Scientists and researchers alike use the machine to measure radio frequencies. This machine examines the composition of electrical, acoustic or optical waveforms by measuring the different elements of the power spectrum.
It is also used in creating, designing, testing and maintaining radio frequency circuitry and equipment. This machine is called a spectrum analyzer. This piece of equipment is vital for studies involving signals like harmonics and noise. It is used to determine and monitor if a particular signal conforms to the given standards.
Spectrum analyzers measure the signals by looking at the frequency. The equipment is a little complex, but it is a very useful tool to gather information about frequencies or signals. When you use a spectrum analyzer, you’re not just measuring the signals but you are measuring their amplitude and frequency. The device displays the amplitude on the vertical scale while the frequency is shown on a horizontal scale.
Most of the spectrum analyzers you see are heterodyne types of spectrum analyzers which mean they serve the basic purpose of scanning frequencies hence they are also called scanning spectrum analyzers. A heterodyne type of analyzer is basically a very sensitive radio receiver that selectively pick-ups frequencies.
When purchasing a spectrum analyzer you need to distinguish first between an analog type and a digital one. In an analog spectrum analyzer the middle frequencies are tuned in automatically. This means the machine will automatically measure and analyze the complete range of frequencies that it was originally programmed to do. The analog types are equipped with a variable bandpass filter to do its job. Unlike analog, digital spectrum analyzers incorporate the Fast Fourier transform or FFT. FFT is a mathematical process wherein the waveform is transformed into parts of the frequency spectrum. Because the waveform is broken down into components and digitized, it is easier for a computer to make precise measurements, compute the transformations, and process the audio information.
Once you figure out which kind of spectrum analyzer you need, you can now look at specialty stores that sell such sensitive equipments. But because of the sensitivity of the machine, it may not be that great of an idea to buy a used model. Although, you can find in the market used and cheaper spectrum analyzers, it’s not advisable to buy one especially if you don’t know the reputation of the store selling them. Accuracy might be way off and the components may already be worn out.
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