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"Thinking like a customer is not too bad a way to design products." - Bob Pease, National Semi, Pease Porridge

Today in Science History

Electronics & Tech  Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe - Archive -

• SpaceX to Launch 7,500 More Communication Satellites

• National Emerging Markets Can Support the 5G Ecosystem

• Ofcom Investigates Mid-Contract Price Rises

• Congress Crafting American Music Fairness Act re Broadcasting

• Time-Frequency Dissemination Breaks Distance Record

• Senator Endorses Keeping AM Radio in Cars (a good thing)

• Making Science More Accessible to People with Disabilities

• LoRa Alliance Includes SCHC in LoRaWAN Certification Program

• China Mass Producing Autonomous Self-Driving Cars

Electronics-Themed Comics c1956

Electronics-Themed Comics January 1956 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeThis set of electronics-themed comics from a 1956 issue of Radio−Electronics magazine hits on a variety of topics that were big in the day. Computers were coming into the public realm rather than just being a sci-fi wonder. Home personal computers were still a couple decades away, but mainframes were being imposed on the public through accounting and merchandising venues, rather than just curiosities of research laboratories. The "large screen" 27" television cabinet was necessarily deep enough to park a car in because cathode ray tubes (CRT's) were used, not flat screen plasma, LCD, or LED displays. Look closely at the captionless hospital scene to see what's going on there. Finally, as usual, the trials and travails of the typical TV repairman is included...

TeraByte InfraRed Delivery Fastest Laser Link from Space

TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) Fastest Laser Link from Space - RF Cafe"In May 2022, the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) payload onboard a small CubeSat satellite was launched into orbit 300 miles above Earth's surface. Since then, TBIRD has delivered terabytes of data at record-breaking rates of up to 100 gigabits per second - 100 times faster than the fastest internet speeds in most cities - via an optical communication link to a ground-based receiver in California. This data rate is more than 1,000 times higher than that of the radio-frequency links traditionally used for satellite communication and the highest ever achieved by a laser link from space to ground. And these record-setting speeds were all made possible by a communications payload roughly the size of a tissue box. MIT Lincoln Laboratory conceptualized the TBIRD mission in 2014 as a means of providing unprecedented capability to science missions at low cost. Science instruments in space today routinely generate more data than can be returned to Earth over typical space-to-ground communications links..."

International Geophysical Year First Day Cover

International Geophysical Year First Day Cover - RF CafeAn avid philatelist in my teens and twenties, I collected, along with other stamp varieties, many First Day Covers, which are specially designed envelopes bearing a new stamp design and are postmarked in the city, on the day which they are formally released. Last night I finally got around to digging out my First Day Cover commemorating The International Geophysical Year (IGY), released on May 31, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. The IGY (actually IGYaaH - IG year-and-a-half) began on July 1, 1957 and ran through December 31, 1958. It was the dawn of space / high altitude flight and there was a great need to learn as much as possible about the physics of the upper atmosphere and the void of space. The USSR successfully flew their first three Sputnik satellites and the U.S. was scrambling to get Echo into orbit (finally on August 12, 1960, after the end of IGY). "During this time, more than 5,000 scientists and engineers of more than 60 nations are conducting intensive investigation and study of the earth, the atmosphere and the sun. Into these 18 months are crammed 30 or 40 ordinary years of research as science attempts...

The Ear and High Fidelity

The Ear and High Fidelity, March 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeJust as optimizing the transmission path between an RF transmitter and receiver helps guarantee the best possible fidelity in receiving an exact copy of the transmitted signal, so, too, does optimizing the signal path for an audio signal help guarantee a faithful replicate of the original sound. This article from the March 1959 edition of Popular Electronics magazine is a primer on the topic of understanding how the human ear perceives sound, and how to best facilitate a good match between the speaker and the ear drum. In the era, home-base hi-fi equipment was a big deal, as was building out listening areas for optimal performance. Room floor, wall and ceiling materials and finishes, dimensions, and placement of furniture, window coverings, wall decorations, etc., were all taken into account for serious audiophiles...

