Archive for June 23, 2015

Review & Experiments of the Signal Hound BB60C Spectrum Analyzer & TG124A Tracking Generator

In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the Signal Hound Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer (BB60C) and Tracking Generator (USB-TG124A). In order to evaluate the performance of these units a few experiments have been setup. The performance of the Signal Hound unit is compared with the Tektronix RSA306.

A set of FHSS 900MHz long-range radios are used in the first experiment. The frequency hopping behavior, channelization, bandwidth and transmit powers are all captured using the BB60C. Furthermore, the recording capability and zero-span modes are used for frequency demodulation. The tracking generator (USB-124A) is then used to measure the performance of a band-pass microwave filter as well as a high-gain amplifier (40dB) gain. The free-space performance of the TekBox EMC Probe Set is also measured using the tracking generator.

Teardown & Repair of an Agilent EPM-441A (E4418A) Power Meter Plus Tutorial on Power Sensors

In this episode Shahriar repairs an Agilent EPM-441A (E4418A) Power Meter. The unit does not boot and displays “Loading firmware…”. After monitoring internal digital signals, the problem is traced to a faulty SRAM IC. After replacement, the unit completes the boot-up process.

Additionally, the principle operation of power sensors is reviewed including both thermocouple based, as well as diode rectifier based. The block diagram of a USB-based power sensor is examined along with a full teardown of a non-functional power sensor. The detector diode circuitry is examine under a microscope. Finally, the repaired unit is verified for calibration.

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