Scanners as test equipment

Status
Not open for further replies.

Dawn

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
284
Location
Pinecrest,Fl
This is something I've always wondered about. My first employer during the mid 70's encouraged me to develop a scanning circuit for use with the early com-spec boards using the rc elements to scan over the companies repeaters to identify community repeater user abuse. That worked out well and a good bonus and pay raise. Later i integrated several early programmable scanners with Helper Instruments MM901 that created a great installer evaluation tool. Later mods used a bulk purchases of GRE's 800 converters for trunked systems and later Optoelectronics tone/dcs readers and some earlier Helper prescaler/counter units. I did some successful conversions of dead Helper SM-512 units with Bearcat/Uniden BC-800xlt frames in place of the bc-210 frames used in the service monitor. Those were albatrosess in the first place, but as an evaluation tool, they were very cost effective conversions/repairs. The last ones I did were based on the now forgotten Shinwa 2001 which were near service monitors during the mid 90's. Just curious how many of you used a scanner as an evaluation tool. I don't remember the Regency model i did a bunch of mods with but it too was much like the BC-210 with a 10 memory and keypad entry to 512 that we bought about 30 of when they dumped them on the market for about $25 through a nationwide distributor. We had several of those on the sales desks with the GRE converters also dummped with the cell phone ban on coverage. I also had built up some group and collect 2 tone mark V decoders to assist in sales poaching from other dealerships.

Anyone ever use scanners for developing cheap test and evaluation equipment?
 

photoguy2

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
125
I have never used a scanner for that. However, A SDR has made a great substitute for a service monitor for me several occasions. I keep finding uses for those things ;-)

Matthew
 

DickH

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2004
Messages
4,061
Anyone ever use scanners for developing cheap test and evaluation equipment?
I don't really understand what you are doing, but I use older scanners to generate test signals for checking antennas, frequencies, etc.
I use the RF Oscillator signals in older scanners with a 10.7Mhz or 10.8Mhz I.F. because it is easier to calculate where to set the scanner to generate a certain freq. signal.
 

Dawn

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
284
Location
Pinecrest,Fl
Dick, I would think that the above is self expanatory execpt it did occur after I wrote this that much of this is no longer done. Scanners now have tone/dcs reading capability and don't max out either restricted to one band or at 512mhz.

The used to be a subindustry of add-ons, often for service use. Tone readers, offset geterator/mixer amps that created a signal generator with calibrated attenuator, deviation meters, band downconverters to complete units that essentially turned a programmable scanner into a service monitor that housed a frequency error meter, sinad meter, deviation monitor. There were even complete service monitors based on programmable scanners by Helper and Measurements.

Service monitors were and still are very expensive and many shops couldn't justify purchasing more then one to share resources. They also didn't receive off the air unless you bought a high sensitivity, tunable mixer and limited to a broadband front end suitable for proximity. Many of the features associated with them today didn't exist back then. If you were stuck to a bench that used a tunable, hetrodyne deviation meter that many of probably learned to dance with lower powered units to get a stable read, this was a godsend. Anyone using an old Lampkin or similar knows very well what I mean by dancing.

Scanners and later programmable scanners filled a void where a customer's system could be checked remotely or tone activity on a prospective channel could be monitored. You didn't have to deal with a frequency coordinator for most services back then. Unless you had a FB6 license on the frequency, the sales and techs needed to know what other users were using for selective call. Service monitors didn't do any of these tricks. With a modded scanner, the installation crew could partially pre-diagnose a problem before the radio came into the shop.
 

PACNWDude

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
762
Some of the "Signal Stalker" scanners have been used as a cheap frequency counter/spectrum analyzer by myself and co-workers. Instead of an HP 8920 Radio Test set to tell us which frequency was just keyed up, the scanner tells us the strongest signal near it. Sometimes it does better than the test set as it tells you the PL tone instead of typing them in one at a time to find out on the radio test set.
We now have Aeroflex 3500A test sets, nobody likes these. The scanner is the quickest still.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top