Linear Integrated Circuits

Linear Integrated Circuits, November 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeHere is a sample of what passed as big news in the electronics world in 1965 as reported in none other than Electronics World magazine. Linear integrated circuits were beginning to be designed into commercial products and a lot of effort and money was invested in promoting the newfangled technology to the public. Prices were rapidly falling as acceptance increased. The truth is the vast majority of the general public had no idea what the difference was between vacuum tube and semiconductor equipped radios, televisions, phonographs, tape recorders, etc., from a performance standpoint. What they did notice was the smaller size, lack of warm-up time, and lower power consumption (i.e., less heat). Prices were about the same at the beginning of the technology transition. Some anti-semiconductor naysayers tried to argue that at least with tube equipment you had a chance of fixing a malfunctioning unit simply by replacing a $1 tube, but failed to note that the equivalent semiconductor product almost never experienced a failure. Of course there were some crappy transistorized products, but that was the exception rather than the rule...

RF & Electronics Symbols for Office™

RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols for Office™ r2 - RF CafeIt was a lot of work, but I finally finished a version of the "RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols" that works well with Microsoft Office™ programs Word™, Excel™, and Power Point™. This is an equivalent of the extensive set of amplifier, mixer, filter, switch, connector, waveguide, digital, analog, antenna, and other commonly used symbols for system block diagrams and schematics created for Visio™. Each of the 1,000 or so symbols was exported individually from Visio in the EMF file format, then imported into Word on a Drawing Canvas. The EMF format allows an image to be scaled up or down without becoming pixelated, so all the shapes can be resized in a document and still look good. The imported symbols can also be UnGrouped into their original constituent parts for editing. Check them out!

Thanks to PCB Directory for Continued Support!

PCB  Directory - RF CafeThe leading website for the PCB industry. PCB Directory is the largest directory of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacturers, Assembly houses, and Design Services on the Internet. We have listed the leading printed circuit board manufacturers around the world and made them searchable by their capabilities - Number of laminates used, Board thicknesses supported, Number of layers supported, Types of substrates (FR-4, Rogers, flexible, rigid), Geographical location (U.S., China), kinds of services (manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, prototype), and more. Fast turn-around on quotations for PCB fabrication and assembly.

Linear Integrated Circuits

Linear Integrated Circuits, November 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeHere is a sample of what passed as big news in the electronics world in 1965 as reported in none other than Electronics World magazine. Linear integrated circuits were beginning to be designed into commercial products and a lot of effort and money was invested in promoting the newfangled technology to the public. Prices were rapidly falling as acceptance increased. The truth is the vast majority of the general public had no idea what the difference was between vacuum tube and semiconductor equipped radios, televisions, phonographs, tape recorders, etc., from a performance standpoint. What they did notice was the smaller size, lack of warm-up time, and lower power consumption (i.e., less heat). Prices were about the same at the beginning of the technology transition. Some anti-semiconductor naysayers tried to argue that at least with tube equipment you had a chance of fixing a malfunctioning unit simply by replacing a $1 tube, but failed to note that the equivalent semiconductor product almost never experienced a failure. Of course there were some crappy transistorized products, but that was the exception rather than the rule...

Quantum Teleportation Opens "Wormhole in Space-Time"

Quantum Teleportation Opens a "Wormhole in Space-Time" - RF Cafe"The equivalent to a wormhole in space-time has been created on a quantum processor. Researchers in the U.S. used an advanced quantum teleportation protocol to open the wormhole and send quantum signals through it. By studying the dynamics of the transmitted quantum information, the team gained insights into gravitational dynamics. The experiment could be further developed to explore quantum gravity or string theory. A wormhole is a bridge in space-time that connects two different locations. While wormholes are consistent with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, they have not been observed by physicists. Unlike wormholes in science fiction, they are not traversable – meaning things cannot pass through them. Although general relativity forbids travelling through a wormhole, it is theorized that exotic matter..."

