[time-nuts] Phase noise measurements on the cheap with an Agilent E4406A VSA Transmitter Tester?

Dr. David Kirkby (Kirkby Microwave Ltd) drkirkby at kirkbymicrowave.co.uk
Sat Jun 18 12:11:09 EDT 2016

I was looking at some high end commercial low noise oscillators and see
they use instrument like the Agilent E5052B signal source analyzer for
phase noise measurements. When I looked for them on eBay, it soon because
apparently they were very expensive.

Then I see this oscillator that locks to GPS


and looked at what was used to make the phase noise measurements. It was an
Agilent E4406A. The noise floor is nowhere near as low as the more
expensive instruments, but the E4406A is available for under $500, which is
more than two orders of magnitudes cheaper than an E5052B.

I'm wondering if there are other more suitable commercial instruments
around that don't cost a fortune, yet would allow lower levels of phase
noise to be measured. I tend to preference HP/Agilent kit, as it is better
supported, both by the manufacturer and places like the HP/Agilent Yahoo


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