[time-nuts] Downsizing dilemma, HP 3335A

Jim Cotton jim.cotton at wmich.edu
Wed Nov 11 22:06:47 EST 2015

I work at a university and my experience has been that the students are willing to learn and quite competent.

I advised an aerospace engineering student on building and troubleshooting the RF source for a plasma photo chromatography unit he built from scratch (he specified and had the tank built).  RF, high voltage, vacuum,  chemistry, physics, control systems, instrumentation.

I loaned a spectrum analyzer and a VNA to him by the end of that project.  The ARRL handbook was where he started.

I worked with another student in that lab on testing and troubleshooting an ion thruster.

I am working with another student group that is using high altitude balloons to test ideas/train their group to build a cubesat.  I know, long way from one to the other...

The most active electronic hardware builders I have run into at the engineering building are the CS students.

The students doing the most EE type work are in degree programs like biomedical.  Some of the most gifted CS type students are in electronic "art".

All the CS and EE students do some hands on with a raspberry pi or some other flavor of single board computer that they buy along with their books.  Most of the EE students end up with a FPGA board and a DSP board too.

Analog/RF is rare, computer hardware/software skills are common.


On November 11, 2015 6:26:19 PM EST, "Rob Sherwood." <rob at nc0b.com> wrote:
>The EE department at the University of Colorado has an enlightened
>Zoya required her students to not only get a ham license, but to build
>a Norcal 40A.  
>Most of the EE students had no idea what a resistor really was, let
>alone have any experience in soldering a resistor or capacitor on a PC
>board. One student stuffed the PC board, bent all the leads 90 degrees
>without cutting any of them off, and then in effect flow soldered the
>whole bottom of the PC board!
>One wonders how EE grads today can actually get a job and be productive
>with so little hands-on experience.
>Zoya belongs to the Boulder (Colorado) Amateur Radio Club, and our
>monthly meetings are in the EE department. It is too bad this is likely
>an unusual example of what happens on campuses today.  
>-----Original Message-----
>From: time-nuts [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On Behalf Of Pete
>Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 10:01 AM
>To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
>Subject: Re: [time-nuts] Downsizing dilemma, HP 3335A
>I can understand the downsizing, someday it will happen to me. And
>where I live there is pretty much zero interest in anything electronic.
>The two local schools Portland State and Reed both have EE but the
>students done seem to have any interest in anything physical. they
>believe everything they need or have interest in can be simulated on a
>computer. I helped one of the PSU EE's one day, just finished his 2nd
>year, had an old Kenwood stereo distorted left output. He pretty much
>had no idea what to do, and when 'we' found the bad transistor, he
>didn't really know how to replace it.
>BTW I know a Comp Sci graduate from PSU that can not write a program in
>any language that outputs "Hello World"
>-pete Sad
>On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 5:08 AM, paul swed <paulswedb at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Bill
>> It is unfortunate when the time comes to downsize. Even worse as time
>> goes by at least for me each piece of test equipment from HP seems to
>> get heavier. Must be dust building up inside. So as Ed says if you 
>> need that fine grain resolution you need them.
>> But you are also running into the age thing in the gear and that
>> are failures that creep in that are really a big problem to figure
>> Especially if some form of programmable logics involved.
>> Lastly sending them to the dumpster is the worst thing. But then the 
>> ole reality really sets in selling packing and shipping the stuff.
>> I guess the good news is that today there is a lot of replacement
>> that will do reasonably well thats cheap respectively consumes little
>> power and can easily be controlled by usb so you don't have to 
>> actually stop experimenting.
>> Regards
>> Paul
>> On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 2:32 AM, ed breya <eb at telight.com> wrote:
>> > You don't save these kinds of synthesizers for high frequency 
>> > coverage, but for their 10 to 11 digit frequency resolution. If you
>> > anticipate needing that, then of course they should be kept and 
>> > fixed. The long-obsolete telecom standard connectors and ranges are
>> > pretty much useless - sacrifice that one first if you need parts
>for the others.
>> >
>> > If you need to justify keeping them, you can use them for practical
>> > everyday applications. For example, each one can store a telephone
>> number -
>> > as long as the power doesn't go out.
>> >
>> > Ed
>> >
>> >
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