Author Topic: Siglent SSA3000X and SSA3000X-Plus Spectrum Analyzers  (Read 250190 times)

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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #125 on: May 13, 2016, 04:27:23 pm »
Quote
I like Shariar's videos, in fact he's the only reviewer who's videos I watch regularly and completely, and the reason is that his videos are at a level of experienced professionals.

It depends on what you mean by a professional.

Someone with a somewhat solid EE/RF background which is used as part of the dayjob to some extend. That doesn't necessarily mean a RF engineer.

Quote
What I find a bit bewildering is that I seem to be the only person who thinks that none of the main bloggers ever reviews a spectrum analyser properly from a technical point of view. i.e. they don't do any of the classic formal tests.

You're not, but I don't really expect that to find in a video review, which I see more as a quick hands-on assessment in terms of usability/handling and build quality, and that it is assumed the instruments is compliant with its specifications.

Quote
I think that Shahriar's videos are aimed towards the typical 'casual' user of a spectrum analyser in this class. That's fine but some professional users of a spectrum analyser would (hopefully) want to see some formal/classic tests to see if this analyser can qualify to sit on their bench. However, most potential users of this class of instrument won't know (maybe won't even care that much?) if the analyser display is telling the truth about the spectrum it is attempting to measure. So maybe they don't want to see formal testing/comparing. They just want to see the features it offers and how easy it is to 'drive' it.

I believe the latter is true, plus there's a certain entertainment part that people seem to expect. I wouldn't put it in the same class as a professional product evaluation, which is what you seem to expect.

Also, reviewers have to be generally careful as to how much negativity they can or should express, because no matter if justified or not, if a manufacturer sees critique as unjustified then they won't provide further stuff for reviews. It's the same in many other areas. This means you have to take video reviews with a large grain of salt.

I'd love to see real thorough product assessments but we're unlikely to get that from self-financing video reviewers on Youtube.

Quote
But if the analyser WAS reviewed properly from a technical point of view they would at least be able to see if it was a contender for serious use professionally.

The thing is that for serious use performance usually isn't the only criteria, in fact in my experience it's pretty much just half of it, the other half being stuff like reliability, maturity (an area Siglent has traditionally struggled a lot!), support (now and in the forseeable future) and so on. That means that even if this was the SA with the best RF performance in its segment I can't see any of our labs even considering it.

Like I said, I suspect that Shahriar's videos are tailored towards the advanced student/hobbyist. They definitely are not aimed at a professional RF engineer for example. There's too many classic/basic tests missing.

Finally someone who is on the same page as I am! Thanks for backing!

Eh, what?  :-//  Didn't you just argue for more beginner's content in Shariar's videos while G0HZU was pretty much talking about the opposite (examining the RF performance further)?
 

Offline pascal_sweden

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #126 on: May 13, 2016, 05:16:07 pm »
If the video is done well, it can be watched both by beginners and more advanced users.
Please check my posting more careful :)

Basically the videos from Shahriar, lack structure, and don't take up the classical formal tests from the start to the end.

With proper structure in place, educational explanations on a blackboard in between, to not only focus
on the instrument as such, but also about the background technology related to spectrum analyzers, you can do a video that is both learnful, not boring, includes variation, and which is accessible to beginners and more advanced users. With an index at the beginning advanced users can start the video at the proper section.

Like I said before: I think we are looking for a 3rd type of video blogger, next to Dave/Jack and Shahriar.

Nobody is perfect. And there is always room for improvement. If only more video bloggers and forum users would realize this :)
 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #127 on: May 13, 2016, 06:49:13 pm »
Quote
I like Shariar's videos, in fact he's the only reviewer who's videos I watch regularly and completely, and the reason is that his videos are at a level of experienced professionals. I don't want to sit through having basics which I already know explained over and in extensive length. Simple as that. I don't mind the length because it's filled with interesting stuff.

I struggle a bit to watch Shahriar's (very long) videos from start to finish mainly because I'm not his intended type of viewer. However, I'm grateful that he does these videos because I can skim to the bits that do appeal to me. Usually this would be images of a teardown of an exotic item of RF test gear or a block diagram he has been supplied with.

