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Monday, 28 November 2016

Stop the press! The latest add-on to the SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser opens doors to "on-the-field measurement map creation" - probably a unique feature!


Hi,

So why am I driving around the block with my laptop on the passengers seat, an antenna glued on the car, a Bluetooth GPS receiver on the windscreen and the "138MHz-4.4GHz 35M-4.4G USB SMA Source/Signal Generator/Simple Spectrum Analyzer"?





Well, for ages I was wondering why field meter manufacturers did not implement a logging function with a GPS stamp on it, so that the measurements could be mapped. Even field meter with GPS support are using the position data to just calculate the setup of satellite dishes - at least the field meters I know.

So I put hands on a long time project idea and added it to my own software!

First new change: on the setup tab one can now configure a GPS receiver. It must be connected via serial port (virtual or not, doesn't matter) and support the NMEA protocol (most do). The software has so far been tested with a Garmin eTrex Venture and an (old) Asus BT100. It should work with any Bluetooth or RS232 GPS receiver and apparently there are apps that turn your Android mobile phone into such a GPS receiver (not tested, yet).


Now one can go to the spectrum tab and use the spectrum in regular way, but it is possible to start a logging on the "Marker 1" frequency. If the GPS logging checkbox in the setup tab is checked, then the consecutive measurements are saved with a GPS stamp.


And now the most spectacular functionality (probably unique): once the logging is finished, the desired frequencie set with "Marker 1", you can go to the "Log on Map" tab, load the log file and have all measured points listed in a list box and...

...have the points rendered in colour code on Google Maps!

Pause the mouse icon over one of the coloured measurments squares and the dBm value is shown.

Here is the result of my quick log of the local LTE transponder at 791MHz:



Much more development is required and I have lots of ideas to further improve this kind of functionality.

Before you all get too excited: all of this is highly beta and this release has not been made public.

If you are a field meter manufacturer and are interested in this technology - contact me!

Regards,
Vitor

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Rover Instruments HD Touch

Hi,

I published a short video showing briefly the spectrum analyser of the Rover Instruments HD Touch in satellite mode.


Regards,
Vitor

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser: Full spectrum logger function - record and replay your live spectrum!



Hi,

This was on my TODO list for a long time and now it is done:

You can now record the whole spectrum into a file for as long as you want.


Once done, you can replay the log file as many times as you want and even increase the speed! Playback is done in a loop until you press the STOP button.


I think this is a great tool for documentation and education.

Also, this will allow people without the SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser hardware to play with a real spectrum! While you cannot change the frequency or sample settings during recording or replay, you can carry out measurements, use the marker and the traces.

Download the latest version here:



A sample log file of Hispasat 30.0W can be downloaded here:


And here a video showing the functionality:


Regards,
Vitor

Friday, 25 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser: Donation information available...

Hi,

Another day, another update.

Function-wise, only a small feature was added: a button to minize the main window. This cannot be done with regular windows controls, because of the way the software handles events. Once minized it wouldn't be possible to maximize the window again.

So I did a small work-around: you click the HIDE WINDOW button and the main window disappears and instead a small window pops up. Click the only button and the main window is back! The nice thing is that an active spectrum analysis will keep running in background.



This was implemented for users with just one screen.

The other novelty is that the setup tab now shows how to make a donation...


NO DONATION IS REQUIRED TO USE THE SOFTWARE, but if you do donate, you will get a permanent activation code. Otherwise, you have to periodically request a new free temporary activation code, which will terminate on the last day of March, June, September or December, respectively. You always get activation codes for the next deadline.

Finally, the download now contains a manual, too. Do not get too high expectations - it is the first draft of the manual and I will need to keep on writing it. By publishing it in the current state, I am pushing myself to work harder on its completition.

As usual, here is the download link of the current version:


Regards,
Vitor

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser: MIN/MAX/AVG measurement and graphic indicator line

Hi,

Again a new version:

This time it features some real time measurements: MIN, MAX and AVG power. This can be optionally shown as horizontal lines on the spectrum.


Also new: the setup tab shows licensing information and allows direct input of new activation keys.

I am getting ready to accept donations (10 €/£/$). Donators will get a permanent license for his/her devices. Just need to figure out how that works with PayPal.


