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- RF Cafe Homepage -
RF, Microwave, Wireless, Cellular, Radar, Satellite, & Analog Engineering

Today in History -  1756: Jacques Cassini, discoverer of the Cassini Division between the A and B rings of Saturn, died. 1775: Paul Revere began his famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington, MA, warning... more Homepage

-- Tech Headline News --

All the News Fit to Link™

Google Courts Developers for Modular Smartphone Project

BlackBerry's Meltdown Sparks Start-up Boom in Canada's Silicon Valley

New Type of Particle Discovered Using Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

LTE, Chinese Growth to Drive Smartphones to 1.24B Sales in 2014 (holy Toledo Batman!)

U.S. Mobile Operators, Handset Makers Tackle Smartphone Theft

Security Holes in Power Grid Have Federal Officials Scrambling

All the Passwords You Need to Change Right Now Because of Heartbleed

Thales Shows off Airline Seat with NFC

Army Plans Its Largest Solar Array to Date (more funneling of defense $$$ into unrelated eco projects)

The Next Generation of Plastic Computers

Google, IBM Results Raise Questions About OtherTtech-Sector Companies

The Case for Rigid-Flex PCB Technology

66% of U.S. Mobile Broadband Connections by End of 2015 Will Be Tablets

Finding a Battery That Will Power the Future

Minimize Unknowns in ESD Tests

Iranian Cleric Says Unhealthy Satellite Jamming Un-Islamic (but cutting the infidel's throat isn't)

Diode Quiz

Diode Quiz, July 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafeTest your diode switch analysis skills here with six circuits designed by Mr. Robert P. Balin in the July 1961 issue of Popular Electronics. When evaluating the equivalent circuits with the diodes biased on or off, don't make the job more difficult for yourself by considering whether there is enough voltage or current to turn a particular diode on or not, just whether the diode is forward or reverse biased. Doing so reduces everything to simple series and parallel combinations. Redrawing each circuit either with a short for a forward biased diode and an open for a reverse biased diode makes the task easier.

The Tube Family Tree (Part 3)

The Tube Family Tree, August 1963 Popular Electronics - RF CafeMagnetron, photomultiplier, traveling wave, compactron, klystron, backward wave, pencil, lighthouse, cathode ray, indicator, nuvistor, acorn, peanut, T-R, electrostatic, cat's-eye, orithon, and loctal, are just a few of the many types of vacuum tubes that have been and in some cases still are in use in various types of electronic equipment. Some you have heard of, others you probably have not. All are discussed in a series of three articles published in Popular Electronics. This is part 3, which includes operational descriptions of klystrons, magnetrons (in your microwave oven), and traveling wave tubes...

Z-Comm Intros Ultra
Compact L-Band VCO

Z-Comm Intros Ultra Compact L-Band Voltage Controlled Oscillator - RF CafeZ-Communications announces a new RoHS compliant VCO model USSP1570-LF in the L-band. The USSP1570-LF operates from 1540 to 1600 MHz with the narrow tuning voltage range of 0.5 to 2.5 Vdc. This miniaturized VCO features phase noise of -90 dBc/Hz @ 10 kHz offset while operating off a 2.7 Vdc supply and drawing a mere 6mA of current. The USSP1570-LF provides the end user an output power of -1±3 dBm into a 50 Ω load while operating over the industrial temperature range of -40 to 85º C...

PMI Dielectrically Stabilized
GaAs FET Oscillator @ 16.3 GHz

PMI Intros Dielectrically Stabilized GaAs FET Oscillator at 16.3 GHz - RF CafePMI Model No. DRO-16D3G-CD-1 is a dielectrically stabilized GaAs FET oscillator with a center frequency of 16.3 GHz. This model provides minimum output power of +11 dBm with all spurs held to -55 dBc and harmonics held to -20dBc. The mechanical tuning frequency is ±25 MHz and the unit has a phase noise of -70 dBc/Hz. The unit requires +15 VDC and 150 mA and measures 1.06" x 1.63" x 0.98"

Advanced Test Equipment
Rentals April 2014 Newsletter

Advanced Test Equipment Rentals Newsletter for April 2014  - RF CafeAdvanced Test Equipment Rentals just issued their TEC Talk newsletter for April 2014. It includes hot topics in the tech news world, highlights of new or special function test equipment they have available, and some electronics industry news.

!!! FREE SMA Finger Wrench !!!
Courtesy Bracke Mfg.

SMA Finger Wrench Available from Bracke Manufacturing - RF CafeWe now have a source for those much-sought-after plastic SMA finger wrenches! Bracke Mfg manager Lawrence P. sent me an email today saying that Bracke will be glad to mail anyone who requests them a sample of up to 5 of the SMA finger wrenches - what a guy! I'm guessing he saw the plea posted here on RF Cafe and on various forums for people looking desperately for the things. The SMA finger (thumb) wrench, known also by its Latin binomial nomenclature of 'digitus divellit,' is a rare breed of tool for the RF / microwave engineer, and appears to be indigenous to industry trade shows like MTT-S and European Microwave Conference...