I also appreciate the time Dave takes to upload detailed hi res still images of his teardowns of RF gear. These images are often very interesting to me. It's a pity that Dave seems to be doing fewer teardowns these days.

I guess the point that I'm really trying to make is that if this was a ham radio forum and people were reviewing HF/VHF/UHF radios from the far east then even Joe Bloggs would expect to see formal classic/basic tests of the radio in the review and a few comparisons against a benchmark or competitor.  There are numerous ham radio reviewers who have been doing this stuff since the early 1970s. They often aren't very good at presenting the information but you can look in ARRL/RSGB books or high street magazines or on various web pages to find people reviewing stuff like this quite well in terms of the critical nature of these RF tests. I'd argue that they sometimes concentrate too much on these tests and miss out important 'human factor' aspects of the radio under test but at least they use the test gear around them to explore the technical limits of the radio under test.

None of the video blog reviewers seem to do this with a spectrum analyser. It's a shame really because it is these tests that demonstrate the design integrity of the (all important) RF converter section in the analyser under test.
 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 07:03:06 pm by G0HZU »
 

Offline 1design

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #128 on: May 13, 2016, 07:35:24 pm »
Which basic test are you referring to; IIP3, spurs, DANL, Amplitude accuracy, phase noise?
The problem that spectrum analyzers are facing nowadays is that they are like the Swiss army knife, they can do a lot but there is a lot of instruments out there that do each thing better. If you are into phase noise, buy an SSA, if you want a lot of BW you use an oscilloscope with VSA SW and the SA is just the  downconverter, if you want to measure S11 and S21 you buy a VNA. This is how it goes in the high end market. So maybe yes, if you test for HAMs there maybe is still a need for basic tests, but for most real world professional users that use PXA, FSW etc. instruments the SA as it is is always something more than just a basic tool.

The complete instrument must work flawlessly to successfully demodulate a signal with 50dB+ of SNR and show the correct EVM. No need for basic tests of each individual component. The same goes to measure that same signal for adjacent channel leakage and receiver noise floor/sensitivity. Maybe I am wrong, but I use these things on a daily basis and if something is wrong with the unit it shows up immediately in the advanced measurements as it would in the basic ones. Maybe I am missing something?

BR
 

Offline MasterTech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #129 on: May 13, 2016, 07:41:19 pm »
Shahriar at The Signal Path currently has a SSA3032X he will review as soon as he can.
That's great news! Im withholding my purchase until I can compare the SSA3000x and the rigol SA  :-+
 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #130 on: May 13, 2016, 07:59:00 pm »
What I find a bit bewildering is that I seem to be the only person who thinks that none of the main bloggers ever reviews a spectrum analyser properly from a technical point of view. i.e. they don't do any of the classic formal tests.



But if the analyser WAS reviewed properly from a technical point of view they would at least be able to see if it was a contender for serious use professionally.

Like I said, I suspect that Shahriar's videos are tailored towards the advanced student/hobbyist. They definitely are not aimed at a professional RF engineer for example. There's too many classic/basic tests missing.
I for one have been quite interested in your comments on various SA's and your obvious knowledge and understanding the field of RF black magic and would/could you consider doing a writeup review on the SSA3000X if approached by Siglent?
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Offline G0HZU

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #131 on: May 13, 2016, 08:29:29 pm »
Which basic test are you referring to; IIP3, spurs, DANL, Amplitude accuracy, phase noise?
The problem that spectrum analyzers are facing nowadays is that they are like the Swiss army knife, they can do a lot but there is a lot of instruments out there that do each thing better. If you are into phase noise, buy an SSA, if you want a lot of BW you use an oscilloscope with VSA SW and the SA is just the  downconverter, if you want to measure S11 and S21 you buy a VNA. This is how it goes in the high end market. So maybe yes, if you test for HAMs there maybe is still a need for basic tests, but for most real world professional users that use PXA, FSW etc. instruments the SA as it is is always something more than just a basic tool.

The complete instrument must work flawlessly to successfully demodulate a signal with 50dB+ of SNR and show the correct EVM. No need for basic tests of each individual component. The same goes to measure that same signal for adjacent channel leakage and receiver noise floor/sensitivity. Maybe I am wrong, but I use these things on a daily basis and if something is wrong with the unit it shows up immediately in the advanced measurements as it would in the basic ones. Maybe I am missing something?

