SPECTRUM ANALYZER MYTHS.
NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER WARMINSTER PA AERONAUTICAL ELECTRONIC AND ELECTR ICAL LAB
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Conventional explanations of spectrum analyzer operation, which are based on mathematical concepts, have led to misconceptions of the physical time domain phenomena involved. This technical note, using a physical approach, describes the transients that pulsed signals produce in spectrum analyzer circuits, and interprets the resulting spectrum displays. By using a narrow-band communications receiver, it is shown that spectral lines, as generally conceived, do not exist physically. The displays are shown to be a measure of transient responses of the spectrum analyzer I-F amplifier, rather than indicators of the frequency distribution of a radar transmitter output. Proper interpretation of spectrum analyzer displays as time domain action provides useful information concerning pulsed radar transmitter performance. Author