Recent News

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Waterfall 3D - now available

RF Explorer for Windows – client tool version 1.11.1311 is available. It comes with some great new features including a high performance 2D/3D Waterfall view.

A powerful waterfall screen is very useful feature in detecting spurious signals, dynamic spectrum environments and interference analysis.

 

Some spectrum analyzer brands offer this advanced feature as an option with costs in the range of $1000-2500; some offer a pseudo-3D graphic view and some other spectrum analyzer brands don’t even offer it at any price. RF Explorer is now offering a fully capable 2D and 3D configurable Waterfall for free, thanks to the continuous support of our user community who spread the voice, increase the customer base and makes it a better product everyday.

In addition to this powerful 3D feature, the new release include many improvements including filled signal graphs for even easier visualization at any condition, make sure to check the release notes for more details, and the RF Explorer for Windows user manual online.

You can get it on the download area. As with all earlier versions, this is free upgrade for all RF Explorer users.

If you are interested on some background of the Waterfall development, in earlier releases, the tool included a basic 2D Waterfall contributed by user Josef Jahn – we want to thank Josef very much for making this available to the community indeed!

In the meantime, we were exploring different ways to add a more capable, high performance 3D Waterfall and, after testing all commercial options we found no one would really offer the flexibility we need. In addition to that, adding a commercial library of any kind would prevent us from granting the code in open source mode as we currently do – and this has been of phenomenal help to many users and several companies to develop their own customs solutions – there is no other general purpose spectrum analyzer offering the code open source, and we want RF Explorer to keep it that way.

So we contacted David Cortes, a seasoned 3D graphics professional consultant to see if he would be interested in this project and he was actually really happy to be onboard.

David works currently as a software consultant, has over 20 years of programming experience in UI, graphics (2D/3D) and multimedia programming, using different APIs: GDI and GDI+, Leadtools Raster and medical packages, DirectX, OpenGL, WPF. Working in the field of medical imaging for the last 12+ years with Dolphin Imaging, has been working with DICOM standards and Volumetric 3D scans (ConeBeam technology mostly). Developed a specific morphing of 2D images based on feature lines, taking as starting point cephalometric information, which got him a patent in the U.S. for the technology.

Therefore we can now include an open source, free high performance Waterfall display screen that integrates just perfectly with RF Explorer for Windows. Not only that, even more interesting is the fact that it works on top of OpenGL portable standard so we can migrate it to other platforms in the future with moderate effort.

We want to thank the beta testers crew (Jose Gavila, Guillaume Desbois, Honza Vrbka, Diego Mayán, Kean Maizels, Giorgio and FredomFighter) who validated the tool in different configurations and environments, provided feedback and helped on resolving several issues.

 

RF Explorer User Manual - updated

 

A fully revamped user manual for RF Explorer is available online.

 

We are making an effort to add complete documentation and keep the User Manual updated on every new firmware release or upcoming product model. The new user manual is also available from the RF Explorer for Windows help menu, and the link is using a global reference that comes automatically updated with any new version of the user manual.

 

 

RF Explorer for Windows - new version v1.11 available

 

This is a major update available with lot of new functionality, enhancements and fixes. The new version is available in the download area,

Among other things, it includes full compatibility with firmware v1.11, timestamp on screen and data files, Max Hold mode, remote selection of active RF module in the device, an improved Remote Screen dump, on-screen representation of the connected device, and a large etc. Please read the full list of features in the release notes document.

 

 

We want to thank all RF Explorer users who really help us to improve the software with useful feedback, but also by spreading the voice about this little device and being behind every order which is the foundation of all these enhanced features and many more that are coming.

Adapters and coaxial cables for RF Explorer available

As we get regular requests to get references for connectors and adapters that are 100% compatible, SeeedStudio and some distributors are now offering a set of accessories for RF Explorer. We looked for quality, reasonable priced adapters that will help you connect RF Explorer to pretty much any RF device or antenna you may need:

BNC adapter - Most HAM and two-way handheld radio antennas and devices are designed for BNC connectors. This BNC-female to SMA-male connector will easily interface your RF Explorer to any other BNC antenna or cable.