New RF Cafe Quiz:
Microwave Circulator Design

RF Cafe Quiz: Microwave Circulator DesignThis 10-question quiz tests your knowledge about microwave circulator design. Circulator design has advanced significantly since the first edition of this book was published 25 years ago. The objective of this second edition is to present theory, information, and design procedures that will enable microwave engineers and technicians to design and build circulators successfully. This resource contains a discussion of the various units used in the circulator design computations, as well as covers the theory of operation. This book presents numerous applications, giving microwave engineers new ideas about how to solve problems using circulators.

Cover Sistemi Uses Microwave
Office to Design UWB Receiver

Cover Sistemi Relies on AWR Software to Design  - RF CafeCover Sistemi, an Italian electronics developer, used AWR software to design a UWB receiver from concept to final production in a single pass. Specifications were for a complete design starting from the antenna through to the entire RF/baseband analog chain down to the AD converter. Cover Sistemi used Microwave Office® for the circuit design and AXIEM® for the EM simulation. The scope of work included all design phases, from high-level simulation to circuit-level design and final verification of pre-layout and post-layout.

New Dilbert Book: I Sense
a Coldness to Your Mentoring

I Sense a Coldness to Your Mentoring: Dilbert - RF CafeYou can't go wrong with a good Dilbert book like I Sense a Coldness to Your Mentoring, by Scott Adams. Dilbert is the most photocopied, pinned-up, downloaded, faxed, and e-mailed comic strip in the world. Dubbed "the cartoon hero of the workplace" by the San Francisco Examiner, Dilbert has been syndicated since 1989 and now appears in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages.

House Bill S.2206
Let Me Google That for You Act

"Let Me Google That for You Act" - RF CafeQuestion: What do Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Verizon, Microsoft, Sprint, etc., etc., etc., all have in common? Answer: They all willingly participate with the NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, ATF, etc., etc., etc., in collecting as much data as possible about you and me. You might say the former group has become an unofficial branch of the later group. Well, it is about to become official based on House Bill S.2206 - Let Me Google That for You. It is just as well since the Google twins (not really twins) already get discount military jet fuel purchases and, along with other American royalty like Mr. Gates and Jeff Bezos, have open doors to the White House any time they demand it. The Act is ostensibly a cost-cutting measure...

A Nostalgic Adventure: Midland
10-561 Shortwave Restoration

Midland 10-561 Shortwave Radio Restoration: A Nostalgic Adventure - RF CafeThanks to Internet, there has never been a better opportunity to be able to step back in time and reclaim some of your past indulgences. A lot of guys are using resources like eBay and specialty website forums to search for items remembered from days of yore. Although I can't imagine how it can be so based on my slacker personal habits as a teenager, there are still available a fairly large number of hobby type items that I recall owning - many in like-new condition and some even in their original, unopened packages. If you are about my age or even older, chances are you have either done some of the same, or have considered doing so. Bob Davis, an RF systems and circuits designer of many years, has submitted accounts of a couple radio restoration projects he...

123D Circuits
for Arduino Development

123D Circuits for Arduino Development - RF CafeIf you haven't yet heard about the Arduino single board computer (SBC) experimenter's platform, then either you have been in a coma or you are just now entering the tech world. Think of Arduino as the electronic version of the famous mechanical Erector Set that was popular beginning in the early 20th century. Or, consider it the "grown-up" version of Lego's computerized Mindstorms building sets. Per the official website, "Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments...

After Class:
Explaining Tuned Circuits

After Class: Explaining Tuned Circuits, May 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafeFundamentals of resonant tank circuits has not changed since they were first investigated more than a century ago. This "After Class" tutorial that ran in the May 1961 edition of Popular Electronics is typical of the series where the author speaks as though he was giving an impromptu lesson to a gathering of students after the scheduled classroom period was over or, in this instance as though he was having a casual discussion with a friend who was perplexed by a particular electronics phenomenon. Figures and equations are often drawn by hand to augment the informal setting rather than being typeset. Here, "Larry" is amazed...

What to Do with a Tape
Recorder (until the hi-fi arrives)

What to Do with a Tape Recorder (until the hi-fi arrives), February 1963 Popular Electronics - RF CafeRemember tape recorders? They began going the way of the typewriter about two decades ago when solid state voice recorders hit the market, but now smartphones with sound recording have made even those devices seem outdated. In fact, when my daughter's house burned down a few weeks ago, all of the on-site conversations with the insurance adjuster, fire marshal, and housing contractors were recorded to ensure an accurate account of what was said by all parties. Even though I was 800 miles away at the time, I was still able to listen to the dialog. In North Carolina, law does not require you to apprise other parties... 

Anatech Intros Cavity BPF,
Ceramic BPF, & 13 dB Coupler

Anatech Electronics Intros Cavity BPF, Ceramic BPF, & Directional Coupler, April 15, 2014 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics has released new designs for a 2,533 MHz cavity bandpass filter, a 749 MHz ceramic bandpass filter, and an 800-2,500 MHz 13 dB directional coupler. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.

