RF Cafe Software
About RF Cafe
1996 - 2022
BSEE - KB3UON
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 Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...
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An article on the Forbes website titled "22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won't Tell You" recommended in secret #19:
"Be personal. Your profile is not a resume or CV. Write as if you are having a conversation with someone. Inject your personality. Let people know your values and passions. In your summary, discuss what you do outside of work. You want people to want to know you."
Not wishing to offend author William Arruda by completely ignoring his advice, I set about writing in effect a short bio explaining (apologizing for?) my existence and how I got from 'there' to 'here.' That I got a bit carried away was made abundantly clear by LinkedIn's software informing me that I had just pasted in 2,236 more characters than they thought would be enough for any reasonable person. It's always the 'reasonable person' thing that bites me in the posterior. Fortunately, there are other venues that do not impose such limitations on excessive wordiness (even my use of the adjective 'excessive' is wordy), and my own website, RF Cafe, is one of them. If your patience is long and your tolerance of ranting is great, then please take a few moments to read all of what I wrote. It's not that my writing or the life it describes is necessarily worth your time and patience, but what the heck, you've come this far.
The text with a gray background is what was omitted.
I'm the kid who stuck a screwdriver in the wall socket to see what would happen (sparks flew). I once connected the two wires to my model railroad set directly into the wall socket to get the train to run faster (it didn't). To my mother's dismay, I would climb to the roof of our house to launch paper airplanes and plastic dry cleaners' bag parachutes bearing rocks. Miniature canons made of bicycle spoke nipples (good thing I didn't know back then that is what they are called) and match heads nearly got me thrown out of junior high school. By sheer luck my curiosity for how things worked and love for all things electrical and mechanical did not prevent me from progressing past childhood. Common sense was not my strong suit in the early days, but then some people will tell you it never has been. More than five decades later, following electrical vocational classes in high school, working as an electrician for a couple years then doing a 4-year stint in the USAF as a radar technician, earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering (and an associate of arts degree in electronics prior to it) while working as an electronics technician, and then after graduating from University of Vermont in 1989, I set out to learn all I could about radio and radar design. A mix of defense and commercial electronics companies provided an opportunity for a depth and breadth of experiences many people are never fortunate enough to have, so I made the best of it. During that time I wrote and sold DOS-based TxRx Designer software (now RF Workbench), and created many system design level spreadsheets (RF Cascade Workbook) and a few sets of schematic and block diagram symbols for MS Office products. In 1999, RF Café, an extension of my AOL-based RF Tools website, was launched primarily as a means to conveniently amass engineering resources for use at work, since at the time there were relatively few such websites on the World Wide Web. Sometime around 2002 a company offered to pay to advertise. As of 2014, RF Cafe has between 70 and 80 advertisers at any given time – and that is with never soliciting for business. Thanks to the dedicated RF Cafe visitors and the folks who only stop by occasionally because of a search engine result, I have had the pleasure of operating RF Cafe full time since 2007. It is a dream come true for me to be able to be my own boss, working at home, and doing for the most part whatever I want with the business. As was the case when I worked as a design engineer, there is never such a thing as 'being done' for the day since there is always more that needs doing. Between searching for daily headlines, writing stories on technical products, events, and discoveries, scanning and posting articles from vintage electronics magazines, creating engineering-themed crossword puzzles, generating quizzes based on newly released engineering books, and a host of other subjects, my days are full from the time I crawl out of bed in the morning to the time I crawl back into it at night. Then, I read magazines for an hour or so both to keep the mental pump primed and to watch for good fodder for the next write-up. RF Cafe, if my website server statistics can be believed, received a little over 3,000,000 (that's three million) page views in the last year. I rarely ever look at the numbers and was shocked to see that large of a number. The statistics provided by Google tell the same story, so who am I to argue with such knowledgeable businesses? While focusing on providing valuable content for visitors and not harassing people with obnoxious ads that pop up when the page is loaded, or automatically playing some infuriating video with the audio turned on, somehow the audience grew without spending a penny on advertising, sending out despised unsolicited emails, or making uninvited phone calls. Maybe my income would be much greater if I had stooped to practicing the very tactics I hate having imposed on me, because evidently it works for plenty of big-dollar companies. My moral values and worldview simply won’t allow me to do it. To paraphrase a well-known starship doctor, "Dammit, I'm an engineer, not a marketeer!" Thanks for reading! -- Sincerely, Kirt Blattenberger
Posted April 24, 2014