Amateur radio, Homebrewing, News, Radio Kits, Shortwave, Software Defined Radio

Spectrum Analyzer and Other Bits and Pieces

01/25/2018

RF Explorer Model WSUB1G+ -- Handheld / USB RF Spectrum Analyzer

The RF Explorer model WSUB1G+ is the latest instrument designed and developed by the RF Explorer team.  The RF Explorer WSUB1G+ is a powerful, high-performance, digital spectrum analyzer covering the 1GHz frequency range, starting at 50KHz.  The WSUB1G+ costs $165 USD.
Features Include:

  • Internal LNA amplifier and selectable attenuator
  • Low frequency support from 50KHz covering LF, MF, HF, VHF and UHF up to 960MHz
  • Wide band coverage for all popular sub-1GHz bands — including FM, TV and DTV, ISM, RFID, GSM, etc.
  • Solid aluminum case plus silicon rubber boot protector
  • Pocket size and light weight
  • Standard 50 ohm SMA antenna connector
  • 128×64 built-in LCD screen
  • High capacity internal Lithium battery for 16hs+ of continuous run, rechargeable by USB
  • Includes mini-USB cable for recharging
  • Spectrum Analyzer mode with Peak Max and Hold, Normal, Overwrite and Averaging modes

I wanted to post this to the group because for those who might be looking for an inexpensive spectrum analyzer, this could be a great option.

I have not used these personally, but have heard good things about other models produced by this company, so I assume this model will perform similarly. The company also makes software which you can buy bundled for $198 which greatly expands the capabilities of the unit with many traditional spectrum analyzer features.

Is it going to compare to a $1500 or higher spectrum analyzer? No, most certainly not. But few of us need that level of sophistication, and the uses of a basic spectrum analyzer can come in quite handy.

For example, as the analyzer sweeps across a given bandwidth we can see other signals nearby, making it easier to find activity than by tuning the dial. This can take the place of a panadapter, for example, and can mimic what SDR dongles do with their spectrum interface. If you are a ham radio operator you can use one of these to see if your signal is clean, or how strong are the harmonics of your signal, etc.

You can test your HT to see if there are any unacceptable spurs when you transmit, as well as check the calibration of various radios. Since the unit goes up to almost 1 GHz, you can check 220 and 440 operation, and even up to 902 MHz band if you have that capability.

And of course you can check for sources of local interference. If you are into repairing radios, this is a bonus because you can check spurious signals and calibration among other things as well.

The usual disclaimers apply: I have no connection to the company, get nothing for talking about them, etc. etc. Just an FYI post!

Bits and Pieces

There have been some new product announcements recently which may be of interest. AirSpy has come out with a new SDR unit which covers HF and VHF/UHF and which features some new enhancements to their already well-regarded product line. Likewise HFSignals has introduced a new BITX QRP transmitter/receiver, the uBITX (MBITX). This is a multi-band 10w (5W nominal) QRP radio, with full shortwave coverage (a really nice feature!) which can transmit CW or SSB, and with some additional modifications, digital modes. The unit sells right now for $119 shipped DHL, but the price may go up a bit any time. I have purchased one and am awaiting the cases to come out so I can choose an appropriate enclosure.

I believe we are at a very exciting time in amateur radio with both commercial offerings and homebrew projects which are bringing us closer to the nuts and bolts of radio more like it was in the beginning of the hobby. While there is certainly nothing wrong with buying commercial gear and operating right out of the box, there is definitely a place for folks who want to tinker around with building their own radios, and HF Signals, as well as other companies, are bringing this capability back to the general amateur radio community.

That’s it for this round, folks! Happy signal hunting whatever your interest in radio! 73, Robert


 

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