Here's The Short Description:
We've used this ourselves to detect sources of interference at 433 MHz and it saved us a lot of wasted time. We found the source of the interference in 30 minutes that had evaded us for months. If you are a professional that installs wireless alarm sensors, our RFID Tags and RFID Readers, or any other wireless devices, you need this tool in your toolbox.
Here are the Details:
ISM bands are used worldwide in many devices and systems, and some of them are very appealing for hacking and tinkering. However, it is really difficult to tweak a device in these high frequency RF bands without a Spectrum Analyzer. We all know it is difficult to work in DC circuits without a multimeter, and it is equally hard to work with digital logic circuits without a logic analyzer or an oscilloscope. For RF transmission and circuit testing, a spectrum analyzer can be considered the basic most useful tool to own, at the same level than multimeter for DC or oscilloscope for AC.
Commercial high-end spectrum analyzers are traditionally expensive and bulky, in the order of many thousand dollars, and you need significant expertise to master them. Additionally, as they are general purpose devices, using them for ISM band communication will typically require additional modules or expensive software. RF Explorer offers 90% of what a high cost unit will do for ISM band, at a 5% of the cost. Additionally, it offers some specific features for ISM band work no other commercial spectrum analyzer does.
RF enthusiast have limited themselves to cheap "RF Power Detector / Frequency counter" devices in the past. But these are limited to display data for a single point of maximum power, and traditionally power metrics are too unreliable, in the order of 20dB or even 30dB inaccuracy.
In contrast, a spectrum analyzer like RF Explorer will display full frequency spectrum in the band, including carrier and modulated shape, will display Spread Spectrum activity if that exist, and will show bandwidth to monitor collisions, frequency deviation from expected tone, etc.
RF Explorer reduce cost by working in narrower bands only, as digital radio enthusiasts typically choose a specific ISM band for FSK or OOK/ASK transmission and stick to it. This is typically mandated by local regulations and cost: you will concentrate most of your work in the same ISM band. Based on this premise, we built a highly integrated device with specific ISM band tuned circuit, and that saves a lot of cost and makes it simpler to use.
There are some other devices in the market which offers some of these features in an USB key, and they are of reasonable cost. However, they always depend on a PC connection, and that is very inconvenient for outdoor work or if you need to save space in the lab desk. You can connect RF Explorer to your PC for additional features and display quality, but that is optional; RF Explorer is fully functional as an independent unit.
See below a quick summary of what you can do today with RF Explorer as of firmware v1.05, together with firmware extensions we are working on for the near future.
RF Explorer Currently Supported Workflows
For an example of how easy and powerful RF Explorer is in a real use case, check this tutorial.
Posted by John Lester on 13th Feb 2013
Like the introduction says, you need this tool in your tool box. We used it connected to a Mac and it was amazing for the price. We were going nuts trying to find the source of interference with an HAI Wireless system and we were able to walk around the building with a MacBook and we found it in minutes. Not only did we find the source, we were able to show the Customer a visual "before and after". He was impressed, but so were we. BUY IT.