AR Sensor (Augmented Reality)
Consultants' favorite meter seems to be the GigaHertz Solutions HF59B. Frequency range of down to 27 MHz within the basic device - suitable for the connection of an optionally available antenna the scope of delivery includes a compensated antenna for 700 MHz up to 2.7 or 3.3 GHz). Common accessories are
- Ultra broadband antenna for RF-Analysers UBB27_G3 - an omnidirectional antenna that has frequency range: 27 MHz to beyond 3.3 GHz
- High-pass filter HP700
Light, portable signal analyzer for detecting, analyzing and localizing RF signals and interference in the frequency range from 9 kHz to 6 GHz. IDA 2 combines a frequency scanner / receiver, transmitter detector, spectrum analyzer, signal analyzer and triangulation software in a single mobile device. The sets also include precision directional antennas with built in switchable preamplifier and electronic compass. (>$15K)
SOscium WiPry 5X - connects to Android, etc.(~$500)
Arinst SSA R2 Signal Hunter. Made in Russia, I believe based on a top of the line microwave transceiver chip. Fully covers 35 MHz - 6.2 GHz range.
Arinst SSA R2 (older, not signal hunter model, same website). Same price as the one above ($400), trades a poorer sensitivity above 4.5 GHz for computer connectivity - if you want continuous data logging you might consider this.
Rf Explorer "3G" (as in 3 GHz) models (rf-explorer.com). Measures up to 2.7 GHz. You need a base unit plus the #G expansion module. Cheapest setup is $250, measures 15 MHz - 2.7 GHz. For $300, you get lower frequencies down to 50 kHz as well. For $365, you can add the 5-6 GHz band, but still misses the 3.5 GHz 5G mid-band
#1 is new and does not currently support data transfer to a
computer, with no immediate plans to add it. However, what I do with my rf
exploroer now is take measurements on the "max hold" setting, which shows the
cumulative maximum measured value at each frequency since you last reset it,
as long as you want. I measure that way for at least a few minutes at a time
for each frequency band present, which is needed for the max values to
stabilize. Then what I record is a max value for the band at that time. That's
what we did together, although I spend longer usually on each band. Then you
can repeat that procedure at different times of day and over time. I've gotten
pretty stable values actually over time between major tower upgrades. All 3
instruments should be able to do this.
(As for measuring the frequency range precisely, that won't change over time for a given band and is easily done once by zooming in.)
#2 and #3 both support continuous data recording to a computer, at least on Windows. #3 also has mac software and #2 supports mobile android devices, which wouldn't help me (either by bluetooth, which I'd suggest turning off, or by usb cable). This is in theory - I've never tried it with my rf explorer. That would be nice for long term recording in a single location, although if you just want the maximum value you could do the same with all 3 instruments in max hold mode using usb just for power. There's one problem with that type of long-term measurement, which is the only antennas I know of with a good and predictable performance over that range are directional, so you'd have to aim it at a specific tower of interest.
That's an additional needed purchase too, a characterized antenna, to get meaningful measurements. I plan to also buy the $85 6 GHz log periodic antenna also listed on the arinst.net site, which should work with all of the instruments.
"ultra wide band" devices
One final note that I've just found out: there are "ultra wide band" devices poised to become much more prevalent that transmit over very large frequency ranges at once (integrated into smart phones and other new devices). These are hard to measure with a spectrum analyzer since their power is spread over many frequencies at once.They also operate in the 6-7 GHz range. #1 above I believe is just barely sensitive enough to detect them at the upper end of its frequency response, which is one reason I favor that one. And also the FCC is considering allowing wifi type devices in the same 6-7 GHz band. That would mean that a next generation of devices would be out of range of even these instruments. A future option I'm considering is to buy the ultra wideband hardware and use it to measure in that higher frequncy range. There's a hardware evaluation kit for it with 2 units for $540, but it's for hardware developers and would take work to get the needed measurements out of it. But that may be more relevant if and when those new regulations are passed.
SCPI - Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments defines a standard for syntax and commands to use in controlling programmable test and measurement devices, such as automatic test equipment and electronic test equipment
Siglent SSA3032X (~$2600)