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Sunday, 20 May 2018

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser for Siglent SSA3000X - Download Page

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser for
Rohde&Schwarz CRTU and CMU200 - Download Page

Change Log:

2018-04-06: Added DEBUG button in SETUP tab to help
            solving connection problems
2018-03-25: First Tracking Generator implementation
            Further VISA handling improvements
2018-03-24: Spectrum reads CRTU settings upon start
            RF Input port selectable
            Several bug fixes and optimisations
2018-03-11: VISA settings are now stored in Registry
2018-02-26: Adapted GUI to R&S CRTU
2018-02-25: First release


- different visualization modes (LIVE, MIN, MAX, AVG traces; "Fade" mode, 3D spectogram)
- transponder recognition
- satellite recognition by transponder pattern matching
- record & playback of spectrum
- bandwidth measurement (-3dB, -6dB and -60db)
- MIN, MAX, AVG db values
- two marker with indication of delta frequency and delta db
- 9 configurable frequency presets
- GPS functionality, including Google Maps measurement plotting
- MATH operations
- SWR measurement
- Trace export to CSV
- ...


This software requires Keysight Connection Expert 2018, which can be downloaded for free here:


The software *should* work fine without any installation: just unpack and start executable.

You need to setup the VISA connection in Keysight Connection Expert 2018:

For this to work, you need to configure the Remote settings of your CRTU/CMU200:

SCPI Connection:
Port = GPIB, Com1, Com2 or GPIB + Com1
Primary Address [GPIB]
Primary Address = 0 (or whatever you want)
Secondary Address [GPIB]
Address1 = RF Mode = Non-Signalling

For RS232 connection go to Comm. tab and configure as follows:
Application = Remote
Baudrate = 115200 (requires FW 4.x or higher)
Data Bits = 8
Stop Bits = 1
Parity = none
Protocol = CtsRts

It is recommended to use a USB-GPIB interface:

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Disclaimer and User Privacy Information

VMA's Satellite Blog is a hobby project


Vitor Martins Augusto
Rua do Revilão, 383
4100-426 Porto

You can contact me through direct e-mail: vma AT norcam DOT pt

I have no commercial purpose with this blog.

Privacy Policy

I take your privacy seriously and do not keep any personal data.

However, because this blog is hosted at (Blogspot), please consider the privacy notice of this service provider:

In order to fully comply with all regulations I have opted to remove AdSense. This means that this blog does NOT contain any advertising and does not trace any user data for the purpose of AdSense (according to my knowledge).

I do not share personal information with third-parties nor do I store information about your visit to this blog.

Please consult the privacy policy of Google and Blogger, regarding the analysis of content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your internet browser's settings.

I am not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other web sites or media without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser Software

Through this blog you can download three versions of my "VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser" software, which comes in specific versions for:

  • SMA/NWT devices
  • Siglent SSA3000X
  • Rohde&Schwarz CMU200/CRTU
To use the software, you are required to send me an email containing your SYSTEM CODE. I will reply with the matching ACTIVATION CODE, that enables the software.

By requesting the ACTIVATION CODE and sending me the SYSTEM CODE, you are providing me with the following information with your explict consent:
  • Your e-mail address
  • Your SYSTEM CODE, which is based on the MAC ADDRESS you selected
Again, I will not provide this information to any third party and I will not use this information for any other use than replying with your ACTIVATION CODE and answering to questions, feature requests or bugs.

You can request this data to be deleted at any time - just send me a message and I will delete all e-mails I received from you or sent to you.

Use of Mediafire for download

This blog offers download for the "VMA Spectrum Analyser Software" - a hobby project of mine.

The files are hosted at Mediafire. Please review their policies, prior to downloading any file offered at this blog:

If you do not agree with these policies, do not download any file from my blog.

I do not track any information from Mediafire - I don't even have access to the number of downloads made for each file made available in this blog.

Use of Paypal for donation

If you decide to do a donation, I will send out a permanent ACTIVATION CODE.

