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 typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got
Mail" when a new message arrived...
All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images
and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.
I fill orders personally, not via an automated process. Therefore, there could
be an hour or more delay. Files are sent as an attachment to the e−mail
in your PayPal account.
Assistance: Because the price for RF Cascade Workbook
2018™ is so low, I cannot provide any level
of assistance with setup or operation. After all, you're getting an amazingly
feature-filled program for less than an hour of an engineer's billable time.
Reported errors, if any, will be addressed ASAP.
Macros: You must
enable macros to run or you cannot use RF Cascade Workbook 2018.
System Requirements: Excel 2007 & Windows 2008
or newer. These instructions and screenshots were made in Excel 2007, so
your screen and menu placements might be a little different. I verified that
everything works fine all the way through Excel 2019.
Help: Here is the complete
from RF Cascade Workbook 2018™.
End User License Agreement
This product is NOT Shareware, Freeware, or an
Evaluation version. Its legal use is contingent upon purchase directly from
RF Cafe, as no distributors are authorized. Unauthorized copying, alteration
or distribution of this product is prohibited by law. Please visit the RF Cafe
website to submit payment for this product. Simply put, you may not use this
product if you have not paid for it.
Disclaimer: "RF Cascade Workbook™" is offered AS IS. Your
use of this product implies you alone accept responsibility for results obtained
through its use, and will hold harmless Kirt Blattenberger, RF Cafe, and all
associates for any losses incurred through its use. This product has been tested
very thoroughly, and there are no known problems at the time of this release.
Site License Terms
A Site License, if purchased allows an unlimited number
of users at one (1) location. Users must be officially affiliated with the
site during the time of use. That means the license does not follow a user
who permanently leaves the site (graduation, new employment, etc.). The license
extends to persons whose primary job is normally performed at that location,
but works occasionally from home or at a remote location. Hobbyists employed
at the same location are welcome and encouraged to use the software. The single
location restriction is imposed to limit distribution to local use for companies
with multiple physical locations. This software may not be redistributed in
any form, nor posted on the Internet or anywhere that it can be publicly accessed.
The file(s) may be distributed on a server, via e-mail, etc., as needed for
RF Cascade Workbook™ is offered AS IS. Your use of RF Cascade
Workbook™ implies you alone accept responsibility for results obtained
through its use, and will hold harmless Kirt Blattenberger, RF Cafe, and all
legal assigns for any losses incurred through its use. RF Cascade Workbook™
has been tested very thoroughly, and there are no known problems at the time
of this release. Discrepancies that affect accurate results, if discovered,
will be fixed ASAP and a replacement version will be provided at no cost. Also,
any and all User modifications to RF Cascade Workbook™ - other than
entering values in the provided Unlocked cells, negates any and all responsibility
by RF Cafe for the integrity of the software. Unprotecting a worksheet negates
responsibility by RF Cafe.
For more than a decade, RF Cascade
Workbook 2005™ has been the de facto standard for spreadsheet-based
RF system cascade analysis. RF Cascade Workbook 2018™ is the next phase
in the evolution. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this.
If you know how to use Excel and you know anything about cascaded system
calculations, then you know how to use RF Cascade Workbook 2018™(formerly Wireless System Designer™). This is
significantly easier and faster than using the multi-thousand dollar simulators
when a quick system analysis is all that is needed. Hundreds of hours have gone
into developing this tool. Please see RF Cascade
Workbook 2018™ intro video below for an overview of features.
6/16/2020 Update to v1.3: Background image was changed.
5/19/2020 Update to v1.2: The minimum noise figure (NFmin)
formula has been modified to prevent a negative value. Please send me an
e-mail if you would like a replacement file. Instructions
to make the change yourself can be seen here.
4/24/2020 Update to v1.1: The IP1dB formula was modified.
Mouse-over Comments for Cells
Excel's cell comment feature
is use extensively to provide guidance for RF Cascade Workbook 2018™
(RFCW). The contents of all the hints - and more - can be found on the "Help"
worksheet (click the tab at the bottom). The "Help"
worksheet, cell mouse-over comments, and this web page comprise the totality
of documentation for RF Cascade Workbook 2018™. There is no separate
document available. RF Cascade Workbook 2005™ User's Guide should also
be useful since it extensively documents formulas. Combined, there is a lot
of information about not just how to use RFCW, but also how cascaded system
analysis works. RF Cafe is also chock full of
so one way or the other, you're covered.
Locked vs. Unlocked Cells and VBA Code
The built-in ability of locking
cells to prevent unintentional overwriting of formulas is used in RF Cascade
Workbook 2018™. Most of the time the protection can be left on. Trust me,
even after becoming familiar with use, you will still find yourself accidently
attempting to type into formula cells, and of course doing so invalidates calculated
results. Probably the only time you will need to remove protection is when inserting
or deleting columns or rows. I recommend never Unprotecting any worksheet since
doing so invalidates the integrity as provided. Be sure to reapply Protection
if you decide to Unprotect. See the RFCW
of Use information about liability.
Protecting & Unprotecting the Worksheet
Use Excel's Protect Sheet and Unprotect Sheet commands to lock and unlock,
respectively, the cells. Use the Password provided in the e-mail sent to you
with the file attached. I will be glad to provide it to you again with a proof
When Protecting the worksheet, be sure to select ALL the check boxes in order
to ensure that the macros will run (click thumbnail above).
You might need to scroll down in the window to access all the check boxes. See
Worksheet Protection information on the RFCW "Help" page.
Since the complete worksheet
occupies nearly 900 rows, a convenient drop-down menu is provided to move up
and down the page. Information necessary for the navigation to function is in
the cell behind the menu, so if you accidently overwrite the cells, navigation
no longer works (keep Protection turned on).
