RF Test and Measurement: RIGOL Releases Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer with Time-Dependent Features

January 18, 2018 by John Spreer

Today RIGOL announced the release of the RSA5000 real-time spectrum analyzer.

Today RIGOL announced the release of the RSA5000 real-time spectrum analyzer, a tool meant to help engineers keep up with the rapidly evolving discipline of RF design.

Connectivity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is becoming a standard feature in the age of the IoT, leading to a more complex ecosystem of RF monitoring. Modern RF systems and environments are increasingly a blend of time domain and frequency domain. RF signals hop around and appear/disappear more than they did in the past. The difficulty is that a typical spectrum analyzer with a slow sweep will not be able to capture these temporal details.

RIGOL has released today their offering of a measurement tool that helps engineers to successfully confront this new reality in the RSA5000 real-time spectrum analyzer.



With an eye on the integration of RF into IoT devices, the RSA5000 is intended to "[bring] the dimension of time to RF analysis, making it easier to monitor and characterize these complex RF systems," says Mike Rizzo, General Manager of RIGOL North America.

Displays for Time-Dependent Functionality

The RSA5000 has seven display modes, plus a FMT (frequency mask trigger) interface:

  • Normal
  • Density
  • Spectrogram
  • PVT (power vs time)
  • Density and spectrogram
  • PVT and spectrum
  • PVT and spectrogram

While PVT is a typical display mode for spectrum analyzers, the density and spectrogram display features are notable. They reflect an effort to make it easier for the engineer to incorporate time-dependent characteristics into frequency-domain analysis. 



The density display represents signal density, giving users a quick snapshot of a signal at first glance. It also allows users to monitor frequency ranges and identify superimposed signals and focus on individual signals in "crowded" spectrums like 2.4G.

The spectrogram view is expected to help users to "evaluate changes in signal behavior over time" with a cited application of characterizing PLLs. In this view, power level is displayed over both frequency and time rather than over frequency alone.

"Class-Leading" POI Performance

In the RSA5000 press release, RIGOL says that most comparable analyzers don't specify their Probability of Intercept performance but it's a point they emphasize for this spectrum analyzer: 

"The RIGOL RSA5000 takes 146,484 FFTs per second providing a minimum 100% POI of 7.45 µs. This class leading performance allows users to confidently capture pulsing, hopping and fast transient signals as short as 7.45 µs and display accurate power 100% of the time."



This translates to an ability to effectively pinpoint intermittent, elusive signals. 

RSA5000 Specs:

  • Models: 3.2GHz and 6.5GHz
  • DISPLAY: 10.1” LCD, capacitive multi-touch, supports gesture operation
  • Phase Noise: -108dBc/Hz@1GHz,10kHz(typical)
  • RBW: 1Hz to 10MHz
  • 1ms Full Span Sweep
  • RTBW: 25MHz(Standard), 40MHz(Option)
  • FFT Rate: 146,484FFT/s
  • Interface: LAN/USB/HDMI/Keyboard/Mouse


All images used courtesy of RIGOL.