BR

You seem to be dismissing the relevance of a (decent) spectrum analyser in the modern world.
The classic RF requirement for a high performance spectrum analyser is to be able to faithfully detect and display 'very' small signals that are in the presence of lots of nearby 'very' large signals. That's about as simple a definition as it gets. However, the testing that is required to 'prove' this definition can be very complex and demanding in terms of time and test equipment. But one can do a few classic/basic tests to prove/disprove a few things.

The tests you listed above are part of this process.

An SSA is no 'general' replacement here, and a typical 8 bit scope is only useful across a limited range unless the user has the experience to identify/manage (and ignore) unwanted spurious signals generated in the scope itself. Bear in mind that the analysers being reviewed are sometimes budget analysers made in the far east. They are sometimes the first attempt at such a product from the manufacturer so I would argue that the published specs for dynamic range etc are not always going to be reliable.

If you want to see an example, at my place of work I was given access to a review sample of the (then new) Tektronix RSA306 for a couple of evenings.

It didn't take me long to find significant design flaws in its frequency planning that limited its spurious free dynamic range to about 9dB (yes, just nine dB) in some parts of its range and not the 50dB claimed in the spec sheet.

So I'm going to argue my point again that the innovative/interesting range of low cost/small/low power/wideband analysers that are hitting the market today should (ideally) be tested to see how well they hold up against the claimed performance in the glossy brochure. The risk that they don't meet these specs is going to be far greater than a conventional bench spectrum analyser made by the classic/top manufacturers.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 08:57:58 pm by G0HZU »
 

Offline pascal_sweden

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #132 on: May 13, 2016, 08:52:50 pm »
If the video is done well, it can be watched both by beginners and more advanced users.
Please check my posting more careful :)

Basically the videos from Shahriar, lack structure, and don't take up the classical formal tests from the start to the end.

With proper structure in place, educational explanations on a blackboard in between, to not only focus
on the instrument as such, but also about the background technology related to spectrum analyzers, you can do a video that is both learnful, not boring, includes variation, and which is accessible to beginners and more advanced users. With an index at the beginning advanced users can start the video at the proper section.

Like I said before: I think we are looking for a 3rd type of video blogger, next to Dave/Jack and Shahriar.

Nobody is perfect. And there is always room for improvement. If only more video bloggers and forum users would realize this :)

@G0HZU:
Can you make such a video series? :) You could use both the Siglent SSA3021X and the Rigol DSA815.
If possible also cover the general background about spectrum analyzer technology. Use the models with TG.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 08:54:56 pm by pascal_sweden »
 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #133 on: May 13, 2016, 09:59:50 pm »
.......
So I'm going to argue my point again that the innovative/interesting range of low cost/small/low power/wideband analysers that are hitting the market today should (ideally) be tested to see how well they hold up against the claimed performance in the glossy brochure. The risk that they don't meet these specs is going to be far greater than a conventional bench spectrum analyser made by the classic/top manufacturers.
Of course and exactly the reason they need be compared to the main brands by someone competent to do so.
The UI is always going to different to that one is used to but what matters more is can the instrument be trusted as meeting spec.

Would/could you be interested?
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Offline G0HZU

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #134 on: May 13, 2016, 10:52:27 pm »
Quote
@G0HZU:
Can you make such a video series? :) You could use both the Siglent SSA3021X and the Rigol DSA815.
If possible also cover the general background about spectrum analyzer technology. Use the models with TG.

Quote
I for one have been quite interested in your comments on various SA's and your obvious knowledge and understanding
the field of RF black magic and would/could you consider doing a writeup review on the SSA3000X if approached by Siglent?

.......
So I'm going to argue my point again that the innovative/interesting range of low cost/small/low power/wideband analysers that are hitting the market today should (ideally) be tested to see how well they hold up against the claimed performance in the glossy brochure. The risk that they don't meet these specs is going to be far greater than a conventional bench spectrum analyser made by the classic/top manufacturers.
Of course and exactly the reason they need be compared to the main brands by someone competent to do so.
The UI is always going to different to that one is used to but what matters more is can the instrument be trusted as meeting spec.