N adapter - Laboratory grade RF bench size instruments use N connector size cables. This N-female to SMA-male connector will easily interface your RF Explorer to any other bench size instrument or cable.


RP-SMA adapter -  Some WiFi antennas and cables are designed for RP-SMA (reverse polarity SMA) and cannot be connected to a standard SMA plug. RP-SMA is a variation of the SMA connector specification which reverses the gender of the interface. The reason for that was a decision made by FCC in order to prevent end-users from manipulating certified WiFi devices at home, using other available SMA antennas. That led to SMA and RP-SMA devices not being able to connect without an adapter, check Wikipedia for more details.

If you want to use some standard WiFi antennas you may need this adapter in order to interface them with RF Explorer. By plugin in this adapter your RF Explorer will be able to connect with any RP-SMA antenna, cable or device.


SMA right angle - This RF connector is ideal to use RF Explorer deployed horizontally, with any antenna connected onto it. For instance when you are on the road and you don't have a RF Explorer Stand, you can still easily fit the USB cable, the antenna and connect to a computer with easy. It is also useful to create a more reliable ground-effect for the antenna if fit the RF Explorer over a metallic structure such as a car roof.


SMA cable, 50cm long - Good up to 3GHz, these coaxial cables are good to connect your RF Explorer to other devices or antennas. There is a version with Male-Female connector (so you can actually cascade multiple ones if you need to) as well as Male-Male.

Introducing the multipurpose RF Explorer Power Limiter + DC block + 6dB attenuator

The RF Explorer Power Limiter is a custom, 3-in-1 device designed from the ground up to be the perfect protection against strong RF fields.

 

The RF Explorer Power Limiter is assembled in a rugged aluminum case and it is very compact when compared to other market offerings. Not only that, it also includes internal DC block and 6dB attenuator which makes it very versatile yet really small device for all it offers.

Why you would need a power limiter? As you can see on this note all RF Explorer models have input signal power ranges beyond which can be damaged. For most models (such as WSUB1G, ISM Combo or 2.4G), the limit is on +5dBm, some others are ok up to +10dBm (such as 433M-915M) but only WSUB3G (3G Combo right SMA connector) is protected up to +30dBm.

 


The new RF Explorer Power Limiter will allow any RF Explorer model to be protected with external signals up to +30dBm (1 Watt), so you get the same level of protection as in the WSUB3G. Furthermore, the power limiter includes additional functionality inside that will otherwise require external devices increasing cost and size, it is a true 3-in-1 device:


•   Power limiter:  protection up to +30dBm, for any frequency range between DC-3000Mhz
•   DC block:  You can connect any external source with DC voltage up to 16V with no risk of damaging your RF Explorer or interfering in your measurement.
•   Attenuator: Includes an internal 6dB attenuator to help you extend the range of power signal measurements. 6dB attenuation means a ¼ of the input power is received by the unit. To compensate for this extra attenuation you should indicate OffsetDB: +006 in the ATTENUATOR MENU of your RF Explorer.

 

Feature

  • Robust, small and low weight custom aluminum case
  • 3-in-1 device with Power Limiter, DC Block and Attenuator
  • Easy to connect and disconnect when required
  • Wide broadband frequency application
  • Directional 1 Watt rating
  • Suitable for all RF Explorer models, not required for WSUB3G.

Specification

  • Frequency range: DC ~ 3.0 GHz
  • DC block: +16V DC
  • Input Power rating: 1 Watt (+30dBm)
  • Output power max: +4 dBm.
  • Attenuation: 6 dB 
  • Impedance (Nominal): 50Ω
  • V.S.W.R (Max): 1.25 : 1
  • Connector type: SMA male – female
  • Connector:  Brass / Gold plating
  • Body: Aluminum

The RF Explorer Power Limiter is available at SeeedStudio for $45 - that is about five times lower price you would have to pay for features like these in the general market. RF Explorer distributors will have it available soon, contact your local distributor for more details.

As we put significant effort an expense on this design, we will reuse this aluminum cage for additional accessories, including filters for popular R/C, FPV, ISM and HAM frequencies.