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Frequency Counter Suggestions

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paulpthcom:

--- Quote from: Kiriakos-GR on January 19, 2011, 02:29:45 am ---This is what I have , and I do not do RF stuff any more .

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Thanks for the offer but just looking at the number of digits on the display doesn't seem like there's enough digits for what I'd want.

saturation:

--- Quote from: paulpthcom on January 19, 2011, 10:48:53 pm ---Thanks for the detailed reply, more below.
I have the 1052 but unless I'm missing some setting somewhere the FC doesn't have a very good resolution, off the top of my head I want to say 3 digits and it jumps around a lot.  It's for sure useful but doing something like verifying that a 32k watch crystal + capacitors is working precisely is not something it can do.

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welcome, there are 3 counters in the 1052E, 2 on the 'Measure' Menu, when you choose TIME then scroll down, or Display All measurements, and the most accurate one is in the Utility Menu, its 6 digits.  The Utility counter's first 5 digits are identical to my 8 digit B&K, and this counter works independent of any timebases or Voltage setting.


--- Quote from: paulpthcom on January 19, 2011, 10:48:53 pm ---Thanks for the link to the reviews it was one of the ones I was looking for but as with most of this type of equipment its hard to know if its good or junk just from the manufacturer's description.

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The Victor 3165 either works or doesn't.  If you buy it from a US dealer, you can return it like the ham radio group discusses.  There are more reviews, elsewhere, just check google.  The Global Specialties counter on eBay is $100 to 3 GHz,  only one for sale.  Its the same model as the Tenma sold for near $300.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Global-Specialites-5003-Handheld-Frequency-Counter-NEW-/320634778367?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa75272ff


--- Quote from: paulpthcom on January 19, 2011, 10:48:53 pm ---This was one of the big questions I had whether the old stuff provided any compelling advantage over the newer equipment, sounds like not.

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Many of the ordinary old counters are XO and construction of counters is pretty generic, like DMMs.  But if you can find top lab gear on eBay, like slburris' Racal Dana, that's best.  You can recognize highe quality if they have external clock outputs, which is more desirable that ovenized, due to the availability today of GPS reference clocks.  Decent counters are precise to some number of digits.  The differences the drives costs up are accuracy against the NIST clock, and then more digits.

For under $200 a GHz counter there is also the Mastech which is 1.3 GHz.

http://www.amazon.com/Mastech-Multi-functional-Frenquency-Counter-MS6100/dp/B00066N8I4

paulpthcom:

--- Quote from: saturation on January 20, 2011, 12:28:27 am ---welcome, there are 3 counters in the 1052E, 2 on the 'Measure' Menu, when you choose TIME then scroll down, or Display All measurements, and the most accurate one is in the Utility Menu, its 6 digits.  The Utility counter's first 5 digits are identical to my 8 digit B&K, and this counter works independent of any timebases or Voltage setting.

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Doh, I hadn't seen that one in the Utility menu.  That makes the decision quite a bit harder since while its not as accurate as I'd like its basically free and I can probably work around the limitations.

saturation:
Great, then if you can wait, hunt on eBay for a top quality FC, as slburris, alm, B@W have specified, and slburris suggests can be found potentially for < $100.  For best results:

external clock input [preferred]
or ovenized
at least 8 digits or more

My impression is you needed a 'good' one now to 100MHz.

But if you can wait and have no pressing need right now, write down specifically your accuracy limits, say in ppm, frequency stability in ppm, and number of displayed digits.  For a rubidium counter, accuracy or drift is in pptrillion.

You can get near rubidium accuracy for ~ $200; basic externally clocked counter $100, Trimble GPS clock ~ $100, the trick is finding the counter!

A patient hunter waits for good prey and an easy kill, so you'll have to watch ebay and wait until a deal comes through.  Most of what's typically available are ordinary XO whether new manufacture or old used and working.

FWIW, accuracy is needed for radio applications in order to make tuning frequencies spot on.  Beyond that, relative accuracy works for non-radio designs, thus XO is adequate.


--- Quote from: paulpthcom on January 20, 2011, 02:14:38 am ---
--- Quote from: saturation on January 20, 2011, 12:28:27 am ---welcome, there are 3 counters in the 1052E, 2 on the 'Measure' Menu, when you choose TIME then scroll down, or Display All measurements, and the most accurate one is in the Utility Menu, its 6 digits.  The Utility counter's first 5 digits are identical to my 8 digit B&K, and this counter works independent of any timebases or Voltage setting.

--- End quote ---
Doh, I hadn't seen that one in the Utility menu.  That makes the decision quite a bit harder since while its not as accurate as I'd like its basically free and I can probably work around the limitations.

--- End quote ---

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