Welcome to
Azur Electronics

Spectrum Analysis Progress and Problems is a short review of how far I have got with this project and what's holding me up. 
Bearing in mind that I'm starting from scratch so I know little about Spectrum Analysis. I have a limited amount of time to spend on this hobby, so work proceeds in occasional short bursts. I generally learn something new every time. 
October 2006

Bought a HP 141T Display Section, HP 8555A RF Section 10MHz to 18GHz, HP 8552B IF Section in good condition.

Huge learning curve in reading downloaded Manuals. Inspected units and powered up ok. System all working.

November 2006

Bought a damaged HP 8553B RF Section 1kHz to 110MHz. Downloaded Manual. Completely stripped down, damaged parts replaced (thanks Robert), a few faults fixed and re-assembled.

December 2006

Bought a untested HP 8556A LF Section 20Hz to 300kHz. Downloaded Manual.

Bought 2 off HP 8443A Tracking Generator Counter, 1 in good condition and 1 for spares. Downloaded Manual. Inspected good unit and powered up ok.

Spare unit stripped down to assembly level for spares to resell, see HP 8443A Parts.

Attenuators used to make stand-alone attenuator unit, see Azur ATN105 RF Attenuator.

April 2007

Bought a HP 8445B Automatic Preselector with inter-connecting cables. Downloaded Manual. Inspected and powered up ok. Works ok with 141T.

July 2008

No activity on this project for months! Too many other things going on. At last bought a HP 8444A Tracking Generator with a Manual.

August 2008

Ordered the special inter-connect cables for the 8443A & 8444A to 141T from GLK Instruments. Occasionally these cables come up for sale on eBay but tend to sell for a similar price. Although expensive, probably better to buy some new ones. Cables arrived quickly, had forgotten about extra €50 for import duty! Very well made and tested ok.

At last, starting work on system testing. Apart from lack of time, I first had to get other basic items of test equipment tested such as Signal Generators, Frequency Counters, Power Meters, and DMM's.

Now tested are the HP 141T Display Section, HP 8552B IF Section, HP 8555A RF Section and HP 8444A Tracking Generator. Good progress this month.

January 2009

Wanted to use the Spectrum Analyser to test some cables and no display! Having moved the Analyser a few times maybe something had become dis-connected. Need to put it on the Bench and check it out. See Repair HP 141T Display Section and Repair HP 8552B IF Section.

February 2009

Repaired the fault in the 8552B causing no display. While the Spectrum Analyser is on the Bench started work on the 8553B and 8556A.

Tested the 8553B RF Section and 8556A LF Section both ok. It is essential that the special D-type connectors between the IF and RF or LF Section are correctly mated.

Tested HP 8443A Tracking Generator Counter.

March 2009

Bought a HP 08553-60122 50 Ohm Termination, which is used instead of the special cables when the Tracking Generators are not connected.

Tested 8445B Automatic Preselector.

November 2014

Minor repair of 8552B and 8555A plus work on Operating Procedures.

Project Summary

Now have a Spectrum Analyser System with Tracking Generators for: low & audio frequencies 20Hz to 300kHz; video & radio frequencies 1kHz to 110MHz; and VHF/UHF & microwave frequencies 10MHz to 18GHz (tracking to 1.3GHz).

Performance testing has been completed as far as possible. Need to investigate if the remaining tests are necessary, as some specialist test equipment is not available.

Also need to study various application notes and information on spectrum analysis.

Will maybe look out for a HP 8554B RF Section to complete the set, although its frequency range of 100kHz to 1,250MHz is provided by the other RF Sections.