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The Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) of the University of Bern is active in the field of remote sensing of middle atmospheric trace gases such as ozone and water vapor by microwave radiometry. From the measured pressure broadened spectral lines, it is possible to retrieve the vertical distribution of the observed species. The vertical range is dependent on the bandwidth and resolution of the spectrometers. The radiometers from the IAP perform ground-based and airborne measurements. For the spectral analysis, they used acoustooptical spectrometers (AOS) or low-resolution filterbanks until recently. Unfortunately, AOS proved to be deficient under conditions encountered in an aircraft. For this reason, the approach of using novel real-time digital fast Fourier transform (FFT) spectrometers of bandwidth 1 GHz was chosen. In this paper, we present measurements of atmospheric trace constituents using digital FFT spectrometers and compare the results with measurements from the AOS and filterbank. The FFT spectrometer is superior in resolution and system stability as well as in the linearity and stability of the frequency axis. An important point is also the lower costs per bandwidth and resolution. The measured intensities of emitted radiation from the atmosphere from all spectrometer types were in good agreement.