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Today in Science History

Rotary Engine Fires Like a Six-Shooter

Rotary Engine Fires Like a Six-Shooter, August 1961 Popular Science - RF CafeDig those crazy curved pistons, man. They are righteous! That was the sort of hip lingo just beginning to hit the scene in 1961 when this "Rotary Engine Fires Like a Six-Shooter" article appeared in Popular Science magazine. It was not a Wankel type rotary engine in that it still used pistons and connecting rods like a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE). Looking as surreal as the watches in Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" painting, the pistons' shape conforms to the arched cylinder in which it reciprocates a few thousand times per minute. How someone thinks up a scheme like this is beyond me. It took a couple readings to truly get a grasp on the operation. The writer is a bit misleading when asserting that the pistons are not really reciprocating in the cylinders, but in fact they are; they are just not driven by the traditional crankshaft. The engine's configuration reminds me of a modern brushless motor where the armature remains fixed and the field...

High Life: The Bill Comes Due

Editorial - High Life: The Bill Comes Due, May 18, 1964 Electronics Magazine - RF CafeAccording to Electronics magazine editor Lewis Young in mid-1964, the industry was entering into a slump in business opportunities. The boom times provided during the war years of WWII and Korea had resulted in, according to Mr. Young, a lax attitude toward operational strategy that led to wasteful spending and poor accountability for project results. It wasn't just the defense contractors' fault because government bureaucrats - from relatively low ranking military personnel to elected lawmakers - had (have) a habit of making sudden changes to contract requirements. Maintaining the resources needed to keep up with ever-evolving demands necessitated a lot of the excess. Fortunately, the military-industrial complex, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed it, was on the verge of being thrown another huge monetary bone - the Vietnam War. President Kennedy was already pumping lots of equipment and manpower into it, and LBJ would follow suit with vigor. The money pipeline was filling up quickly; the electronics industry...

Mac's Service Shop: Electronics and the Energy Crisis

Mac's Service Shop: Electronics and the Energy Crisis, April 1974 Popular Electronics - RF CafeI'm old enough to remember the 1973 Oil Crisis era (the subject of Mac McGregor's and Barney's discussion) that resulted from an oil embargo instituted by Arab oil producing nations during the Yom Kippur War where Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. I didn't get my driver's license until Fall of 1974 (turned 16 on August 18th), so the worst of it was pretty much over by then. However, I clearly remember sitting in long lines at the gas station with my father, and then being limited in the amount that could be purchased (i.e., no fill-ups). Gas prices jumped from a national average of 38.5¢/gallon in May 1973 to 55.1¢/gallon in June 1974 (43% increase in a year). According to the BLS' Inflation Calculator, that is the equivalent of about $3.52/gallon in 2024 money. That's about what gas is costing right now, so today we're paying oil embargo era rates (thank you Brandon). If you were fortunate enough to own a boat during those times...

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.

Robot Makes Radios

Robot Makes Radios, September 1947 Radio-Craft - RF CafeBritish engineer John Sargrove was to the production of radios what Henry Ford was to automobiles. At the time this "Robot Makes Radios" article appeared in a 1947 issue of Radio-Craft magazine, Sargrove had recently put his Electronic Circuit Making Equipment (ECME) fully automated assembly line into operation. Applying knowledge from two decades of developing methods of creating inductors, capacitors, resistors, and interconnecting conductors using controlled deposition of various materials on flat substrates, he was able to build 2-tube AC/DC radios at a rate of up to three per minute, with only two ECME operators - one at the input and one at the output. The only manual assembly required was the installation of a potentiometer-switch, a transformer, speaker, and a power cord, plus joining the two fabricated Bakelite plates together. You will be amazed at what Mr. Sargrove's machine did. Unfortunately, raw material shortages after a grueling war...

Transistor Circuitry

Transistor Circuitry, December 1953 QST - RF CafeTransistor basics have not changed since they were first introduced to the market around 1953, when this issue of QST magazine reported on them. The first available transistors used germanium substrates, and then in 1954 Texas Instruments introduced the first commercial silicon transistor. The hybrid pi equivalent circuit for a PN junction transistor used in modern circuit simulators has many more "virtual" components in it that allow for high frequency and nonlinear operation modeling, but for audio and AM type that operates entirely within the linear region, the equivalent circuit presented in Figure 1 will still get the job done. Common−(aka grounded−) emitter, common−base, and common−collector circuits are discussed. I remember in college in the mid 1980s running SPICE simulations on an IBM XT computer where the transistor model...

