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[Amps] Software for noise figure meters.

To: "" <>
Subject: [Amps] Software for noise figure meters.
From: "Dr. David Kirkby" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 23:14:31 +0000
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A bit off-topic, but perhaps of use to some here.


I finally got around to posting the software I wrote to control an HP 
8970A noise figure meter. I should work with the 8970B too, with the 
exception it will probably not be able to load ENR tables from disk to 
the instrument or read ENR tables from the instrument to a disk file.

On the 8970A

a) Upload an ENR table from disk to the meter (use program enr)
b) Download an ENR table from the meter to disk (use program enr)
c) Make gain and noise figure measurements once at you change frequency 
in steps. (use program gnf_f)
d) Make measurements many times at the same frequency, to check for 
drifts. (use program gnf_t)
e) Send arbitrary commands to the meters. (txgpib, rxgpib)
f) Make measurements of noise power using sf 9.3 and 9.4. (power_f)

(Note, commands ending in _f are as a function of frequency, and those 
ending in _t are as a function of time).

You will need

a) UNIX or Linux system - tested only on Solaris 9 with a Sun Ultra 80 
and a Sun SPARCstation 20.

b) A GPIB board that is compatible with the National Instruments one - 
tested with the PCI board from NI on the Sun Ultra 80 and an sbus one in 
the Sun SPARCstation 20.

c) The GPIB board drivers - tested only with version 2.3 of the NI 
dirvers on SPARC

d) My software, which is free under the GPL.

e) And obviously an HP 8970A or B noise figure meter.

f) A bit of willingness to work with software that is not well 
documented. I'll help anyone I can.

Should there be much interest, it will give me more enthusiasm to write 
the documentation - if not, I will not bother too much.

Building it should be a doddle - the usual configure; make; make install 
will work.


Downloads at:

Rather annoyingly, since I upgraded my machine to Solaris 10 a few days 
back I discovered the GPIB driver will not install. I am awaiting to get 
that resolved. Until then, it is not easy for me to test this, so the 
software I uploaded was not tested immediately before uploading, but it 
should be OK. I have not used it for a few months.

dave k G8WRB
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