By Malcolm Levy, Vice President, Americas, CRFS Inc., California
INTRODUCTION TO RF SPECTRUM MONITORING
Today, more than ever before, monitoring RF spectrum activity in a given geographical area is becoming a necessity rather than a choice. Applications for examining the RF environment are almost boundless, and include regulatory enforcement, corporate security, defense, counter espionage and cyber security. Military proving grounds, power plants, sports facilities, city centers, embassies, harbors, and national borders are just some of the places where spectrum monitoring has a role to play in ensuring security and effective operations.
The traditional approach to RF spectrum monitoring has been to use some type of mostly stationary benchtop spectrum analyzer and/or high-performance signal intelligence (SIGINT) system to capture signals for analysis. These systems have tended to be specialist rather than all-purpose, not rugged or particularly easy to deploy in the field, as well as being high cost.