Author Topic: SDR as VNA/Spectrum Analyzer for 2.4GHz design?  (Read 7857 times)

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Offline Blue_AlienTopic starter

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SDR as VNA/Spectrum Analyzer for 2.4GHz design?
« on: August 02, 2016, 10:27:00 pm »
I am preparing to design a dual mode bluetooth module and I'm researching tools that will be useful in the RF design process. I have worked with spectrum analyzers up to 50Ghz in the past and have a bit of VNA experience but I currently don't have either of those available at my current company.

I have started researching software defined radios and it appears that they are capable of vector network analysis, spectrum analysis, and bluetooth demodulation. Looking at potentially getting the BladeRF or waiting for the LimeSDR.

My company is purchasing a 2.5GHz Keysight S-Series scope for USB pre-compliance testing. We could potentially get the 8900 VSA software for it and do spectrum analysis. But I am looking for a lower cost solution.

Does anyone have suggestions or experience they could share in this area?

Offline mimmus78

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Re: SDR as VNA/Spectrum Analyzer for 2.4GHz design?
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 07:56:50 pm »
I'm interested too.

Excluding boat anchors I think the best options are:


The second one seems to have a lot of software support like android application, etc.

Those other RF boards seems not so immediate to use as VNA even though for sure you will have more fun with those boards.

Offline borjam

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Re: SDR as VNA/Spectrum Analyzer for 2.4GHz design?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 09:55:40 am »
I own a MiniVNA Tiny and apart from using it to tinker with my HF antenna I tried it with some UMTS/LTE/Wifi antennas and the results were consistent with what I observed on a several orders of magnitude pricier Agilent.

Of course it's not the same (its dynamic range is much lower and it's several times slower than the Agilent) but the Tiny is cheaper than the Agilent's calibration set alone!

Offline dkozel

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Re: SDR as VNA/Spectrum Analyzer for 2.4GHz design?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2016, 07:35:35 am »
I've used an SDR (B210) as a VNA before. As far as I know though there is no generic, good software for it. There were efforts in the past to use GNU Radio to make a VNA, with fair success but no continuing project.
Here is one of those GNU Radio VNA projects.

Here's an excellent example of a custom SDR based VNA design.

Offline rwgast_lowlevellogicdesin

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Re: SDR as VNA/Spectrum Analyzer for 2.4GHz design?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2016, 07:17:52 pm »
A cheap solution may be to look at using an RF noise source/sigGen for VNA and an RTL dongle with a 5 dollar direct tv B band converter if you cut the filters out of the converter you can get the dongle up to 4ghz :). although if you using bluetooth original and not LE the bandwidth may be a problem, although RTLScanner can maybe make up for some of that a long with custom GNU Radio Solutions. Ive been looking to see if anyone has easily came up with a way to make a few dongles look like one to the PC in order to get better bandwidth by adding dongles togaher. Im starting to think its either going to be a custom modified driver, or worst of all it cant be done or it would have..

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