GPIB Stuff....

All of this stuff is "use at your own risk", it's free.

To properly install these programs you must have a fairly recent version of the Microsoft installer installed.


With any hardware interfacing there is the opportunity for your computer to "flake out".  While this is rare in my experience, you should be careful about closing any work files before messing around with this software.  You also need to make sure that your instruments are setup properly and that your GPIB interface is working properly. While the programs I provide here do not do a lot of error checking while the programs are running, they will exit (in my testing) if they cannot initialize the instruments.

All of this has been developed/tested using National Instruments GPIB interfaces (using their language interface tools in Visual C++). I have no idea if this will work with any other GPIB interfaces, please let me know if they do or don't.

For the screen capture and a phase noise capture utility, I strongly encourage you to try the KE5FX toolbox.   It is far cleaner and works very well based on my testing.  12/18/2008 LL



HP856x/HP859x Trace Sucker

Saves a spectrum analyzer trace to a file, creates bitmaps, saves bitmaps, copies to the clipboard.

Version "2.0b"

Note: I am keeping the old versions here available for download as this version has not been tested thoroughly (main addition is the graphing thanks to a free ActiveX control by Nikolai Teofilov)

The use of this software should be pretty self explanatory, if not, please let me know what the deficiencies are. Also if you have any crashes, I would appreciate bug reports.

If you have installed previous versions you need to uninstall them manually before installing this.

Version 2.0b download (version from April 8th, 2007 seemed to have some problems on win2k. This might fix it)

HP856x Trace Sucker (saves a spectrum analyzer trace to a file)

Version "0.60"

There is a Microsoft Excel template included for making a nice graph.

Here's a sample plot using the excel template.

  1. Simply open up the ".csv" file that the program writes
  2. do a CTRL-A (select all)
  3. Then do a CTRL-C (copy)
  4. Then open up the template (Microsoft EXCEL)
  5. put the cursor in the upper left cell in the spreadsheet
  6. Hit CTRL-V (paste).
  7. Now save the file somewhere to a different name so you don't overwrite the template.
  8. Analyzer model, revision, serial number as well as most of the current settings are saved in the file as well as the trace data.

  • requirements:
    • National instruments GPIB installed

  • Caveats:
    • only tested on windows 2000, windows XP home (both USB and PCMCIA GPIB adapters here, others have used ISA/PCI cards successfully).
    • only tested with HP8562a, 8563e, 8565e
    • partially tested on HP8591e

11/1/2004 - I added the HP859x support (minimally tested), added time domain (zero span) data support, added "streaming/continuous" mode where traces are grabbed over and over again (for time or frequency). I also added frills like a trace prefix and auto-incrementing serial number. This one also allows you to specify whether you're grabbing trace A or B.

4/2/2003 - I added a phase noise template. You can suck the trace out of the analyzers when a phase noise plot has been taken with the optional utility (in the memory module). I've seen this hose my analyzer before after the trace is removed (the actual utility is a little fragile if you're familiar with using it you probably are trained not to touch the "standard" buttons). In any case you can get the data out and copy all the info out of the CSV file (just like with the normal graphing template), paste into the phase noise spreadsheet (in the PASTE_HERE sheet), and set a couple of things in the phase noise calcs sheet (min/max offset, frequency for labeling the graph, and the max level on the screen)... and you end up with a phase noise table and graph...

Let me know if it works for you!

Version 0.60 is a minor update to version 0.57.

Download (updated 11/10/2004)

Version 0.57 is a MAJOR update. I suggest that you use it with caution. It was kind of kludged together quickly because I needed it to do something in a relatively short period of time. I've tested it somewhat thoroughly on my own setup, but I'm sure I haven't exposed all of it's bugs.

Download (updated 11/1/2004)

Version 0.2 is a minor update that is supposed to kick the analyzer back into continuous sweep mode. Version 0.1 worked fine on my HP8562A, but would not go back into continuous sweep on some of the analyzers that I used to work with (HP856xE series). Thanks to GM for testing.

Download (updated 2/12/2004)

Version 0.1 - the original, old!

Download (updated 4/2/2003)

Signal Generator Sweeper

Version "0.1"

This program will sweep an HP8656 A/B, 8648, 83711/712, and hopefully some other generators once I get around to it. Nothing fancy.

Download (updated 3/16/2003)

Linearity Tester

Version 0.4

This program was written to automate IP3 and P1dB testing on amplifiers and mixers (or converters). On my equipment at home it can do a single leveled IP3measurement in well under 10 seconds for reasonable settings, allowing for rapid re-characterization of circuits. The timing is affected by the user-selected tone spacing, the dwell time required for the signal generators, and whether or not there is significant gain slope in the device under test (how many steps of leveling is required). The new P1dB mode takes 40-60 seconds to make a measurement at a single frequency -- but provides a detailed set of data to plot a curve of compression when done in the output files.

Newer Versions

-- consider them experimental --

Older Versions


Thanks to Vlad Vick for giving me an example using threads, I hadn't realized it was this simple. The sweeper and linearity tester program use a thread to run the measurement, returning control to the user so they can hit the abort button.


This is a quick utility I wrote to suck all four s-parameters out of my HP8753B network analyzer and save them as a .s2p file. This works on a variety of 8753's tried (A, B, D). Your mileage may vary.

This is in preliminary form, I've meant to refine it and fix some known problems but haven't gotten around to it. Use at your own risk, yadda yadda yadda.

Note: this will read all four parameters from "channel 1" -- i.e. it will set the analyzer up for S11, take a measurement, S21, etc etc etc.

Download VNAutil version 0.1 posted 7/9/2007 (not touched in a couple years)

Download VNAutil version 0.2 posted 7/1/2008 (removed some GPIB commands that made it incompatible with the HP8720 that I have  -- it has also been tested on an HP8722D).