Do It With Diodes

Do It With Diodes, February 1961 Radio-Electronics - RF Cafe"Do it with <fill in the blank>," was a popular form of saying back in the 1960s and 70s. It is a form of double entendre, so people thought it was clever. I never did. This "Do It With Diodes" article from a 1961 issue of Radio Electronics magazine is an example. The term "diode" was not new to the electronics field at the time, as vacuum tube diodes and selenium rectifiers had been around for half a century. However, the newfangled semiconductor form of diodes were just coming on the scene. Germanium and silicon were the compounds available for commercial devices. More exotic materials were still in research laboratories. Author Donald Stoner provides a layman's level introduction to semiconductor diode fabrication and operation. Voltage, current, and power handling capacity was still fairly low. Prices for common diode types had dropped to a point that were making them competitive options...

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics September 1958 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeGood, clean humor has always been a welcome addition to my day whether it comes in the form of a printed comic strip, a TV show, or someone's mouth. My father's side of the family was populated with many jokesters who could be counted on to deliver an ad hoc pun or zinger at the appropriate moment. The environment instilled a great appreciation for such entertainment, so these electronics-themed comics that appeared in editions of trade and hobby magazines like Radio-Electronics, Popular Electronics, et al, are a refreshing distraction from the workaday world. An old saying claims "laughter is the best medicine*," and while it cannot cure cancer, a good dose of humor often helps ease the pain...

Short Waves and War

Short Waves and War, November 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeHere in one short editorial article, Hugo Gernsback outlines the application of shortwaves in "the next war" to maintain wireless surveillance of the airspace over towns and cities via what is essentially radar, to detonate explosive devices by means of a powerful "special combination impulse," and long-distance wireless communications via radios "so small that one man can easily carry it." This might seem rather moot in today's world, but in 1935 when this issue of Short Wave Craft magazine went to press, it required a certain amount of knowledge of wireless communications and a vision regarding its potential. In my readings of a great many early- to mid-20th-century technical articles on electronics, aeronautics, physics, etc., it is interesting to notice how authors of the pre-WWII era referred to what we now call "World War I" as simply "the World War..."

How They'll Grow TV Sets Like Tomatoes

How They'll Grow TV Sets Like Tomatoes, August 1961 Popular Science - RF CafeBig plans were being made for solid state electronics by the time this "How They'll Grow TV Sets Like Tomatoes" article appeared in a 1961 issue of Popular Science magazine. The weird title alludes to "growing" integrated circuits (ICs) from crystals. Fairchild Electronics' Robert Noyce had demonstrated the world's first monolithic IC two years earlier, and rightly so, futurists were creating fantastic schemes for not just limited functionality IC like amplifiers and logic gates, but entire systems comprised of mixed signals (digital and analog) ranging in frequency from DC to light. Dr. Noyce died in 1990, so he had plenty of time to watch the explosive grown of the technology he co−invented. Unfortunately, he missed the smartphone and cellular telephony system build−out, the Internet, and millimeter wave / optical wavelength ICs, micro electro-mechanical systems(MEMS), integrated fluidic circuits, and much more in the ensuing two and a half decades. Interestingly, gallium arsenide (GaAs) is featured at a time when germanium and silicon were the majorly dominant semiconductors.

The Amazing Maser, the Jewel That Conquers Space

The Amazing Maser, the Jewel That Conquers Space, April 1960 Popular Electronics - RF CafeEarly masers (microwave amplification by simulated emission of radiation), as with lasers (light amplification by simulated emission of radiation), began life with the requirement of a rare earth-based mineral composing its core. In the case of this article in a 1960 Popular Electronics magazine article, it was a ruby. Early applications of the maser were primarily concentrated on radar systems. At the time, high amplification and high power was beyond the capability of common semiconductors like Si, GaAs, or GaN. Required substrate impurities, gate widths, and thermal control were well beyond the state of the art of the day. As always, the early pioneers like Dr. Charles H. Townes, inventor of the maser, accomplished incredible feats with rudimentary tools, including the venerable slide rule for calculations...

