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Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers Handle Advanced Radar Measurements

Today's advanced radars are notoriously hard to test. Simply put, the radar is beyond the scope of most standard measurement equipment. To simplify diagnostic troubleshooting and production test for radar applications, Tektronix, Inc. (Beaverton, OR) has expanded the measurement envelope in bandwidth, frequency, dynamic range, and display processing for one of its instruments. This achievement is detailed in the application note, "Advanced Radar Testing with the RSA6100A Series Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer."

This 15-page paper focuses on the performance and features of the RSA6100A series of real-time spectrum analyzers (RTSAs) as applied to advanced radar testing. The RSA1600A covers radar bands from 9 kHz to 14 GHz. It boasts up to 110 MHz of instantaneous intermediate-frequency (IF) bandwidth and at least 73 dB of dynamic range.

Previous instruments relied on swept YttriumIron-Garnet (YIG) filters as pre-selectors for image and spurious control above roughly 3 GHz. Yet YIG filters are limited in bandwidth. They also contain considerable tuning hysteresis, are limited in tuning speed, and suffer from group delay variability. As a result, the RSA1600As use a series of switched bandpass filters for image and spurious control above 8 GHz.

The analyzers' performance aspects are combined with live digital-phosphor-technology (DPX) displays, which offer a spectral processing rate that is much faster than the human eye can perceive. The DPX display processor compresses the 48,000 spectrums/s measurement rate to approximately 33 screen updates per second. Through the application note, the company emphasizes why such strengths are crucial for today's radar engineer.

Tektronix, Inc., 14200 SW Karl Braun Dr., P.O. Box 500, Beaverton, OR 97077; (800) 835-9433, Internet:

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