Please bear in mind, that I am not responsible for Paypal's privacy policy:

Please consult it prior to using the Paypal service to do a donation. If you don't agree with Paypal's privacy policy, please refrain from doing a donation!

My software can be used without any donation, it just requires periodic ACTIVATION CODE requests, at no charge.

Donations are used to help funding the purchase of required hardware and accessories that allow me to further develop and improve the VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser software. This is not a business, it is a non-profitable hobby, the amount of donations I have received per year are far below any taxable amount.

Please feel free to contact me in case there is any doubt.


Monday, 30 April 2018

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser - Put these harmonics into propper use!

It is no secret: when using the SMA/NWT device to generate a test signal, there will be a lot of harmonics, due to the absence of any filters. Of course, this is acceptable, considering the price of these devices.

This is what the spectrum looks like, when generating a test signal at 1GHz:

The picture was taken with help of my HackRF One, which allows to render a spectrum up to 6GHz.

One can clearly see:

  • Fundamental: 1GHz
  • 2nd Harmonic: 2GHz
  • 3rd Harmonic: 3GHz
  • 4th Harmonic: 4GHz
  • 5th Harmonic: 5GHz
So, what happens when the Fundamental is set to 4GHz, which is close to the maxium supported frequency of the ADF4350/ADF4351? You should have harmonics at 8GHz, 12GHz, 16GHz, 20GHz!

A quick test using an LNB connected to my Promax HD Ranger 50 SE showed that the harmonics can be used at much higher frequencies than the ones specified for the SMA/NWT devices!

Of course, to use the VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser to generate specific harmonic frequencies is a bit cumbersome, as you need to calculate the corresponding fundamental frequency - even if the math is just dividing by the order of the harmonics, it is a pain.

So I added some new functionality to my software:

The new Harmonics Signal Source allows to easily select the desired frequency, no matter if Fundamental or Harmonics. The graphics show were the harmonics will be located in the frequency space and with the scrollbar, the frequency can be set dynamically - if the generator is turned on, the signal will follow the scrollbar!

Of course I added a Harmonics selector to the Sweep Generator, too.

Need an application example? Here you go: use this in combination with the MAX HOLD function of your satellite field meter and you will be able to fully test your LNB's!

In this example I am trying out the Inverto White Ka LNB, which does 19.7GHz-20.2GHz. Unfortunately, the Promax HD Ranger 50 SE does not support negative LOF and this would be useful for this LNB, as it has a LO of 21.20GHz.

Notice how I just place the SMA/NWT in front of the LNB!

Activating the MAX HOLD and using the Sweep Generator, one can test the whole supported frequency band of the LNB. As expected, the SMA/NWT does not produce a really flat signal over the extended frequency range, but it is still OK to do GO/NO GO tests for LNB's and to figure out if there is something really wrong.

Head on to the download page and discover signal generation up to 22GHz with the SMA/NWT devices!

Do you have a different application for the "Harmonics Signal Generation" with the VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser software? Let me know about it!


Sunday, 25 March 2018

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyzer for CRTU: Tracking Generator function is now supported!


One of the drawbacks of the CMU200/CRTU is the lack of a Tracking Generator. This is a useful functionality to measure filters, for example.

Well, I implemented a "software" driven Tracking Gerator:

You can download the new version here:


Saturday, 24 March 2018

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser for CRTU: new version!


Here is a quick note to let you know that I just uploaded a new version of the VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser for CRTU (works with CMU200, also).

Besides some bug fixes and many optimizations, I added these new functions:

  1. When the Spectrum is started, it will read the current settings of the CRTU/CMU200. This way my software doesn't change any settings.
  2. You can now select the desired RF input port from my software.
  3. The GPIB address is now stored in the Registry.


  • My software uses a DLL of the Keysight Connction Expert 2018! This is the reason my software won't connect to any other VISA version.
  • You can download Keysight Connection Expert 2018 for free
  • It should run in parallel with other VISA installations (no guarantee, though... if you break your existing installation, you are on your own).


