Author Topic: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software  (Read 2568 times)

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Offline drew23Topic starter

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Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« on: March 10, 2023, 09:16:41 am »
Hi all

I am a radio amateur interested in digital TV and test equipment. I would like to use the current free version of the Keysight VSA 89600 software to do measurements. The signals are DVB-T or DVD-S from 1 to 7 MHz bandwidth.

I was wondering if anyone knows the cheapest hardware I can use to do this?

From the list of supported hardware, the Agilent N9020A MXA or the Agilent E4402B ESA-E, both ~AU$3k seem possibilities. Would these work? Is there a cheaper way to do it?

I have dabbled with older versions of 89600 and old gear over the years.

Regards Drew VK4ZXI
 
 

Online bingo600

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Offline colorado.rob

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2023, 05:16:10 pm »
The E4406A is what I use.
 

Offline rfclown

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2023, 05:54:31 pm »
I also used the e4406A with VSA several years ago. I think I used it with VSA version 10 (I'd have to dig out my old XP laptop with VSA on it to check). Back then a e4406A could be had on eBay for about $1000 US. Looks like they are cheaper now. I also have original VXI VSA hardware, but the e4406A was cheaper. The VXI uses a Firewire interface.

What is this "current free version" of 89600 that you speak of? Do you mean a trial version? Those only last 30 days.

... update. just had a Keysight person in at work who was showing VSA. He wasn't aware of a free version other than trial and demo. Trial times out, and demo doesn't connect to equipment.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2023, 10:06:50 pm by rfclown »
 

Offline drew23Topic starter

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2023, 02:31:12 am »
I have an e4406A but it only works on old versions of VSA.

I would like gear that will work with the current version. I am using the "free" trial version for the moment. I can get the full version if I can get some compatible equipment for a reasonable price.

Regards Drew VK4ZXI
 

Offline rfclown

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2023, 05:35:58 pm »
... From the list of supported hardware, the Agilent N9020A MXA or the Agilent E4402B ESA-E, both ~AU$3k seem possibilities. Would these work? Is there a cheaper way to do it? ...

I've never seen an MXA with a low price tag. If you can get one for ~AU3k, I'm my opinion that would be a steal. If a E4402B works (didn't know if would do this), that can be had for cheap.

The second cheapest thing from the E4406A that I've personally used is the original VXI hardware. To get a "low" price, I was patient to get each component as cheaply as I could on eBay. You need a VXI mainframe and Firewire card to start. Then a digitizer (different options), and RF if desired. The IF digitizer runs at 70 MHz, so if you can deal with only IF, you don't need the RF source. With the RF card you get to work up to 2.7 GHz. I'll take a wild guess that I paid about $2500 US to put together a 2.7 GHz system back in about 2013. I thought that was great since a new system back in the day was about $70k US. I also have a baseband system which has dual digitizers for I and Q input.

from a total cost standpoint, I've never considered upgrading VSA. I use an old version that resides on an old XP laptop that I've kept solely because it has VSA on it (along with a Firewire PCMCIA card).
« Last Edit: March 11, 2023, 05:41:20 pm by rfclown »
 
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Offline drew23Topic starter

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2023, 11:18:22 pm »
Thanks for the reply.

I have a VXI system too. I managed to get it working the way you did. I couldn't get it to work with VSA as I did not have the hardware key for the VXI.

There are a number of N9020A on eBay from China for around US$2k. Some have all option codes. There must be a keygen around. I am tempted to buy an N9020A.

There is a newer version of VSA on the web that seems to work with all options. Google "89600 VSA/WLA Software v22.2".

Regards Drew VK4ZXI
 

Offline rfclown

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2023, 05:32:37 pm »
At least for the versions that I've used in the past, there wasn't any specific key for VXI, just the option for hardware connectivity, which let it connect with anything supported by that version. At some point, the E4406A dropped of the list of supported hardware, but someone figured out a hack to get it back. The trick with getting VXI or ANYTHING working with VSA was making it happy with Agilent IO libraries first. After that I often struggled with getting all the settings right in VSA. If you didn't change anything, the next time you launched VSA it would be setup like last time... unless there was a hiccup in which it would revert to "simulated hardware". But if you changed instruments, it always took some fumbling to get everything right in IO libraries and VSA.

Another thing I dabbled with but never really used was using file input. You can have VSA take it's input from a file. Just make an app that dumps your instruments output to the appropriate file format. You might even be able to use the demo version for that (which I think doesn't have a 30 day timeout). It just displays "Demo" on the screen (at least it used to when I used it).
 
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Online G0HZU

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2023, 06:04:38 pm »
Another option is to buy an RTSA that can output compatible data files. I've still got my E4406A (14bit) but I rarely use it since I upgraded to an old Tek RSA3408A RTSA.

This can output MAT files that can be loaded into the 89600 software and then I can just play back the MAT file using the 89600 SW. It can be set to loop or to loop a tiny segment of the whole dump.

The benefit here is wider bandwidth and longer capture time and the later versions of 89600 SW should also work fine. I usually set the RTSA to capture a desired capture bandwidth and capture time. Then press 'run' and then dump the MAT file into the 89600 program.

The downside is that it isn't done in real time so this would be no good if you wanted to adjust a demodulator circuit in real time for example. For me, the advantages of the RTSA outweigh this and I've probably only used the E4406A +89600 SW once in about 5 years. By contrast, I quite regularly dump out MAT files from the Tek RTSA.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2023, 06:07:18 pm by G0HZU »
 
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Offline drew23Topic starter

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2023, 12:52:03 am »
At least for the versions that I've used in the past, there wasn't any specific key for VXI, just the option for hardware connectivity, which let it connect with anything supported by that version.

I didn't have the option for hardware connectivity, option 200 from memory. It seemed odd that the option wasn't there given the VXI can only be run with software.

I had wondered about using a file input to VSA. I might chase that up.

I have ordered an N9020A for US$2k plus post from China. I spoke with them about the keygen for options. They seem to get it on a per-machine basis from others. I have done that myself for some R&S gear.

Regards Drew VK4ZXI
 

Offline colorado.rob

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2023, 01:37:14 pm »
What is this "current free version" of 89600 that you speak of? Do you mean a trial version? Those only last 30 days.

... update. just had a Keysight person in at work who was showing VSA. He wasn't aware of a free version other than trial and demo. Trial times out, and demo doesn't connect to equipment.
Tools can be found in certain dark alleys of cyberspace to generate license keys or bypass license checks for software and hardware no longer supported through official channels...

There might even be breadcrumbs on this very forum leading the way.
 

Offline drew23Topic starter

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2023, 03:09:23 am »
Google "89600 VSA/WLA Software v22.2".

It may not work with a USA IP, so try with an Australian VPN. Google translate is necessary.

There is lots of Keysight software around.

Regards Drew VK4ZXI
 
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Offline harha

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2023, 01:07:17 pm »
Hi Drew
Long time!!
Contact me via mail.
Hardy
 

Offline harha

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2023, 04:07:45 pm »
Hi
About -someone made a hack--for the E4406A.It were the Agilent team that made the registry fix for it,so its not a hack.
Hardy
 

Offline ua4yhz

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Re: Cheap hardware to run Keysight VSA 89600 software
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2024, 12:01:10 pm »
I ran VSA 89600A v.20.0 on my N9020A. It works without problems, although I had to install a cure for greed.
 


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