Oscilloscope for ham radio work

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KB3PXR, Jan 2, 2008.

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  1. KC4YLV

    KC4YLV Ham Member QRZ Page

    ebay likes to make everybody think that it's a 'deal-facilitating' site, but all it is is a great advertising and listing network. For stuff like scopes, sure, if you live in LA or NY, skip ebay and 'pick one up at a yard sale.'

    for the other 99.9% of those of us who don't get yard sales with anything electronic, let alone used and functioning oscilloscopes, there is ebay, and that's what it's for.
  2. K3WRV

    K3WRV Guest

    I've found pretty good Scope deals at hamfests in the Washington - Baltimore area. A few years back, I picked up a TEX 4?? 20 Mc scope for $20 at the Timonium hamfest (end of March, first weekend of April. Less probes, no manual. [EDIT] IIRC, Timonium (north of Baltimore) should be about 2 hrs from Waynesboro.

    And a few years after than, I got an HP / Agilent 1722A for $40 at the hamfest in Columbia, MD. No accessories. It's a 250 or 500 Mc. scope (not sure which), but it shows the output of my 2M Gooney Box just fine. At a hamfest, you can often find some AC power and check it out to make sure it works. At Columbia, I went through 3 scopes before I found one that worked (got it checked out at the test table).

    Many used scopes seem to come from engineer type hams who have gone dumpster diving at work.

    I'd look at a few Scope tutorials before deciding what to get. Paul Harden ( NA5N) has written several in QRP Quarterly and elsewhere. Some of them are on the web. They explain what all the knobs and settings do.

    de Bob
  3. K3RKS

    K3RKS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would be very careful when putting out a lot of money for an old 'scope. Old equipment with a lot of operating hours will have a trace intensity problem. This gets worse as the CRT ages.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nah, you're wrong.

    Here's why:

    1. It's not 99.9% of Americans who can't get to yard sales with functioning electronic equipment. It's probably more like 10%. 75% of the population of the U.S. lives in major metropolitan areas.

    2. You don't find stuff like 'scopes at yard sales, even here in Los Angeles, unless you know where to look. For that, see (3), below.

    3. I travel extensively and have been to Fayetteville several times. Know what? There's every good a chance to find a 'scope in somebody's basement or garage there as anywhere else. You find them by looking in the Recycler, the Pennysaver and the local newspaper ads under "electronic equipment." Then, you call the phone numbers for those parties listing scopes or whatever you're interested in.

    Now, what I find is this: The guys selling really good industrial and military surplus gear, which is where all the good stuff actually comes from, will often advertise in the local journals as listed above first, because if they get a local buyer they don't have to pack anything. If the stuff doesn't sell, they'll use eBay as a last resort: They'll actually get a higher price on eBay, but they need that to cover the work and cost of packing for shipment. A Tek 465 as an example of a good scope that can be found "almost anywhere" will cost at least $30 to package properly for shipment. There really isn't any way to do the job properly for less than that. And it takes time and effort to do it.

    I've found lab equipment in Bar Harbor, ME; in Butler, PA; in Fargo, ND; and in Big Bend, TX. All using their local editions of Pennysaver or Recycler, picked up at the local gas station or 7-11.

    If you're anywhere near a military base or depot, there's guaranteed to be an ongoing source of this stuff as they dispose of it. I picked up my HP spectrum analyzer (an original retail value of about $30,000) at a way-out-in-the-country depot in Tobyhanna, PA: At an advertised, open-to-the-public equipment auction. It cost me $401. It worked perfectly, and was probably worth $3000.

    Where do you think the eBay "sellers" get their stuff? [​IMG]

  5. AB9LZ

    AB9LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a portable scope intended for diagnosing automotive issues. It's not a high quality scope at all, but the good news is you can buy it brand new for that price -- and I think the one being sold on eBay is "new."

    A used Tek 465, which is a 150 MHz, dual trace, triggered sweep scope of very high quality, can be found for the same $150, although it will be 20 years old.

    I paid $125 for my last one, at a garage sale two blocks from my home. It was in "perfect" condition, with the carry case and manual, and two probes.[/QUOTE]
    I have the same scope, bought it after finding my old 545's 30mhz bandwidth too limiting for HF RF work, I think a 10mhz scope would be useless for anything other than audio. Think I spent about $200, works like a champ.

    73 m/4
  6. KB3PXR

    KB3PXR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was just looking around, I guess this is not the deal I thought it was. I will just wait until the hamfest in May to see if I can find anything there.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you're in college, do they have an electrical engineering department?

    If so, they should have scopes in the lab.

    Get familiar with one and see if you can work something out with the school.
  8. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is Timonium a new element? Seems like they find a new one every week. Properties? Half-life?

    TOM K8ERV  Montrose Colo
  9. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, it was discovered by Dr. Willy Shakespeare. It's found only in Athens...
  10. AB8SG

    AB8SG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The key to buying anything on Ebay is patience. I bought my HP 400 Mhz digital scope for around $150.00. Works like new.
    Periodically there will be a glut of them available when tech schools re-equip their labs. I walked away from six or seven when the price went higher than what I decided in advance to spend. Incidentally, most schools won't sell their old lab stuff to individuals, they trade them in in mass. Doesn't hurt to ask though.
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