Signal Hound Adds an Intermodulation Distortion Panel to its Spectrum Analysis Software

Signal Hound has released new updates for Spike and the VSG60 signal-generator software. Spike is Signal Hound’s spectrum analyzer software, compatible with the entire line of Signal Hound spectrum analyzers and tracking generators. Providing full device control, a configurable spectrogram display and user interface, and a variety of analysis modes, Spike is the perfect application for powerful and affordable RF analysis. The VSG60A is a vector signal generator that operates from 50 MHz to 6.0 GHz with a real-time bandwidth of 40 MHz.

The Intermodulation Distortion Panel – A Small Yet Fantastic Addition to Spike

Signal Hound recently added the Intermodulation Distortion Panel to Spike, providing yet another useful measurement tool to the powerful spectrum analysis software included with each of our devices. Intermodulation distortion causes unwanted interference in RF systems and occurs when multiple signals pass through a nonlinear system and modulate each other, causing various mixing products. Third-order products are particularly harmful, because they are in close proximity to the base signals.

The new Intermodulation Distortion panel in Spike software

The new Intermodulation Distortion panel in Spike allows engineers to measure and continuously monitor these problematic artifacts with the click of a button. With the measurement enabled in Swept Analysis mode, special markers are placed on the active trace so critical information can be absorbed at a glance. For more detail, data is reported in a table below the graticule for the two detected base signals and the two computed third-order products, including frequency, absolute amplitude, relative amplitude, and third-order intercept point. Run this measurement simultaneously with channel power, occupied bandwidth, peak table, recording, markers, or trace math, all without leaving sweep mode.

Click here to download the latest version of Spike.

Click here to view the technical software and hardware change log.

New ARB Sequence Editor for the VSG60 Software

Signal Hound enhanced the VSG60A experience by adding an ARB sequence editor to the software, allowing a user to use a visual editor to create complex frequency hopping sequences. This new addition allows a user to insert an arbitrary number of ARB files and frequency changes in any order. The VSG60 software can then transmit your complex sequence. Sequences can now also be stored in a custom file format for easy playback or editing later.

The new ARB sequence editor pane in the VSG60 software

Large ARB File Playback in VSG60 Software

The new streaming functionality built into the VSG60 software allows stream a sequence of arbitrarily large I/Q waveforms straight from disk to the VSG60. Streaming eliminates the memory requirements commonly associated with traditional ARB file playback, enabling no limitations on file sizes. This streaming mode also offers a convenient visual editor for loading and sequencing files.

Play back large files in the VSG60 software

Other VSG60 Software Enhancements Include:

The VSG60 software now allows for WLAN 802.11ac 20MHz waveform generation, including the following:
  • Custom data payloads
  • MCS 0-8
  • BCC encoding
  • Impairments such as sample rate errors, carrier offsets, and channel impairments through custom complex channel filters
  • Support for playback of .WAV file types.