IFR History?

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IFR History?

Postby giantcake » Sun Feb 08, 2004 11:04 pm

Anyone have some comments on the general history of the following IFR service monitors? Such as which series is newer manufacture, any specific features one has over the other? It seems that the IFR1500 would be the newer model but other info I see on the net indicates the 1200 Super/S is the latest. Any user info such as the analog versus digital attenuator I've seen on the 1500 series?

IFR 1200S
IFR 1200 Super S
IFR 1500

On the COM120B and 1600 series, how does the RF Gen output attenuator adjusted? via up/down arrows? or is there a rotary knob/encoder that is used? Other than later technology and split screen functions, is there anything the COM120B is recommended for over the older 1200/1500 series analyzers for working with analog radio systems?

I have a Moto R2008D but am looking into a second service monitor.

Thanks,

~Steve
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I think I can answer most of these questions

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:43 am

OK, let's see if I can answer your questions.

First, the questions on the 1500 and 1200 - these are a little before my time (I've only been here 13 years...)

The order of manufacture was:

1200
1200A
1500
1200S
1200 Super

The Super is the latest in the 1200 line, but it doesn't matter as much as the 1200 line is discontinued (we are having problems getting parts to build them.)

The 1200 did not have a spectrum analyzer, IIRC the 1200A and up did. The Super had a few more trunking protocols in it. The 1500 had a lot of features used by the FM broadcast industry.

The advantage of the electronically controlled attenuator in the 1500 was that it allowed the RF output to be adjusted by GPIB, whereas the 1200 had to be manually controlled.

OK, now we move on to my areas of expertise - the COM-120.

In both the COM-120 and the 1600/1900, the generator attenuator is controlled by the microprocessor - you enter the desired RF output level (in dBm or uV) and the computer sets the hardware. The edit field can be directly entered (you type in the numbers), by using the up/down arrow keys, or by turning the spinner.

The COM-120B can do a couple of protocols the 1200 Super cannot (EDACS and MPT-1327). The 120 has an offset tracking generator that allows you to directly sweep the IF response of a radio by placing the tracking generator at the RF frequency and setting the analyzer to the IF frequency - I put that in when I had to align the IF on several repeaters I maintain.

Additionally, the ability to save an analyzer trace is useful when adjusting a system - make an improvement, save the trace, tweak some more - you can see if you are getting better or are at the limits. Additionally, the ability to save a screen snapshot to the flash and print it or load it onto your computer is great when documenting a site. Also, the 120 and 1600/1900 will do a full sweep - 0 to 1GHz (2GHz on the 1900), which the 1200 won't.

If you are familiar with the R2008 you shouldn't have too much problem with the 120 or 1600/1900.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.
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Postby EngineerZ » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:45 am

Just thought I would drop my $0.02 on the 1200S/Super S and COM120B... Both are great instruments but I have a slight preference for the 1200* service monitors. I find them slightly easier to use over the COM120B. The COM120B has so many functions on it you have to pay close attention to where your cursor is at and what function you are about to adjust. The 1200* units are a little more straightforward with the "analog feel." I also prefer analog o'scopes over digital, and the comparison of these two IFR units is very similar.

However, that minor issue aside, both are excellent units and you can't go wrong with either one... (As long as you get a decked-out 1200 with spectrum analyzer and tracking generator...)

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I like my 1600S...

Postby kc7gr » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:03 pm

...and I'm never giving it up! NeverNeverNEVER! ;-)

Heck, if the CRT goes out, I was giving some thought to what would be needed to put a small flat-panel display in there. Lighter, consumes less power, less electrically noisy, no second anode lead needed.

On that subject... Wowbagger, have you ever heard of anyone doing that? I know the 1900 has the flat-panel... Is it possible to retrofit one into a 1600S?

Anyway... I also have a Marconi 2955R. It's pretty much the 'field' box for setting up my programming booth at ham swaps.
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Re: I like my 1600S...

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:59 pm

kc7gr wrote:.
On that subject... Wowbagger, have you ever heard of anyone doing that? I know the 1900 has the flat-panel... Is it possible to retrofit one into a 1600S?


