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HP Harmonic Wave Analyzer 300A

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  • Evan
    For those who missed the detail from the InfoAge follow-up message --- our club inheritered an HP Harmonic Wave Analyzer 300A this weekend. It s not a
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 16, 2005
      For those who missed the detail from the InfoAge follow-up message --- our
      club inheritered an HP Harmonic Wave Analyzer 300A this weekend. It's not a
      computer, but it's very, very vintage! The 300A line began in 1941,
      approximately when Bill Hewlett was away in the Army. HP's own history web
      site has very little information about the 300A, but I found this on another
      site:

      -----------
      This was a harmonic wave analyzer which is also known as a tuned voltmeter
      or manually tuned spectrum analyzer and can measure the signal amplitude
      within a narrow band around a selected frequency. The continuous frequency
      range was from 30 to 16,000 Hz and the -3dB bandwidth was continuously
      variable between 3 Hz and 20 Hz (the dial was calibrated at half the
      bandwidth at the -40 dB level for a range of 30 Hz to 145 Hz). This was a
      complicated instrument and took above average knowledge to operate but was
      capable of measuring signals not possible with any other instrument. It was
      aimed at audio frequency applications and it was a must have piece of
      equipment for any serious audio laboratory.

      http://www.kennethkuhn.com/hpmuseum/hp_prod.htm
      -----------

      I contacted the archivists at HP and at Agilent (the former HP
      test/measurment division). The guy at Agilent said that when I send him the
      serial number, he can find out exactly when ours was made, how many were
      made in total, what kinds of documentation were available, and possibly if
      Dave Packard worked on this himself. He said that he's not allowed to cite
      a monetary value, but I found another web site of a guy in Alabama who's
      said to be a HP test equipment guru -- http://www.kennethkuhn.com/hpmuseum/
      -- his reaction was "wow, that's a real classic!" when I told him what we
      have. As with the Agilent guy, he also would like to know the serial
      number. So I left a message for Fred to please check that next time he's in
      the storage area.

      -----------------------------------------
      Evan Koblentz's personal homepage: http://www.snarc.net
      Also see: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midatlanticretro/
      Where did PDAs come from? http://www.snarc.net/pda/pda-treatise.htm

      *** Tell your friends about the (free!) Computer Collector Newsletter
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    • billdeg@aol.com
      Pretty sophisticated piece for its day. Thanks for the info. In a message dated 8/16/2005 5:04:20 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... in
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 16, 2005
        Pretty sophisticated piece for its day. Thanks for the info.

        In a message dated 8/16/2005 5:04:20 PM Eastern Standard Time,
        evan947@... writes:

        > As with the Agilent guy, he also would like to know the serial
        > number. So I left a message for Fred to please check that next time he's
        in
        > the storage area.
      • Evan
        ... It was good talking with you today. I am glad that there are people interested in preserving history. Here is what information I have on the HP300A. It was
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 16, 2005

          >>> Pretty sophisticated piece for its day

          Yup!  I just got a follow-up email from Ken, he says:

          ------------------------

          It was good talking with you today. I am glad that there are people interested in preserving history. Here is what information I have on the HP300A. It was manufactured from the early 1940s to 1958. It was replaced in 1959 by the HP302A which covered a wider frequency range and was transistorized. I know that there were at least 1,619 units made and the total is probably close to 2,000. The list price of one in 1947 was $625 and was $725 in 1958.

          As for the present value of one -- it is hard to say. I watch ebay auctions all the time and the only HP300A I ever saw was listed for around $125 and that is probably what it sold for. The cost to the buyer would have been perhaps $75 to $100 more for shipping. If two collectors were in a bidding war over one I could see the price going to several hundred dollars. But there are probably very few collectors interested in one. I have a lot of vintage HP equipment in my collection and I would love to also own an HP300A except that it is too heavy for me to move around and my space is now very limited. The HP300A is a great treasure -- it was a status symbal of the 1940's and 1950's as many people dreamed of owning one. It was a challenge to operate and took a lot of skill.

          All for now. Stay in touch,

          Ken

          -----------------------
           
          PS - Ken's in Alabama and I invited him to attend VCF East next spring.
           


          From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of billdeg@...
          Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 10:40 PM
          To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] HP Harmonic Wave Analyzer 300A

          Pretty sophisticated piece for its day.  Thanks for the info.

          In a message dated 8/16/2005 5:04:20 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          evan947@... writes:

          > As with the Agilent guy, he also would
          like to know the serial
          >  number.  So I left a message for Fred
          to please check that next time he's
          in
          >  the storage
          area.
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