EMRFD Message Archive 7259
Message Date From Subject 7259 2012-02-16 22:30:04 Kerry Signal Hound I'm in the market for a new spectrum analyser; my two 141T systems are showing their age.
I love them dearly, both for their performance and because they are a reminder of, in my view, the greatest company in the "electro-mechanical" era of test equipment, but I think it might be time to move on.
I have an N2PK VNA and a DG8SAQ VNWA and I'm beginning to appreciate the utility of small computer-driven instruments vis-a-vis 75 lb behemoths like the 141.
Does anyone have experience of the Signal Hound?
It certainly looks good "on paper"; http://www.signalhound.com/index.htm
I am fortunately within an hour's drive of the Australian distributor and he has offered to let me "test-drive" one; I will do that next week but, in the interim, I thought I'd ask here.
How does it compare to, say, a HP8594E or something similar which would be the alternative. The problem I see there is that these are getting old also and are rather "unfixable" for the average person like me.
Anything more expensive is definitely not in the budget. :)
7260 2012-02-17 12:18:03 Gary, WB9JPS Re: Signal Hound There is a Yahoo group for the Signal Hound, but not much activity there. If y'all stay tuned, I am buying one right now for an application at work, and I hope to post something here. In general, reviews have been quite favorable and while it may not replace a flagship laboratory instrument, everything I've seen says it meets published specs. The fact that it also works as a SDR, with I/Q demodulation, suggests even more applicati 7261 2012-02-17 15:15:47 Kerry Re: Signal Hound Thanks Gary.
I have almost convinced myself to take the plunge soon, probably before you report back.
Interesting that there are other software uses for the SH; sounds as if they are out of our price range.
I joined the Yahoo Group a few weeks ago but, as you said, there's not a lot there.
I had one query so I e-mailed SH; I received a reply very quickly from Justin who answered my question very clearly so I am impressed with the support.
7262 2012-02-18 03:45:10 Lasse Re: Signal Hound Kerry,
I have the SA44B and finds it a neat little instrument! USB-powered
makes it super for portable use too...
Still having used the HP 8566/68 for 30 years and now more modern
instruments it's easy to get anoyed over some "features" this little box
have. My main gripe is the slow sweep time. Nowhere near the 20 ms you
have on an analogue spectrum analyzer.
And then the change of internal processing around 200 MHz CF...
I still have some issues such as noise floor goes up/down depending on
CF i.e. I can go from 280 to 290 MHz with a sweep of 10 MHz and see
funky readings. Support is working on this... since a few months back.
Have yet to get any substancial feedback on this.
Despite this and slowness of the instrument, I would probably buy it
knowing what I know today. The accuracy and features makes it a very
neat instrument. And for the money, look what equipment you do get on
e-bay. Not exaclty "new" :)
The phase noise measurement is way-cool...
Feel free to mail me further Q's... I can offer screen dumps and such.
But lets take this off the list!
Kerry skrev 2012-02-18 00:15:
> Thanks Gary.
> I have almost convinced myself to take the plunge soon, probably before you report back.
> Interesting that there are other software uses for the SH; sounds as if they are out of our price range.
> I joined the Yahoo Group a few weeks ago but, as you said, there's not a lot there.
> I had one query so I e-mailed SH; I received a reply very quickly from Justin who answered my question very clearly so I am impressed with the support.
> Kerry VK2TIL.
7263 2012-02-18 04:01:14 Garry Re: Signal Hound Have you thought about building one? Check out http://scottyspectrumanalyzer.com/msaslim.html.
Also, has a very active yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spectrumanalyzer/
7264 2012-02-18 12:27:38 Kerry Re: Signal Hound G'day Lasse.
Thanks for the offer; I will see how I go.
I am used to the 141s; slow sweeps in storage mode can take minutes so I think the SH is fast! :)
7265 2012-02-18 12:40:22 Kerry Re: Signal Hound G'day Garry
Yes; I looked at the SSA.
Building it is something of a "mission", esp. here in VK where parts are more difficult to obtain than in US/UK/EU. I found this out when I built my N2PK VNA; despite wonderful help from folk in the US it was a long-drawn-out process to get it running.
If it were available in kit form (like the VNWA that I also built) I would consider it but the design doesn't seem to lend itself to kitting; it's more of an "enthusiast's" design.
I would prefer a "bought" analyser so that I can get-on with testing other things.
7266 2012-02-19 03:45:14 Garry Re: Signal Hound You are correct about a long drawn out process, as I am still building mine. A lot of that has to do with time. There are many guys here in VK building it or have finished it.
7267 2012-02-19 05:55:20 Donald Re: Signal Hound 7268 2012-02-19 06:35:04 Lasse Re: Signal Hound Do not think the Hamegs are offering the cheap stuff, now that they are
bought by Rohde&Schwarz.
I did check out the Atten and a few other offerings, and the performance
is not really stellar, unless you go up to the fully synthesized ones,
costing a bundle.
It all depends
7269 2012-02-19 12:37:23 Kerry Re: Signal Hound G'day Garry.
I didn't realise that you are a VK3. You will know how difficult parts-procurement can be, although it must be even worse in some countries.
There seem to be more advanced/technical amateurs in Melbourne than in other places; I've met a few on my visits in past years (annual holiday that just happened to fall on the date of a Laverton auction each year) and via the internet.
7270 2012-02-19 12:52:12 Kerry Re: Signal Hound G'day Don.
I have looked at all the current offerings including Atten and Hameg; I was tempted by them until I saw the Signal Hound (horrible name I think).
I would like a tracking generator and the price then gets past my budget with other SAs except the Atten; the competition for my $$$ at present is between the Atten and the Signal Hound.
7271 2012-02-19 14:07:27 Wes Re: Signal Hound Hello all,
Thanks to all for the info on the Signal Hound. I had wondered if it was useful.
Yes, I'm guilty. I own an older Hameg analyzer with built in tracking generator. It is handy and does a reasonable job for many purposes up through 500 MHz. The phase noise is poor and only runs in 10 dB/div. It belonged to a friend, W6TFQ, now SK. I purchased it from his son and think of my friend Skip every time that I use it.
A new SA that should be considered when evaluating possible purchases is the new Rigol DSA815. This box is now available in both the US and Europe. It covers the range from near DC to 1.5 GHz and one option has a built in tracking generator. It has a beautiful multicolor display that is both higher in resolution and larger than the display in the low priced Rigol DS1052E digital storage oscilloscope. The analyzer resolution bandwidth goes down to 100 Hz with enough stability and low phase noise to allow the narrow RBW to be used. The box, like the Rigol DSOs, is loaded with digital enhancements, so is up there with modern instruments.
A friend just purchased one and I had a "viewing" last week. I was most impressed. The price tag in the US was $1500 including the TG option. I bet it's available in VK.
7272 2012-02-19 18:08:24 Kerry Re: Signal Hound Thanks Wes.
I hadn't seen that model Rigol; I've had a quick look at the specs and it certainly looks good.
It's available here but it's very new; I'm waiting for a call-back from the distributor regarding price.