Spectrum Analyzers

A spectrum analyzer should be part of every ham´s toolbox. That for easy checking what is going on inside a radio, transmitter performance, filter response, antenna matching, cable losses etc.. But the price tag puts of course a stop to this. Those who absolutely need such instrument and cannot afford a new instrument have to find a cheap old used one. But those working with very high frequencies are not cheap either.

PC USB connected black box analyzers are becoming lower in price and also stand alone very competent analyzers. The reduction in price is because of more and more advanced hardware and software

A recent example of a spectrum analyzer with astonishing relatively low price is the Siglent SSA3021X (9 kHz - 2.1 GHz). For example if equipped with tracking generator (software option) and a VSWR bridge for antenna measurements it cost less than a better transceiver. This analyzer has been tested in ARRL´s lab (QST Nov 2016) with good results. Before the test ARRL let Essco Calibration Laboratory check that the Siglent meet its specification. The ARRL test result is compared to Rigol 815TG (another low priced analyzer), Signal Hound SA44B (black box) and HP 8563E (old 26 GHz).