Phenomena Underlying Radio - Piezoelectrics

Phenomena Underlying Radio (part 8), July 1934 Radio News - RF CafeThis is part 9 in a series published by Radio News and the Short-Wave magazine in the early 1930s. As with most topics pertaining to electronics, the theory is still relevant and applicable to many modern circuits and systems. Piezoelectric principles are introduced for determining the frequency of oscillators. I have to admit to not having heard of the "pyroelectric" effect. A pyroelectric crystal when heated or cooled develops charges on the extremities of its hemihedral (another new word for me, meaning "exhibiting only half the faces required for complete symmetry") axes. Types other than the familiar quartz include tourmaline, boracite, topaz, Rochelle salts, and even sugar. Another new term for me here is magnetostriction, which is when a material changes its shape or dimensions during the process of magnetization. BTW, this was erroneously labeled as Part 8, but that appeared in the May issue...

Is the U.S. Patent System Doomed?

Is the U.S. Patent System Doomed?, August 1961 Popular Science - RF CafeIn today's age of massive computing power everywhere, it is difficult to imagine needing to manually search through a three million record database of document topics as part of a patent application process. That daunting task faced patent application examiners in 1961 when a Popular Science reporter interviewed the commissioner of the USPTO. Yes, computers existed which could perform the task, but no effort had been initiated to generate punch cards and/or magnetic tapes encoded with titles, grantees, dates, key words, status, and a host of other data for use in an exhaustive search. That was the first step in the difficult but necessary task that faced the organization. At the time, a thousand new patents were being granted every week. There are currently nearly twelve million patents on record. Factoid: Per the USPTO's 2023 Annual Report, the duration of protection for a patent is only 20 years - from the date of filing, not granting, while that of a copyright is 70 years after the death...

Those Evil Radios! The Saturday Evening Post

Those Evil Radios! The Saturday Evening Post - RF CafeA while back, I purchased a May 29, 1948, edition of the Saturday Evening Post, because it contained one of Charles Schulz's Li'l Folks (which became Peanuts) comics. I paid 99¢ on eBay. There were a couple things that stood out as I perused the magazine. First was the vitriolic tone of the Letters to the Editor, ripping the publication for articles in previous editions. Another was that the majority of the artwork for stories and advertisements was either a painting or a pencil drawing - almost no photographs. Both were common occurrences with all magazines I am familiar with from the era (like all the ones here on RF Cafe). There was not a single ad for any television set - B&W or color - even though RCA had been selling color sets for four years by that time. The following "Those Evil Radios!" story appeared on the last page of the magazine. You'll get a kick out of its premise...

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this (click here for screen capture). It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed...

Danger ... Radiation

Danger ... Radiation, December 1948 Popular Science - RF CafePrior to the detonation of atomic bombs in order to finally bring an end to World War II, the general public didn't know much about nuclear radiation. Many had of course had x-ray images made of teeth and/or bones during medical examinations, but the potential dangers of exposure to large dosages were not considered. Except for unintended exposure in laboratories, even technical personnel were generally unconcerned about radiation. Largely justified based on the utter instantaneous destruction and long-term lingering effects of the bombs, people were - and still are - dubious and fearful of large nuclear-based installations such as electric power generation plants, research institutions, and waste storage facilities. Nuclear industry proponents put a lot of effort into assuaging the fears through promises of safety measures taken to mitigate the likelihood of catastrophic accidents. This 1948 Popular Science magazine article was one of the first attempts to address large audiences...

Axiom Blog: Calibrate Pressure to Enhance Production

Axiom Test Equipment Blog: Calibrate Pressure to Enhance Production - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rental and sales company has published a new blog post that covers how pressure calibrators can provide accurate pressure measurements essential to many processes employed in major industries and military bases. Measuring and calibrating pressure devices in manufacturing and production facilities contributes to the safety of those locations and the quality of their products. Globally, many standards have been established for evaluating pressure throughout many applications, since pressure impacts many components within a pressurized system, including displays, sensors, and transmitters. Pressure can be dangerous when excessive, but it can also provide many benefits towards the efficient operation and prolonged operating lifetimes of electromechanical equipment. Specifying a pressure calibrator for an application...

