Controlling the 35601A Spectrum Analyzer Interface

Amongst other heavy boxes, the HPAK (HP Agilent now Keysight) 35601A is one of the instruments that form the venerable 3047A phase noise measurement system.
It contains two phase detectors (for up to 1.6 GHz, and for up to 18 GHz), a 40 db low noise amplifier, and other useful components to form a PLL (lead lag network, lock detector, a DAC, and a PLL to drive a low frequency signal from the 3585A IF).

35601a block diagram

This is the block diagram, sorry for the bad quality, it is the best I have, and you can read it with a magnifying glass. The 35601A has all kinds of switches that are GPIB controlled. The original HP software requires a particular dialect of BASIC, no longer used these days.

Therefore, the little program below might be helpful, written in C (compiles with GCC, and most other C compilers). Sorry, not particularly user friendly or anything, but those having ordinary skill in the art will know how to use it. The binary is quite useful for a quick check of the 35601A. Just connect a 10 MHz reference, and a 10 MHz VCO with about 10 kHz per V tuning range (like a 8662A with DC FM), and you can watch to PLL close.

PLL unlocked (see the upper yellow LED illuminated, indicating an open phase lock loop):
35601a not locked

PLL locked (the upper LED is dark!):
35601a locked

The program files. Working with a National Instruments GPIB interface card, but can be adapted to other cards with little effort.
sw35601 program 150227

Please, no unfavorable comments about the Tektronix 2215. It is still a very good scope, despite the obvious lack of a LCD screen and gigabytes worth of sample memory (it doesn’t have any memory).

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