[time-nuts] Modulation Domain Analysis

Magnus Danielson magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org
Wed Jun 17 15:03:45 EDT 2015

Hi Tim,

The HP5371A era was Frequency and Time Interval Analyzers, and I think 
Time Interval Analyzers (TIA) kind of stuck.

The HP5372A introduced HW-support for histogram generation, so that 
collection can conntinue for milions of samples rather than stop after 
8191 samples. The patent for it is fairly readable. Do read the 
programmers manual, as it shows how the processing is done.

Wavecrest then went down that path too, and they shifted the term to 
Signal Integrity Analyzer (SIA), as in the SIA-3000.

A TIA uses a time-stamping counter as base, and adds software 
processing, so I think the term is fairly good and relevant.


On 06/17/2015 12:50 PM, Tim Shoppa wrote:
> There is a commonly used kind of pulse train analyzer that records and then
> dumps timestamps (absolute and/or delta) of low-to-high and high-to-low
> transitions for analysis on a computer. Is there a name for this method? I
> first saw it being used in the 80's to debug and reverse-engineer
> broadcast-over-POTS codecs and GCR floppies, but I'm sure it existed well
> before that.
> This is similar to e.g. Tom's PICPET but we didn't use it for precision
> timestamping - we used it as a kind of generic computer front end for
> various pulse train modulation analysis.
> Maybe "Time-Stamping Counter" is the generic term for the device? Is there
> a phrase for data recovery/inspection using the recorded data?
> Tim N3QE
> On Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 3:54 PM, Robert Gilchrist Huenemann <
> bobgh at razzolink.com> wrote:
>> I stumbled onto the time nuts list from a posting on modulation domain
>> analysis a couple of weeks ago. I am enjoying the discussion.
>> I want to comment on modulation domain analysis, or phase digitizing. This
>> is a technique that uses a period mode frequency counter, or two such
>> counters back to back, to recover the modulation history of a frequency
>> modulated waveform.
>> This technique was first used in the HP9540 automated transceiver test
>> system. This system was described in the August 1973 HP Journal. The HP9540
>> used a single HP5326 period mode counter with a 10 MHz clock. At that time,
>> no counter was available with a higher clock frequency.
>> A breadboard system was assembled as part of the HP9540 development effort
>> which used two HP5326 counters back to back. To insure that alternate
>> periods were measured, the second HP5326 ran off the gate output of the
>> first. However, it was realized that the characteristics of the HP9540 and
>> its specific application were such that two counters were not required.
>> Please refer to my HP Journal article for details.
>> The HP9540 was developed at HP's Automatic Measurement Division. This
>> division was disbanded in 1974.
>> Modulation Domain Analysis and Phase Digitizing were terms that came into
>> use with the later development of specialized stand alone instruments that
>> combined computational capability, back to back period mode counters,
>> higher clock frequencies, interpolation and algorithms for various
>> measurements. All of these were worthwhile improvements on the basic
>> technique first used in the HP9540.
>> I would be happy to answer questions. Thank you for allowing me to post
>> this information.
>> Robert Gilchrist Huenemann, M.S.E.E.
>> 120 Harbern Way
>> Hollister, CA 95023-9708
>> 831-635-0786
>> bobgh at razzolink.com
>> https://sites.google.com/site/bobhuenemann/
>> Extra Class Amateur Radio License W6RFW
>> IEEE Life Member 01189471
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