Questions about the use and theory of spectrum analyzers. For spectrum displays that are not test equipment, use [panadapter-and-waterfall] instead.
A spectrum analyzer is RF test equipment which displays the amount of RF power versus frequency received on its input ports. Spectrum analyzers may operate on the principle of automatically sweeping a receiver across the desired display range of frequencies, or by performing a discrete Fourier transform on the entire bandwidth to be visualized.
A tracking generator is a component of a spectrum analyzer which produces a swept signal in sync with the frequency the spectrum analyzer is currently receiving; this is one method to test the frequency response of filters and other RF components.
See also panadapter-and-waterfall for the similar but often less precise instruments incorporated into radio receivers to find and view signals.