, seamlessly capture them into memory, and analyze them in the frequency, time, modulation, statistical and code domains.

The new high-performance wideband instrument is especially well suited for military range tests and field operations that require full-bandwidth captures for extended periods of time. For range testing to be successful, real-time situational awareness is a must, along with a thorough understanding of the radio spectrum at any given moment.

Lacking a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) alternative, some radar test teams stream test data to an inherently non-deterministic computing device such as a PC or laptop, inevitably leading to lost or missing data with no ability to verify that data is being recorded as expected.

In contrast, the RSA7100B represents a COTS solutions that can stream up to 32 TB of data to redundant array of independent disks (RAID) memory. All other analysis is available simultaneously during streaming. This ability to analyze while streaming ensures the quality of data collection, avoids re-runs and ultimately saves time and reduces costs. In addition, with the use of IQFlow software, the RSA7100B offer the speed and flexibility needed to perform real-time digital signal processing and for scenarios involving hardware in the loop (HWIL or HIL) testing.

The advanced real-time capabilities of the RSA7100B are illustrated in the figure below. In this five-second recording the instrument’s DPX® digital phosphor display provides real-time monitoring of an 800 MHz acquisition. The file size, available disk space, recording progress, and number of files recorded are all reported. Indicators of dropped frames and input overload are also presented in the same control screen.

RSA7100B Wideband RF Signal Analyzer Screenshit
Control screen for a data capture showing real-time situational awareness

Once the spectrum data has been successfully captured, there’s still the challenge of analyzing streamed recordings that can easily reach tens of terabytes in size. The optional DataVu-PC software gives users the ability to manage these large files and display color-graded spectrums, spectrograms and amplitude vs. time records for files of unlimited length. It also supports pulse analysis on up to 2 million pulses.

Probability of Intercept

As a real-time spectrum analyzer, the RSA7100B greatly increases the likelihood of capturing wideband signal transients. As noted above, the instrument can trigger on and measure signals of just 232 ns duration in the frequency domain in real time for 100% POI at full signal level. This makes the instrument invaluable for understanding the changing spectral environment found in range testing as well as for wideband applications such as communications design and spectrum management.

Multi-Domain Analysis Software

Like all Tektronix RTSAs, the RSA7100B is capable of simultaneously displaying frequency, time, and modulation domain measurements with SignalVu-PC RF and vector signal analysis software. The same stored time record of samples can be processed simultaneously by several different demodulation and measurement software routines. A wide variety of analysis options are available including modulation, pulse, WLAN, phase noise, and frequency/phase settling measurements – giving unparalleled insights into the spectrum.

Availability

Available now, a complete RSA7100B system is priced from $205,000 US MSRP and runs on the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. Go to tek.com/rsa7100 or contact a local Tektronix account manager for more information.

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