Re: Tektronix 570 Vacuum Tube Curve Tracer on eBay

Ke-Fong Lin

Hi everyone,

Maybe not in the latest upgrades, but AWACS planes still use klystron vacuum tubes for the power amplifier of their radar transmitter.

Somebody mentioned the uTracer as a modern alternative. I've actually bought one.
It may lack the power and higher voltage for the larger tubes. But it is completely adequate for preamp/small signal tubes (12AX7, EF86 etc.) or the "smaller" power tubes (cf. EL84).
I've bought mainly because I've some interest in guitar/bass amps, and the DIY building aspect was the fun part of it.

However, compared to the 570, it has quite a few shortcomings.
The heater supply is not good (square wave with filtering but without regulation).
The DIY aspect can be fun for some but a big problem for people wanting something ready to use.
In particular, the kit is basically a bare PCB, with no enclosure or even a tube socket.
The UI is a computer program, which is good. However, interfaces with lots of knobs, one per function instead of sub-menus, are more hands on experience.

So I can understand why people would prefer something like a 570. It's just too bad that prices are not-reasonnable.

By the way, even with the mentioned shortcomings, the uTracer is very nice and I'm happy with it.

Best regards,

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