Spectrum Spy: New Spectrum Analyzer Software for the Airspy
Software defined radio's can easily be used a very wideband spectrum analyzers by quickly stepping through the spectrum at the largest stable bandwidth supported. The RTL-SDR has had this functionality for some time now through software such as rtl_power and RTL Scanner.
Now Youssef, co-creator of the Airspy and programmer of SDR# has released a similar program for the Airspy called Spectrum Spy. The software comes bundled with the latest SDR# download which can be obtained from airspy.com.
The Airspy is a $199 USD software defined radio with a similar tuning range to the RTL-SDR, but it is significantly better with its 12-bit ADC and up to 10 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. We review the Airspy, SDRplay RSP and HackRF in this post. With its large instantaneous bandwidth and fast retuning speed the Airspy makes an excellent spectrum analyzer that refreshes very quickly.
Youssef stresses that the software is still in proof of concept stages, and various features are still to be added in the future. He writes:
A new utility app is available for download with the standard SDR# package. It allows the visualization of larger frequency spans by exploiting Airspy's fast frequency tuning capability. The scanning speed is comparable to real spectrum analyzers (may be faster even!) The project is still in a PoC state, but the basic functionality provided is fully operational.
It all started when some customer wanted an example code to implement their own SA using Airspy, so I did more than a code snippet. I hope you enjoy!
We tested the Spectrum Spy software on several bands, and recorded short videos shown below to show how fast it is.
20 MHz Bandwidth Mobile Phone Band
50 MHz BCFM Band
100 MHz Bandwidth Mobile Phone Band
Includes the uplink and downlink portions. We used our mobile phone to make a call and you can see the uplink at 895 MHz.
1 GHz Full Spectrum
Over on Twitter @uhf_satcom has also been testing out Spectrum Spy and has got some good shots of Ku and L-band satellite bands.
@Sdrsharp Spectrum Spy + AirSpy SDR on IF of Ku-Band LNB pointed at 36E - really useful tool for satellite nerds! pic.twitter.com/dYwVJVIOz1— UHF Satcom (@uhf_satcom) March 14, 2016
The new SpectrumSpy from @sdrsharp is my new favorite software tool! Here is 50MHz of Inmarsat @ 15W CF=1545MHz Nice pic.twitter.com/qKI0sc4DnA— UHF Satcom (@uhf_satcom) March 14, 2016
Here @supertrack_it has been using Spectrum Spy to help with the tuning of his 1420 MHz filter.
Tuning my 1420 MHz interdigidital filter with @airspy_com Spectrum Spy is now a piece of cake pic.twitter.com/jo9gclf1aQ— supertrack (@supertrack_it) March 15, 2016
Hi to ALL, I would like to use NooElec dongle with spectrum spy does anyone know how to set up?
It works as SDR but comes with an error message when I try spectrum spy.
Any help please?
Can it work with other SDRs?
I’m excited about spectrumspy.
Here some questions or feature requests.
1. Is it possible to add the keyboard arrow keys (left and right) to make a fine adjust of the found frequency.
With the mouse it is very hard to get the frequency. I mean the frequency pointer line.
2. When I see a transmit, then I try to find out the correct frequency. The pointer shows 467.2727, but the real frequency is 467.28. Is it possible to find out the correct frequency when the pointer is close to that frequency?
Thanx for an answer and a good program.
Is it also be possible, to add a Pointer Step Size, as it is in SDR#?
So it would be easier to check out a found frequency. Instead of a displayed frequency 136.3637 it would then show 136.25.
Hello spectrumspy programmer,
I’m missing a response of you about my questions, or is this site here dead?
Does spectrum spy work with spyverter in the HF region below 30mHz? Is there a limit to how low it will go?
thanks for this really great piece of software (and hardware btw. 😉
Is there a way to run the scan with enabled decimation in order to boost the sensitivity?
E.g. by adding a line to the config file..
Thanks and have a good time,
Frequency-coordination of wireless mics and in-ear monitors at performances (theatrical and musical) is a very, very big deal. Right now RF Explorer owns the market. On the plus side, it can export tables of freq vs. amplitude as .csv files, which import directly into Shure’s Wireless Workbench. On the downside, you can’t demodulate the peaks to figure out what’s nailing you (which is why I bought an SDRplay RSP2). Add .csv out on selectable centers, along with averaging over multiple scans, and a lot of sound guys will throw away their RF Explorers and buy a Airspy. I certainly would do that.
No CSV export option?!
How are we supposed to plot a filter gain or an antenna swr if we can’t store the points? It should be easy since they are displayed!
Yea weird, but astrospy has an export to cvs file option. If the bandwidth of the filter was low enough you could use it. Modify the core.centerFrequency away from the hydrogen line at 1420000000 Hz to the center frequency of the filter in the configuration file AstroSpy.exe.Config.
I wonder why spectrumspy does not have that option, could it be because of gain non linearity across a wide swath of spectrum. Or maybe it is on a todo list.
will this work with the soon to be released airspymini?
Yes, it does
Add a way to skip large chunks of spectrum that aren’t of interest…
It doesn’t work with any other radio, does it?
Instantly love this tool!
Makes sweeping circuits and antennas so much easier.
Fascinating to observe band occupancy and find new rare transmissions.
If you can hear me, well done on such a great program and add-on to SDR# suite.
Functionality like this is what was dreamed of when the SDR revolution started and with developers like you, it is becoming a reality.
My students were instantly wowed with this new feature…
Regards as ever to everyone.
Maybe, It will be handy to add the “RBW” slider so the wider span can sweep faster, like 1 GHz span in favor of lower resolution. When the signal is found then the narrower span can be applied and full RBW.