This is to help me purchase the following devices:
  • "35MHz-4.4GHz 35M-4.4G USB SMA Source/Signal Generator/Simple Spectrum Analyzer"
  • "NWT4000-2 35M-4.4G sweep,simple spectrum analyzer,generator"
  • "NWT 6000 25M-6G Scanner / Network Analyzer / Signal Source / Simple Spectrum"
The goal is obviously to try to fully support these devices. Especially the NWT series interest me, because they could allow implementation of tracking generator support in my software

Of course, if you cannot afford a donation or don't feel like it for whatever reason: no problem! I will issue free temporary activation codes - you just have to keep requesting them.

Download the latest version here:


Regards,
Vitor

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser: Corrected and enhanced Power Meter functionality!

Hi,

I had this for a long time in my TODO list: the Power Meter function gave wrong results compared to my Siglent SSA3021X and obviously I was doing something wrong.

So I studied how the Channel Power is determined and adjusted the routine, accordingly. There was a bug with the frequency handling, as well, which I corrected.

The results? See for yourself:

This pictures shows my local DVB-T transponder, measured with the Siglent SSA3021X:

And here is the same Channel Power measurement carried out with my software:

The result is very good for this cheap device and a difference of +/-3dB is totally acceptable!

Go ahead and download the latest release here:
Regards,
Vitor

Sunday, 13 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser: Implemented yet another screen layout and AUTO SCALE!

A few users were complaining that the window would not fit their screen (with 1280x800 resolution).

I thought I had it right, but I didn't.

But now it is OK!

And then there is a new feature: click on AUTO and the dB-scale automatically adjusts the current signal!

Download here:


Bug fix: When the upper amplitude was set too low, black stripes would appear occasionally in the bottom of the spectrum when in shaded mode. This has been corrected.

Download here:


Regards,
Vitor

Friday, 11 November 2016

Quick update: Full support for Spectral Inversion in SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser software

Hi,

For some applications, it is required to work with spectral inversion.

If you are using for instance a C-band LNB, then it's LOF is commonly 5150MHz.

But instead of adding the intermediate frequency to that LOF, the intermediate frequency is obtained by subtraction!

Example:

Ku Low-Band: LOF = 9750 MHz

RF = 11383 MHz
IF = 11383 MHz - 9750 MHz = 1633 MHz

C Band: LOF = 5150 MHz with spectral inversion

RF = 3780 MHz
IF = 5150 MHz - 3780 MHz =  1370 MHz

Interestingly, because you are now subtracting the RF from the LOF, you end up with an inverted spectrum, where the left side has a higher frequency value than the right side!

Many SAT field meters just work like this (if they support spectral inversion at all), but it is kind of odd working on a mirrored spectrum.

In the last release of my software, this was already supported. All you had to do was to introduce a negative LOF value. This way, the software would recognize a spectral inversion and show the correct frequencies, however the spectrum was rendered mirrored from high frequecies to low frequencies.

I was not happy with that and thought that the spectrum should be rendered correctly.

So I sat down yesterday and spend a whole lot of time fixing this.

The result is a new version with FULL SUPPORT for spectral inversion. Just enter a negative LOF value and you will get an inverted spectrum, which none the less is rendered correctly: lower frequencies on the left side, higher frequencies on the right side!

In the process I found an existing bug for marker 2, which got fixed (and gave me a lot of headache while implementing the spectral inversion).

Here is the high band spectrum of Hispasat 30.0W, shown with the LOF set to 10600 MHz.


The same spectrum rendered with a LOF set to -5150 MHz, which is equivalent to an inverted spectrum. Notice how the spectrum is shown mirrored relative to the previous picture:


Go ahead and download the latest release here:

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyzer Software - New version:9 presets and decimal places...

Hi,

Here is yet another version of my software, especifically to please two requests:

1) "Can we have 9 preset configurations? It is important to setup different LNB's (Ku, Ka, C and X band)." - Yes you can!

2) "How can I see the frequency with decimal place? Is that possible?" - Now you can! In the SETUP tab you can specify if you want the frequencies printed in the grid with or without 3 decimal places. Note: This setting is NOT stored in the Registry!

Also, I added a new field in the SPECTRUM tab, showing the frequency with three decimal places of the mouse position. Just move the mouse over a peak and read the freqeuncy value!



Download link:


Regards,
Vitor

Sunday, 6 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser: new release, now with LOF correction!

Hi,

Another item has been crossed from my TODO list: many users were asking for the freqeuncy grid to show the SAT fundamental frequency, instead of the down converted intermediate frequency.

Basically, users operating satellite reception equipment wanted to be able to specify the LOF - Local Oscillator Frequency, to have the corresponding fundamental frequency shown. But this new feature might be interesting for other applications, too.

