Frequency counter up to 12GHz



  • Lab bench device that counts signals from below 500MHz to above 12 GHz
  • Input signal levels of -20dBm to +10dBm are accepted
  • Runs on 9V DC power supply (roughly 100mA)
  • Shows the frequency to a precision of 10kHz at an update rate of 128ms
  • Shows frequency drift of the input signal in ppm/s at an update rate of 128ms (moving average over 16 cycles)

Working principle

The counter device is based on the ATmega16 counter that was published already on this site. It uses a prescaler module with a HMC363 integrated circuit from Hittie Microwave to divide the input signal frequency by a factor of 1000. The module is available on flee markets around central Europe. I have purchased it for 50 Euros which I believe is a fair price. The down scaled signal (up to 12MHz at input signals up to 12GHz) can easily be counted the counter circuit which was tested ok up to 70MHz.

Inside views

12ghz_cnt_inside_scaled hmc363_prescaler_scaled

Software (version 3.0 is now available for download)