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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review of Signal Hound BB60C real time 6 GHz spectrum analyzer by Kenneth Wyatt

The Signal Hound series of spectrum analyzers are about as small as three large-size Hershey chocolate bars stacked on top of each other. The unit offered for review is the recently released model BB60C real time analyzer, which can tune from 9 kHz to 6 GHz with a dynamic range of +10 to approximately -158 dBm (DANL, which is dependent on resolution BW). It can easily fit within a standard briefcase with room left over for a medium sized laptop.

Figure 1 - The Signal Hound real time spectrum analyzer fits easily into a standard briefcase.

So what does “real time” mean for a spectrum analyzer? In a nutshell, it can display near instant frequency information in up to a 27 MHz instantaneous bandwidth (IBW). The response is so quick, it can trap and display intermittent signals with pulse width as narrow as 4 µs, with 1 µs pulses only attenuated by 2-3 dB. The I/Q data stream is sent through the USB 3.0 port and data streams between 250 kHz to 27 MHz of amplitude-corrected bandwidth may be viewed. The sweep speed is 24 GHz/sec with 1.2 million FFTs per second Because much of the signal processing is performed within the PC, you’ll need a pretty powerful computer. In fact the recommended setup would be a PC running Windows 7 or 8, with an Intel i7 (3rd generation (Ivy Bridge) or later with a quad core processor, 8 GB RAM, one USB 3.0 port and one adjacent USB 2.0 or 3.0 port, and OpenGL 3.0 capable graphics processor. While my Mac is a pretty fast machine and can display the GUI interface and waveform OK, some of the display text is jumbled, making it tough to determine the frequency and bandwidth parameters. So, I’ll borrow a Dell inspiron 17-inch laptop to continue the review.

So, what’s in the box? The well-packed BB60C, of course, a CD-ROM with the drivers and operating software and a special dual USB 3.0 cable that connects and fully powers the unit. Be sure you have at least two USB 3.0 ports on the same side of your laptop, as this special cable has a Y-adapter that won’t reach from one side to the other of most laptops. I had to purchase a USB extension to try it out on my Macbook Pro. The user manual is automatically downloaded to C:\Program Files\Signal Hound\BB60\manuals or it may be downloaded from the Signal Hound web site.

Figure 2 - The analyzer, supplied CD-ROM and connecting cable are included.


The BB60C analyzer is based upon a two-stage superheterodyne receiver. Two independent IF frequencies (1.26 and 2.42. GHz) are used based on the tuned RF frequency. Distributed element notch filters are used to suppress spurious responses. To reduce second-order intermodulation, push-pull amplifiers are used to cancel even-order mixing. Direct conversion is used below 10 MHz to avoid mixing products. The front end uses and preamp-attenuator combination that has a spurious-free dynamic range better than 50 dB. The 14-bit ADC uses built-in dithering, which adds improved linearity as well as decreased spurious IF responses. ADC spurs are typically less than 70 dB below the carrier. From the ADC, the digitized IF data goes to an FPGA, where it’s packetized and sent over a USB 3.0 port to the PC, where 80 million 14-bit ADC samples per second are processes into a spectrum sweep or I/Q data stream.

Figure 3 - The system block diagram of the real time analyzer. Courtesy Signal Hound.

Here are some primary specifications:

  • Frequency range: 9 kHz to 6 GHz
  • Streaming IF data: 250 kHz to 27 MHz real time analysis BW (amplitude corrected)
  • Resolution bandwidth (RBW): 10 Hz to 10 MHz
  • Internal timebase accuracy: +/- 1 ppm/year
  • Sweep speed (RBW>10 kHz): 24 GHz/sec
  • Amplitude range: +10 dBm to DANL
  • Absolute amplitude accuracy: +/- 2.0 dB
  • Displayed average noise level (DANL), (dBm/Hz, ref level -60 dBm, atten=0 dB):
  •     9 kHz to 500 kHz: -140
  •     500 kHz to 10 MHz: -155
  •     10 MHz to 6 GHz: -159 + 1 dB/GHz
  • LO leakage at RF input: -80 dBm
  • Size: 8.63 x 3.19 x 1.19 inches
  • Power: one USB 3.0 port and an adjacent USB 2.0 or 3.0 port.
****Ad: BRL Test is your authorized Signal Hounddistributer.  Click here to buy $2879  Call 407-682-4228 to place order****

Written by Kenneth Wyatt - July 08, 2014 Originally in EDN Network

Thursday, July 14, 2016

BRL Test Voted Dealer of the Month by Used Line Hi-Tech and Scientific Equipment Community


 Used-Line's Test Community voted for you because of your honesty, helpfulness, and consistent availability of equipment! 

