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Accurate measurement of millimetre wave systems in terms of their noise performance is dependent on the evolution of appropriate and convenient standards. The popular use of noise diodes as a transfer standard have limitations in terms of their frequency coverage and absolute accuracy. Consequently significant errors arise in the calibration of sensitive radiometers and other low noise components or instruments. A convenient laboratory cryogenic primary standard is described which allows improved accuracy whilst extending the prior art to frequencies as high as 170 GHz.