Author Topic: HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.  (Read 248 times)

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Offline wd5jfr

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HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.
« on: May 24, 2020, 09:41:42 pm »
Just got one and printing parts of the on-line manual that comes in at least 6 different documents. In all my years, I'm 79 I have never seen instructions so vague and convoluted that  it's hard to understand why it was published, or was it translated from some asian language by a novice or is it me?  I've spent hours trying to get the spectrum analyzer and tracking generator set up sweep an antenna. I'm starting to wish I didn't buy it, or still had my HP 141T but my back might not be  strong enough!
Sure with I could talk to someone with experience  on the phone to get me going.


PS Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement!

Offline Wallace Gasiewicz

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Re: HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2020, 11:24:03 am »
I have been using one for years. This might help:
You can set up the RF generator this way. Forgive me if you already know this.
Go to the spectrum analyzer screen, set up your center frequency and range. Then FROM THE SPEC ANALYZER SCREEN , put the cursor on the MAIN menu on the lower left. You will then see a few sub menus come up. put cursor on RF, you will then see TRACK/FIXED appear at the far Left bottom. Choose one. If you choose fixed, the CW signal will be set from RF Generator, choosing TRACK will make your spectrum analyzer track the settings in you spectrum analyzer setting. You can acess some different RF Gen settings from the spectrum analyzer screen by changing the menu.
There are lots of other menu settings that were not obvious to me including the DEMOD, it can demod AM, FM and SSB, settings, settings are in the AF menu accessed using the blue ALT key.
For sweeping an antenna you need an external RF bridge and terminations and a load if I remember correctly. Those things are options. Do you have the RF bridge and associated cables?
For sweeping antennas:
Go to MENU button in upper center part of front panel
After choosing MENU another screen will appear, Choose ROM(this is where the program is stored) then RF TOOLS.
After this choose Swept Insertional Loss, put in your range
RUN the program. It will show you how to connect the RF Bridge etc....

There is a group just for these Service Monitors..
Feel free to join.
PM me with any other questions.

As an edit, the RF TOOLS are just software PROGRAMS that run the machine, these programs just use whatever the machine can do normally, they do not add any real functions, they are just there to make using the machine easier for technicians.  The programs are intrinsic to the 8935 (in the ROM), for other HP Service Monitors, they may be a software option. You should be able to use the spectrum analyzer and tracking generator just like you did  with your 141 (I sold mine)

Wally KC9INK
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 11:42:19 am by Wallace Gasiewicz »

Offline wd5jfr

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Re: HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 11:43:25 pm »
Hey Wally
Thanks for the reply and tips.  My E6380A doesn't have RFTools, don't know why? 
After days of struggling with the so called manuals and the set I'm able to get it somewhat  functional manually.  Lot's of new AMPS and CDMA terms I'm not familiar with.
I can see broadcast stations on both AM and FM but  can't demod nor can I get any kind of a sound out of the speaker regardless of squelch setting.
I notice that the manual instructions on RFTools show Start and Stop for the tracking gen but I can't figure out how to Start and Stop manually.
Also having difficulty setting Span.
I haven't figured out how to measure it but with no connection between RF out and RF in I can clearly see an output trace signal.  When connected the trace is about 4 graticle  squares  high and with no connection it's about a 1/4 of a gratical.
Have tried seeping a 75A3 Collins mechanical filter but my results are confusing perhaps either the filter or me is bad or both.
So I'm still looking for any and all assistance.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2020, 01:40:58 pm by wd5jfr »

Offline Wallace Gasiewicz

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Re: HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2020, 01:49:15 pm »
OK, lets see if we can set the unit up for RF work, not cell phone stuff
After turning it on first push the INST CONFIG button on the lower right
When the screen comes up make these settings; use the knob to move the cursor and push the knob in to choose
Notch  NONE
RF Display   FREQ (not CHANNEL)
RF Offsett   OFF
Then hit the SHIFT BUTTON an then the RECALL SAVE Button. put in a name for this group of settings with the keypad, lets just use 10 for now (for 10 MHz).

Then go to RF GEN button and in RF window put in
10 MHZ as Freq then
Neg 10 DBM
Leave or make sure AF GEN is OFF, there is an off button at the bottom of the front panel
PUSH SHIFT  then SAVE and save as the same name you used, in this case 10.   10 will show up and if you click on it it will ask you if you want to replace the already saved you do want to replace the setting, it will just add your changes.

Then go to RF ANALYZER button and set the
FREQ to 10 MHZ and
set input to RF IN (not ANT)
Toward the top of the screen there may be a FREQ ERROR, put the cursor on
it and click the knob Change to FREQ, this way the unit reports the actual freq, not just freq error from the 10 MHz setting you put in

at the bottom of the screen set the
Note that the center freq is the same as the RF IN Freq
THEN SHIFT/SAVE the whole darn thing again, you can have several saved configurations, like one for each HAM Band

After this when you boot the machine you can go to RECALL BUTTON and call up 10, it will appear on the top of screen when you push the RECALL (not SHIFT)button
NOW you have a setup that resembles a normal spectrum analyzer, makes life easier
CONNECT the RF connector to the DUPLEX connector, go to SPECTRUM ANALYZER button you should now see a nice trace on your screen
Let me know when you have done this and we will address other issues, including RF TOOLS
There is some bleed through with the output and input, especially if you use only RF for in and out

