[time-nuts] General questions on 8510C network analyzers
jimlux at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 4 20:00:01 UTC 2011
On 7/4/11 11:47 AM, Javier Herrero wrote:
> Hello all!
> I'm in the need of a network analyzer, and after some considerations
> about the different available options, I think that the unit that best
> suits my present and near future needs would be an 8510C system (well,
> surely a new PNA-X would fulfill it better - except budgetary :) ).
> Since I know that in the list there are several knoweldgeable 8510
> users, I would like to hear about considerations and recomendations
> about the system (S-parameters sets, test cables, calibration sets,
> sweepers...). Since this can be a bit OT, I would perhaps prefer
> off-lists responses.
WHat frequency range do you need?
We have an intermittently dead 8510 at work, but in the course of trying
to get it to work again, I've learned a fair amount about it..
1) It does the frequency steps by a technique where it commands the
sweeper to do a sweep, times it, and then takes samples at regular
intervals. As a result, the frequency precision of any given point
isn't all that hot. (compared to today's approach of separately
commanding the source to each point)
2) The calibration math isn't as slick as you can do today. I suppose
one could get raw data out, and then post process it for any sort of cal.
3) It's a big beast. Better than 1/2 rack full of stuff
(display/controller, receivers, test set, sweeper)
4)The user interface for the 8510 is fairly easy and convenient,
although distinctly 80s-90s vintage, and the general build quality is
very good, so you get good quality metrology: repeatable, etc.
In comparison, the little <$1000 units you hook up to a PC give data
that's comparable (at least for the frequency range available.. up to
100 MHz-ish).. You might be able to cobble up some mixers and such to
extend the frequency range.
I guess it kind of depends on what sorts of measurements you want to make.
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