The Test & Measurement Page

by Adam Farson VA7OJ/AB4OJ


How true this is! Nonetheless, my shack and lab are in separate rooms.

The Basics:

Every amateur radio station should be provided with the following minimal test equipment:

For the advanced Ham:

For more sophisticated station adjustment (SSB audio, modulation envelope, tones in digital modes etc.), we should add:

Now we're getting serious:

Radio amateurs who are interested in aligning and repairing their own (or their friends') radio gear may wish to go a few steps further:

For those interested in radio performance evaluation:

We have already accumulated a pretty good little RF lab here. For radio performance testing, we can add:

Won't I go broke buying all this kit?

Not necessarily! As the old saying goes. "it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." Perhaps the greatest boon which the dot-com bust and the telecom implosion conferred on the amateur radio community (at least on those of us whose livelihood was not affected by these events) is the availability of top-quality test instruments on the second-hand and surplus market. At many hamfests, one will see such legendary makes as HP/Agilent, Tektronix, Fluke, Boonton, Millivac, Philips, Systron-Donner and even Rohde & Schwarz, sometimes at pennies on the dollar.

Next, we will get into some specifics...

Educational Documents:

ARRL Test Procedures Manual, 2010 Edition

The HP Memory Project

ABC's of Probes

Fundamentals of Quartz Oscillators (HP App Note 200-2)

Introduction to Oscilloscopes

XYZ's of Oscilloscopes

Basic Oscilloscope Features

Oscilloscope Poster

Better Spectrum Analyser Measurements

8 Hints for Better Spectrum Analysis

Optimising Spectrum Analyser Amplitude Accuracy

Optimising RF and Microwave Spactrum Analyser Dynamic Range

Better Measurements Using RF Signal Generators

8 Hints for Making Better Measurements Using RF Signal Generators

Spectrum Analysis Basics (HP App Note 150)

Spectrum Analyser Fundamentals (R&S Primer)

Phase Noise Measurement Techniques (R&S Tutorial)

Agilent Spectrum Analyser Measurements & Noise

2-tone IMD Measurement Techniques

Agilent Spectrum Analysis Amplitude and Frequency Modulation

Agilent 8560E/8590E Spectrum Analysers: Comparing Power Measurements on Digitally Modulated Signals

Reducing Phase Noise at Microwave and RF Frequencies

Oscillator Phase Noise: A Tutorial

A Closer Look at RF Power Measurements

Fundamentals of RF and Microwave Power Measurements

Fundamentals of RF and Microwave Power Measurements (HP AN 1449) Part 1   2   3   4

4 Steps for Making Better Power Measurements

Choosing the Right Power Meter and Sensor

The Most Common Power Meter Mistake

Power Meter Measurements

dB or not dB?  R&S App Note 1MA68   mirror

VSWR Measurements Using In-Line Power Meters

High-Accuracy Noise Figure Measurements   mirror

Noise Figure Measurement Accuracy - The Y-Factor Method

10 Hints for Making Successful Noise Figure Measurements

Measuring Reciprocal Mixing Dynamic Range (RMDR) in Receivers: ITU-R Recommendation F.612

Improved Methods for Measuring Distortion in Broadband Devices - including NPR

Watkins-Johnson Technical Publications on classical RF and broadband wireless topics

An excellent resource for test-equipment manuals

Tektronix information and manuals

A DIY levelling head for the Tektronix SG-504 signal generator

Manuals for sale:

Cushman CE-31A/B Operating & Service Manuals, with schematics, on CD-R. Price: USD 25.00, postage paid.


List of my User Reviews & Test Reports

HF Receiver Testing: Issues and Advances (presentation at NSARC)

Simple PEP Test Procedure

Absolute RF Power Measurement

Why is the term "RMS Power" meaningless?

A simple VSWR nomograph

Return Loss/VSWR and dBm/Volts/Watts conversion charts - courtesy Mini-Circuits Inc.

Cascaded Noise Figure Calculator - courtesy Mini-Circuits Inc.

Calculator for Insertion Loss Uncertainty due to Mismatch - courtesy Mini-Circuits Inc.

Calculator for Gain Uncertainty due to Mismatch - courtesy Mini-Circuits Inc.

Lossy, Mismatched Transmission Lines - relationship between line loss and VSWR

Choosing an RF Signal Generator

Repairing Bird RF Wattmeter Elements

Life's too short for QRP...

Noise Figure Measurement by KO4BB

Noise Power Ratio (NPR) Testing of HF Receivers   NSARC Presentation   TAPR-DCC 2013 Presentation

NPR Test, by Gianfranco Verbana I2VGO (paper delivered at 11th RENON Convention, September 2009)

Theoretical maximum NPR of a 16-bit ADC

Clint W7KEC's NPR Test Data

Noise Power Ratio (NPR) Measurements, by Robert Langenhuysen PA0RYL

DX Engineering RPA-1 HF Preamplifier Test Report, including NPR test

NPR Test Data Selector

Competitive Analysis: IC-7410, TS-590 and FT-950 including NPR tests on all 3 radios

FTDX-3000 Test Report: NPR and 2 kHz DR3 Tests

FTDX-1200 Test Report, including NPR test

My Perseus User Review & Test Report (NPR tests pp. 12 - 15)

My Apache Labs ANAN-100D/200D Test Report (NPR tests p. 8)

My ELAD FDM-S2 Test Report (NPR tests p. 4)

NPR Test on HPSDR Transceiver

NPR & Sensitivity Tests on FunCube Dongle Pro+

Measuring the IMD of SSB Linear Amplifiers

A Comparison of ARRL Lab Data For Selected Transceivers by Jim Brown, K9YC   mirror

My friend Walter, VE7WRS' website (including Testing)

A presentation on RF Test & Measurement by Walter VE7WRS and myself at NSARC

My NSARC presentation "HF Receiver Testing: Issues and Advances" - APDXC 2014 video

A New Look at SDR Testing - a paper presented at SDR Academy 2016, Friedrichshafen, Germany

SDR vs. Legacy Radio: which is better? - presented at PPDXC 2016, Osaka, Japan

Receiver Performance Data in the SDR Era - presented at Sea-Pac 2017, Seaside OR, USA

Jeff Smith, VE1ZAC's Website including test methods & equipment

John Miles KE5FX's Website

A Brief Treatise on the Decibel by George T. Baker W5YR (SK)

Kiss Electronics - classic and refurbished HP test equipment, and repairs

Amtronix Instruments - a resource for HP/Agilent service monitors. HP/Agilent 8935

Cycles/sec. to Hertz converter - for those among us who are "of a certain age"

What is this?


Under Construction
Copyright  2002-2009 A. Farson VA7OJ/AB4OJ. Last updated: 10/25/2017 

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