I was tired of trying to get a reasonable second hand spectrum analyser for an affordable price. Even old devices would reach absurd high prices, though without any warranty, calibration or support.
When I first stumbled across the SSA3021X I didn't believe it: a full blown spectrum analyser, new, with warranty for this competitive price?
I gathered some information, read the online manual and just went ahead and purchase one.
To sum it up, I have not regretted it!
The SSA3021X is really a full blown spectrum analyser, featuring a huge 1024x600 TFT screen, yet in a case that doesn't take too much space on the desk.
The GUI is easy to use and the performance is great - meeting the specs in my tests carried out so far.
I am using it for measurements in amateur radio bands, as well as for TV, CATV and SAT reception. I need to be able to compare and evaluate the spectrum mode of professional TV field meter with a real spectrum analyser, in order to compare the performance and accuracy of the field meter. The same with signal generators/noise sources: I need to evaluate them and a spectrum analyser is great tool for this job.
My other goal was to learn how to operate a spectrum analyser and I was not disappointed: while the SSA3021X is easy to use, it has loads of functionality (much more than the spectrum analyser function in TV field meter). This made me learn more about spectrum analysis than I thought there is to know. It also gave me insights into RF from a different point of view. All in all, if you can afford it, it is a great learning tool. Of course, I could have just read tons of theoretical books about this subject, but that would not remotely be as appealing than using the real thing. Also, it made me better understand why TV field meters are limited in the spectrum as they are.
Finally, thanks to the built in AM/FM demodulator with headphone jack, you can actually listen to analogue radio stations and radio communications! The great advantage over a radio scanner is of course the ability to monitor a huge bandwidth. As soon as someone transmits at any frequency, you will see it and if you tune in, you can hear it, too. WOW!
I have the SSA3021X for almost a month now and I am very satisfied with it.
It is the number one choice for amateur/hobby use and even in professional environments, it will perform within specs. All this at an incredible price.
My next projects will include antenna evaluation/development – brilliant to be able to do that with the aid of a modern spectrum analyser.
My opinion: don’t waste money on an old second hand spectrum analyser (especially the ones with a CRT). Get yourself a SSA3021X, instead. You will get modern functionality, a proper high-resolution screen and it probably will outperform older spectrum analysers in the 9 kHz - 2.1 GHz range, too.