MCS Software Manual

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Spectrum Markers

The MCS software allows you to create an arbitrary number of markers in each spectrum view. Uses for these markers include tracking signal peaks, showing measurement values at specific frequencies or adjusting the sweep to focus on signal anomalies.

Marker Controls
Markers are created, edited and removed with the Marker Controls in the Spectrum Control or the Marker Editor.

Marker Types
There are two general marker types available: fixed markers, that will stay at a given frequency, and dynamic markers that will jump to frequencies containing signal peaks. Both types can additionally take a reference marker to display the delta frequency and value to this reference instead of absolute values. Therefore there is no separate delta marker type like in other spectrum analyzers. Each marker is also assigned to one of the traces available in the spectrum view, like the current sweep trace, max trace or average trace (see Trace List and Controls). This allows to track values just for the current sweep and over time simulatenously.

Manual Creation / Editing
To create markers manually start by clicking the Add / Edit / Remove button in the Marker Controls. This will open the Marker Editor where markers can be added, removed or adjusted.
The marker index and name are auto-generated and cannot be changed. They’ll adjust based on the number and types of markers currently set, so make sure you’re selecting the right marker when making changes. Markers can display their values in the spectrum view itself, but as this can consume valuable space and hide other objects you can turn it off by deselecting the Display Value option. You can also enable a vertical line highlighting the marker frequency by selecting the Show Line option.
The target frequency of fixed markers can be set manually in the frequency edit field or by using one of the options of the „find“ button. Dynamic markers do not have a target frequency, instead you can select if they should jump to the frequency with the highest („Trace Maximum“) or lowest („Trace Minimum“) value. Creating multiple markers of the same type on the same trace will mark the next lower/higher peak of the trace, so by adding three dynamic Trace Maximum markers on the „Max“ trace you would track the three strongest peaks of the whole measurement.
When you have more than one marker set you can assign a „Delta Reference“ to every marker, which will cause the marker to display the difference to this reference in frequency and value instead of showing absolute values. E.g. instead of „-87.32 dBm @ 576.307 MHz“ you’d see „-4.89 dBm @ +23.650 MHz (Delta Max 1)“. Setting a „Delta Reference” will only affect the display of value and frequency, it does not change any other marker properties.

Loading Saved Setups
At any time you can load a marker setup you’ve previously saved using the Load button. You can then select a setup you’ve previously saved. If the spectrum currently has existing markers you will be asked if you want to replace them with the selected setup, or if the setup should be added on top.

Saving Marker Setups
If you’re doing similar measurements on a regular interval you probably want to use the same marker setup without having to recreate it everytime. For that you can store the current marker setup on disk using the Save button, and reload it later using the Load button. Note that markers will be stored with their target frequencies and assigned traces, and will be restored with them, so loading a setup on a spectrum with different frequencies and/or active traces might require changing some marker frequencies or traces for them to become active again.

Marker Frequency Selection
Manually selecting a target frequency for fixed markers is often inconvenient, so there are some options to select a frequency automatically. You can reach those options by clicking the find button in the marker editor. The options available include:

  •  „center frequency“: This simply sets the marker to the center of the current spectrum
  •  „find trace maximum“: Selects the frequency of the current peak of the assigned trace, similar to a Dynamic Trace Maximum marker. However once found the marker will stay at that frequency while the Dynamic Marker would jump away once a new peak appears.
  •  „find trace maximum left of“: Selects the frequency of the next peak left of the chosen marker. „left of“ means that the selected frequency will be lower than the frequency of the chosen marker.
  •  „find trace maximum right of“: Selects the frequency of the next peak right of the chosen marker. „right of“ means that the selected frequency will be higher than the frequency of the chosen marker.
  •  „find trace minimum“: analog to „find trace maximum“, but finds negative peaks.
  •  „find trace minimum left of“: analog to „find trace maximum left of“, but finds negative peaks.
  •  „find trace minimum right of“: analog to „find trace maximum right of“, but finds negative peaks.
  •  „set center to marker frequency“: does not actually select a frequency, but changes the center frequency of the spectrum to the target frequency of the selected marker. This way you can center on peak values by first selecting „find trace maximum“ and then „set center to marker frequency“. Note however that the center change will reset the spectrum data.
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