TTi (Thurlby Thandar Instruments) has launched a portable RF spectrum analyser which, the company claims, represents a new price point for such products.
As well as being lower cost, the PSA1301T is considerably smaller, lighter, and lower power than other RF spectrum analyzers currently available. Despite this, it offers a high resolution (480 x 320 pixel) backlit color TFT display.


It achieves this by incorporating a handheld computer within the analyser. This provides the display, control, calculation, mass storage and external interface capabilities of the product.

The PSA1301T has a frequency range of 150 kHz to 1.3 GHz with selectable resolution bandwidth down to 15 kHz. Sweep modes include continuous, single, peak hold and average (up to 256 sweeps). Sweep parameters can be set in terms of centre plus span or start plus stop to 1 kHz resolution. A zero span mode with AM or FM demodulation is also provided.

Dual markers are incorporated with simultaneous readout of absolute amplitude and frequency plus difference values. Markers can be scrolled manually, or set to automatically find and track peaks.

A reference trace can be displayed simultaneously with live trace, clearly differentiated by color. The reference trace is automatically shifted and scaled to match the current sweep parameters when they are changed.

Any number of waveforms and settings can be stored to permanent memory using an SD or MMC flash memory card. These can be saved under default or user entered file names as preferred. Bitmap images of the whole screen can also be stored for viewing or printing.

Control of the analyser is provided by soft keys created on the touch screen. These are large enough to be finger operated, eliminating the need for a stylus. Alternatively, all functions can be operated using the hard keys of the handheld.

Low power consumption generates more than four hours of continuous operation from a charge. The analyser can also be set to turn off automatically after a user defined delay from the last key press, extending battery life further.

The PSA1301T will offer RF service engineers a cost effective and highly portable tool that will make it practical to a carry a spectrum analyser to areas that have traditionally been difficult to access with bench top instruments and not cost effective when using existing portable products offered by other manufacturers. This will reduce the need for a return visit when it is suspected that a spectrum analyser is required.

Site testing for RFID is expected to be a popular are for the PSA1301T. Availability of an ultra portable and low cost spectrum analyser with full documentation stored in the built in handheld computer will ensure that RF testing can be performed on any site service visit.

The Palm T|X handheld used within the PSA1301T provides the engineer with a versatile tool for recording site information and visit results. Documentation for the products being tested and test procedures can be stored on the handheld while functioning within the PSA1301T.

Major applications include word processing and spreadsheets (compatible with Microsoft Word and Excel), contacts and appointments diary, multi-function calculator, picture viewing, audio and video players, plus web and email access via WiFi and Bluetooth.

The price and performance offered by the PSA1301T will also make it a valuable tool for engineers that have infrequent requirements for a spectrum analyser. EMC evaluation testing and RF interference caused by high-speed clock signals can be identified quickly.

The PSA1301T weighs less than 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) and measures 170 x 97 x 47 mm (6.7 x 3.8 x 1.85 inches). The weight and dimensions make it a true handheld instrument, unlike other portable spectrum analysers which can be up to four times the size and weight.

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