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E4406A VSA software support

Question asked by JohnMiles on Jun 9, 2011
Latest reply on Jan 10, 2012 by biff44
Just as a heads-up to any other E4406A users on the board, I've ported my freeware GPIB spectrum-surveillance utility (SSM.EXE) and phase noise utility (PN.EXE) to the E4406A.  It works really well for these purposes and offers a good bang:buck ratio, given typical prices on eBay and the surplus market.

For PN measurements on carriers between 10 MHz - 4.4 GHz, the E4406A is actually better than most conventional spectrum analyzers.  Measurements are very fast, and its minimum RBW of  0.1 Hz means you can look at offsets down to 1 Hz, which nothing else supported by PN.EXE can handle.

Spectrum recording is possible (with a fast PC) at rates near 30 traces per second, which is almost 3x faster than any other spectrum analyzer I've tested (the second-place finisher being the 8566B).  The E4406A's 10 MHz max span limitation is unfortunate but still really useful for a lot of things. 

Download link for those interested: (3 MB, includes Win32 C++ source)

A genuine National Instruments or Prologix GPIB adapter is required; it will also work with the newer Agilent adapters that offer NI488.2 compatibility.

-- john, KE5FX