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Oscilloscopes, 5th Edition by Ian Hickman

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Preface to fifth edition
Keeping this book up to date is rather like painting Edinburgh's
famous bridge over the Firth of Forth - no sooner do they get to the
end than it's time to start all over again at the beginning. In the
same way, no sooner does a new edition of this book come out than
one or other of the oscilloscopes illustrated or featured will go out
of production, usually to be replaced by a later, improved model.
And as for Appendix 2, one can more or less guarantee that by the
time a new edition is in the offing, at least 50 per cent of the
manufacturers or their agents will have changed their address or
telephone number.
As ever, the performance and value for money offered by the
current models have advanced considerably since the appearance
of the last (fourth) edition. This is a continuing source of mild
surprise and quiet satisfaction for anyone who has been interested
in the oscilloscope scene for any length of time - which in my case
amounts to nigh on fifty years.
My first scope, home built for cheapness of course, was a home-
brew conversion of an ex-RAF Indicator Unit Type 182A, which
incorporated a VCR517C cathode ray tube. The unit was available
on the post-war military equipment surplus market for a few
pounds, a lot of money in those days - especially for a lad still at
school. Even so, it was considerably cheaper than units containing
the more popular VCR97 cathode ray tube, with its short-
persistence green phosphor. So, for reasons of financial stringency,
my first oscilloscope had a long persistence cathode ray tube with a
blue 'flash' and yellow 'afterglow'. In its original role as a radar
display, a glass filter tinted deep yellow in front of the screen
suppressed the flash, but I removed this, making the tube rather
less inappropriate for oscilloscope duty. Nevertheless, the afterglow
was always a nuisance except for single shot applications or during
extended observation of a stable triggered waveform- unfortu-
nately I never thought of putting a deep blue filter in front of the
screen. (A subsequent conversion to TV use was even less

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