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ADVANCES IN TEST EQUIPMENT II Doug Millar K6JEY and Dennis W6DQ and Bill N6MN March. 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "ADVANCES IN TEST EQUIPMENT II Doug Millar K6JEY and Dennis W6DQ and Bill N6MN March. 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 ADVANCES IN TEST EQUIPMENT II Doug Millar K6JEY and Dennis W6DQ and Bill N6MN March. 2014

2 Assumptions The question is- Will new advances in test gear allow us to go beyond doing the same measurements in the same ways to doing new things in new ways? This talk will center on equipment that is ham related and hews to the above philosophy. What follows are some examples that we have found.

3 Caveats You get what you pay for. Cheap may mean poor specs. Cheap may mean poorly developed software. With most lab gear, you want plug and play, not plug and dork, or plug and phone, or plug and curse. All of the units shown have good software and documentation.

4 GPIB Update

5 GPIB Adaptor for $150 Use KE5FX’s plotter emulator program for great results. This is the easiest way to upgrade your lab.


7 Adapter in action- KNX on the HP8563A

8 Computer Screen I can add annotations

9 The Present The newer gear has sophisticated features you may not want. (GPS, tracking) Newer gear may be able to do new things Newer gear is supported for a shorter time Not field fixable. (except Rigol) Next are Two Examples Of Spectrum Analyzers


11 DQ’s DDS Synth Screen Shot

12 Get a new one- Rigol DSA815 Best bang for the buck. $1400 with tracking generator.

13 Repurpose an Old Item: E6380A. 4-1GHz analyzer

14 You Can Get A Spectrum Analyzer Upgrade Get a new one or upgrade the old one. The Rigol represents a third track. Imported, affordable and well made with features most general users want. Or you can upgrade your existing analyzer.

15 Upgrade the old one- Use a Fun cube Dongle or SDR IQ as a modern back end for an older analyzer Connect it to the analyzer IF output To use the back end, use zero span and use your IF analyzer. Thus you get all the functionality of a new analyzer without selling your old one or spending big bucks on a new one. The FFT back end allows more detailed analysis Waterfall display Storage of annotated images of traces, on USB drive or printed.

16 Antenna Analyzers and VNA’s

17 Antenna Analyzers Old school Heath Tunnel Dipper- Vague is a good word for this one.

18 MFJ Nice old box. Does fine, but no Graphic display.

19 Youkits- Good batteries from cell phone Variable span display Small, rugged and simple About $250

20 Vector Network Analyzer The USB based units let us drop the CRT based display and antiquated computer technology. Be warned, you get what you pay for. Here are two excellent examples.

21 Array Solutions- single port -they have other models as well

22 Dennis’ 75 M dipole @ 3900 KHz

23 Two Port Analyzer Gain and loss Wide frequency range Calibration kit Very sophisticated. Easy to use. $600 plus, but it works very well. Much cheaper than surplus gear. Software is mature. The help files are fantastic.

24 Here’s the Inside

25 Plot of a saw filter. All parameters can be scaled to make for a good Display.

26 USB Power Sensors There are two types. The Mini Circuits type with limited frequency range and the HP U2000 series that replaces standard HP sensors. Worth it? Depends on your data analysis needs and need to have records.

27 Mini Circuits 1Mhz to 6Ghz $600 or so

28 HP U2000 Series 10Mhz to 18GHz. Stored corrections. $1500-2000

29 HCF engineering- at the forefront RFPM002 power meter- 100kc to 500mc. +10dbm. $150

30 It’s not your old Tek 465 Same size screen as the 465! Has auto set Full USB output and software Has FFT spectrum analyzer display! Huge data analysis. Small, nice looking and light. Rechargeable batteries. 6000 count DMM $370 from Ariz.

31 Dual Display- Square wave and FFT

32 These are tiny. Not your dad’s Tek465 either. But they work well.

33 Cost no object? Agilent Infiniivision 4000 series MSO-X 4154 4-ch mixed signal digital sampling scope 1.5 GHz BW / 5 GS/s 16 Ch logic analyzer 1 million waveform updates/s 12.1 “ touchscreen display About the size OF 465 FFT for spectrum analysis Many math functions Serial decode triggering functions Zone triggering USB / E’net interfaces w/ SW 20 MHz arbitrary function gen Price … well, if you have to ask …. about $22.5K

34 Signal Generators

35 Signal Hound Signal Generator External source 35mhz-4GHz.6db accuracy attenuator $250.

36 HCF Engineering Again

37 Clamp on Millliameter ES 687 Small, accurate, cheap and No probes to loose. Reads DC MA with 1ma resolution About $125

38 Conclusions- Make a list of the lab gear you want to upgrade the most and what features you are needing, then buy accordingly. All of this gear appears used. Decide what you want and keep your eyes out for a good deal. Put all USB gear on the same computer (XP) Keep a file of all documents and notes. Back up the software on a USB drive Label the USB drive!

39 References I’ll post the presentation. The items are all current and are easy to look up on the internet. I’m glad to help you out.

40 EXAMPLES OF SOME OF THE ITEMS We have brought some of the items to look at and play with.

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