New Low-Cost Handheld Spectrum Analyzer Uses Palm PDA

If the Tektronix RSA6100A series spectrum analyzers described in last week's RF Report are too big and expensive, you may want to consider the Thurlby Thandar Instruments (TTI) PSA1301T handheld spectrum analyzer.

"Our PSA1301T handheld is smaller, lighter, uses less power, and is significantly less expensive than any other RF spectrum analyzer in the market," said TTI Sales Director Mark Edwards. "Remarkably, it still offers 1.3 GHz bandwidth and a high-resolution color display, and the built-in Palm T/X adds communication capabilities through Bluetooth and WIFI technologies."

The PSA1301T uses a Palm T/X handheld computer, which provides the processing power for the spectrum analyzer as well as the user interface and a 480 x 320 pixel backlit color display. It can store instrument settings or bitmap images of the whole screen on removable SD or MMC flash memory cards. Tables of amplitude versus frequency can also be stored, making it easy to analyze measurements in other programs such as MathCAD.

While the accuracy of the analyzer cannot compare with that of larger units, it offers features such as AM and FM detection in the zero span mode as well as the ability to store and display a reference trace. Reference frequency accuracy is only 10 ppm and amplitude accuracy is quoted as better than +/- 1 dB at 50 MHz, with flatness better than +/- 1.5 dB over 0.5 MHz to 1300 MHz. Noise floor is better than -90 dBm with the reference level set at -20 dBm and a 15 kHz resolution bandwidth. See the TTI PSA1301T specifications and the TTI RF Spectrum analyzer page for additional information.

These spectrum analyzers are available in the U.S. from Newark InOne. In addition to being one of the smallest spectrum analyzers, the cost of about $1,500 makes the PSA1301T one of the most affordable. If any readers have experience with a PSA1301T, please let me know how it performs.