Lafayette Chassis Model B−100 Radio Service Data Sheet

Lafayette Chassis Model B-100 (Table Model B-103; Console Models B-101, B-102) Radio Service Data Sheet, August 1941 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThe Radio Service Data Sheets that were published in Radio−Craft magazine usually seem to have more information included than those published in other magazines, at least in the same era (1940-ish). It might have to do with how much material is provided by the manufacturer rather than a decision by the magazine editors. Either way, here are the schematics, chassis layout, and service info for the Lafayette Model B−100 through B−103. As with most radios built in the era, the woodwork and artistic design of the cabinet are exquisite. There are still people searching for such data, but fortunately the Internet is making it much easier to locate. None of the three models show up on eBay as of this writing...

Anatech Intros 3 Filters for December 2022

Anatech Electronics Intros 3 Filter Models for December 2022 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics offers the industry's largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Three new filter models have been introduced - a 650 MHz LC lowpass filter with a maximum passband 1 dB insertion loss (SMA connectors), a 30 MHz LC lowpass filter with a minimum passband return loss of 15 dB (N connectors), and a 3800 MHz lowpass filter with a maximum insertion loss of 1 dB (SMA connectors). Custom RF power filter and directional couplers designs can be designed and produced with required connector types when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements are such that a custom approach is necessary...

Portable Satellite Communications Link

Portable Satellite Communications Link, February 1967 Electronics World - RF CafeHere you are - portable satellite communications in the mid 1960s per this photo from Electronics World magazine. It has a unique "cloverleaf" ganged parabolic antenna array with phasing control. Today, we have "manpack" type systems which use compact antennas that can be quickly assembled and disassembled in any environment, along with receivers that have sensitivities much greater than the type shown here. As the name implies, they are transportable in backpack form. Software-defined radio (SDR) technology facilitates programmable modulation and frequency band operation. The Mark V AN/TSC-54 Satellite Communications Link Terminal featured here operated at 8/7.5 GHz up/down. An information page for the Mark V AN/TSC-54 can be found on the GlobalSecurity.org website, which includes in part, "It is completely transportable in two C-130 cargo aircraft." I guess the definition of "portable" has changed a bit since then...

Please Visit Empower RF's Website in Appreciation of Their Support

Empower RF Systems - RF CafeEmpower RF Systems is the technological leader in RF & microwave power amplifier solutions for EW, Radar, Satcom, Threat Simulation, Communications, and Product Testing. Our air and liquid cooled amplifiers incorporate the latest semiconductor and power combining technologies and with a patented architecture we build the most sophisticated and flexible COTS system amplifiers in the world. Solutions range from tens of watts to hundreds of kilowatts and includes basic PA modules to scalable rack systems.

Post Your Engineer & Technician Job Openings on RF Cafe for Free

Engineering Job Board - RF CafeRF Cafe's raison d'être is and always has been to provide useful, quality content for engineers, technicians, engineering managers, students, and hobbyists. Part of that mission is offering to post applicable job openings. HR department employees and/or managers of hiring companies are welcome to submit opportunities for posting at no charge. 3rd party recruiters and temp agencies are not included so as to assure a high quality of listings. Please read through the easy procedure to benefit from RF Cafe's high quality visitors...

Electronic Crosswords

Electronic Crosswords, November 1962 Electronics World - RF CafeCrossword puzzles appeared fairly regularly in electronics magazines in the 1960's and 1970's, then for some reason disappeared. I have been a worker of crossword puzzles on nearly a daily basis for as long as I can remember throughout my 64 year lifetime. For the past 20 years I have been making weekly electronics-themed crossword puzzles for RF Cafe visitors. To be honest, I have no idea how many people work them; maybe I've been wasting my time. This "Electronic Crosswords" appeared in the November 1962 issue of Electronics World magazine. A list of all the other crosswords from vintage magazines is located at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