Not easily - *I* could do it, but then, I helped with the changes to the video driver for the 1900. You'd need to replace the video board with a 1900's video board, and then have get ahold of a build of the 1600 firmware with the 1900 video driver code. *I* could sweet talk the engineer maintaining the 1600 to do that for me, or pull the code and build it myself, but that's not much of an option for you.

You *might* be able to get a VGA to flatpanel converter and panel, if needed - the output is standard EGA 640x350 timings.

However, I've seen Test Equity selling a 1900 for $9995, so you could just update - and you'd get 2GHz.

But then, I'm spoiled - I have a 1600, an AN920, a COM-120B, and I am looking to get a 2975 consigned to me.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.
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Re: I like my 1600S...

Postby kc7gr » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:24 pm

Wowbagger wrote:
Not easily - *I* could do it, but then, I helped with the changes to the video driver for the 1900. You'd need to replace the video board with a 1900's video board, and then have get ahold of a build of the 1600 firmware with the 1900 video driver code. *I* could sweet talk the engineer maintaining the 1600 to do that for me, or pull the code and build it myself, but that's not much of an option for you.


Got enough salt in the wound, there? ;-)

Wowbagger wrote:
You *might* be able to get a VGA to flatpanel converter and panel, if needed - the output is standard EGA 640x350 timings.


That was actually my plan from the start. I know that there exist small LC panels that can take EGA/VGA input directly. In any case, it's not an issue yet. The tube in mine is in good shape, so I expect it to last for quite a while yet.

wowbagger wrote:
However, I've seen Test Equity selling a 1900 for $9995, so you could just update - and you'd get 2GHz.


That will likely come much later down the road. I have no need for 2 gigs at all right now. Heck, I don't even go above amateur 900 at the moment.

I just have two questions, then: First, what's the "official" diagonal size of the panel used in the 1900? It looks like it'd be a six-inch, assuming the windows on the 1600 and 1900 are the same.

Second: Why in the Multiverse don't I get that little purple asterisk on the screen when I feed in the reference signal (10MHz, about 1.5V) to the EXT REF IN jack on my unit? I know its working, 'cause I can see a small frequency change at 850MHz between conditions where the standard is connected or not, but I don't get the goofy little asterisk.

Thanks much.
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Re: I like my 1600S...

Postby Jim202 » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:44 pm

I would like to correct one statement that WOWBAGGER made. Yes the series 1200 did in fact have the option to have a spectrum anaylzer installed.

I have one with serial number 1350. It was one of the first group to have it installed. Don't remember the exact date, but was in January of 1985.

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Re: I like my 1600S...

Postby Wowbagger » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:09 am

kc7gr wrote:
Got enough salt in the wound, there? ;-)

It's not intended as salt, but rather to show what would be involved - too often I've had people say "but you should just be able to...." in response to things like this.
"But you should just be able to hook the flat panel up to the card" (no, the card has to have a specialized interface that the 1600 does not)
"But you should just be able to swap the cards" (no, the card is not a standard video card like you get at Best Buy, and the new card is not backward compatible with the old code)
"but you should just be able to load a new driver" (No, this ain't Windows - the driver is an integral part of the code)
"But you should be able to get the code with the new driver" (No, that would be a special build that we haven't done and don't release).

So what I was trying to do was short circuit that -
"But you should be able to just...." (Yes, *I* can, but *you* wouldn't be able to)

Sorry if it seemed a bit harsh.

kc7gr wrote:I just have two questions, then: First, what's the "official" diagonal size of the panel used in the 1900? It looks like it'd be a six-inch, assuming the windows on the 1600 and 1900 are the same.


The panel is the same between the 1900, the COM-120C, and the 2975 - a Sharp 5" TFT. The 1900 has a slightly altered front panel bezel from the 1600.

kc7gr wrote:Second: Why in the Multiverse don't I get that little purple asterisk on the screen when I feed in the reference signal (10MHz, about 1.5V) to the EXT REF IN jack on my unit? I know its working, 'cause I can see a small frequency change at 850MHz between conditions where the standard is connected or not, but I don't get the goofy little asterisk.

Thanks much.


