Technical Insights > RF + Microwave

Get to Know the FieldFox Handheld Analyzer

2020-12-14  |  7 min read 

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to go, let it snow while you get to know the FieldFox handheld analyzer. Although I am aware that songwriting isn’t my strong suit, bundle up and grab some hot cocoa as I introduce you to the thing that should top your holiday wish list — the FieldFox handheld analyzer.

Having a portable analyzer is a common thing for field engineers tasked with troubleshooting network issues in remote locations. It’s a whole different ball game for device engineers designing and testing products in a work-from-home environment. In today’s work-from-home world, having a handheld RF analyzer to perform tasks usually carried out in a lab can be advantageous for companies looking to stay ahead of the competition.

If you aren’t familiar with Keysight’s FieldFox handheld analyzers, here’s your chance to get up to speed. FieldFox analyzers are the most comprehensive handheld RF and microwave analyzers on the market. Often referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife” of portable RF test equipment, FieldFox analyzers can do it all…seriously. 

In fact, they can do so much that I thought they deserve a formal introduction. If you are looking for a handheld, portable RF test solution that meets all your measurement needs, then look no further. I present to you, the FieldFox handheld analyzer.

What’s on the Outside

First, I’ll go over the outside of the unit. The unit itself is 7.4 x 11.5 inches when looking at it from the front. The two features you’ll notice first are the LCD display screen and the carrying strap, both created with ergonomics and ease-of-use in mind. Its vertical orientation enables users to see the screen and operate the device in one hand while holding an antenna in (or keeping your cat off of your keyboard with) the other.

The buttons on the front are large and backlit, ideal for those working in the field wearing gloves and in dark conditions. On the top of the unit, there are two RF connection ports, a GPS receiver, and an external reference trigger input. On the right side, you will find the field-swappable battery that gives FieldFox the longest battery life of all handheld analyzers on the market. 

Figure 1. The front-view of FieldFox including the LCD screen, carrying strap, and large, backlit buttons.
Figure 1. The front-view of FieldFox including the LCD screen, carrying strap, and large, backlit buttons.


On the right side, there is also a LAN port, two USB ports, an SD card slot, an external reference and trigger output, and the wideband intermediate frequency output. On the left side of the unit, there is a headphone jack, DC bias variable voltage source, and charging port. Weighing in at roughly 7.5 pounds, FieldFox is the lightest all-in-one portable analyzer out there.

What’s on the Inside

Mother always said it’s what’s on the inside that counts! The same goes for FieldFox — what’s on the inside is what makes it one-of-a-kind.

The term “Swiss Army Knife” comes from FieldFox’s 30 different measurement functions and utilities. These options are organized based on measurement type and general utility. Measurement types include network analyzer, cable and antenna tester, spectrum analyzer, base station tester, and power meter functions. General utilities include remote control, indoor/outdoor mapping, and GNSS/GPS location. These options are user-installable meaning if you need more measurement capabilities in the future, you can install them yourself without sending your FieldFox back to Keysight.

There are three different options for base model hardware including spectrum analyzer, network analyzer, and combination analyzer. The cherry on top? FieldFox’s measurement science is proven to be comparable to Keysight’s traditional benchtop products. Imagine — all those benchtop products in one portable and precise unit.

Figure 1. Five FieldFoxes showing five different measurement functions. From left to right – spectrum analysis, S-parameter measurements, real-time spectrum analysis, pulse measurements, and I/Q measurements. 

Here is a list of all the measurement functions:

  • Vector Network Analyzer Time Domain
  • Remote Control Capability
  • USB Power Sensor Measurements Versus Frequency
  • Extended Range Transmission Analysis (ERTA)
  • Vector Network Analyzer Transmission/Reflection
  • Vector Network Analyzer Full 2-port S-parameters
  • Mixed-Mode S-Parameters
  • TDR Cable Measurements
  • Spectrum Analyzer
  • Preamplifier
  • Interference Analyzer and Spectrogram
  • Spectrum Analyzer Time Gating
  • External USB Power Sensor Support
  • GPS receiver
  • Vector Voltmeter
  • DC Bias Variable Voltage Source
  • Built-in Power Meter
  • Channel Scanner
  • Pulse Measurements
  • Real-time Spectrum Analyzer (RTSA)
  • I/Q Analyzer (IQA)
  • Analog Demodulation
  • Noise Figure (NF)
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) LTE FDD
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) 5GTF
  • Phased Array Antenna Control
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) 5G NR
  • Indoor and Outdoor Mapping
  • EMF Measurements

If I were to go through each function of FieldFox in detail, this would be a very long blog. I will save that for another time, but in the meantime, visit this page to understand FieldFox’s applications and download relevant resources. 

Try FieldFox Software for Free

Already own a FieldFox but don’t have all the options? You can trial any FieldFox software capability for free so long as your baseline hardware is compatible with the software option. Try the capability now so you know which option to add to your wish list.

To request a free trial, contact us, and include the model number of your FieldFox.