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Quality RF Tools for the Budget Conscious

28 2017 July

It's important to introduce your engineering students to the fundamentals of RF analysis, but the tools out there are either expensive or of such low quality that they wouldn't last a semester in a hands-on engineering lab. There are incredible tools out there from Keysight, Anritsu, and Rohde & Schwarz, but the cost of these can be quite prohibitive for the average university. The initial investment in these lab-grade tools is high with acquisition costs reaching six-figures. The cost to repair them if a student accidentally blows up the front end can easily exceed $10,000.00. On the other end, there are extremely inexpensive solutions that knock-off the established players, but they tend to be fragile and are not built to last.

I was meeting with a customer this week who's interested in SAF's Spectrum Compact as a tool for his EMC lab. The draws of the Spectrum Compact for him are the cost, the form factor, its instant-on functionality, and an easy-to-use software that's included for post-processing and reporting.

As he said, "I can just keep this on my desk and use it for some basic work without waiting 10 minutes for it to boot up."

Further on in our conversation, we were discussing applications for education and this former professor was lamenting the fact that this wasn't available when he was outfitting his EE lab.

Everything that SAF's engineering team built into these products that makes them ideal for outdoor microwave path alignment, link troubleshooting and maintenance, also makes perfect tools for introduction to RF basics. The Compact line of analyzers and generators are simple to use with just 9 buttons. They're quite accurate (+/- 3 dB), sensitive, (-105 dBm), and have great thermal stability (-15°C to +55°C). Their deep memory (4 GB) allows the user to save thousands of traces for post-processing/analysis and the units are housed in a rugged anodized aluminum case that's built to take a lot of physical abuse. As for frequency ranges, we have solutions from 2-87 GHz.

To learn more about SAF and our full Compact line, please visit www.saftehnika.com or reach out to me directly.

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Adam Hostetter

SAF North America | Sales Manager for Test & Measurement Product Lines

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