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 Post subject: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sun 01, 2015 9:37 pm
Posts: 383
Location: Laflin, PA
I was looking for some input on signal tracers. I have a home brew one that works okay but wonder what others have done. I see some for sale on ebay (at what seems like crazy high prices). Any ideas/comments always appreciated.

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73's WA3TVH


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Location: Roanoke, VA
For decades I have used a Micronta (Radio Shack) 22-010 in the field and an EICO 145 in the shop.

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Dale H. Cook, Antique Radios / Test Equipment (GR/HP/Tek)
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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 882
Location: Wayside, NJ Monmouth
I have two that I use here. My go to is a NRI Model 34. Has both Audio and a TRF RF section, Magic Eye tube for signal strength. Works great as a receiver when hooked to a long wire antenna. The other is Radio City products Model 777A. Lots of audio gain, an RF probe for IF and front end work, and an Analog meter for signal strength. When doing tricky alignments the Analog meter is easier to see signal variations


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 24, 2011 3:13 pm
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Location: Ironwood, MI
I second Dale's recommendation on the EICO. I use an EICO 147, just a '145 with
a few extras and it's served me very well.


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 30, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Sunbury, Ohio 43074
I recommend an Eico, Paco, or Heathkit for the best price most likely. Yes, FleaBay tends to ask stupidly high prices, and some people actually pay them. But you can always submit a "best offer" and see if they bite. I've been successful perhaps 50% of the time with those. Do not forget to check the "sold" listings ... see what people actually PAID, not what was being asked.

For the best price .... hamfests, local auctions, garage sales.... they turn up. Even occasionally at the large commercial flea markets, and usually for well under $50, some as low as $25.

happy hunting.

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Last edited by Barry H Bennett on Feb Sun 04, 2018 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 5:45 pm 
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Joined: May Wed 18, 2011 2:40 am
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Location: Littleton, MA
I like my Knight signal tracer.
http://antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtop ... 8&t=331354

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Last edited by stevebyan on Feb Sun 04, 2018 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Jul Mon 26, 2010 8:30 pm
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Location: Annapolis, MD
And now, for something a little different.....apologies to Monty Python.

I don't use a signal tracer----never have. The method?
Start from the audio section. Once that's working, it becomes the tester to see if the IF works....etc.
In maybe 5% of all cases, the scope might get turned on also......

Signal injector?.....finger on the grid.
getting serious?....signal generator. ( but even that is not strictly necessary. It is quite possible to align a simple AM set using only the received stations.)

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"It's always something". --Gilda Radner (1946 - 1989)


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Nov Tue 14, 2017 5:09 am
Posts: 701
Location: Austin, Texas
I've had a Knight Kit signal tracer/wattmeter for over 50 years. I still use it fairly often. Good for tracking down noisy components. There are a lot of similar testers. Solid state might be nice but we like tubes or we wouldn't be here.


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4304
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
Hi Bob,
There were always two methods of radio testing and troubleshooting: (1) using signal injection via an RF signal generator and (2) using the signal tracer method. Either method can be successful, provided you know how to do so. Perhaps the greatest proponent of the signal tracer method was the highly-esteemed John F. Rider who developed his famous Chanalyst signal tracer, which he later sold to RCA.

Just like pixellany, I use the signal injection method since that was how I was taught and started out with, and am thus most comfortable with. I do own a Heathkit T-2 signal tracer, but use it primarily only for its built-in test speaker and multiple-tap universal output transformer.

As for signal tracer recommendations, the Heathkit T-2, T-3 and T-4 are good service-grade units, all of them still easily found at fairly low prices at swap meets, on eBay or via a WTB Classified ad here in the ARF. Parts and documentation for these are readily available, making them very easy to restore and use.

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Poston


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 10:03 pm 
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Location: Laflin, PA
Poston Drake wrote:
Hi Bob,
There were always two methods of radio testing and troubleshooting: (1) using signal injection via an RF signal generator and (2) using the signal tracer method. Either method can be successful, provided you know how to do so. Perhaps the greatest proponent of the signal tracer method was the highly-esteemed John F. Rider who developed his famous Chanalyst signal tracer, which he later sold to RCA.

Just like pixellany, I use the signal injection method since that was how I was taught and started out with, and am thus most comfortable with. I do own a Heathkit T-2 signal tracer, but use it primarily only for its built-in test speaker and multiple-tap universal output transformer.

As for signal tracer recommendations, the Heathkit T-2, T-3 and T-4 are good service-grade units, all of them still easily found at fairly low prices at swap meets, on eBay or via a WTB Classified ad here in the ARF. Parts and documentation for these are readily available, making them very easy to restore and use.


Right now I am trying to trouble shoot a Crosley 66TA that has a crackling noise. Running out of ideas. Had to change every wire in the thing and that is never good. I would like a better tracer just to have, mine is a homemade probe and a Radio Shack mono amp. Somehow I think a tube tracer might be a better fit for these old radios. Spent a few hours yesterday and today trying to find the issue. Not bad on the AM bad but more pronounced on the SW bands. Sounds like something that would be easy to spot.

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73's WA3TVH


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7430
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA
You need a tracer with a noise injection feature (common with Eico brand).

Components sometimes get noisy making intermittent cracking sound when exposed to the DC power supply voltage in a radio. The noise feature of the tracer will inject a high voltage onto a component in question while simultaneously enabling the trace feature. I used this to find a noisy bypass capacitor in a Radiola 17.


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Sun 04, 2018 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sun 01, 2015 9:37 pm
Posts: 383
Location: Laflin, PA
Dale Saukerson wrote:
You need a tracer with a noise injection feature (common with Eico brand).

Components sometimes get noisy making intermittent cracking sound when exposed to the DC power supply voltage in a radio. The noise feature of the tracer will inject a high voltage onto a component in question while simultaneously enabling the trace feature. I used this to find a noisy bypass capacitor in a Radiola 17.

thanks for the input... other than a few resistors and some mica caps nothing much left to look at. Going to make another pass looking for bad solder joints. this one has been a bit of a mystery, this may be an old issue with the radio. I have a repair invoice from 1976 that indicates an issue they could not solve. But in my case I work for free and I will keep digging.

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Bob
73's WA3TVH


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 3:21 am 
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Joined: May Sun 13, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 11331
Location: Central PA 16801
a restored eico 147a for tube sets (please use with isolation transformers)

a restored solid state eico 150 for solid state equip

steve

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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Wed 07, 2018 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sun 01, 2015 9:37 pm
Posts: 383
Location: Laflin, PA
Thanks for the all the input. I picked up a Eico 145 which I did not think was over priced. At least these Eico units have information available. I looked at the circuit layout and it sure looks simple enough.

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Bob
73's WA3TVH


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 Post subject: Re: Signal Tracer Recommendations
PostPosted: Feb Wed 07, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 15, 2006 7:56 am
Posts: 1154
Location: germany
here in use is the Heathkit Set, VTVM + IT12 Signaltracer + RMS VTVM
greetings
Martin


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