Inovonics is introducing its BandScanner, an FM scanning receiver that plugs into the USB port of any PC. Supplied Windows software sweeps the receiver across the FM band, logging every carrier and generating a spectrum display of carrier level vs. frequency. Stations with an RBDS presence may be analyzed in additional detail.
Once an initial scan has completed automatically, the BandScanner comes up with a station list in tabular form. The receiver may then be manually tuned by direct frequency entry or by double-clicking on the spectrum plot or on the station list. The selected station can be heard with headphones, and all RBDS groups may be decoded and logged.
Scrolling-PS and RadioText messages pop up in their own windows, and statistics of each RBDS data group can be analyzed individually to determine data throughput efficiency. Routine RBDS “housekeeping” functions can be set to transmit at less frequent intervals with no ill effect.
The BandScanner is powered through its USB connection, so a laptop turns it into a portable field tool. Signal strength of a station is shown graphically with respect to adjacent carriers, and spectrum plots can be saved as JPG files. Multipath effects are reflected as RBDS decoding errors, which are shown in their own window.