« Last Edit: May 31, 2020, 02:09:15 pm by Wallace Gasiewicz »

Offline wd5jfr

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Re: HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 05:37:09 pm »
Hey Wally

Thanks to your clear instructions I was able to move forward and get meaningful  results.
I have swept 2 Collins filters CW & AM both present as expected.
Swept some BNC jumper cables and found a couple of intermittent ones, make cable testing a dream vs ohm meter.
I've been able to pick up local AM and FM  broadcast radio stations & WWV and see the audio on the Scope but I can't hear anything.
AF Analyzer settings
AF Anl In  AM or FM Demod
Speaker Vol Pot
Speaker ALC On
I see AM Depth & AF Freq varying in upper right corner.
I've tried Volume & Squelch controls in all positions and audio!
I've tried a few different settings of the various AF ANALYZER controls but still no  audio.
After I set AFGen1 To Audio Out I can hear the tone on the side AUDIO OUT BNC  with headphones.
I hope it's an incorrect setting rather than a defect in the audio System to the speaker.
Any suggestions?

« Last Edit: Yesterday at 08:11:07 pm by wd5jfr »

Offline Wallace Gasiewicz

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Re: HP 8935 Agilent E6380A manual disappointment.
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 09:16:34 pm »
OK, Good JOb So Far
Now for answers to your recent questions...
DO This:
Recall 10 (the memory setup we already have set in my previous note)
Stick a short antenna on the antenna input. Maybe 3- 3 feet, VHF will work MUCH better this way.
Then go to Spectrum Anal. Set SPAN to ONE MHZ, if it is more than 1 MHz the RX Demod will not work
Set Freq to 100 MHz in Spectrum. Turn up volume, tune in a station. You can change the speed of the tuning dial by hitting the + button and enter +
 hit it maybe 3X then enter. Rather than tuning by 1 MHz you can decrease that to maybe 1 KHz, or whatever you want.
Go to the RF ANALYZER Screen and make sure the IF Freq is set to 230 KHz , use 230 for wide band FM 30 KHz for almost everything else.
Make sure you are in FM DEMOD on RF ANALYZER Screen.
You may want to save this as a number of you favorite FM Station something like 101.5
Now go to Spectrum Screen and go to to to 146 MHZ, somewhere in 2 meter band where there are repeaters. Change IF FILTER in RF ANALYZER Screen to 30 KHz. Tune to a local repeater. Might want to look up the freq if you do not know it.
Save this as the Repeater FREQ
Now you are set up for FM receive
Next go to 20 or 40 Meters using the RF in or Spectrum analyzer screen. Connect your HAM antenna to ANT input, bigger antenna for lower freq.
Go to AF screen and select SSB DEMOD, IF FILTER to 30 KHZ
Then on Spectrum look for a HAM operator. Make sure your SPAN is ONE MHZ or less on Spectrum ANALYZER Screen
Save this setting as the frequency just like we have done in previous steps. Maybe your favorite NET or buddies.

The receiver is sensitive enough to look at the HAM bands and receive most everything you can with a decent HAM Radio. You get the advantage of having the spectrum to locate signals without tuning all over the place. The unit actually has some noise reduction that is intrinsic with the receiver.

DO NOT attempt to transmit with any power to speak of with another radio while the unit is connected to antenna, OR change INPUT to RF  if you are going to transmit on another antenna, Otherwise the 8935 will YELL at you.
There is a RESET button for alarms, on R side of front panel, use ALT RESET.

Another thing, there are two AA Batteries that probably need changing. For this you have to remove the back cover, this is pretty easy. I think it might destroy your saved stuff however. But you need to do it before they leak. Now you know how to program the unit anyway.

There are also a bunch of DETECTION systems built into the unit, you might see them poking around, I do not fully know their significance and plead ignorance.

If I did not tell you this before....on the SPEC ANAL screen in the lower left corner there is a MENU setting,, it is normally MAIN, click on it and you will go to a subset of the RF GEN you can then choose CW mode or Track. This is very helpful when tuning and repairing a radio, you can set the freq to CW and maybe modulate it, and then use the spectrum to analyze a different freq, say in the IF part of the radio. Or you can just check the readout of your radio that you are injecting a signal into. You should set the RF power out to MINUS 74 dBm, which is S9 if you want to check radios. I use this a lot in aligning stuff like FT 101 and many other radios.

You can use the AF out to inject a signal into the microphone input of a transceiver to see if it works OK, you can then connect the output of the transceiver to RF port and see the signal. Use low power though, I do not know if you have the 100 Watt attenuator built in. You can even do a two tone test if you have two AF generators. That's why you heard the tone when you connected headphones to AUDIO OUT.

I have thought that the unit would benefit from a better speaker, possibly a powered computer type speaker but this requires taking off most of the cover and putting in a speaker jack somewhere, they do not provide a headphone jack, unfortunately. I will get around to this when I finish some other projects.

GOOD LUCK and LET ME KNOW IF THIS ALL WORKS. Keep cool in Arizona.
Send me a private email by clicking on the email thingy below my name, include your private e mail address.

Wally KC9INK
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 09:23:45 pm by Wallace Gasiewicz »

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