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Tektronix 496
Spectrum Analyzer 1 kHz to 1.8 GHz
Tektronix 496

Produced from 1982 to 1989

Manuals – Specifications – Links – Pictures

The Tektronix 496 is a spectrum analyzer with a frequency range of 1 kHz to 1.8 GHz. The P suffix designation indicates GPIB Programmability. The minimum resolution bandwidth is 30 Hz, and provides measurement resolution proportional to the frequency accuracy or span. With non-volatile memory (NVRAM) you can save up to 9 waveform displays, up to 10 complete front panel measurement parameter setups, and 8 K for programming macros of commonly used routines.

The single and delta markers provide direct readout of frequency and amplitude information of any point along any displayed trace. Or, get the relative (delta) frequency and amplitude information between any two points along any displayed trace or between traces.

Additional features include: Continuous Resolution Frequency Tuning, Up to 80 dB Viewable Dynamic Range, Built-in Frequency Counters Provide Frequency Determination to within 0.0000001%, Sensitivities to -134 dBm, Built-in Intelligence for Signal Processing/Marker Functions, Push Button Occupied-Bandwidth/Noise Normalization Functions, Macro Capability with Nonvolatile Memory, Optional Switch-Selectable 50/75Ω Impedances, GPIB Programming with Tek Codes and Formats for Standardized Bus Operation, and optional MATE/CIIL Compatibility for Military Applications.

Front panel inputs/outputs are: RF INPUT 50Ω N connector (Input connector for RF signals to 21 GHz. If input signal has a dc component use a blocking capacitor in line with the signals); CAL OUT BNC connector (Calibrator output provides -20 dBm 100 MHz signal and a comb of frequency markers 100 MHz apart). Opt. 07 adds switchable 50Ω/75Ω output. 75Ω output at +20 dBmV 100 MHz signal; 1ST LO OUTPUT SMA connector (Provides access to the output of the 1st local oscillator. Must be terminated into 50 Ω when they are not connector to an external device); 2ND LO OUTPUT SMA connector (Provides access to the output of the 2nd local oscillator. Must be terminated into 50Ω when they are not connector to an external device); Opt. 07 adds RF INPUT 75Ω TNC connector (Input connector for RF signals to 5 MHz to 1 GHz;; and Camera Power .

Rear panel inputs/outputs are: PROBE POWER (Provides operating voltages (+5V, -15 V, +15 V; 100 mA max each) for active probes); HORIZ|TRIG (EXT IN) BNC connector (A dual function connector: When in External Triggering mode the connector is an AC coupled input for trigger signals. When the TIME/DIV selection is EXT the connector is a DC coupled input for horizontal sweep voltages); MARKER/VIDEO (EXT IN) BNC connector (Available on instruments without Opt. 42 only. See 110 MHz IF for Opt. 42 instruments. This connector interfaces the spectrum analyzers with a Tektronix 1405 TV Adapter to display an externally-generated marker) 110 MHz IF (OUTPUT) BNC connector (Available on Opt. 42 utilizing the HORIZ (OUTPUT) connector. This connector provides 110 MHz IF output with a bandwidth greater than 5 MHz. Input external video signals into the PEN LIFT connector); HORIZ (OUTPUT) BNC connector (Supplies a 0.5 V/div horizontal signal); VERT (OUTPUT) BNC connector (Provides access to the video signal with 0.5 V for each division of displayed video above or below the center line.)

NOTE: Both HORIZ and VERT output signals are driven from digital storage if it is on. Both signals are driven from the analyzer sweep and video amplifier stage if digital storage is off;

PEN LIFT (OUTPUT) BNC connector (Provides access to a TTL compatible signal to lift the pen of a chart recorder during sweep retrace. This signal is always derived from the spectrum analyzer sweep. In Opt. 42 instruments, use this connector to input external video signals if pin 1 of the ACCESSORIES connector is grounded; 10 MHz IF (OUTPUT) BNC connector (Provides access to the output of the 10 MHz IF); EXT REF IN BNC connector (A 50Ω input for a 1, 2, 5, or 10 MHz external reference signals, within -15 dBm to +15 dBm level. Input signals must be a sinewave with a duty cycle symmetry of 40% to 60%, or ECL or TTL); J104 ACCESSORY (B053575 AND UP) female DB25 connector (Provides bidirectional access to the instrument bus. For instruments B053574 and below, this connector has no application.); IEEE STD 488 PORT GPIB interface (Added to all "P" suffixed instruments)

Specifications based on 1986 published documentation, unless otherwise specified.


Frequency Range 1 kHz to 1.8 GHz
Frequency Span Range (plus 0 Hz and MAX) 50 Hz to 100 MHz in 1, 2, 5 sequence
Resolution Bandwidth Range (-6 dB bandwidth) 30 Hz, then 100 Hz to 1 MHz in decade steps
RF Input impedance 50Ω
Maximum Safe Input Power CW: +30 dBm (1 W); Pulse: 75 W Pk (1 µS pulse, 0.1% duty factor)
RF Attenuator Range 0 dB to 60 dB, 10 dB steps
Reference Level Range -123 dBm to +40 dBm
Sweep Speed Range 10 sec/div to 20 µs/div in 1, 2, 5 sequence
Video Bandwidth Range 0.3 Hz to 30 kHz
Triggering Modes Free Run, Line, Video, Single, External
Displayed Average Noise −30 dBm to −131 dBm
Display Dynamic Range 80 dB
Calibrator (Cal out) 50Ω, -20 dBm ±0.3 dB at 100 MHz; Opt. 07: 75Ω, +20 dBmV ±0.3 dB at 100 MHz
Included Accessories Operator’s Manual; Operator’s Handbook; 6-ft 50Ω coaxial cable N-N; 18-inch 50Ω coaxial cable BNC-BNC; N male to BNC female adapter; rear connector shield; Power Cord; spare fuses; CRT filter set consisting of visor, blue, amber and gray light filters plus mesh filter; 496P only: Programmer Manual and GPIB cable
Weight 20 kg (44 lbs)
Power 90 − 132 VAC, 48 to 440 Hz; 180 – 250 VAC, 48 to 440 Hz. At 115 VAC, 60 Hz, 210 W max
Operating Atmospherics Temperatures: -15 °C to +55 °C; Humidity: Five cycles (120 hours) MIL-STD-810; Altitude: Up to 4.5 km (15,000 ft)
GPIB Characteristics In accordance with IEEE Standard 488-1978 implemented as SH1, AH1, T5, L3, SR1, RL1, PP1, DC1, DT1, and C0


  • Opt. 07: 75Ω dBmV input and calibration in addition to the normal 50Ω dBm input and calibration. (Not combinable with Opt. 21 and 22; no external mixer capability). Include 42-inch 75Ω BNC-BNC coax cable and BNC male to “F” female adapter.
  • Opt. 30: Rackmount with front panel input/outputs
  • Opt. 31: Rackmount with rear panel input/output capability
  • Opt. 32: Benchmount. Adds side and top panels, carrying handles and feet for a stackable benchtop configuration
  • Opt. 42: Replaces MARKER/VIDEO input port on the rear panel with a 110 MHz IF output port that provides a 3 dB signal bandwidth ≥ 4.5 MHz