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Tediousness of N9340 (and software).

Question asked by pat on Feb 2, 2008
Latest reply on Mar 3, 2008 by dichheda
I have found exporting data from the N9340 rf spectrum analyzer a tedious process.

The instrument is nicely setup for taking data (for example, using a usb drive and the '0' key for quicksave), but these data appear to come in only two forms:  screen grab (.jpg) or trace (.dat).

Even though the N9340 screen is black, and thus printing a screen grab is not appealing; a .jpg is quick and easy, and useful for digital records.

My main problem is with the other option:  trace (.dat).  I have not been able to import this file into graphing or analysis software, like Octave.  It appears that one must use the Agilent software to open the .dat file.  In this software (is there a Linux version?), one can export as a csv---but this csv has a header, so it will not import easily into the likes of Octave; so one must edit the csv and delete the header, then import it and finally, the frequency versus power data that one wanted from the N9340 yesterday is in a presentable, quantifiable, and customizable format.  Since the Agilent software does not import or export in batch, I recently spent two days editing 100 rf spectra.

There may be benefits with the .dat file and Agilent software route (for example, markers and measurements made on the N9340 are imported onto the computer---but I found that these can not be printed), but the N9340 would be a better instrument if it saved a trace as a csv (frequency versus power data), with the option of having a header (metadata) or not.  I would recommend future versions of the firmware to offer this option.

As for the Agilent software, if a hardware customer must be locked into software, the software should have a batch function for converting multiple .dat files into .csv, again with the option of having a header or not.

Perhaps some spreadsheet applications offer an import wizard, where headers can be removed and so on, but this is not ideal if it must be done for each trace (and merely substitutes one conversion step for another).  Software like Octave can import a headerless csv extremely fast with a single command.  Further, it is probable that I could get frequency versus power data with a couple of GPIB commands, but this opinion is from the point of view of quick and easy.