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Operation and Maintenance Manual for the 560-7xxx and 5400-71xxx RF Detectors.
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This is most useful with a zero-span display, when looking for dropouts in a signal.
The Quasi-peak detector was designed to mimic the response of the human ear to interference and is used for making EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) measurements. The sweep time is quite slow when using this detector, so it is generally used only when making EMC measurements.
This is the default detector for most measurements and is good for measuring CW signals, or for when you want to catch a transient. The peak detector gives a good overall picture of the spectrum but it’s not very good for measuring noise or modulated signals, as the peak of these signals is not well defined.
The RMS detector is best for measuring noise or modulated (especially digitally modulated) signals. This is because the detector averages the power from the RBW output that goes into a display point, which gives a good estimate for these types of signals. Be careful, however, if the bandwidth of the signal and the RBW are less than one display point; in this case the signal is averaged with points that have no signal, giving results that are too low.
The sample detector can be used to measure both CW signals and noise, thus it is useful for making Signal-to-Noise ratio measurements. However, it is harder to use than peak detector for CW signals, and slower to average for noise. To measure a CW signal, either the RBW must be significantly wider than a display point or you must carefully tune the analyzer to get the peak of the CW signal. To measure noise, you must use some form of averaging.