Thanks Again for Windfreak Technologies' Continued Support!

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up / downconverters. Since the conception of WFT, we have introduced products that have been purchased by a wide range of customers, from hobbyists to education facilities to government agencies. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current project.

How a Cylinder Lock Works

How a Cylinder Lock Works, June 1961 Popular Science - RF CafeMost people, even in this, the year of our Lord 2024, still use old-fashioned cylinder locks on a regular basis. Your abode's front door lock is almost certainly a cylinder lock, as is the starter lock for your car. You likely have a metal key in your pocket or purse for each. If you have recreational vehicles, chances are they are started with a metal key in a cylinder lock. Variations on the basic design of a cylinder lock have emerged which make them more difficult to pick, but fundamentally they are mostly the same. We have all seen movies and television shows where clever crooks, police, and private detectives pull out a professional lock picking kit and jiggle a lock in mere seconds, no matter whether it is an office door, a file cabinet, or a bank vault. This 1961 Popular Science magazine article provides a good introduction into cylinder lock construction and operation. Of course videos abound on YouTube for learning the fine art of lock picking. If you want a good laugh, watch this...

Counter-Terrorism Expert: "Only AM" Reliable if Worst Comes

Counter-Terrorism Expert: "Only AM" Reliable if Worst Comes - RF CafeA Washington-State-based emergency management and counter-terror specialist is the latest to loudly support the passage of the AM for Every Vehicle Act. Jeff Burns wrote an opinion piece for the Seattle Times emphasizing AM radio’s role in safeguarding the public. Burns has more than 25 years of experience in high-threat protective services across government and private sectors, including a decade in undercover law enforcement. He is a board-Certified Dignitary and Executive Protection expert, a Certified Master Anti-Terrorism Specialist, and is US Department of State Worldwide Protective Services 2 qualified. He is also the founder of Burns Group International. In his article, Burns discussed how the necessity of AM radio is particularly acute in Washington, a state prone to natural disasters like flooding and wildfires...

Superconducting Islands Could Lead to Magnetic Memory

Superconducting Islands Could Lead to Magnetic Memory - RF Cafe"Ferromagnetism and superconductivity don’t play well together. Ordinarily the two phenomena - ferromagnetism grants garden-variety permanent magnets their magnetic fields and superconductivity expels the internal magnetic fields of certain materials cooled below critical temperatures - seem to cancel each other out. But under uncommon circumstances, the two phenomena can behave with one another. One such circumstance could be a promising boon for future spintronic devices that operate more quickly and use less energy than their electronic counterparts. Researchers have now etched magnetic patterns into micrometer-sized 'islands' of a superconductor topped with a ferromagnetic material. These kinds of magnetic textures usually are not very stable, but..."

Thanks Again for Windfreak Technologies' Continued Support!

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up / downconverters. Since the conception of WFT, we have introduced products that have been purchased by a wide range of customers, from hobbyists to education facilities to government agencies. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current project.

U.S. Plans First Warship in Space

U.S. Plans First Warship in Space, June 1961 Popular Science - RF CafeConcepts for the weaponization of space began long before the first satellites were launched in the late 1950s. Science fiction writers dreamed of battles in outer space to repel alien invaders, and war planners cogitated over such needs in warding off enemy attacks back when long-range rockets were in the design and planning stages. This "U.S. Plans First Warship in Space" from a 1961 issue of Popular Science magazine reports on the state of the art. Some of the countermeasures are comical, but were serious concepts being proposed at the time. I particularly like the scheme where an anti-satellite "warship" would essentially throw sand in the face of the offending craft in order to blind it's video surveillance capabilities. Another option would was to hit its camera lens with some spray paint. A robotic pair of bolt cutters might also snip off antenna elements, and maybe as a next-to-last ditch resort, a giant reflector could focus the sun's heat on the satellite and fry it to a crisp...

