[time-nuts] Test Equipment
jfor at quik.com
Fri Jan 22 00:16:30 UTC 2010
I mostly agree, but for a VNA, consider the HP 8505A. It only goes to
about 1.8 GHz, but is leaa of a dinosaur than the 8410 system.
> John Foege wrote:
>> I have recently started to build an electronics lab, and am currently
>> trying to acquire test and general equipment for my little basement
>> workshop of horrors.
> John, I hope my first post on this Forum will be useful to you... I was
> in your same position two or three years ago.
> I have to say that ebay is really handy, but I suggest you first to try
> with swapfests and flea-markets. There you can speak with the seller,
> and _ask_ for a demonstration if there's a AC plug close by.
> My only suggestion is: buy what you need now, and save money for the
> If I'm not wrong, Tektronix is selling its entry-level models at around
> 1000$. I have a TDS 210: small, portable, fits 100% the requirements for
> a general purpose scope. However, I use most my old Tek 475A (analog,
> >200 MHz bandwidth)
> Spectrum Analyzer
> I have started with a HP 141T system, a real workhorse (and reparable).
> The 141 is actually the mainframe, then you need the 855x series
> plug-in. One (8552) is the IF, the other the RF plug-in.
> With the 8555 you can go up to 18 GHz. In this case, I'll consider the
> 8445 preselector.
> They are still worth 500$--1500$ depending on the plug-in and accessories.
> Now I have a HP 8566A (100 Hz-22GHz) which I payed a little more of a
> complete HP 141 system. My father has a HP 8568B (100Hz-1.8 Ghz), that
> one is less expensive.
> Signal generator
> I'll consider building a DDS generator kit for frequency <150 MHz.
> Analog generators/sweepers are relatively cheap, but they are not stable
> in frequency.
> If your target is high frequency, the HP 8620C sweeper series is a good
> compromise. Get a "C" mainframe, get the 86222 and 86290 plug-ins and
> you can sweep from 10 MHz to 18 GHz. 8620C+86222 run at about
> 300$--400$; the 86290 can go up to 500$ (watch ebay for deals).
> If you buy an EIP source-locking counter, you can phase-lock them.
> Lower prices for the heavy, old BWO-based HP 8690 sweepers. I can't
> recommend them, unless you find a good deal, with the complete plug-in
> If you need a synthesizer, HP models are generally more expensive (but
> also more fixable, in general) than Marconi, Giga-tronics and Fluke.
> I have a Marconi 2019 (80 kHz-1040 MHz) and it works fine and it's clean
> enough for my needs.
> If you buy one, make sure it's 100% working, they are tricky to fix.
> Network analyzers
> Wonderful instruments. Very sophisticated. People still write entire PhD
> theses on their calibration theory.
> Please don't take it badly, but if you don't really know how to use
> them, you don't need them, since a spectrum analyzer and a tracking
> generator will solve your problems and save you a lot of money.
> However, if you want to acquire some pieces of history, look for the HP
> 8410 from 1970's, it uses the 8620 as sweeper: the HP8412 display + 8410
> IF should go for 200$, S-parameters test-set 8745 (0.1-2 GHz) or 8746
> (0.5-12/18 GHz) for 300$; the 8511 sampler converter is about 100$: get
> at least two.
> If you have money _and_ you need it, the HP 8510C is the best VNA ever
> made. But the 8510 is just the display (85101) and the IF (85102), you
> need a sweeper (8340 or 8341 or newer models) and the test-set (8515,
> 8514 etc) AND the interconnecting cables.
> Once you have all that, you have a Ferrari without tires.
> You need at least two test cables, calibration grade adapters and
> calibration standards... new tires will cost much more than the
> second-hand Ferrari.
> Both instruments are reparable, if you don't blow up the unobtanium RF
> parts (samplers and pulse generators for the test-sets, wideband
> amplifiers and YIG oscillators for the source).
> (By the way, new VNA models from Agilent, Anrits, R&S all have an
> embedded PC with MS Windows and a hard drive.
> This simply means they are not designed to last 20+ years, but perhaps
> it's not fair to compare them with my HP 8510B...)
> Oh, yes... one thing more: a PC with a National Instruments GPIB board
> if you plan to automate your measurements.
> Good luck
> Marco Garelli, AI4YH
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