Would/could you be interested?

Thanks, but sadly, I don't have the free time to do this in an efficient manner. I also lack the presentation skills (charisma?) of Dave or Shahriar so I'm likely to send the audience to sleep when doing the testing. You also run the risk of me finding huge holes in the design integrity of the analyser. I'm not sure any of this is good for the marketing of Siglent products :)

Maybe you should send me a Rigol 815 or the revised Tek RSA306 to investigate ;)

To give you an idea of my background I used to design small, high performance (expensive!) RF converters for use with a digital IF back in the 1990s through to about 2003. The design goals were high dynamic range and low internal/external spurious response coupled with a wide final IF bandwidth. These were for gov/mil use and I had the luxury of a big budget. However, I didn't have the luxury of today's modern chips and chipsets to choose from. I made a lot of mistakes along the way and this was a great way to gain knowledge and experience and I'm also a very experienced user of spectrum analysers having used them all my working life.

But maybe these video reviews just need a few classic/basic comparison tests between competing analysers. You don't need someone like me for this stuff.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 11:01:57 pm by G0HZU »
 
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Offline _Wim_

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #135 on: May 14, 2016, 01:36:08 pm »
That probably depends on how you define your target group.

I have seen a few of his videos, and they are extremely long and complex in the sense that he expects
that you already are an expert user on spectrum analyzers.

In most of his videos there is some "test filter that I had lying around". This is okey for one video,
but why use this approach over and over in every single video you make? Gets boring!

Moreover I have never seen him write some formulas on a blackboard, to explain some basic
concepts (e.g. Resolution BandWidth versus sweep time), like other people do,
such as Dave Jones and Jack Gansle.

Why not break the video in different sections, and make it in such a way, that both beginners and experts can enjoy it. Beginners watch the video from the start. Experts can watch the intro to get info
about where in time their sections of interest start, and then watch those specific parts.

The educational approach from Dave Jones and Jack Gansle are much better in my opinion.
They do have a section that works for beginners. They do use the blackboard for making notes.

I enjoy their videos much more, as they do have charisma. It's not the technical details that count always.

A good video, is a video that works for both a beginner and an expert, and where the speaker has charisma. It's a skill that you can't learn. Either you have it or you don't have it.

Last thing that you want is a long video, that gets so technical up to the level that the video becomes
boring, while at the same time you don't really learn any new things in it. What's the point of such videos? Can anyone tell me please?

If the video is technical and boring, but if you at least really learn something from it, then that's okey,
but if you don't really learn anything in the video, you better spend your time in watching another video :)

Dave Jones has this big red "FAIL" button on the shelf behind his desk, which makes this "big fail" sound when you press it. That's the very same button which I like to press now at this very moment of writing.

I really has to disagree about this, for me Shahriar's videos are the best I have seen so far. I agree they can be a bit more complex, but that is just the fact I like about them. For formula's and theory I have books and the internet, but his video's inspire to that it a step further, and also show some practical tips and trick that you do not learn from studying theory. I consider his video's as watching over the shoulder of a much more experienced college at work, it makes you feel privileged you can follow along and learn.

In my opinion it is also not really possible to make a video that fits for an absolute beginner and also an expert, you have to choose your target public, and Shahriar has chosen a different target then Dave and Jack.
 

Offline Deuze

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #136 on: May 19, 2016, 06:02:42 am »
FYI.
The RBW on datasheet is 10Hz, but after the upgrade, I noticed it goes to 1Hz!!! Photo as below.
This means I got a totally 'revolutionized' SA with 1449 Euro?
More than satisfied with the SA.  :popcorn:
Always on a trip....
 

Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #137 on: May 19, 2016, 07:11:26 am »
FYI.
The RBW on datasheet is 10Hz, but after the upgrade, I noticed it goes to 1Hz!!! Photo as below.
This means I got a totally 'revolutionized' SA with 1449 Euro?
More than satisfied with the SA.  :popcorn:

Amazing!

(But perhaps your price is 0% VAT)
If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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Offline markone

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #138 on: May 24, 2016, 02:21:58 pm »
3) Then, a,  what I got as below photo, 3.2 G and all options opened,,,it saves me thousand of bucks if it valid forever!