Unitrode's Fully Encapsulated Diode Package

Unitrode's Fully Encapsulated Diode Package, May 4, 1964 Electronics Magazine - RF CafeWe really have it good today compared to the early days of the semiconductor revolution. Most of the most difficult problems were solved long ago. Point contact devices were still fairly commonplace even in 1964 when this ad appeared in Electronics magazine. Recall that the very first manufactured solid state diodes and transistors were the point contact type that were encapsulated in glass with a space gap where the contact was made. That left the device vulnerable to vibration and impact damage and to contamination if the hermetic seal failed between the metal lead and the junction(s). Unitrode claims to have been the first to eliminate that issue with essentially a fully bonded package. Keep in mind, however, that even the early semiconductor device packaging was no worse than the vacuum tubes that they replaced, since the tubes also suffered from the same vulnerabilities due to their construction...

Columbia Screen-Grid 8 Receiver Radio

Columbia Screen-Grid 8 Receiver Radio Service Data Sheet, October 1930 Radio-Craft - RF CafeEvery once in a while having your own website pays off by having someone offer hard- or difficult-to-find information. Back in 2016 when I originally posted the Radio Service Data Sheet (RSDS) for the Columbia Screen-Grid 8 (SG−8) Receiver, no photo could be found online. Notice hugeness of the components on top of the electronics chassis - the vacuum tubes, the metal shields, the transformers, the coils, etc. I always put in a fair amount of effort to find actual pictures of the radios. An image search usually does the job, but sometimes there is nothing to be found. This RSDS appeared in the October 1930 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. Typical of the era is a very ornate wooden chassis, and note the tiny tuning window in the center - no round dial or linear frequency scale...

RAN Market Is "Still a Disaster"

RAN Market Is "Still a Disaster" - RF Cafe"The Radio Access Network (RAN) market is "still struggling," according to the latest report from telecom analysts Dell'Oro Group. The first quarter of 2024 saw exceptionally weak results, with a decline of 15-30% in the overall global RAN market - the steepest decline since Dell'Oro started covering this market in 2000, according to Stefan Pongratz, Dell'Oro VP and analyst. Dell'Oro measures the sector by both revenue and units sold, but "the focus is on revenue," Pongratz said. Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE and Samsung are the top five RAN suppliers, based on worldwide revenues. The vendors' positions remained stable but 'there have been shifts in vendor shares,' Dell'Oro said in an email. 'Huawei's 4QT revenue share improved relative to 2023, while Nokia lost ground over the same period.' So, we can look forward to dour first-quarter results from our Nordic friends at Nokia and Ericsson, following disappointing fourth-quarter results. Ericsson said that it would cut 1,200 Swedish staff in March 2024. This follows planned cuts of 8,500 people worldwide..."

Espresso Engineering Workbook™ for Excel

RF Cafe Espresso Engineering Workbook™ for Excel - RF CafeThe newest release of RF Cafe's spreadsheet (Excel) based engineering and science calculator is now available - Espresso Engineering Workbook™. Among other additions, it now has a Butterworth Bandpass Calculator, and a Highpass Filter Calculator that does not just gain, but also phase and group delay! Since 2002, the original Calculator Workbook has been available as a free download. Continuing the tradition, RF Cafe Espresso Engineering Workbook™ is also provided at no cost, compliments of my generous sponsors. The original calculators are included, but with a vastly expanded and improved user interface. Error-trapped user input cells help prevent entry of invalid values. An extensive use of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) functions now do most of the heavy lifting with calculations, and facilitates a wide user-selectable choice of units for voltage, frequency, speed, temperature, power, wavelength, weight, etc. In fact, a full page of units conversion calculators is included. A particularly handy feature is the ability to specify the the number of significant digits to display. Drop-down menus are provided for convenience...

National Radio Institute

National Radio Institute, December 1947 Popular Science - RF CafeFrom the 1940s through the 1980s, National Radio Institute (NRI) ran full-page and multi-page advertisements in many electronics and technology magazines, including Popular Mechanics, Radio News, and here in this 1947 issue of Popular Science. I don't recall exactly how/where I learned of the NRI when I enrolled in their "Electronic Design Technology" course, circa 1987. At the time I was working as an electronics technician for Simmonds Precision Instruments in Vergennes, Vermont. That was immediately preceding my completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Vermont. My formal training in electronics began in the U.S. Air Force while attending technical school at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, for being an Air Traffic Control Radar Repairman. NRI president J. E. (James Ernest) Smith, whose face appeared regularly in the ads...