 BRL Test - low pricing on sales and repairs of electronic test equipment is what we're about. Our world class repair lab sets us apart.

 We absolutely know spectrum analyzers, network analyzers, digital oscilloscopes, signal generators, EMC EMI, amplifiers, RF, microwave and more.

BRL Test is your one stop source for over fifty different manufacturers and thousands of different models. Save on Agilent, Keysight, Com-Power, Ophir RF, Tektronix, Fluke, Anritsu, and Rohde & Schwarz. All equipment is calibrated and certified per order so it is guaranteed to work accurately right out of the box.

Why buy from BRL Test? Our great warranty is fully backed by our expert repair lab. From the top down our entire company is fully engaged and ready to help you with your electronic test equipment requirements. Call us today at 407-682-4228.

Monday, September 21, 2015

BRL Test has E8257D-520/1E1/1EA/1ED Agien/Keysight Signal Generator- Premium Used for $24,900

BRL Test has E8257D-520/1E1/1EA/1ED Agilent/Keysight Signal Generator- Premium Used for $24,900

BRL Test is your E8257D experts.  Enjoy savings on premium quality used.  Rest easy with full 1 year parts and labor warranty.  Backed by BRL Test's World Class Repair Lab.

Click here for E8257D-520 data sheet and quote request form.

Call your BRL Test now to lock in on this great $24,900 price at 407-682-4228

  • Option 1E1:  Step attenuator
  • Option 1EA:  High RF output power
  • Option 1ED:  Type-N (f) RF output connector
  • Option 520:  Frequency range from 250 kHz to 20 GHz

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

R&S FSEB30 Spectrum Analyzer On Sale at BRL Test $3,490

Rohde & Schwarz FSEB30 on Sale at BRL Test


Click here for quotes and data sheet.
Spectrum Analyzer 10 MHz-7 GHz.
Spectrum analysis with ultra-wide dynamic range Noise figure = 18 dB/TOI = 20 dBm typ.
Universal analysis of digital and analog modulated signals (option) such as BPSK, QPSK, π/4-DQPSK, 8PSK, QAM, MSK, GMSK, 2FSK, AM, FM, PM
High-speed synthesizer 5 ms for full span
Refresh rate, quasi-analog 25 sweeps/s
Large LC TFT display 24 cm/9.5", active
Future-proof modular design Customized solutions through wide variety of options
Displayed noise floor –150 dBm (typ.) in 10-Hz bandwidth
3rd-order intercept point +20 dBm typ.
1 dB compression point of RF input +10 dBm
Sweep time: Span = 0 Hz - 1 µs to 2500 s in 5% steps; Span ≥10 Hz - 5 ms to 16 000 s in steps ≤10% ;Error limit <1%
Sampling rate 50 ns (20 MHz A/D converter)
Number of pixels 500
AF demodulation types - AM and FM

BRL Test - We absolutely know spectrum analyzers!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Anritsu MG3691A Signal Generator On Sale at BRL Test $4,400

Anritsu MG3691B Premium Quality Used at BRL Test for Less

BRL Test - We absolutely know signal generators.  Get the MG3691A on sale now for $4,400.
Click here for MG3691A datasheet and quoteforms. 
  • Option 01B: Rack Mount without slides 
  • Option 02A: Mechanical Step Attenuator 
  • Option 0510 MHz to 2 GHz RF coverage
  • Option 09KRear Panel Output 
  • Option 15AHigh Power 
Call BRL Test today to lock in this saving at 407-682-4228