Hi Road Test Community,

 

I have a fully-featured Rohde and Schwarz RTE1204 oscilloscope on my hands at the moment, and I thought there may be some interest in reviewing it in the style of an official Road Test. I have been a somewhat passive member of this community for a few years now, so hopefully this will allow me to hone my review skills and provide a unique look at this professional-quality oscilloscope.

 

A bit of background: I had ordered a Rohde and Schwarz RTB2004 COM4 scope back when their amazing launch deal was on, but unfortunately there was an error in the processing of my order. Luckily, the folks at Newark and Rhode sorted it out for me, and in the meantime provided this to me as a loaner scope to allow me to complete an ongoing project. I am not being compensated in any way for this review -- it is all on my own accord, and I will be candid when discussing things I like and do not like. I have used this scope in a professional setting alongside similar Keysight 4000X scopes, so I hope I can bring a realistic user perspective.

 

RTE1204 Front DisplayFig 1. Front view of the RTE1204 Scope, showing one of the two logic probes connected via the rear

 

I propose to complete this review in three initial parts, with a fourth and final section focused on questions and tests requested in the comments.

      • Part 1: Introduction. From a user perspective, I will assess this oscilloscope in terms of the typical metrics:
        • Specs and comparison to other scopes in the same category. Explore what makes this scope unique in the marketplace from its data sheet.
        • Physical and Graphic user interface. What is it like to sit in the drivers seat? Is the button/knob useful and intuitive? Same for the software and GUI -- customization, responsiveness, etc.
        • Misc: noise, form factor, display, build quality and accessories.
      • Part 2: Putting the scope through its paces (analog)
        • Analog channel analysis of various signals (sine, modulated, PRBS, etc.). Measurements, markers, math functions, and different scope settings (including 16 bit "HD" mode, and various built-in filters). I will use some 1+ GHz sources to do eye diagrams and test masks. Different triggering options
        • Spectrum analysis (FFT). Determine the usefulness of the FFT function of this scope compared to an actual spectrum analyzer. Look at THD of an amplifier, spectrogram of a modulated signal (maybe as a signal monitor for a UHF receiver), and an EMI test utilizing the gated FFT functionality.
      • Part 3: Putting the scope through its paces (mixed-signal domain)
        • Break out the logic probes and decode some serial data.
      • Part 4:
        • Remote control and automated measurements
        • Remaining tests suggested in the comments
        • Conclusions

 

I will also post a separate review of my RTB2004 when it arrives, and compare it to its "big brother" RTE1204. It seems like there are a lot of reviews already floating around, so I will hold off on this until after the promised firmware update from R&S.

 

I will be actively checking the comments, and I am happy to update my plan or add to the reviews with any suggestions or ideas (I will surely miss a thing or two). I should mention that I unfortunately do not have access to high-speed active or current probes, which prevents me from testing some of the power analysis features.

 

With that, let the "Rohde Test" begin (sorry... couldn't help it).

 

-James

 

Edit: Dec 5, 2017: Added table 1 to link to other sections

 

Table 1. Table of Contents for review

Rhode and Schwarz RTE 1204 Review SectionLink
Part 0: Review ProposalRohde and Schwarz RTE1204 2GHz Oscilloscope Review: part 0
Part 1: Introduction and User InterfaceRohde and Schwarz RTE1204 2GHz Oscilloscope Review: part 1
Part 2: Analog and FFT Functionalityto be added upon completion
Part 3: Mixed Signal Domainto be added upon completion
Part 4: Conclusion and User Requeststo be added upon completion