HP 8510 Network Analyzer at Work

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The HP 8510C in the HP Memory Project Lab



HP 8510 Resources: Just a beginning


This chapter will be dedicated to the Model 8510A/B/C Network Analyzers, various network measurement accessories, and an important collection of applications publications.

For the moment (May, 2014) the section only contains the 3 first chapters as shown in the selection list below. They feature the most useful documentation related to the theory and practice of using these powerful and analytical instruments.

As we open a new chapter, we will follow our common process, to begin by putting online the most important documentation available in our collection. The next step will be to update those contents with what we have learned about this remarkable instrument, as we have use it. We hope that these documents will inform your own background and knowledge of microwave network analysis.

We think this extensive documentation will  surprise you with the creative applications that were developed with the 8510 system and its powerful data computation functions. It was adapted to antenna pattern measurements, radar cross section analysis. The ability to store test chamber residual reflections and subtract them out was important here. Dielectric parameters were always difficult and required sample machining to fit cavity dimensions, but simpler test fixtures and data processes works easily now. Further, the ability to measure scattering parameters and interact with Computer Aided Design was also an immediate application, leading to powerful microwave design capabilities.


Choose in list below


  • Using the HP 8510 stand-alone
  • Programming the HP 8510
  • Displaying Results



HP 8510C
Technical Data 2/1985

The HP 8510 Network Analyzer:
A Short History,


The first release was the 8510A, introduced in the 1985 catalog. The HP 8510A was the continuation of a 25-year evolution in microwave network analyzer technology. With the 8510 introduction, Hewlett Packard made another contribution to its leadership in vector network analyzer technology. The 8510A stood on the shoulders of the 8410A system, first introduced in 1965, with the somewhat tongue-in-cheek slogan, "Stamp out Slotted Lines." Significantly for its satisfied customers, the 8510A dominance lasted for another 16-year period, up to its last listing in the 2001 general catalog, after the HP/Agilent split.

The 8410 evolution covered all the 1960s and 1970s, and ended in 1983 with the 8409B, a fully automated network analyzer system, made of several instruments filling two full-size system rack. (see photo below). The success of the 8410A depended on a new downconversion technology of a dual-sampling component with a local oscillator which could track a sweeping microwave test signal.

A complete 8510 series system comprises the HP 8510A vector network analyzer, one of four HP 851XA broadband test sets, and a compatible RF to Microwave signal source. Its measurement and computational power comes from a micro-processor-based control, providing all the functionality of a computer control.

Depending on the test set, and signal source in use the 8510A frequency range covers 45 MHz to 26.5 GHz, with a 80 to 100 dB dynamic range.

The Technical Data paper shown on the right is available for download HERE





The HP 8409B, Predecessor of the 8510A Automatic Network Analyzer
HP Memory Collection



HP 8510A/B/C, Production Chronology


The HP 8510A system was introduced in the 1985 catalog. This same catalog also introduced the highest performance version, the HP 8510T. The 8510T provided, under one model number, everything needed to make precision measurements in the 45 MHz to 26.5 GHz frequency range. The system includes the HP 8510A with the time domain analysis, (option 10), the 8515A S-Parameter test set, and an HP 8340A synthesized sweeper. The HP 8510T system also included a comprehensive array of measurement, and calibration accessories for 3.5, and 7 mm coaxial systems.

The HP 8510 Series was updated with a HP 8510B version, introduced in the 1988 general catalog. The major improvement was an extension of the frequency range into the millimeter-wave region. All necessary sub-assembly and accessories were added to the catalog to make measurements at millimeter-wave frequencies. 26.5 to 40 GHz, 33 to 50 GHz, 40 to 60 GHz, 50 to 75 GHz, and 75 to 100 GHz. These millimeter bands were accomodated with external modules to function easily with waveguide hardware which matched the millimeter components under test. The 1988 catalog also introduced the HP 85161A Measurement Automation Software, which provided a more simplified and flexible user interface to the HP 8510B system. The software was designed for use with the HP 9000 Series 200 or 300 desktop computers, running the BASIC 3.0 or higher Operating System.

In 1991, the network analyzer hardware was updated to Model HP 8510C. The main improvements of the 8510C mainframe were a large color CRT display, and a built-in 3 1/2" floppy disc drive, which extended the internal storage capacity and speed of the magnetic tape drive installed in the previous HP 8510A and 8510B.

The 2001 catalog is the last one in which was listed the Model 8510, just after the HP/Agilent split.



Typical Display of Various Measurements made with the HP 8510C


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