I don't know - if you are putting in over about -10dBm (which you are), then it should switch, and should show up.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

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I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.
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Re: I like my 1600S...

Postby Wowbagger » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:10 am

Jim202 wrote:I would like to correct one statement that WOWBAGGER made. Yes the series 1200 did in fact have the option to have a spectrum anaylzer installed.
Jim


It did not have the analyzer by default, whereas the later models did - that's what I meant.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

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Postby kmoose » Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:03 am

Pony up the cash, if you have it, and buy a 2975. Especially if you do any Public Safety work. Get a jump on everyone else, and get the P25 options. Having said that, understand that I did not write the check for our 2975, so that is easy for me to say! :wink:
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Postby Wowbagger » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:28 am

kmoose wrote:Pony up the cash, if you have it, and buy a 2975. Especially if you do any Public Safety work. Get a jump on everyone else, and get the P25 options. Having said that, understand that I did not write the check for our 2975, so that is easy for me to say! :wink:


/me gives kmoose a high-five

Good advice, especially in a couple of days.

(updated) I was alluding to the imminent release of version 1.8.0, which was just signed off and placed on the servers. 1.8.0, among other things, has some new options, including an audio spectrum analyzer and an app to assist in tuning Smartnet analog simulcast systems, as well as LTR trunking support.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.
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Postby kmoose » Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:14 pm

I'm curious, and maybe this is better suited to it's own thread, but..........are people ramping up for the P25 stuff yet? I mean, once a locality/municipality switches over to P25, who is going to service their equipment? We bought the P25 option, because the Forest Service is requiring all aircraft under contract to be P25 compliant by 2005. We have already started the procurement process for airborne P25 compliant FMs (Technisonic TDFM-136), and we will need the option to test/repair these radios. I am wondering if we will be able to pick up any business from other P25 users around here, who may be looking for a place that can functionally test their equipment. My boss is pretty ingenous, I have to admit. He had the P25 option added to our 2975 while it was at the factory for calibration. So the front office didn't have the chance to tell us no. As far as they are concerned, the 2975 is just damned expensive to calibrate. :wink:
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Postby N9LLO » Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:31 pm

So I guess the battle scarred 1000S I use at home on the ham bench
is a little outdated??

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Postby kmoose » Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:41 pm

N9LLO wrote:So I guess the battle scarred 1000S I use at home on the ham bench
is a little outdated??

Chris


nah, we still use a 1000S as a second service monitor, for when the 2975 is out for calibration, or for when we have both portables and aircraft radios in work. The only issue we have had with the 1000S is that the attenuator knob fell off a couple of times. Literally just fell off. Real pain in the ass, as we could not ascertain where the thing was set, exactly, when it fell off. We had to send it back out to be calibrated, as the FAA would have had a fit if we had tried to return an aircraft FM to service after that. It looks to me like the 1000S was made in the days when "Made in the USA" was synonomous with "this thing will outlive you".
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Re: I like my 1600S...

Postby kc7gr » Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:58 pm

wowbagger wrote:
<big snip>

Sorry if it seemed a bit harsh.


Not a big problem. Being that I'm as lazy as the next tech, my very first thought was finding a panel that I could feed from the existing standard EGA output. I hadn't even considered doing the in-depth hardware and code mods that you described.

wowbagger wrote:The panel is the same between the 1900, the COM-120C, and the 2975 - a Sharp 5" TFT. The 1900 has a slightly altered front panel bezel from the 1600.


Fair enough. I'll do some poking around and see if I can find one of the small panels, then.

wowbagger wrote:I don't know - if you are putting in over about -10dBm (which you are), then it should switch, and should show up.


It does seem to be switching (remember the experiment I described with the frequency counter check?), it's just that the symbol never shows up.

Not a big deal. I'll have your calibration folk check it when it comes back to you for its regular checkup in September.

Thanks again.
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Postby richyradio » Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:21 pm

...I liked the older IFR's 1100 thru 1500's, but the COM- 120 B as far as I am concerned is an ergonomic disaster....I use the one at work to demodulate 88-108 mhz...( no wonder I found it stuffed away in the stockroom)
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