Thursday, 22 October 2015

VNA update

HP 8753E opt 011
A while ago I started to design a VNA (Vector Network Analyser) but the more
I looked into it, the bigger the job it became. I am currently trying to focus on
Zynq based developments so I decided to drop the VNA project.
The parts I have accumulated will instead be used for a signal generator.

So I bought a used HP8753E opt 06/011 (deleted test box) from the U.S.
I already owned the matching S-parameter test set. I chose not to get one
with an integrated test set as having an external test set means
you can replace it with a coupler for things like high power amplifier design.
In fact after graduating and before I went into Software Engineering that is
what I did for almost 2 years, designing broadband amplifiers.
I wasn't very good at it!

So far I have updated the firmware to the last version created by
HP/Agilent/Keysight and once the limited warranty expires on the unit
I will add a couple of extra software options (requires opening the
box to set it to update). The software keys are available from
someone on the hp_agilent yahoo forum I believe, alternatively
you can alter some address locations in memory to add the options.

I am still after a set of printed manuals for it (I have the electronic versions),
unfortunately while the manuals are inexpensive and plentiful in the U.S once
you add the postage they become quite expensive. So I shall wait until
I see some UK based ones.

So far I have managed to find that one of the leads I made up a couple of
years ago was defective and that the 5.7 Ghz Evanescent filter I made is
very lossy. The fault in the cable was to do with how the braid was
attached to the N connector, reassembling the cable in the proper way
made a huge difference to the return loss of the cable when terminated
in a 50 ohm load.

With around 100 dB dynamic range the results are considerably better than
the Rigol DSA 815 with tracking generator I was using before.

I have also managed to get screen grabs of the analyser using KE5FX GPIB
tool set but I have not managed to save S2P files yet.

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