Category Archives: Wiltron 6659A Programmable Sweep Generator

Wiltron 6659A Programmable Sweep Generator: EPROM images captured, some rubber items

The 6659A is running on no more than 10 kilobytes of code, stored in 5 pcs 2716 EPROMs. These were programmed in 1984 – just about 30 years ago. Just in time to capture a copy. Well, not just of their exteriors.

6659a eproms

Their contents –
-also contained are the data of the 4 frequency correction EPROMs.

Looking through the board, a very intriguing part: a DAC72C-CSB-I
6659a dac72c-csb-i

It is a 16 bit DAC, 30 ppm INL, 7 ppm/K gain drift. Merely, a resistance ladder, with a build-in 6.3 V reference. Still going for about 40-50 USD each! Very impressive case, for 1984 vintage, and still working just fine, to the current day.

While silicon chips last, rubber is subject to aging – in particular, the 4 rubber stand-offs that were holding the fan. Removal was no easy task – they were glued in with some Loctite, but eventually, I could remove them, and they were replaced by regular screws – not too much vibration anyway.

6659a rubber standoffs

Wiltron 6659A Programmable Sweep Generator: 10 MHz to 26.5 GHz, in a single sweep…

This instrument just needed a few adjustments, still, very interesting to look at.
It is of a very classical design – 4 YIG oscillators (2-8, 8-12, 12-18, 18-26.5 GHz), a coupler, a detector, and all the driver and ALC circuitry to make this work.
There is also a Wiltron-brand downconverter that provides the 10 MHz to 2 GHz output, by conversion of a 4610-6600 MHz input, with a 4600 MHz LO.

The YIGs are all of best quality, Avantek parts.

The coupler, for the ALC loop, a Krytar ultra-broadband part, with a biased detector.

wiltron 6659a

6659a alc detector

wiltron 6659a yig assy

wiltron 6659a front

The generator provides ample power, 10 dBm or more, over most of the bands; about +6 dBm, at above 18 GHz – and, around 23 GHz, there is a dip in the power curve (see scope screen, showing the ALC/power signal vs. horizontal sweep). Checked the bias (was set at a constant +11 V) – changing it, and going up to +15 V, no change. Also checked the power directly at the YIG output – still, the dip. So it seems, nothing we can do about it, but for most practical purposes, about 0 dBm will be plenty, at any frequency.

wiltron 6659a power measurement

After some more alingments, the frequencies and bands are spot-on (no need to re-programm the linearizer EPROMs – all YIGs are still tracking perfectly fine), some some cleaning, using 50% isopropyl alcohol – done.

The only thing left to be done – a back-up of the 2716 EPROMs that still hold the firmware, after about 30 years.