Rational Waves -- RF Spectrum Analyzer Software
Rational Waves software turns data collected from RF spectrum analyzers into highly graphical charts and displays, enabling users to more readily visualize the RF environment, monitor RF signals, troubleshoot RF issues, and detect sources of RF interference.
Rational Waves provides an inexpensive -- $79 USD -- solution for a variety of different RF applications. When you consider that it supports the most common, low-cost RF analyzers then it is fair to say nothing else in the RF diagnostic market even closely compares.
As a Windows application, Rational Waves runs natively on the Windows operating system (e.g. Windows 10). In addition, it can be used on a Mac when hosted within a VM (virtual machine) such as Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion or Virtual Box. Here is a link that explains more about Rational Wave's MacOS support.
The table below lists some of Rational Waves' features:
For evaluation purposes feel free to download the Rational Waves software application. Without an RF analyzer attached to your computer, then the Rational Waves software runs in a fully functional 'Demo mode' using simulated data.
Documentation for Rational Waves can be found here.
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 with .NET Framework 4.7.2 (or higher)
Internet Connection: For activating the license key
Rational Waves can run on the MacOS within a virtual machine (VM) environment. For example:
Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, and Virtual Box.
Additional details can be found here.
Spectrum Trace View
Rational Waves continuously scans and samples the signal strength (dBm) of frequencies in the range the user has specified. In the 'Spectrum Trace' view the signal strength data (in dBm) is displayed as a function of frequency.
The 'Waterfall History' view is also known as a "heatmap" graph. It provides a color-based visualization of the RF level and activity over time. As signal levels for specific frequencies or frequency ranges increase and decrease, the waterfall map varies its colors. This feature provides a quick glance back into the sweep history to identify aberrations or fluctuation in frequency levels.
Density (Topographic) Chart
The 'Topographic Map' chart shows accumulated RF energy as a function of frequency. The power of the signal strength in dBm is shown across the frequency span. A signal strength with a relatively low occurrence is 'blueish' in color, whereas increasingly brighter colors are used for signal strengths that occur more frequently. Signal strengths that occur most often are 'redish' in color. Over time, this spectral view will approximate the steady-state RF energy signature of a given environment.
Delta Trace Chart
The 'Delta Trace' view can be used to view small (or large) changes in the RF spectrum over time. Here's how it works... When scanning begins the first trace is saved as a 'snapshot'. For all subsequent scans, the snapshot trace is subtracted from the current trace and the difference, i.e. 'delta', is displayed. Plotting the data in this way makes it easy to detect RF changes that occurred since the initial 'snapshot'.
Threshold Trace chart
The 'Threshold Trace' view highlights those frequencies whose signal strength exceeds a user-defined threshold. This feature is especially useful for visually emphasizing strong signals (and deemphasizing weak ones), where the user gets to define 'strong' and 'weak' according to where they set the threshold.
Monitored Frequencies Mode
'Monitored Frequencies' mode allows you to monitor specific frequencies. For example, in the setting of a live performance where it is important to monitor the channels that have been assigned to wireless audio devices, this feature can be used to ensure those channels are not being impacted by other sources of RF transmissions. Alternatively, if there are wireless devices that transmit at specific frequencies and you wish to monitor their transmissions, then this mode can be used to verify they are currently operating.
Monitored Bands Mode
'Monitored Bands' mode allows you to monitor specific frequency bands. For example, in a cell-phone free area, this feature can be used to monitor the frequency bands used by cell phones for the purpose of detecting prohibited transmissions.