Signal Hound Adds SCPI Compatibility to its line of RF Spectrum Analyzers

SpikeSignal Hound has added SCPI compatibility for its spectrum analyzers via its Spike software. Spike allows users to control all Signal Hound spectrum analyzers using a common Graphical User Interface (GUI) and offers advanced signal analysis measurements and display options.

SCPI (Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments) specifies a programming language that is designed for controlling test instruments. It provides a common syntax, command structure, and data interchange format which can be used across multiple SCPI compatible test and measurement instruments. Commands are hierarchical using easily understood English based instructions. It is intended to give the test system programmer a standardized environment for writing test instrument automation scripts, reducing implementation time by eliminating the need to learn a new proprietary software syntax.

Signal Hound spectrum analyzers, which are controlled by the Spike software, can be remotely operated by sending SCPI commands to Spike via a TCP/IP link. One can connect and interface the Spike software through any VISA implementation or any programming language that allows SOCKET programming. Spike’s current set of SCPI commands covers the most common spectrum analyzer/receiver functions within the Spike software. The Signal Hound SDK includes example programs using SCPI to automate the Spike software for several measurement procedures. These programs can provide a basis on which customers can build custom programs for automating Signal Hound products.

The figure below summarizes the programming methods available for controlling Signal Hound spectrum analyzers/receivers. Since a TCP/IP SOCKET link is used for the SCPI commands, you can control the Spike software from any PC/operating system. For example, a Windows PC runs Spike, but remote control of Spike on the Windows PC can occur on a Linux or Apple system. Traditional programming using Signal Hound-supplied, device-specific API’s remains available for fast, direct device control. The device specific APIs use a C interface, and the functions can be called from most modern programming languages and environments such as C/C++, C#, Python, Java, LabVIEW, and MATLAB.

The SCPI functionality for Spike is available immediately, at no cost, as part of the Spike software (V 3.2.0) download from the Signal Hound Website. The Spike SCPI programming manual and examples are available as a part of the Signal Hound Software Development Kit.