They are commonly used to test coaxial cables, although they have many other uses. The US military was a major purchaser, therefore most of the first series (the 1502, no letter) will be found surplus with some sort of US military property ID tag and an NSN sticker.
Hans Geerling did most of the circuit design on the 1502.
- please add
Internals and version differences
The first version used a CRT and is an almost completely analog design except for some discrete digital logic used to pre-fire and fire the tunnel diode pulser. The later models (1502B/C) used a liquid-crystal display and a Z80 microprocessor.
The other major difference between versions is the line charging method. The 1502 uses a fast (36 ps) tunnel diode pulser, the later models used a half sine wave to charge the line. The TD pulser, with its Dirac delta edge, gives much better short range sensitivity, although it is much easier to destroy.
→ see 1502/Repairs
MOHR Test and Measurement manufactures a direct replacement to the 1502B and 1502C using an updated version of the same pulser/sampler. Any procedures or recorded waveforms are repeatable using the MOHR TDR.CT100B TDR Cable Analyzer.
- Ivan Ivanov, Two weatherproof TDR cable testers for field use. TekScope Vol.7 No.2 1975 p.3+