U.S. to Triple Its Semiconductor Manufacturing

U.S. to Triple Its Semiconductor Manufacturing Capacity - RF Cafe"Whether its lobbying in favor in the industry it represents, ensuring that public policies are promoting innovation or helping to unite all players in the space, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) works tirelessly to support the U.S. semiconductor industry. The group also has its finger on the pulse of the domestic chip manufacturing sector, which it now says is on track to triple in size by 2032. In their new Emerging Resilience in the Semiconductor Supply Chain report, SIA and Boston Consulting Group paint the picture of a sector that’s shaken off the negative impacts of the global pandemic and great chip shortage, and that’s well positioned to thrive and expand over the next eight years. Government funding will play a key role in that expansion. The US CHIPS Act, signed into law in August 2022, committed $39 billion in grants and loans for semiconductor manufacturing..."

Many Thanks to Centric RF for Their Continued Support!

Centric RF microwave components - RF CafeCentric RF is a company offering from stock various RF and Microwave coaxial components, including attenuators, adapters, cable assemblies, terminations, power dividers, and more. We believe in offering high performance parts from stock at a reasonable cost. Frequency ranges of 0-110 GHz at power levels from 0.5-500 watts are available off the shelf. We have >500,000 RF and Microwave passive components we can ship you today! We offer Quality Precision Parts, Competitive Pricing, Easy Shopping, Fast Delivery. We're happy to provide custom parts, such as custom cables and adapters, to fit your needs. Centric RF is currently seeking distributors, so please contact us if interested. Visit Centric RF today.

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeBanner Ads are rotated in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 visits each weekday. RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 17,000 pages in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable positions on many types of key searches, both for text and images. Your Banner Ads are displayed on average 280,000 times per year! New content is added on a daily basis, which keeps the major search engines interested enough to spider it multiple times each day. Items added on the homepage often can be found in a Google search within a few hours of being posted. If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be...

Anatech Intros 3 New Filters for May

Anatech Electronics Intros 3 New Filter Models for May 15, 2024 - 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 filters have been announced for May 2024 - a 5520 to 5540 MHz cavity bandpass filter with a passband insertion loss of 1.75 dB and ripple of <0.2 dB, a 4755 to 5000 MHz cavity bandpass filter with a minimum passband return loss of 15 dB, and a 4395 to 4955 MHz cavity bandpass filter with a minimum rejection of 35 dB at 4295 MHz and 80 dB at 5250 MHz. Custom RF power filter and directional couplers designs can be designed and produced...

Bluetooth into Low Earth Orbit

Bluetooth into Low Earth Orbit - RF Cafe"A recent Bluetooth connection between a device on Earth and a satellite in orbit signals a potential new space race - this time, for global location-tracking networks. Seattle-based startup Hubble Network announced today that it had a letter of understanding with San Francisco-based startup Life360 to develop a global, satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) tracking system. The announcement follows on the heels of a 29 April announcement from Hubble Network that it had established the first Bluetooth connection between a device on Earth and a satellite. The pair of announcements sets the stage for an IoT tracking system that aims to rival Apple's AirTags, Samsung's Galaxy SmartTag2, and the Cube GPS Tracker. Bluetooth, the wireless technology that connects home speakers..."

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this (click here for screen capture). It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed...

Optimized Methods for Achieving Thermal Testing Needs

Optimized Methods for Achieving Thermal Testing Needs - RF CafeTotalTemp Technologies offers advanced and innovative methods for meeting and optimizing your thermal testing requirements. We specialize in benchtop thermal testing because small batches are typically the most cost- effective approach. We offer heat transfer by conduction with thermal platforms, forced convection as in traditional temperature chambers, combined systems, and thermal vacuum for Space Simulation. The advanced Synergy Nano controller has many time saving features that make the job easier: Dual or Multi Zone control. Advanced control by reading DUT temperatures. Capable logging features including Network Plotting / Printing and multi sensor readings. Local and remote control/monitoring with RS-232, Ethernet, GPIB option and more. Ramp and dwell, inputs and conditional outputs, configurable including text and email alarms. Cloud storage capable We offer refrigerated platforms for applications where expendable cryogenic cooling is not possible...