 :wtf:

It's weird .... to say the least !

So SSA3021X and SSA3032X are HW wise identical and the only difference is the firmware ?
 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #139 on: May 24, 2016, 09:11:18 pm »
3) Then, a,  what I got as below photo, 3.2 G and all options opened,,,it saves me thousand of bucks if it valid forever!

 :wtf:

It's weird .... to say the least !

So SSA3021X and SSA3032X are HW wise identical and the only difference is the firmware ?
Seems this is the case.  :-\

No different to most other brands of TE with models from the same series/family.
This is why there's so many attempted hacks of TE to enable further inbuilt functionality.
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Offline markone

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #140 on: May 25, 2016, 10:26:59 pm »
No different to most other brands of TE with models from the same series/family.
This is why there's so many attempted hacks of TE to enable further inbuilt functionality.

Agreed, but in this specific case the price gap between the hacked device and the "legit" one is sooo huge :palm:

But i'm ever more surprised about the  self-hacking FW upgrade "gaffe" ...  :o

 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #141 on: May 25, 2016, 10:31:42 pm »
No different to most other brands of TE with models from the same series/family.
This is why there's so many attempted hacks of TE to enable further inbuilt functionality.

Agreed, but in this specific case the price gap between the hacked device and the "legit" one is sooo huge :palm:

But i'm ever more surprised about the  self-hacking FW upgrade "gaffe" ...  :o
You're not the only one.  ::)

Grab that FW update just in case you might ever need it.
I have.  ;)
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Offline MasterTech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #142 on: June 03, 2016, 11:48:49 am »
Seriously, I need someone to post already a youtube review of this equipment !!!  :=\
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 11:50:54 am by MasterTech »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #143 on: June 03, 2016, 01:49:02 pm »
AFAIK Signalpath has one for testing so I guess that is going to be a make or break review.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #144 on: June 09, 2016, 10:18:28 am »
Out from box...  tool to my own  hobby use after my old HP8568B work horse find new home. (it was really nice tool but too big and heavy for continue with it.  Also my "retired" eyes like better this bit over 10" display so I do not need use magnifier anymore. (Signal in image from separate source. This is why there can see small drift and cursor position not anymore perfect when take image)
20dB input amplifier is off.

« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 03:41:43 pm by rf-loop »
If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #145 on: June 10, 2016, 05:01:53 pm »
Input terminated with 50ohm N terminator.
Atten 0, Input Amplifier ON, RBW10kHz (roughly: subtract 40dB for normalize to dBm/Hz, Positive peak average.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 05:04:32 pm by rf-loop »
If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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Offline MasterTech

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #146 on: June 10, 2016, 05:20:35 pm »
Input terminated with 50ohm N terminator.
Atten 0, Input Amplifier ON, RBW10kHz (roughly: subtract 40dB for normalize to dBm/Hz, Positive peak average.

That is very nice, somehow this SA appeals me more than the dsa815, and although I already have the SA from the Rohde CRTU I wouldn't mind adding this one to my lab
 

Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #147 on: June 10, 2016, 06:39:17 pm »
Just playing with one not so bad 10MHz DOCXO.  (yes far better SSB PN than this SA, so...)
Some may think this somehow tell something about phase noise, perhaps something.  Of course SSA3000X is ot "High-End" or  "State-Of Art" class like some R&S but if think elcheapo instrumets, not so terrible. (note 10Hz RBW,  so roughly can take 10dB off  when just only playing)

« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 06:44:19 pm by rf-loop »
If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #148 on: June 12, 2016, 01:52:42 pm »
Here signal come from  HP8642B to SSA3000X.

Here one old forum message for some kind of ref,
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/spectrum-analyzer-rigol-dsa815/msg172618/#msg172618







« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 01:54:15 pm by rf-loop »
If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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Harmony OS
 

Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA3000X spectrum analyzers
« Reply #149 on: June 13, 2016, 09:57:00 am »
In image Rigol trace source is:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/spectrum-analyzers-comparison-rigol-dsa815-signal-hound-sa44b-input-needed/msg470809/#msg470809

SSA3000X signal is coming fom Agilent 8644B  -10dBm, 100MHz.


If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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