Microwave Network Analysis

Microwave network analysis is perhaps an "old-fashioned" term that refers to circuits as networks. The introduction of the Hewlett-Packard model 8410 analyzer in around 1968 revolutionized microwave measurement. Connecting the 8410 to a computer made it the choice for automated measurements for many years as part of the 8409 and 8452 test systems. It also made it possible to correct for errors in the test sets. Eventually, it was supplanted by the 8510 (which although obsolete in many ways is still being sold).

With all due respects to the other manufacturers of Network Analyzers, this page concentrates on HP analyzers. Furthermore, scalar analyzers are likewise ignored. The following table should provide a short introduction to the HP analyzers:

Hewlett-Packard Network Analyzers
ModelFreq. Range(GHz)Std. SourceComments
8407A0.001-0.1108601ACompatible with 8410 plugins
8410ABC.11-188620CNeeds extensive components
8505A0.0005-1.3internalNeeds 8501 normalizer and 8503 S-param test set
8510.045-268341AThe gold standard of analyzers but outrageously expensive
87200.45-2internalImproved version of 8510
8753ABCD0.3-3internalComes in different models (A,B,C,D); needs S param test set
8754A4-1.3internalH26 option goes to 2.6 GHz

It is also a fact of life that network analyzers require test sets and calibration sets. Some also require external sources (these are always the most expensive thing to acquire). Here is a list of test sets and accessories:

Test sets
ModelUse withFreq. Range(GHz)Comments
8502A8501An.a.Storage normalizer for 8501
8503A8501A0.0005-1.3488 controllable
85040AB8409A0.5-18For automated systems
8709AB8410n.a.Synchronizer for phase locking 8411
8717AB8410n.a.Bias supply for test sets
8740A84100-12.4Transmission only
8741A84100-12.4Reflection only
8742A84102-12.4Reflection only
8743AB84102-18Transmission and Reflection
8745A8745A picture8410.110-2S parameters; compatible with 1160x
8746B8746B picture84100.5-12.4S parameters
8748A87544-1.3S parameters
8750A8750A picture8410n.a.Storage normalizer for 8410 and spectrum analyzers
8511[01234]85100.45-26Standard test sets; also includes samplers

The Hewlett-Packard 8410 Network Analyzer

picture from manual of 8410/8411

The 8410 is (unfortunately) composed of many instruments, which are listed here. Current 8410 mainframes can be seen in hamfests for relatively cheap. An A can be obtained for as little as $15. C models can run about $200.

8410 system components

Here is a list of the various components of the 8410 system excluding test sets (listed above):

8410 system components
8410AFirst modern network analyzer
8410B [8410B picture]Improved version of B; can be automated with option
8410C [8410C picture]Final version, automated with injection of external IF
8411ASampling frequency converter good to 12.4 GHz; opt 18 is 18 GHz
8412A [8412B picture]Rectangular display
8413A [8413A picture]Phase gain meter
8414AB [8414A picture]Polar display; good for Smith charts
8418ADisplay holder; can come with attenuator as well
8419ABCNetwork Analyzer interface

Here is a list of the modules I own:

8410B mainframe The 8410 mainframe has 3 models, the A,B and C. The B or C is necessary if you want to automate it. In fact, it's more difficult than this: some 8410Bs are not wired for injection of the external IF (from a synthesizer). You must have this for automation. You can tell if your mainframe is automatable (?) if the connector for the 8411 has all the pins. Likewise, the 8411 must have all the pins.
8411 harmonic converter The 8411 harmonic converter is a necessary component for most measurements (yes, it can be replaced by a mixer). It is a sampler driven by a VCO that drives a step recovery diode to generate harmonics. Easy to blow out with high input signals or static electricity. The 8411 uses the same sampler as the 1430 sampler described by Grove in 1968. (see the sampling page for more info).
8412 rectangular display The 8412 display plugin generates phase and magnitude displays.
8413 phase gain meter The 8413 plugin is a meter. It's not really of much use except as a debugging aid.
8414 polar display The 8414 display plugin is a polar display. It is useful for generating Smith charts.
8419 network analyzer interface The 8419 was designed for the 8542 automated instrument. Designed in 1968, it doesn't even use TTL. Its 10 bit dual slope A/D converter is entirely home grown. Note that the 8510 uses a 12 bit A/D coupled with an 8 bit D/A for 19 bits of resolution.

Test sets

8741 reflection test set
The 8741 is a simple test set. It is called by the 8410 manual to verify the performance of the instrument.
8743B Transmission/reflection
The 8743B is a transmission and reflection test set. Useful for measuring forward and backward transmission.
8746 S-parameter test set
The 8746 is an S-parameter test set. It measures S11, S12, S21 and S22 at the press of a button. It is specified for 2-12.4 GHz.
New! To see my talk about the 8410 at Microwave Update 2000, you can look at the paper or you can look at my talk

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File last written on 2011-03-09 at 10:55
e-mail: mark.kahrs at gmail daht com
home page:http://www.kahrs.us/~mark