NFC Forum Certification Program Simplifies Testing

NFC Forum Certification Program Simplifies Testing - RF Cafe"NFC Forum, the global standards body for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has announced the availability of Test Release 13.2 (TR13.2) which adds new capabilities to its certification program to simplify the testing of NFC end-products. This addition makes the certification process easier and more affordable for businesses, and enables other standards bodies using NFC technology to more easily test product functionality and deliver better user experiences. The NFC Forum Certification Program confirms that certified devices are compliant with NFC Forum Specifications. Conformance ensures a consistent behavior of devices across different NFC-ecosystem and sets the foundation for interoperability within each use case of diverse markets. The added NFC Forum testing approach provides new capabilities for market-ready products allowing for release candidate software to be evaluated rather than engineering software designed exclusively for testing..."

Get Your Custom-Designed RF Cafe Gear!

Custom-Designed RF-Themed Cups, T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks (Cafe Press) - RF CafeThis assortment of custom-designed themes by RF Cafe includes T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks, Tote Bags, Coffee Mugs and Steins, Purses, Sweatshirts, Baseball Caps, and more, all sporting my amazingly clever "RF Engineers - We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. My graphic has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. I only make a couple bucks on each sale - the rest goes to Cafe Press. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

How Cuprate Superconductors Might Work

How Cuprate Superconductors Might Work - RF Cafe"Diagonal hopping by electrons explains superconductivity in cuprate high-temperature superconductors, according to researchers associated with the Flatiron Institute in New York. The team used a straightforward two dimensional model, the Hubbard model, and hundreds of hours of supercomputer effort to get results that are close to those found in experiments. There was tremendous excitement when cuprate superconductors were discovered, but no understanding of why they remain superconductive at such high temperatures, said Flatiron scientist Shiwei Zhang. 'I think it's surprising to everybody that almost 40 years later, we still dont quite understand why they do what they do..."

Bell Telephone Labs Project Echo

Bell Telephone Laboratories Project Echo, November 1960 Electronics World - RF CafeEcho 1 launched in August of 1960, finally allowing America to participate in the Space Race, which until then was roundly being won by the USSR. Electronics magazines of the day were filled with prognostications of the future of space communications. Electronics World dedicated most of their November issue to satellite Earth stations and advancements being made in ultra sensitive receivers and powerful transmitters. Since the earliest satellites were literally metallic balls for reflecting radio signals, it was necessary to optimize both ends of the communications path since there were no circuits onboard the satellite to perform signal processing and re-transmission. Bell Labs, of course, was at the forefront of the technology. In fact a famously serendipitous discovery was made by a couple scientists in 1964 using the very antenna featured in this advertisement...

Thanks to Anritsu for Their Support!

Anritsu (electronics test equipment) - RF CafeAnritsu has been a global provider of innovative communications test and measurement solutions for more than 120 years. Anritsu manufactures a full line of innovative components and accessories for RF and Microwave Test and Measurement Equipment including attenuators & terminations; coaxial cables, connectors & adapters; o-scopes; power meters & sensors; signal generators; antenna, signal, spectrum, & vector network analyzers (VNAs); calibration kits; Bluetooth & WLAN testers; PIM testers; amplifiers; power dividers; antennas. "We've Got You Covered."

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Efficiency of "Messy" Supercapacitors

Efficiency of "Messy" Supercapacitors - RF CafeThe energy density of supercapacitors, devices similar to batteries that can recharge rapidly in just seconds or minutes, can be improved by increasing the 'messiness' of their internal structure. Researchers led by the University of Cambridge used experimental and computer modeling techniques to study the porous carbon electrodes used in supercapacitors. They found that electrodes with a more disordered chemical structure stored far more energy than electrodes with a highly ordered structure. Supercapacitors are a key technology for the energy transition and could be useful for certain forms of public transport, as well as for managing intermittent solar and wind energy generation, but their adoption has been limited by poor energy density. The researchers say their results, reported in the journal Science, represent a breakthrough in the field and could reinvigorate...

