Signal Hound SM200C/B 100kHz – 20GHz Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the long awaited Signal Hound SM200C/B Real-Time 100kHz – 20GHz Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer:

The SM200C is a high-performance spectrum analyzer and monitoring receiver with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ port, enabling the SM200C to communicate with a PC over long distances using a fiber optic cable. Designed for remotely-located accurate RF data analysis at the lowest cost possible, the SM200C features:

  • 160 MHz instantaneous bandwidth I/Q streaming over 10GbE
  • SFP+ port for fast, long-distance communication with a PC using an optic cable
  • Device control and data transfer occurs via SFP+ connection, not USB
  • Tunes from 100 kHz to 20 GHz
  • Sweeps at 1 THz/sec at 30 kHz RBW
  • 110 dB of dynamic range
  • Ultra-low phase noise
  • GPIO port antenna switching

The SM200B offers a USB 3.0 PC interface with 40MHz of instantaneous I/Q streaming. Furthermore, the SM200B includes a full 2-second of internal memory at 160MHz of capture bandwidth which an be accessed through the API.

The review is organized as follows:

00:00 – Introduction
00:49 – Overview, build quality and detailed specifications
05:51 – Full teardown, analysis and system architecture
18:00 – 10GbE PC interface using M.2 Key to PCIe converter
19:22 – Experiment #1: FMCW signal analysis, GUI overview & 160MHz capture capabilities
31:33 – Experiment #2: Interfering hunting, FM-versus-time, frequency hopping & advanced triggering
41:32 – Experiment #3: Digital demodulation, phase-noise & equalization
46:02 – Other GUI capabilities, mask & EM compliance, API
47:20 – Concluding remarks


  1. Jonathan deWerd says:

    > How did the get the image rejection of ~75 dB? Over the typical 20 dB of quadrature mixer HMC8191 or similar.

    Just because Hittite calls it a quadrature mixer and asks you to sell your soul to the distortion devil doesn’t mean you actually have to do so. You can still use it in a superheterodyne architecture, like god intended.

  2. Andrew says:

    How did the get the image rejection of ~75 dB? Over the typical 20 dB of quadrature mixer HMC8191 or similar.

  3. dougg says:

    Such an impressive piece of kit. But why or why use a USB Micro 3.0 receptacle rather than USB type C? They could have had two USB-C receptacles on the front (or maybe one on the back and one on the front) and no separate DC power connector. Also they could have a screw fastener on each receptacle (USB-C defines two variants: a single screw above, or screws at either side). Then if you want portability you could add a USB PD battery pack (e.g. Morphie USB-C 3XL: 15V @3A). For a $12,500 asking price, they could have thrown in a battery pack 🙂
    Then there is the data side of USB-C: two (rather than one) superspeed bidi circuits at 5/10/20 Gbps each. So if you aggregated two USB-C cables at USB-4 speeds that would be 80 Gbps (plus two circuits at 480 Mbps). One negative is that a passive USB-C cable carrying 2×20 Gbps wont be very long, if that is a problem then there is the added expense of active cables (i.e. with retimers).

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