Measuring a weak (mV) RF burst with an oscilloscope with low vertical resolution.

Thread Starter


Joined Nov 16, 2021
Hi there (long time reader, first time poster),

I'm using an oscilloscope to measure a weak 100 kHz RF burst (at the (1-10)mV scale) with an oscilloscope (externally triggered on the event of the burst).

I then take the trace and FFT on MATLAB to get SNR.

My issue is with the noise floor, my oscilloscope is only 8 bits in vertical resolution and I think I'm limited by the smallest voltage I can measure with the oscilloscope?

Is there a smarter way to do this? should I get a better device for this measurement? do you have any tips for FFT on burst signals?

Thanks for reading and any advice you can give me.


Joined Mar 30, 2015
Welcome to AAC!

If you're more interested in frequency content or signal to noise ratio vs absolute signal amplitude, you could amplify the signal.