Rauland Zenith Aluminizing

Rauland Zenith Aluminizing, November 1953 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeRauland (aka Rauland-Borg) has today on its History webpage that it was founded in 1922 as the Rauland Company, by inventor and radio enthusiast E. Norman Rauland. Soon thereafter he became a pioneer in the radio broadcast industry by launching the Chicago-based radio station, WENR (which eventually became the well-known WLS, home of Jean Shepherd). In 1941 Norm Rauland and George Borg entered a partnership, and a year later acquired Baird Television of America. Rauland developed cathode ray tubes (CRT) and became an important supplier of communications and radar equipment during WWII. After the war, Rauland began manufacturing CRTs for 10" and 12" televisions. They were so successful that in 1948, Zenith Radio Corporation purchased them to get the CRT technology. This circa 1953 Rauland advertisement ran in Radio-Electronics magazine to pitch their breakthrough aluminizing process that produced CRTs with brighter pictures...

$5.00 for Best Short Wave Kink

$5.00 for Best Short Wave Kink, October 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeIf MacGyver had been around in 1935, every episode would likely have included a Fahnestock Clip as part of a scheme to get Angus (his first name - no kidding) out of perilous situations. The handy little devices were very popular in electronics, both for hobbyists and for commercial products, until fairly recently (within the last two decades) because they provide a simple, reliable electrical connection that does not require any tools for use - other than your finger. If you have never heard of a Fahnestock clip, you will probably be surprised to learn what it is and chances are you have seen one and maybe even used one. If you work in an electronics prototyping lab area that has been around for a while, there are almost certainly some in a parts bin somewhere or on some old mock-up gathering dust in the corner...

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, and more. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Unusual New Equipment

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Unusual New Equipment - RF CafeJohn T. Frye's monthly "Mac's Radio Service Shop" techno-drama, written in story form - was usually an incognito lesson on circuit functionality or troubleshooting, how to deal with customers, industry regulations and news, or an introduction to new components and equipment. As the "Unusual New Equipment" title suggests, this time Mac described a few new items added to the service shop to aid in their work. Often when reading one of the episodes, I do a Google search on specific components or equipment mentioned in the article. He describes a special-purpose CRT (Sylvania's new 5AXP4 Television Receiver Check Tube) that could be used universally for troubleshooting in place of a wide variety of installed picture tubes. I've seem them on eBay for $30-$50. There is not much you cannot find on eBay if you watch long enough. He also bought a pair of 7x35 binoculars for inspecting TV antennas from the ground...

Lesson from Europe - Editorial

Lesson from Europe - Editorial, May 4, 1964 Electronics Magazine - RF CafeIn this May, 1964 issue of Electronics magazine, editor Lewis Young cites the continued rebuilding of Europe after the economic and societal upset of World War II as the reason many - maybe most - companies there are still, two decades later, concentrating engineering and financial resources on getting back on a solid footing rather than chasing after the latest and greatest in nonessential technologies. It was probably an accurate assessment of the situation. However, I do take issue with his admonishment to American companies to emulate Europe's "practical approach" to innovation and manufacturing. There was absolutely no reason to dissuade and throttle activity here, there, or anywhere for that matter. It truth, engineers, scientists, and businessmen of Europe were probably not happy with the existing mindset of government policymakers and would have preferred to progress without restraint...

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, and more. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Beyond Graphene: A New World of 2D Materials

Beyond Graphene: A New World of 2D Materials - RF Cafe"Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have developed a new method that could lead to the synthesis of hundreds of new 2D materials,, which are only a few atoms thick and exhibit unique properties useful in various applications like energy storage and water purification. This advancement, based on a theoretical model validated in the lab, has broadened the potential for creating more 2D materials beyond the known family of MXenes, paving the way for diverse technological applications. Materials that are incredibly thin, only a few atoms thick, exhibit unique properties that make them appealing for energy storage, catalysis, and water purification..."

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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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