Pulse-Position Modulation for Wireless Data and Power Transfer

Pulse-Position Modulation Scheme Holds Promise for Wireless Transfer of Data and Power at Once - RF Cafe"Simultaneous wireless information and power transfer (SWIPT) is a promising technology to connect and energize low-power devices wirelessly over a long distance, suiting it for IoT implementations. But today's state-of-the-art low-power SWIPT receivers still consume much more energy for communication than the amount they can harvest, which hinders further development and growth of the IoT ecosystem. In a potential game changer, scientists at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University developed an innovative signal design for a simultaneous wireless information and power transfer system. The proposed pulse-position modulation (PPM) scheme enhances power-transfer efficiency and reduces data-decoding energy consumption - a double advantage - besides performing better than conventional systems. The technique may ultimately bolster IoT technology. Prior work in the SWIPT arena highlights two common receiver architectures based on time-switching and power-splitting schemes..."

Practical Techniques of Square-Wave Testing

Practical Techniques of Square-Wave Testing, July 1957 Radio & TV News - RF CafeIf you work with oscilloscopes on a regular basis, you know know one of the first things you do (or should do) is to calibrate the frequency response of the probe by hooking it onto the squarewave port and tweaking the probe capacitor for no overshooting or undershooting at the waveform edges, and then verify that the displayed amplitude is correct. I remember being amazed during engineering courses at learning that any periodic waveform can be described mathematically as the sum of sinewaves at various frequencies, amplitudes, and phases. Knowing the theory behind those waveforms - particularly standard ones like squarewaves, trianglewaves, sawtooths, etc. - really helps in understanding what you see on the o-scope and in troubleshooting problems. The same goes for interpreting the impulse and step function responses as influenced by resistance, capacitance, and inductance effects. Perhaps the most amazing thing I learned about squarewaves is that, based on the Gibbs phenomenon, anything short of an infinite series of additive sinewaves when representing a squarewave results in an overshoot - albeit vanishingly minute - at the edge. In the real world, complex reactive/resistive effects render the effect undetectable...

Exodus AMP2136P−LC−8KW, 2-4 GHz, 8 kW, S−Band SSPA

Exodus 2.0-4.0 GHz, 8 kW, Solid State S-Band Pulse Amplifier - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. We are pleased to present the new Exodus Model AMP2136P−LC−8KW, a pulse amplifier designed for Pulse/HIRF, EMC/EMI Mil-Std 461/464 and Radar applications. AMP2136P−LC−8KW provides superb pulse fidelity and up to 100 μsec pulse widths. Duty cycles to 6% with a minimum 69 dB gain. Available monitoring parameters for forward/reflected power in watts and dBm, VSWR, voltage, current, temperature sensing for outstanding reliability and ruggedness for compact integrations.

Short-Wave Report: Reception Versus Jamming

Short-Wave Report: Reception Versus Jamming, April 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeNobody younger than about 35 years old was alive when the "Iron Curtain" was still in place. That was where the Communist countries were able to keep outside information from the rest of the free world from getting to their oppressed citizens. The Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and other regimes had a vested interest in keeping people from learning that not everybody lived in squalor as they did. Maybe you remember the tales of Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs needing to be secreted into the countries because the Communists feared their influence. The type of radio signal jamming mentioned in this 1959 issue of Popular Electronics magazine was common during the Cold War era. Modern communications has made information dissemination ubiquitous, even in the still-Communist countries - like Russia, China, and North Korea...

RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF & Electronics stencils for Visio r4 - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Stencils available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings! Every stencil symbol has been built to fit proportionally on the included A-, B-, and C-size drawing page templates (or use your own page if preferred). Components are provided for system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, schematics, test equipment, racks (EIA 19", ETSI 21"), and more. Test equipment and racks are built at a 1:1 scale so that measurements can be made directly using Visio built-in dimensioning objects. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Many Thanks to Axiom Test Equipment for Continued Support!

Axiom Test Equipment - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment allows you to rent or buy test equipment, repair test equipment, or sell or trade test equipment. They are committed to providing superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. Axiom offers customers several practical, efficient, and cost effective solutions for their projects' TE needs and is committed to providing superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. For anyone seeking a way to offload surplus or obsolete equipment, they offer a trade-in program or they will buy the equipment from you. Some vintage items are available fully calibrated. Please check out Axiom Test Equipment today - and don't miss the blog articles!

