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HP 8553B RF SECTION
The HP 8553B RF Section is used with the HP 141T Display Section and the HP 8552B IF Section to make a Spectrum Analyser. It cost $3,150 in 1980. I have downloaded the Manual. The 8553B will operate over a bandwidth of 1kHz to 110MHz which covers the audio to FM broadcast bands. Options H01 & H02 were available for 75Ω input impedance.

For wide spectrum analysis, you can use a preset scan of 0 to 100 MHz. For more detailed study, the spectrum width can be progressively narrowed to 0.2 kHz, or the scanning capabilities can be eliminated altogether to use the instrument as a fixed frequency receiver. A bandwidth of 300 kHz is automatically selected for preset scan operation; for variable scan and fixed frequency operation, narrower bandwidths can be selected.

Front view
The RF Input BNC connector has a maximum input level of +13dBm 20mW 1Vrms at 50Ω with ±50Vdc. The Probe Power is a 3 pin Plug and is used to power the HP 1120A 500MHz Probe which is connected to the RF Input for high impedance circuit measurements.

Rear view showing P2 & P4 connectors
Rear Panel connections to the 141T. For details of P2 see HP 141T Internal Connections. P4 connects to the HP 8443A Tracking Generator Counter, for details see HP 141T External Connections.

Top view with screen cover removed
Bottom view with screen cover removed
November 2006

I bought this RF Section in a damaged condition. There was a fair bit of mechanical damage and it needed a complete stip down and extensive repairs. For details see Repair HP 8553B RF Section.


February 2009

Performance tests completed as far as possible.


November 2014

Rechecked with basic Performance Tests.

Testing with Extender Cables and with 8443A Tracking Generator / Counter             
October 2018

Following buying a 'Job Lot' of Spectrum Analyser parts, started re-testing my existing equipment, as some of it will be required as a test bed.

The 8553B and 8552B were tested outside the 141T using the extender cables and passed the operator's checks ok.  Also tested inside the 141T (as always take great care to ensure the D-type mating connectors are correctly mated, or this can cause problems) along with the HP 8443A Tracking Generator Counter.  This really does extend the functionality of the 8553B by providing the frequency of a marker spot on the display and tracking or restoring the 1kHz to 110MHz input signal.

Some Operating Instructions are available as a 'Quick Reference', see
Operating HP 8553B RF Section
Full details are provided in the HP Manual, available for download.