Handheld Network Analyzer Peek Inside

[Shahriar] recently posted a review of a 6.8 GHz network analyzer. You can see the full video — over fifty minutes worth — below the break. The device can act as a network analyzer, a spectrum analyzer, a field strength meter, and a signal generator. It can tune in 1 Hz steps down to 9 kHz. Before you rush out to buy one, however, be warned. The cost is just under $2,000.

That sounds like a lot, but test gear in this frequency range isn’t cheap. If you really need it, you’d probably have to pay at least as much for something equivalent.

[Shahriar] had a few issues to report, but overall he seemed to like the device. For example, setting the step size too broad can cause the spectrum analyzer to miss narrow signals.

If your needs are more modest, we’ve covered a much simpler (and less expensive) unit that goes to 6 GHz. If you need even less, an Arduino can do the job with a good bit of help. The Analog Discovery 2 also has a network analyzer feature, along with other tools at a more affordable cost, too. Of course, that’s only good to 10 MHz.

20 thoughts on “Handheld Network Analyzer Peek Inside

    1. No, it has two ports, but they can’t be switched. If you want to measure S12 and S21 you will need to reverse the DUT for one of the measurements. This doesn’t matter much, some much more expensive brand name instruments have the same limitation. You also cannot measure S11 and S22 at the same time, again you must switch the cable.

  1. Interesting observation on the spectrum analyser capabilities/limitations. When showing how it misses the 1GHz signal, the setup screen shows ‘number of points’ as 900. If I was willing to put up with a slow sweep, could I change this to say 9000, or more, and therefore see the 1G peak?

    1. No – The maximum number of sweep points is 3150. However is you set the span to be less than the number of sweep points multiplied by the rosultion bandwidth then you don’t have gaps. Sweep speed is not the issue because it does not sweep it jumps.

      1. Thanks for that info. Looking for an unknown (frequency) signal in SA mode could otherwise be very problematic! Of course in VNA mode it does not have this problem because it generates the required freq. Good to know the max points (and as you say set the RBW to be appropriate). I think I will sell my old 3.5GHz SA and buy one of these instead. Although the SA specs may not be as good as my stand-alone, the overall capabilities, price (even in aussie dollars) and portability make this a very nice instrument.

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