HP Agilent 53131A 53132A 53181A 12.4 GHz option

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VK4GHZ
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HP Agilent 53131A 53132A 53181A 12.4 GHz option

Post by VK4GHZ » Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:49 am

Hi all

I am looking at replacing my HP 5315A universal counter (with 1.3 GHz option) with either a 53131A or 53181A.
I'm leaning towards a 53181A because I don't need the extra measurement functions of the 53131A.

Just after a good basic counter that can work to 11 GHz.

And then again, there's the BG7TBL FA-2 counter that now goes to 12.4 GHz.
I'd have one of those already if it weren't for the tiny display and the pointless last four digits.


I'm impressed with the Cojotech HP/Agilent 531xxA prescalers, but only has 3 GHz and 8 GHz variants, and I find the "Channel 3 Guide" does not discuss the basic 225 MHz counters (ie; never fitted with any prescaler options) and any upper measurement limits that I believe can be coded into the counter's EPROMs. A real pain to remove, edit, re-program and refit. And hope that it will still work.


I notice that BG7TBL are now producing 12.4 GHZ prescalers for the 531xxA counters.
These are a recent thing, with the signature date on the board, these being '2019-11-14'.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/12-4G-option-frequency-counter-OPT-for-AGILENT-HP-53131-53132-53181/274130156096

https://www.ebay.com/itm/12-4G-Option-Frequency-Counter-Meter-For-AGILENT-HP-53131-53132-53181-dt55/174124120434

I'm fully across setting the scale to 4.0 in the math function, but can someone translate the Chinglish on these listings please;
attention:used this option,should be install 3G option,can test 2.0G signal.
Note:
- Please install 3G parts to your frequency meter first before applying our product, so that 2.0G signal can be measured.
Huh?
"3G parts" ???

Is this referring to the 030 option?
Wouldn't this be removed to make way for a 12.4 GHz board?

Although these BG7TBL products can be a bit hit & miss, has anyone fitted one of his 12.4 GHz prescalers to a bog standard HP Agilent 531xxA 225 MHz counter?
Adam, Brisbane
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Re: HP Agilent 53131A 53132A 53181A 12.4 GHz option

Post by VK4GHZ » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:22 pm

Update!

I'm forgetting about the lucky dip cheap Chinese crap, as I have heard directly from Razvan (Cojotech) that he will be producing a 10 GHz prescaler for this HP counter family.

I was kinda sleeping on this, because I don't have the documentation/video presentation/etc ready, but I have a 10 GHz option ready that works fine up to 11 GHz and with some limitation to 12 GHz.
with SMA jack variant
with SMA jack variant

with N jack variant
with N jack variant

Sensitivity with his prototype is good up to 10 GHz, and whilst it begins to drop off, it's still usable to 12 GHz.

Code: Select all

Freq (MHz)   Sensistivity (dBm)
100         -22 dBm
200         -30 dBm
500         -37 dBm
1000        -41 dBm
2000        -43 dBm
3000        -44 dBm
4000        -40 dBm
5000        -37 dBm
6000        -36 dBm
7000        -34 dBm
8000        -26 dBm
9000        -29 dBm
10000       -27 dBm
11000       -16 dBm
12000       -14 dBm
Ideal for making direct measurements at 10368 MHz, and 24 GHz LOs in the region of 11-12 GHz that get doubled.

Will be keeping a close eye on this product. :shock:


Razvan also writes
The 225 MHz counters are actually the same with the 3 GHz ones, and they have no firmware limit.
Adam, Brisbane
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Re: HP Agilent 53131A 53132A 53181A 12.4 GHz option

Post by VK3QI » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:47 am

Adam,

Why not look for a good secondhand HP5350B counter? That will get you to 20GHz.

They sometimes come up at auction or where a business has closed down, for quite reasonably comparable prices to the latest offerings from China and Europe.

The unit is bulky compared with the more modern units, but not that heavy.

The replacement unit is the HP53150A.

Cheers

Peter VK3QI

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Re: HP Agilent 53131A 53132A 53181A 12.4 GHz option

Post by VK4GHZ » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:44 pm

VK3QI wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:47 am
Adam,

Why not look for a good secondhand HP5350B counter? That will get you to 20GHz.
Hi Peter

They look like a very capable piece of gear, but I'm avoiding older generations, and I wouldn't have room for a 5350B.
Moving forward, any "HP" gear I buy must have the "Agilent" badge to show it's later build date.

The 53100 family are were pretty much an industry standard, and parts (boards, VFD, handles, bump stops, etc) are readily available. Assembly-level and component-level service manuals available to download.


Razvan also added to the sensitivity chart when I asked about 10368 in particular.
I'm not in my lab now, so I can't get the exact value at 10368 MHz, but at 10350 MHz it is -20 dBm and -18 dBm at 10400 MHz.
Adam, Brisbane
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Re: HP Agilent 53131A 53132A 53181A 12.4 GHz option

Post by VK4GHZ » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:10 am

Razvan has officially launched his 10 GHz pre-scaler board to suit the HP Agilent 53131A, 53132A, 53181A family of counters.

https://cojotech.com/

HPO-100.JPG

An introductory discount of 10% exists right now.
As discussed above, this pre-scaler actually works up to 12 GHz.

Have already ordered mine!


Warning!
Be aware that the BG7TBL 12.4 GHz pre-scalers require a counter with the 3 GHz option already fitted.
This due to the fact that it is only a divide by 4 front end, and not a proper stand-alone pre-scaler in it's own right.
You get what you pay for! :om:
Adam, Brisbane
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