[time-nuts] More Z3801/Tbolt comparisons

Roy Phillips phill.r1 at btinternet.com
Fri Sep 4 15:31:14 UTC 2009

I must say that much of what you have stated is right, I have a 53131A 
counter and the basic time-base is a joke, but agreed, we mostly use a 
common external reference with our instruments.
There are some exceptions, as I am finding with a very recently purchased 
HP 8657A Sig. Gen. that has the option 001 oven oscillator. This is a 1998 
production (made in the US), the TCXO would seem to be a very stable device 
with coarse and fine adjustment - after running for 48 hours its holding 10 
Mhz to ^10. In fact it would seem to be somewhat better than the TCXO in my 
Marconi 2024 Sig. Gen. - - hence my singing the praises of HP.
The large number of Racal 199# on the UK market in recent times are I would 
suggest, ex UK military issue and as portable instruments have probably had 
a rough life, and have frequently been stored for ten years in somewhat poor 
environments. I would suggest that buying equipment that has come from a 
commercial origin, and has been part of a rack test set-up, have been better 
cared for and sometimes have had very little use. What do you others think 
about this theory ?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <GandalfG8 at aol.com>
To: <time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] More Z3801/Tbolt comparisons

> In a message dated 04/09/2009 11:18:07 GMT Daylight Time,
> phill.r1 at btinternet.com writes:
> Racal  19## Counters are something else - - I got rid of
> mine some years back,  not only the ongoing problems with the key-pad, but
> I
> don't think they put  much cost into the oven osc. Perhaps you should
> consider moving on to an  HP or other quality counter, "you deserve it"
> --------------
> Even the best counters can sometimes suffer from poor internal 
> oscillators.
> The basic onboard oscillator in the HP53132A for example has no practical
> use whatsoever, other than to demonstrate that the counter is  functional,
> but I suspect most, if not all, list members will  generally be operating
> counters with external references anyway
> Whilst I wouldn't even consider swapping my 53132A for a 199x I  must be a
> glutton for punishment as I've just bought another  1991 after also 
> selling
> my previous one some time ago.
> Aside from the reported key pad problems, which haven't affected me so 
> far,
> and the lesser resolution, it's a good solid workhorse and, something not
> to be  sneezed at, this one in very good condition cost me at least 80% 
> less
> than I'd expect to pay for a similar condition 53132A:-)
> Earlier 19xx counters also strike me as being underrated these days.
> Although it's lacking in resolution for most of my current needs I've 
> still
> got a 1905 I bought new in the late 70s/early 80s and that has served  me
> very well as a general purpose counter.
> I'd suggest that too as an excellent workhorse and more than adequate for
> such things as transmitter or receiver adjustment etc and, at the 
> give-away
> prices the 1904 and 1905 often seem to fetch on Ebay, they can be  quite a
> bargain.
> regards
> Nigel
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