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Spectrum Analyzer

Spectrum Analyzer

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Published by Gavinda Lakmal

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Published by: Gavinda Lakmal on Oct 20, 2011
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04/23/2013

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Spectrum Analyzer
- 1 - EE/07/6750 E.G.L. Dabare
Introduction
Simply spectrum analyzer can be described as a frequency-selective, peak-respondingvoltmeter calibrated to display the rms value of a sine wave. Spectrum analyzer is apassive deice and show on its display power (dbm), wave shape, frequency, sideband etc.mostly using spectrum analyzer, modulation, distortion and noises are measured.Spectrum analyzer is a wide band, very sensitive receiver. It works on the principle of "super-heterodyne receiver" to convert higher frequencies (normally ranging up to several10s of GHz) to measurable quantities. The received frequency spectrum is slowly sweptthrough a range of pre-selected frequencies, converting the selected frequency to ameasurable DC level, and displaying the same on a display.Usually when want to measure and look an electrical signal the oscilloscope is used. Itshows how the signal varies with time. But using spectrum analyzer the signal can beseen in frequency domain. The graphical representation consisted with two axes and Y-axis consists with power of signal in dBm and X-axis consisted with frequency.Each peak showsusingfrequencies
 
Spectrum Analyzer
- 2 - EE/07/6750 E.G.L. Dabare
Operation of Spectrum Analyzer
Block diagram of a Spectrum AnalyzerThe spectrum analyzer consists with following major components;
 
Mixer
 
IF Filter
 
Detector
 
Video FilterThe
Mixer
converts a signal from one frequency to another (frequency translation). Themixer is a non-liner device and the output frequencies that produced are the originalsignals, sum and difference frequencies of the two signals.The
IF Filter
is a band pass filter and it detects signals. Its bandwidth is called as“resolution bandwidth” (RBW).The IF signals must be converted to a baseband or video signal to view on the analyzerdisplay. This is done using the envelop detector. The detector’s output is then digitalizedwith AD converter and represented the signal’s amplitude on the Y-axis.The
Video Filter
is a low-pass filter that is located after the envelope detector and beforethe ADC. This filter determines the bandwidth of the video amplifier, and is used toaverage or smooth the trace seen on the screen.
Other Components
;The
local oscillator
(LO) is a Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) which in effect tunesthe analyzer.The
RF Input Attenuator
is a step attenuator located between the input connector andthe first mixer. Its purpose is to ensure the signal enters the mixer at the optimum level toprevent overload, gain compression, and distortion. It is usually set automatically, based
 
Spectrum Analyzer
- 3 - EE/07/6750 E.G.L. Dabareon the reference level. Manual selection of attenuation is also available in steps of 10, 5,2, or even 1 dB. The RF input attenuator is consisted with a capacitor connected with aresistor in series. The capacitor works as a blocking device and used to prevent theanalyzer from being damaged by a DC signal.
Low pass filter
Block high frequency signals from reaching to the mixer. This is used to prevent out of band signals mixing with the local oscillator and creating unwanted responses at the IF.
IF gain
It is located after the mixer and before the IF Filter. It is variable gain amplifier. Theamplifier is used to adjust the vertical position of signals on the display without affectingthe signal level at the input mixer. When the IF gain is changed, the value of the referencelevel is changed accordingly to retain the correct indicated value for the displayed signals.Generally settings of the input attenuator and the IF gain are coupled together. A changein input attenuation will automatically change the IF gain to offset the effect of thechange in input attenuation, thereby keeping the signal at a constant position on thedisplay.
Sweep (ramp) generator
The ramp generator drives the sweep of the local oscillator and also the display. In thisway the horizontal axis of the display is directly linked to the frequency.
Type of Spectrum Analyzers
 Mainly, there are three types of spectrum analyzers;1.
 
Superheterodyne (Swept) – Most common2.
 
Fast Fourier transform (FFT)3.
 
Audio spectrum analyzer
Applications of Spectrum Analyzer
Basically there are three type of applications are taken using the spectrum analyzer.
 
Interference Measurements
 
Device Frequency Response Measurements
 
Microware Tower Monitoring
Interference Measurements
Interference can be created by a number of different sources, such as telecom microwavetowers, TV stations, or airport guidance systems etc. As an example, thetelecommunication providers connect their BSCs and BTSs using microwave links. Thespectrum is limited and so every frequency is reused. Interference cause failure of link and it cost to the company. So using spectrum analyzer, can be measured the C/I and C/Aparameters and measure the strength of link. The link reliability is depends on thatparameters.

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