Ham Radio: Workbench-5 Oscilloscopes, Part 1


This week, George and Jeremy are joined at the Workbench by Alan Wolke W2AEW.  Alan is a field application engineer for Tektronix, the world’s most well-known oscilloscope maker.  He also has a YouTube channel that is chock full of great information for those wanting to better understanding oscilloscopes and test equipment in general.  Alan joins us for a two part session to deep drive on oscilloscope features and applications.  In part one, we introduce the oscilloscope, what it’s used for, some introductory concepts, and some comparisons of analog and digital scopes.  We also take a look at probe quality.


Due to the length of the content, we will not have our usual news or Q&A sections.  Look for those to be back in a future episode.

Segment 1 – News and Updates

MCM Multimeter Winner!

Andrew Rohne KE8P

Looking for components or tools to help with your next project?  Check out http://www.mcmelectronics.com/ for all your project needs.  Use code RADIO5 to save an extra 5% off your next order!


Special guest Alan Wolke W2AEW




Practical buying advice

Favorite models, why?  Price?

KF7IJZ:  Rigol DS-1XXX Z Series:  https://www.rigolna.com/products/digital-oscilloscopes/ds1000z/

Great community support from http://www.eevblog.com/forum/

I own a DS-1104Z-S

DS-1054Z is a steal at $400

KJ6VU:  Inexpensive Used Tektronix or HP Scope, Tektronix 465B

Rigol 1054z 50 MHz, can be software hacked to 100 MHz


W2AEW:  Used Tektronix, Hameg, Leader, Kenwood, Hitachi

Don’t buy a service grade scope!

Stay away from Vacuum tube models!

Tektronix 465, 475, 485

Tektronix 2215 (2200 series in general) 2225, 2400 series 2445, 2465

Make sure probes are rated for frequency or greater and make sure compensation range contains the input capacitance of the scope

Find Dave Jones video on Proper Probe Usage (how not to blow up your scope!) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaELqAo4kkQ


Headless USB Scopes and tools



Alan’s Best Suggested OScope Video Links for Show Notes

Video Index PDF file


Basic operating and controls tutorials:

#242: How to use an oscilloscope on antique radios | NJARC

#160: Oscilloscope Basics, and how they can be used in the hamshack | tutorial

#11: Tektronix Oscilloscope Triggering controls and their usage

#10: AC / DC Coupling on an Oscilloscope

#238: Oscilloscope Vertical Position and Offset explained

#206: Importance of 10X Probe Compensation with your Oscilloscope

#9: Basic 1X and 10X Oscilloscope Probe tutorial

#179: How to make a peak to peak voltage measurement on a scope

#96: Tutorial on Digital Oscilloscope sample rate, record length and data processing

#69: Basics of Analog Oscilloscope Bandwidth

#68: Oscilloscope Probe Ground lead length affects on signal quality

#65: Basics of using FFT on an oscilloscope

#43: Analog Oscilloscope Basics: Making a Frequency Measurement

#35: Using the ADD/INVERT mode on an analog scope to view differential voltages

#33: Oscilloscope AUTO Triggering explained

#31: Analog oscilloscope ALT, CHOP, ADD, INVERT vertical controls

#25: Analog Oscilloscope bandwidth considerations


Some Useful Applications of a scope in the hamshack and radio workbench:

#90: Measure Capacitors and Inductors with an Oscilloscope and some basic parts

#72: Simple Station Monitor for Ham Radio using an Oscilloscope

#7: Monitor your Ham Radio transmitter with an oscilloscope

#8: Two-tone test of SSB transmitter output

#37: Use a scope to measure the length and impedance of coax

#162: How to measure coax velocity factor VF and impedance Z

#138: How to Measure Output Impedance

#135: Measure Capacitor ESR with an Oscilloscope and Function Generator

#112: Use an Oscilloscope and Signal Generator help tune an HF Antenna, measure complex impedance


One comment

  1. Another fantastic episode! What an awesome series. I hear at the start of the episode, a concern about the length of the show being too long. We have 14 days between episodes, so please don’t feel the need to “trim too much” out of an episode. If you are talking we are learning 🙂 Thanks for sharing your passion and talents.

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