Hiding and Unhiding Columns
Rather than deleting and/or adding component
stage columns, it is much simpler to Hide and/or Unhide columns. Doing so retains
all the information without having to go through all the steps needed for deleting
and/or adding columns. All the input and calculated is retained and included
in the overall output, but the Hidden stage columns are not included in the
charts. Hiding component stage columns can be a good way to exclude unneeded
plots from the charts without requiring you to delete/add data series - which
is itself a pain to do.
System Cascade Charts
Charts are pre-configured for plotting
all calculated cascade parameters. Auto-scaling of the axes is the default,
but you can change all aspects of the chart formats per Excel standard. Select
chart to display using drop-down menu.
These four top-level overall
system parameters are used for many calculations. Be sure to define them along
with the individual stage component parameters.
Build System Block Diagram
Build your system block diagram using
the provided images or make your own. Click on the "Icons" tab at the bottom
of the page to access and copy the desired icon (58x32 pixels), then paste it
into the block diagram. Use Excel's standard Objects alignment and spacing tools
for a perfect layout.
Specify Component Parameters
Enter each stage's nominal and tolerance
values. Error checking is provided for exceeding power or gain limits (see below),
no negative noise figure (NF), making sure NF is equal to absolute value of
a negative gain component, etc. Errors are reported in the "Status" cells. Two
rows f user-defined cells are provided for formulas along with a "User Defined"
chart that displays the cell data.
Set Limits on Gain and Power Input Values
Set maximum values for stage component
input parameters. These values are used for Data Validation in the input parameter
cells. This results in a limit where the charts auto-scale, since entering a
null value of, say +999 dBm for IP3 will render its affect utterly unnoticeable
by the system, the IP3 chart will auto-scale to +1000 dBm or more while
the IP3 level in your actual system might be a maximum of +50 dBm. The
useful data would then be crunched almost entirely at the bottom 5% of the chart.
Of course you can always go in and manually scale the chart axis minimum and
maximum values as desired if you do use +999 dBm as the null value. This
just keeps things reasonable in case you prefer to let the charts auto-scale.
Besides, +100 dBm is good enough in most instances.
Specify Lower and Upper Frequency Sweep Limits for Filter Calculations
Enter the lower and upper frequency range
for calculating the system response inclusive of filters and frequency conversion
stages. 175 equally spaced frequency steps are calculated for all stages. Depending
on your system, you might want to do sweeps across the entire input band of
concern, then do narrower sweeps that will provide finer detail within your
smaller filter bandwidths.
Note: the Lower frequency cannot be zero (0)
because of the logarithmic horizontal chart scale. The
smallest value permitted is 10-12, which is small enough to include
1 Hz even when the Upper frequency is 1 THz.
Every stage can contain a frequency-dependent
component which can be an actual filter or a model of the frequency response
of an amplifier, cable, coupler, etc. RFCW checks to make sure all required
inputs are present and alerts you if they are not. For example, if you select
a bandpass filter and do not enter a lower frequency or if you use a Chebyshev
and do not enter a ripple value (or if you enter invalid values, like lower
frequency greater than upper frequency).
Frequency Translation (Mixers | Modulators) Specifications
As with the filter specifications, every
stage can have a frequency translation. That means there is no limit to the
number of frequency conversions your system can have, although from a practical
standpoint you will probably never have more than three. RFCW checks to make
sure all required inputs are present and alerts you if they are not.
Frequency-Dependent Power Levels
Frequency-dependent power levels based
on filter responses and frequency translations are calculated separately from
the other system cascade calculations (NF, IP2, IP3, etc.). Along with the filter
response, all nominal stage component gains are included. Results are plotted
in the "Frequency Response" ("Signal Power vs. Frequency") chart. These frequency-dependent
gains and power levels are not used in any of other cascade calculations
(NF, IP2, IP3, etc.). Note that frequency and power levels presented this matrix
are actually calculated in cells below Row 540, but are done this way to conveniently
place power levels next to their associated frequencies while making data selection
for the chart simpler (take my word for it).
RF Cascade Workbook 2018™ Intro Video (part 1)
RF Cascade Workbook 2018™ Intro Video (part 2)
For archival purposes only, here are links to previous versions of RF Cascade
The background image was changed to a muted log-log graph pattern.
You can change the background image to anything you like, or have no background
image at all. To do so, go to Page Layout -> Delete Background. To add a
background, do Page Layout -> Background and select a file.
5/19/2020 Update to v1.2:
The Minimum Noise Figure calculation has been modified to prevent negative
If you already have data entered into a file, you might prefer to edit that
file rather than copy the data it into a new v1.20 file. If you are comfortable
with editing both the spreadsheet cell equations and Visual Basic code, the
instructions below and screen shots at the right show you how to do it.
Click in cell F108 and replace the existing equation with this one:
This is how to modify the VBA code:
Click on the "Developer" tab.
Click on the "Visual Basic" toolbar button.
In the tree page, double-click on "CascadeParameters" under the "Modules"
Add the following equation to the end of the "Function CascadeNF" function:
If CascadeNF < 0 Then CascadeNF = 0 End If
Click on "File->Save."
Save the entire workbook file to preserve the changes.
4/24/2020 Update to v1.1:
IP1dB Formula Correction Instructions
You might prefer to just change the IP1dB formula cells rather than copy
all the information from an existing workbook into the new version. If so, these
instructions provide a simple way to do it. Screen captures of each step are
in the image to the right (click for a larger version).
Click in cell F45 and change the formula from
=F43-F33-1 to =F43-(F33-1)
, or to
then press Enter.
Click in cell F45 and select Copy.
Highlight cells H45 through AE45.
Select Paste Special... then select Formulas and press OK.
Click in one of the IP1dB cells in row 45 and verify that it contains the
Save your workbook.
Posted June 16, 2018
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