thinkRF R5500-427 27GHz Real Time Spectrum Analyzer

The thinkRF R5500-427 Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer (RTSA) is a high-performance RF receiver, digitizer and analyzer. With software-defined RF receiver technology, the RTSA provides combined sensitivity, tuning range, instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) and scan rate for characterizing signals from 100 kHz to 27 GHz, captured over a period of time.

System Overview

Sampling at 125 MS/s with a selectable IBW up to 100MHz, the R5500 RTSA performs with excellent dynamic range, phase noise performance and speed.

The CMC system is comprised of the R5500 RTSA, test antennas and a laptop containing the thinkRF application & integration software in a portable hard-shell carrying case.

Keysight’s 89601C PathWave Vector Signal Analysis (89600 VSA) Software is installed on the laptop. This powerful combination with the R5500 enables high-speed vector signal analysis in the full breadth of the 89600 VSA software capabilities. The license is on a USB dongle (no internet required).

For those who need to program custom applications, thinkRF’s APIs are provided for interfacing and performing data acquisition and spectral analysis with Python™, C/C++, MATLAB® and LabVIEW®. Applications can also be built within the PyRF development framework which is built on the Python programming language and is open-source under BSD licensing. The small form factor and Ethernet connectivity allow it to be installed in tight experimental setups and monitored remotely.

The R5500 provides real-time sophisticated triggering and capture control. It is designed for stand-alone, remotely-accessed continuous wireless signal analysis and can be set to record upon trigger by a defined event. It is ideal for monitoring and characterizing transmitters and the associated channels, whether they are in-building or spread across a geographic area.


The R5500 hardware design includes:

  • A hybrid super-heterodyne, direct-conversion and direct-digitization RF receiver front-end (RFE);
  • Receiver front end inputs and outputs to support clock synchronization, and IF outputs for high-end digitization;
  • A 125 MSample/sec 14-bit wideband (WB) ADC with a dynamic range of greater than 70 dB;
  • A 300 kSample/sec 24-bit narrowband (NB) ADC with a dynamic range in excess of 100dB;
  • A Xilinx’s Zynq FPGA with built-in dual-core ARM®-based processor, Gigabit Ethernet interface and custom embedded digital signal processing (DSP) logic;
  • 1 GB of DDR3 shared between firmware and real-time caching of digitized data;
  • A general purpose input/output (GPIO) port.



  • 5G Wireless Technology
  • Research
  • Channel Characterization
  • Test and Measurement
  • Monitoring
  • Transmitter Characterization

What’s Included

  • The thinkRF R5500-427 27 GHz (RTSA)
  • Two test antennas
  • Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with mouse & LAN adapter
  • LAN crossover cable to connect the R5500 to the laptop
  • Keysight PathWave 89600 VSA software with digital modulation analysis applications
  • USB dongle license
  • USB drive with manuals (also on the laptop).

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