June 4, 2014. Signal Hound at the International Microwave Symposium demonstrated the new Signal Hound BB60C, successor to the Signal Hound BB60A. The Signal Hound BB60C is a real-time spectrum analyzer and RF recorder. It has significantly enhanced performance compared to the BB60A. The BB60C has a frequency range of 9 kHz to 6 GHz and an instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) of 27 MHz; it can sweep the RF spectrum at 24 GHz per second. It costs $2,879.
The Signal Hound spectrum analyzers are compact and simple to use. The Signal Hound BB60A is used for real-time spectrum monitoring, manufacturing process control, interference hunting, spread-spectrum signal analysis, capturing intermittent events, and general-purpose spectrum analysis.
The Signal Hound BB60C has improved SFDR (Spurious-Free Dynamic Range) by typically 20 dB; the noise floor has been flattened by reducing frequency-band transitions more than 8 dB; operating temperatures have been extended down to -40°C and up to +65°C; and streaming I/Q bandwidth is now selectable from 250 kHz to 27 MHz.
“The Signal Hound BB60C is perfect for a wide range of applications. It embodies the 80-20 rule by being able to accomplish more than 80% of the work for less than 20% of the cost. It may look like a toy, because of its small size and its weight of 1.1 lbs., but once you put your hands on one, you'll know it's a serious instrument,” said Bruce Devine, CEO, Signal Hound.
“Now the BB60C makes it hard for companies to justify buying a high-end spectrum analyzer. There are other competitors but they lack one or more of our key features—spectral purity, wide temperature range operation, broadband I/Q streaming capability, open source code spectrum-analysis software, and an application programming interface (API),” he said.
By adding custom software and a low-cost Intel i5 NUC vPro-enabled computer, Model DC53427HYE, the user can also remotely perform spectrum analysis, manage system recovery, turn on and off the BB60C, and update software, all over the Ethernet.
The Signal Hound BB60C ships with a fully documented API written in C++. The open source spectrum analyzer software provides examples of efficient techniques for creating new functions and interfacing the API when writing customized applications.
Industry is using the spectrum analyzers for process monitoring and embedding them in specialty products. Government is using them for spectrum monitoring. Electronic repair technicians, engineering students, ham radio enthusiasts, and electronics hobbyists are all finding them useful, Devine said, adding that although they are small and affordable, they have the sensitivity, accuracy, and dynamic range expected from expensive and bulky test equipment.
The Signal Hound BB60C is in stock, ready for immediate shipment. The Signal Hound BB60C sells for $2,879 in the U.S.