Friday, 9 March 2018

VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser for CRTU: Video posted on Youtube showing GPIB/USB interface performance! Amazing speed!


Just a quick update on my new VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser for CRTU software.

I just received the Agilent GPIB/USB Interface (waited almost 3 weeks for it to arrive from China).

Well, thanks to VISA, my software was all setup to use either RS232 or GPIB, so I just tried it out.

The results are great, as you can see on this Youtube video:

This is a great result speedwise and it motivates me to include all the new measurements and functionality that exist in the original VMA Simple Spectrum Analyser software for SMA/NWT devices.

Stay tuned!


Friday, 2 March 2018

ADALM-PLUTO ("Pluto SDR"): First hands-on impressions...


Here is my first experience with the ADALM-PLUTO:
  • Ordered in October 2017 at Mouser.
  • Received the item February, 28th 2018 - almost 5 months later... Patience is a virtue.
  • I paid a total cost of 90 Euro with shipping included and no customs issue.
  • Once the product was in stock at Mouser, shipping took 2-3 days.
What is in the box?
  • 2x Small SMA antennas
  • 1x SMA cable (female to female)
  • 1x USB Micro cable (like the ones used for modern smartphones)
Note: You need a USB charger to power the ADALM-PLUTO. It has two Micro-USB connectors, one is for connection to the PC, the other is for the power supply!

First steps (I only used Windows 10 @ 64bits so far):
  • Downloaded and  installed the drivers -> no issues
  • After reboot, I opened the browser with and got the ADALM-PLUTO welcome screen. Note that it does not matter that your PC is on a different subnet! This got me slightly confused in the beginning. Just type this address and off you go.
  • Did a putty connection over COM port at 9600 baud. Did the "hack" with no issues. This will increase the bandwidth from 70MHz up to 6GHz.
You just need to type these two commands on the PUTTY remote connection (note that on the telnet screen, the user is "root" and the password "analog":

# fw_setenv attr_name compatible
# fw_setenv attr_val ad9364
# reboot
  • Tried SDRsharp with the plugin -> no issues, but performance is much worse than with HackRF One (max. bandwidth is 5MHz, while HackRF One manages 10MHz without any problem - no sound clicking or other issues).
  • Tried sdrangel -> works great (albeit with smaller bandwidth than the HackRF One). Had issues with the TX plugin, turned out that Windows Protection thinks that one of the output sinks is a malware and deletes it. Made a rule to not scan sdrangel folder and now it works fine.
  • Tried Matlab -> works fine, but costs money (I have access to Uni license) and seems very similar to GNU Radio. Not sure what the benefit of having Matlab is, as I am not literate in Matlab.
  • Tried GNU Radio -> No sink to support Pluto SDR under Windows available: bummer
So far I was not too impressed by the ADALM-PLUTO, compared with the HackRF One. The "hackrf tools" included for the HackRF One, that allow to record and replay frequency ranges are pretty awesome (using hackrf_transfer). Also, there is more software available for the HackRF One, with much better support for Windows. Finally, you get a bigger effective bandwidth with the HackRF One.

Tried DATV-Express: AWESOME!!! This tool alone makes the purchase worth it. Being able to generate a DVB-S/DVB-S2 transponder that you can use to test SAT-Receivers without having access to a dish is amazing, especially considering that the hardware costs just 90 Euro! I have several Dektec Modulators, which cost a few thousand Euro (well, they support much higher bandwidth and functionality, but that is not the point).

I did have some issues with DVB-T, as the two field meter I tried only support 6, 7 or 8 MHz bandwidth. The ADALM-PLUTO does not support a continuous stream at this rate, so I couldn't test it further.

But DVB-S/S2 is great!


Much potential for the ADALM-PLUTO ("Pluto SDR"), at a great price but with an unacceptably high waiting time. This seems understandable, because the demand must be overwhealming. I cannot imagine this tool being actually used at schools, as you simply cannot get hold of it.

But I predict that many cool software applications will emerge for this product, once it is more easily obtainable.