Here is how to use it: go to the SETUP tab and enter whatever LOF you are using, for instance 9750 MHz for Universal LNB Low Band or 10600 MHz for Universal LNB High Band.



As long as the value entered is not empty or equal to 0, the frequency grid in the spectrum window will show the selected frequency range with the LOF value added.


Also, new text boxes appear in the marker section, showing the marker frequencies both as the real (intermediate) frequency and fundamental frequency.

Get it while it's hot at (OBSOLETE):


Update:

I changed the LOF condfiguration. It is now part of each preset. This is particularily useful for SAT-DXer, who use different Ka-, Ku- and C-band LNB's.



Also, if you want to obtain IF on the grid for inverted spectrum (C-Band), just enter a negative LOF value.

Download the updated version here:


Regards,
Vitor

Upgrading the Satlook Micro+ to a Satlook Micro G2 for free!

Hi,

Some month ago I purchased a second hand Emitor Satlook Micro+ on eBay for little money. For some time I wanted to add this little fellow to my TV field meter collection, so I was pretty happy to win the auction.

The model I purchased is the first generation "Satlook Micro+". Later on, Emitor launched the "Satlook Micro G2" and then the "Salook Micro G2 HD".

Simultaneously, owners of the Micro+ could purchase the upgrade kit, to transform their Micro+ into a Micro G2. This kit was composed by a new bag in grey/orange colour (like the new Satlook models), a CD with the new firmware and an activation key.

The difference between the Micro+ and Micro G2 is, apart from the bag, a few advanced funtions, the most notorious being the spectrum analyser.

The difference between the Micro G2 and Micro G2 HD is of course the added support for DVB-S2 measurements.

 At some point, Emitor unified the firmware for all three models, so that the same firmware file could be flashed to either model. To run the G2 mode, the firmware had to be activated, otherwise only the basic set of functions was available.

The activation consisted in running an activation software, with the Satlook Micro connected to PC. The user would enter the activation key, which would be checked against an online Emitor server. If the activation key matched the serial, the activation software would do its magic and enable the G2 mode.

As usual, I have gathered all available firmware versions for the Satlook Micro series and found out something interesting: the later firmware versions do NOT require any activation anymore! That's right: if you install the latest firmware (click here for direct download from www.emitor.se) you will transform your Micro+ into a Micro G2, without having to purchase anything!

No why is this so? I don't really know, but I think that Emitor discontinued this product line and shut down their activation server. In order to not have problems with customers who bought the activation kit, they simply decided to remove the activation proceedure from the firmware!

To upgrade the firmware, simply run the firmware downloader tool (FDL.exe), which is included in the archive and follow the instructions. The upgrade take about 3 minutes.


And once the upgrade is finished, you will have an activated G2 mode! Don't worry if the upgrade produces a checksum error: this happens occasionally - just repeat the process.



 Here some pictures of the inside:



So here is my insider tip: get yourself a cheap Micro+ from eBay (50-70 Euro is a nice price), ugrade the firmware to the lates release (v1.32) and enjoy a Micro G2!

Take a look at my Satlook Micro+ in action on Youtube:


Regards,
Vitor

Saturday, 5 November 2016

New version of the SMA Simple Spectrum Analyser software: save and load your spectrums!


Hi,

I finally implemented a feature that was on my TODO list for a long time...

And here it is: you can now save a spectrum and load it back again as an overlay to the live spectrum!

This will allow many applications, for example fine tuning of a satellite dish against a known optimum alignment.

The following picture shows the overlay spectrum in yellow. The live spectrum in green has a 5dB attenuator connected.



 Another feature I implemented in this version: you can now define 6 frequency range preset buttons. Go to the SETUP tab and config the six buttons according to your needs.

You can then quickly recall any of the six presets on the main spectrum tab. Of course there is a seventh button to set the frequency range using the two marker positions.

What are you waiting for? Download the latest version here:


Regards,
Vitor

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

SMA Simple Spectrum Analyzer Tip of the day: How to switch spectrum and waterfall display

Hi,

I think some of you did not notice that you can click on the small graph window to switch display!

Click it once and the spectrum is replaced by the waterfall diagram, while the waterfall diagram gets replaced by the spectrum.

Click the small graph window again and you get the regular view back. It's that simple!

Here is an example:


Click the small graph window and the display is exchanged. Naturally, the waterfall diagram starts from the beginning. This can be used (as a trick) to reset the waterfall diagram: just click the small graph window twice!


Regards,
Vitor