[time-nuts] OT: Spectrum Analyzer

John Ackermann N8UR jra at febo.com
Sat Oct 31 12:26:45 UTC 2009

The HP8569 is a good moderate-price choice that goes up to 18GHz.  It's 
new enough to have digital display, so you can do trace math like 
normalization, and dump plots via GPIB.  However, you cannot set 
commands via GPIB.

The LO is stabilized (not synthesized) so frequency accuracy isn't too bad.

One weakness is that the rotary switches have plastic components that 
get brittle with age.  Pieces can snap off leaving some switch positions 
non-functional.  However, these can be repaired with care.

I haven't priced one recently, but I would think you could find one in 
the $2K range or possibly lower.

Brent Gordon said the following on 10/30/2009 11:06 PM:
> I'm thinking of buying a spectrum analyzer and would like to know what 
> Time Nuts recommend.  My requirements are fairly simple:
> 3GHz Max frequency or higher
> Either GPIB or Ethernet interface for control and data capture
> Not much larger than an average desktop computer.  Portable is nice but 
> not necessary.
> Preferably under $3000.
> I thought about building Scotty's Spectrum Analyzer or Poor Man's 
> Spectrum Analyzer, but decided I would rather buy one then build one.
> I have an HP 141T but I am looking for something more modern.  One of my 
> uses will be looking at C and Ku band satellite signals (down converted 
> to 950-2050 MHz).  I'll also be using it to look at various RF data 
> links from 433 MHz to 2.4 GHz.
> Thanks,
> Brent
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