The Field-Effect Transistor

The Field-Effect Transistor, November 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeHere is a bit of history of the field effect transistor's (FET) history presented in a 1965 issue of Electronics World magazine. Author Gene Jackson mentions how the FET was being researched in laboratories toward the end of World War II, predating the junction type transistor developed by Ball Labs, with the first working model announced in late 1947. A primary difference between the bipolar junction transistor (BJT) and the junction FET is that the BJT is current-controlled and the FET is voltage-controlled (like a vacuum tube). The abbreviation JFET is not mentioned in reference to the junction FET, although MOSFET is used for the metal-oxide-semiconductor FET. Magazine editor William Stocklin adds a comment about the difference between electron current flow (negative to positive) and conventional current flow (positive to negative), which was a relatively new distinction at the time. See the follow-on article...

John Bardeen's Transistorized Music Box

John Bardeen's Terrific Transistorized Music Box - RF Cafe"This simple gadget showed off the magic of the first transistor. In 1949 an engineer at Bell Labs built three music boxes to show off the new transistors. Each Transistor Oscillator-Amplifier Box contained an oscillator-amplifier circuit and two point-contact transistors powered by a B-type battery. It electronically produced five distinct tones, although the sounds were not exactly melodious delights to the ear. The box's design was a simple LC circuit, consisting of a capacitor and an inductor. The capacitance was selectable using the switch bank, which Bardeen 'played' when he demonstrated the box. Bell Labs used one of the boxes to demonstrate the transistor's portability. In early demonstrations, the instantaneous response of the circuits wowed witnesses, who were accustomed to having to wait for vacuum tubes to warm up. The other two music boxes went to Bardeen and Brattain. Only Bardeen's survives..."

Shocking But True

Shocking But True, August 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeVictims of electrical shock have been around as long as experiments in electricity and electrical appliances have been around. For that matter, even ancient men unfortunate enough to have come into contact with an electric eel or a lightning bolt, or even those who rubbed against sheep's wool in an arid environment and then reached for a metal implement, know the pain of an electrical shock... or worse. This article in the August 1959 edition of Popular Electronics warns readers of the dangers lurking at the end of every electrical cord. One of the cartoons shows a guy being zapped while using an electric drill. About a year after graduating from high school, a friend of mine was using a power saw in a garage that had a damp, dirt floor. Even as late as the mid 1970s there were still a lot of power tools that had metal bodies, and usually had no ground wire. Electrocutions were not uncommon. My friend died from his contact with 120 VAC...

Curved Lines on Orion Solar Panels?

Orion Solar Panel Curved Lines - RF CafeDo you have any idea what the curved lines and other patterns visible on the Orion Artemis moon probe are? I cannot find any information on them. NASA assembly photos show only a bluish regular matrix of solar cells with no hint of these patterns. They look like digital oscilloscope displays resembling various waveforms and text blocks. I've never seen anything like it. Are they circuit elements showing through from behind the PV cells? Maybe this is a way of communicating with the space aliens who monitor Earth activity and live among us ;-)

Jensen Christmas Radio Advertisement

Jensen Christmas Radio Advertisement, January 1945 Radio News - RF CafeSeeing an advertisement like this from a national corporation - especially one that did work for the government - in a major magazine would be rare these days. In 1945 when this Christmas advertisement was proffered by Jensen Radio Manufacturing Company in Radio News magazine, it was meant as an inoffensive message of thanks and goodwill to all people, and particularly to servicemen. Today, some would like to prosecute the purveyor for the crime of "hate speech," which is basically anything suggesting America's founding was fundamentally righteous and just. "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Please see the RF Cafe Homepage Archives for previous items of interest...

Innovative Power Products Resistors Terminations
Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) - RF Cafe
Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation - RF Cafe
Triad RF Systems Amplifiers - RF Cafe
Windfreak Technologies Frequency Synthesizers - RF Cafe

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About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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