[time-nuts] OT: HP 8590A
Tom Holmes, N8ZM
tholmes at woh.rr.com
Sun Feb 21 22:19:35 UTC 2010
I had an 8590A a number of years ago, and was able to do a lot with it. As
others have pointed out, it does tend to drift and the frequency accuracy,
especially in the HF range, isn't that great, but that's why counters were
invented. These guys were intended for the portable service market, such as
cable TV and what passed for cell phone base stations 20 years ago. As
others have mentioned, if the display is not badly burned and the input
attenuator hasn't been popped, it should be a very useful tool for a lot of
the things you would want to see. Yes, parts can be tough to get for it, so
keep that risk in mind.
My credo has long been that you should always take your first measurement
with some skepticism until you have something to corroborate it. This is
frequently called a sanity check.
So if you can get it for a price that you think is reasonable for the
condition, go for it. Any way to look at the spectrum content is better than
Tom Holmes, N8ZM
Tipp City, OH
From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On
Behalf Of Joseph Gray
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2010 9:35 PM
To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] OT: HP 8590A
Thanks to all for the advice. I agree with Said that a 8560E would be
much nicer. However, I may be able to get this 8590A very
inexpensively. Considering the price difference between this unit and
a newer/better SA, I'm inclined to go with this one. I'm thinking of
this as "training wheels". Once I gain some hands on with a SA, I'll
know better what I want in a future purchase.
On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 5:20 PM, Bob Camp <lists at cq.nu> wrote:
> There are "drop in" replacement video sections for some of the older
instruments. It's not a duplicate of the original, but a form / fit /
function sort of thing. I have no idea if there is one for the 8590.
> They still cost more than most of these gizmos sell for used.
> On Feb 20, 2010, at 5:53 PM, Rick Karlquist wrote:
>> The CRT's went out of production something like 20 years ago.
>> The factory stock was exhausted long ago. Of course there
>> could be NOS forgotten somewhere, like in a barn with a
>> 1957 Chevy with 50 miles on it :-)
>> Rick N6RK
>> Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
>>> And make sure the CRT has life left. On a lot of older units, either
>>> faceplate is burned with the graticule and noise floor, or they're so
>>> that you have a hard time reading it. I suspect that replacement CRTs
>>> more than the whole used analyzer.
>>> On 2/20/10 11:27 AM, "life speed" <life_speed at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>>> Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 17:38:50 -0700
>>>> Subject: [time-nuts] OT: HP 8590A
>>>> Since the list members are familiar with lots of test equipment, I'd
>>>> like to ask what the folks here think about the HP 8590A Spectrum
>>>> Analyzer. Is this model ok? Are there any particular failures I should
>>>> be aware of in this 20+ year old equipment?
>>>> I have a chance to buy one locally. The only option is has is GPIB. I
>>>> took a preliminary look at it and it passes the simple test/cal
>>>> procedure from chapter 1 of the Ops manual. This model only goes to
>>>> 1.5GHz, but would still be useful for Amateur use. I do wish it would
>>>> go up to 3GHz, however. I have never owned a spec an, but am somewhat
>>>> familiar with their usage.
>>>> Thanks for the input.
>>>> I personally do not like these low-end spectrum analyzers. They have
>>>> dynamic range and phase noise performance. However, I design microwave
>>>> circuits for a living and can be a test equipment snob.
>>>> If you think it is adequate for your purposes, I would at least connect
>>>> it to
>>>> a calibrated signal generator and verify amplitude accuracy is within 3
>>>> Most old spec ans I have seen are way off, even broken. Still show a
>>>> on the display, but not very helpful. Also check for spurious across
>>>> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
>>>> To unsubscribe, go to
>>>> and follow the instructions there.
>>> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
>>> To unsubscribe, go to
>>> and follow the instructions there.
>> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
>> To unsubscribe, go to
>> and follow the instructions there.
> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
> To unsubscribe, go to
> and follow the instructions there.
time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
To unsubscribe, go to
and follow the instructions there.
More information about the time-nuts