[time-nuts] OT favorite signal generator?

Gary Chatters gcarlistaa at garychatters.com
Fri Jun 19 23:35:49 EDT 2009


Patrick wrote:
> Thanks John
> 
> With regard to frequency and price, low frequency is fine for me and I
> am hoping to buy something for < $250-Patrick
> 

The HP 3336 (A,B,C) is similar to the 3325 but somewhat lesser 
capabilities and can be a bit cheaper.  There is one on eBay "in working 
condition" for $150.

Frequency range is 10 Hz to 21 MHz.
Frequency is settable to uHz or mHz steps and it has frequency sweep 
capability.
The output attenuator has 0.01dB steps and the output goes down to about 
-71 dBm.
It is sine wave output only.  If you want square or triangle, this won't 
  do.  If you need to go below about 10 Hz you will need a function 
generator.

My impression from your description is that you do not need the 
capabilities of a synthesized signal generator.  Perhaps an old analog 
test oscillator such as the HP 654A would be adequate.  This is just an 
analog oscillator combined with a step attenuator that goes down to 
about -90dBm in 1 dB steps.  There is one on eBay for $85 OBO, "tested".
Or, for function generator capabilities (square, triangle, lower 
frequencies) an HP 3310A with an external attenuator.  RF attenuators 
can be somewhat expensive, but audio ones are usually much less.
I'll let others comment on whether anything that old might have too many 
problems.

One advantage of the old analog stuff is that they are acoustically 
quiet (no fan).

73,
Gary





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