HP 8568 Spectrum Analyzer at Work

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The HP 8568 Spectrum Analyzer with HP 9825 Controller and HP 7225A Plotter



HP 8568 Resources


This chapter will be dedicated to the Model 8568/8566 Spectrum Analyzers, and HP 8444A Tracking Generator.

For the moment (December 15, 2013) it only contains 5 chapters in the selection list below. The chapters consist primarily of the most useful documentation related to these 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 Spectrum Analysis.


Choose in list below

HP 8568B
Technical Data, February 1985

The HP 8568, with Powerful Processor Aboard, exploits the Digital Revolution


Introduced in 1978, with microprocessors controlling its operation, the Hewlett-Packard Model 8568A Spectrum Analyzer, achieved a significant improvement in signal-analysis capability over previous analyzers.

With a measurement range of 100 Hz to 1500 MHz, and such features as synthesizer-controlled tuning, resolution bandwidths as fine as 10 Hz over the full tuning range, 90-dB log display, excellent spectral purity, and digital storage with display annotation, it made a major contribution to the field of spectrum measurement.

These features rely heavily upon the internal digital processors, which also give the analyzer unparalleled ease of operation and full HP Interface Bus compatibility. Bus compatibility makes the power of spectrum analysis measurements practical and cost effective in production line applications as well as in unattended spectrum surveillance and similar applications.

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





HP 8568-66, Production Chronology


The HP 8568A (1500 MHz) was introduced in the 1978 catalog. In this same catalog was also introduced an automated version, the HP 8581A, which integrated a 9825A Desktop Computer, a 9866B Printer, and a 9872A Plotter. With this hardware configuration, a Starter-Software Pac, HP 85860A was delivered. It contained measurement programs to store/recall instrument functional states, plot the CRT display and perform various sample measurements. (See picture below)

The HP 8566A (22 GHz) was introduced in the 1980 general catalog.

The HP 8568S, and HP 8566S Automatic Spectrum Analyzers Systems were both introduced in the 1984 catalog. These systems were essentially an evolution of the computing hardware, following the rapidly evolving performance of the computer hardware and software, by the beginning of the 1980s. The 8568S and 8566S offer integrated a 9826 Desktop Computer operating under HPL, or BASIC Languages. These two configurations would continue to be updated, each time a new line of computer or workstation would permit an important improvement in the overall performance of the Automated Spectrum Analyzer System. In 1988, for example, the proposed system controller for the 8568S and 8566S was an HP 9000 series 300 with system software available in BASIC.

In 1985, hardware for both Spectrum Analyzers were updated to HP 8568B, and HP 8566B. This update mainly consisted of a change of the internal microprocessor of the analyzers. The 8568A, and 8566A were equipped with the processor developed by HP for the 9825A calculator, which was, at the time of their development, by the mid-1970s, more powerful than any microprocessor available on the consumer market. Ten years later, the weakest microprocessor available on the market was ten times more powerful than the 9825A processor, and cost ten times less. it was time for the two successful Spectrum Analyzers to take benefit of this considerable performance improvement from the consumer sector. A retrofit-kit was offered for $4000,00 USD to upgrade the 8568-66A to a 8568-66B.

The 1997 catalog is the last one in which the 8568B and 8566B were listed.



HP 8581A Automatic Spectrum Analyzer (100 Hz to 1.5 GHz)
Photo from the HP Santa Rosa Division, 1979 Calendar - Courtesy of the Hewlett Packard Company


An Album of Typical Displays
of Various Measurements made with the HP 8568B


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