A New Round of RF
Magazine Articles for April

Microwave Journal2014 is continuing to be a great year for magazine articles. These I have Microwaves & RF magazine - RF Cafeselected from Microwaves & RF and Microwave Journal are fine examples.

Synthesizers: Looking
    Beyond the Basics,
    Alexander Chenakin

    Market Sees Increased
    Growth, S.h Mangiola

Differential Drive Optimizes
    Active Mixers, Q. Luu,
    B. Sam

Modern High Efficiency
    Amplifier Design: Envelope
    Tracking, Doherty and
    Outphasing, R. Pengelly,
    Z. Wang, D. Holmes,
    M. Acar, R. Wesson,
    M.P. van der Heijden

Cost Effective 3D Glass
    Microfabrication for
    Advanced RF Packages,
    J.H. Flemming, R. Cook,
    S. Sibbet, C.F. Schmidt,
    K. Dunn, J. Gouker

Radar & Radio Crossword
for April 13, 2014

Radio & Radar Crossword Puzzle for April 13, 2014 - RF CafeTake a break from the drudgery by trying your hand at some of these goodies. Every word in the RF Cafe crossword puzzles is specifically related to engineering, mathematics, and science. There are no generic backfill words like many other puzzles give you, so you'll never see a clue asking for the name of a movie star or a mountain on the Russia-China border.

Space Electronics:
Satellites and ET EM Waves

Space Electronics: Satellites and ET EM Waves, May 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafePrior to around 1960, the nature of electromagnetic radiation outside the Earth's atmosphere was entirely a matter of scientific conjecture. As is evidenced by this 1961 article, at the time it was still not known for certain whether electromagnetic energy outside the bands transmitted through the ionosphere existed for sure. There was of course no reason to believe that low frequency, long wavelength radio waves were not present along with the rest of the spectrum, but experiments needed to be developed that would launch satellites above the atmosphere to detect probable out-of-band signals and then re-transmit them on frequencies known to easily penetrate the 'ether.' Many failures occurred along the way, but persistence paid off...

An Interesting Experiment
in Weighing the Electron

An Interesting Experiment in Weighing the Electron and What It May Mean, September 1932 Radio News - RF Cafe"We might say almost, that all modern scientific investigation in the basic sciences, and a good deal of all practical developments, are connected in some way or other with the electron." So writes Dr. Irving J. Sax in 1932 regarding the incentive for determining as precisely as possible the mass and electrical charge of an electron. The Bohr atomic model had just been introduced two decades earlier, so the entire concept of particle physics was still in its infancy. As with most areas of physics, experiments are conducted with particular biases and expectations such that often the results are manipulated as needed to conform to preconceptions. Look no further than the complex retrograde motion planetary models devised and perfected by early astronomers...

Many Thanks to ISOTEC
for Long-Time Support

IsotecSince our inception in 1996, ISOTEC has been a leading manufacturer of RF and microwave connectors such as SMA, MCX, SSMB, Low PIM, N, 7/16 type, and RF components such as attenuators, ISOTEC Componentsterminations, power dividers and more, for wireless service providers, and other RF systems designers. We provide recognized and trusted products and service to our customers in more than 60 countries worldwide. ISOTEC offers also an extensive product mix with RF Filters and Multiplexers and others.

Please Visit Orbel in
Appreciation of Their Support

Click to visit OrbelOrbel is the leading designer and manufacturer of RF Shielding and EMI/RFI Isolation Products for printed circuit boards and electronic Orbel Custom Stampingsenclosures. Board level shielding, EMI contact strips and rings, BeCu finger-stock and metalized fabric gaskets, connector gaskets. Orbel also specializes in thin gauge Photo Etched Metal Parts and Precision Metal Stampings made from a wide variety of material options.

Notable Quote
April 14, 2014

Notable Quote for April 14, 2014 - RF Cafe"Income Equality to most politicians is taking from people who work for a living and giving it to people who vote for a living." - Anon

Out of Order:
Of Pointy-Haired Bosses

Out of Order - RF CafeThis story, submitted by RF Cafe visitor Jerry L., of Cincinnati, OH, reminds me of a certain manager in a popular engineering comic strip. Jerry writes: I worked in the defense electronics industry for my entire career and it is hard to Out of Order: Of Pointy-Haired Bosses - RF Cafethink of a project in more than four decades that was not made infinitely more difficult due to the 'helpful' input of project managers. One experience in particular comes to mind as a perfect topic for your Out of Order feature. In the mid 1970s I was a "fresh-out," as new engineering college graduates were called at the time. Newly minted as a Masters degreed electrical engineer, my aspirations were high and I was ready to set the mobile radio system world on fire...

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RF Cascade Workbook is a very extensive system cascaded component Excel workbook that includes the standard Gain, NF, IP2, IP3, Psat calculations, input & output VSWR, noise BW, min/max tolerance, DC power cauculations, graphing of all RF parameters, and has a graphical block diagram tool. An extensive User's Guide is also included. - Only $35.
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