1996 - 2016
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 ...
All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.
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These images have been chosen for their uniqueness. Subject matter ranges from historic events, to really cool phenomena in science and engineering, to relevant place, to ingenious contraptions, to interesting products (which now has its own dedicated Featured Product category).
Cool Pic Archive Pages
paraphrase Ford's famous marketing line: "Microsoft Research has a Better Idea..." at least when it comes to the
presentation of the periodic table. According to Mohd Abubakr, the table can be improved by arranging it in circular
form where it gives a sense of the relative size of atoms. The closer to the center of the chart, the smaller the
atom. Maybe he never saw this Mayan format periodic table.
Bureaucracies are great... if you are a bureaucrat. For the rest of us, they are an impediment to progress. This is the FCC Rulemaking Flow Chart constructed by Mitchell Lazarus is part of his "Radio's Regulatory Roadblocks" article in the August 2009 Spectrum. It is very well written and insightful - well worth your time to read. To be fair, the innate crippling rest momentum of bureaucracies does also help to prevent radical policies from getting whisked into being under the cover of darkness.
From a collection of images called "Inside Ball Aerospace" is this photo of the WorldView-2 satellite owned by DigitalGlobe. It will be used by Google Earth and other companies to provide images with resolutions down to 1.8 m (probably better resolution for sale to the DoD & other 3-letter agencies). There is also an 800-W speaker array for subjecting components to acoustic rigors of launch vehicle loads; it surely puts your system to shame.
It was during this speech to Congress, on May 25, 1961, that U.S. President John F. Kennedy threw down the gauntlet, "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish." The rest, as they say, is history.
anyone in this photo? If so, then you are either an avid historian of the American Radio Relay League, or have been
involved with the ARRL for over half a century, when these guys would have been seen at events and in publications.
This is the Board of Directors, circa 1917. The guy in the middle is founder Hiram Percy Maxim. Note the phone on
Is that Dennis the Menace you see standing there watching his friend on a teletype
machine, or is it perhaps someone even more famous? Take a look at the house the little guys lives in now. It has an amenity or two that your and my house does not have yet.
Here is the first 3-D map of the Earth's electrical conductivity. It is yet another example of previous firmly-held beliefs being upset. Subducting plates are comparatively colder and should be less conductive; however, conductivity in these areas may be enhanced by water drawn downward during the subduction process. Many scientists thought that tectonic plates are not likely to carry much, if any, water deep into the Earth's mantle, but it is the simplest explanation.
There was a time when atom smashers could be contained within the walls of a reasonably sized building and operate off of a city's grid power. One of the first large-scale projects, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Bevatron was a mere 135 feet. Today, it takes many miles (km) of underground tunnels to contain them (Large Hadron Collider). Bevatron, built in
the early 1950s for $9.5M ($76M 2008 dollars), is now slated for destruction to free up real estate. LCH costs €3.5B ($5B). Lots of good pics.
old axiom, "Careful what you wish for... you might just get it" comes to mind when reading a story titled, "Beware
the Reverse Brain Drain to India and China." For over a decade, people have been complaining about foreign students
studying at U.S. universities and then staying here to work rather than return to their native lands. Now, they
are returning in droves, taking our knowledge resources with them. This California license plate sums it up.
From 4 million to 400 million broadband subscribers in 10 years. This adjustable map illustrates how broadband has spread across the face of the Earth. Surprisingly, in 1999 Canada had the greatest number of subscribers per capita. In 2009, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland (yes, Iceland) lead the way. Today, even the terrorist regions are well-connected (they benefit from your labor while causing you to have to arrive 2 hours early and remove your shoes at the airport).
Making x-ray images of common items is entertaining as well as informative. When I worked for RFMD, my friend Jeff Walker ran the x-ray machine that I used to help non-destructively "discover" how competitors accomplished their product assembly tricks. He had a knack for extracting intricate details that other operators could not. Often, I could reverse engineer LTCC substrates and other minute structures with enough detail to ascertain how things worked. Here are some slick images that remind me of the kind of cool stuff we used to do.
Lithium (Li) might just be the oil of the 21st century. If you follow the hype, transportation of the future will be dominated by electric vehicles whose energy source will be batteries based on Li. Lithium is considered environmentally and medically friendly - at least for the end users (for production farm workers, not so much). Chile and Bolivia have been referred to as the Saudi Arabia of Lithium due to their enormous reserves and relative ease of extraction. Currently, about 30k tons of Li is produced annually, with a market price of about $1/lb. That equates to $179/bbl at liquid Li's density.
only not-totally-bad thing about being unemployed at this point in history is that there is no stigma attached when
seeking new opportunities. When the "real" unemployment rate is well into the double digits, there are a lot of
highly qualified people out there who have been idle through no fault of their own. Companies who have never had
layoffs are now finding themselves stressed to where people have to be let go for the sake of the company. It is
an ugly chart.
Project on Emerging Technologies (PEN) created this map of nanotechnology activity in the U.S. There are more than nanotech 1200 companies, universities, and government agencies just in the U.S. The top 3 sectors for companies working in nanotech (>200 entries) include materials, tools and instruments, and medicine/health. Interestingly, a lot of the effort is going into determining the potential health hazards of nanotech.
The model emblem of Government Motors' new Hybrid 2Mode series of vehicles has a PCB as the filler of the "H." The continuously-variable, electronic transmission integrates a motor that runs off a 300 V battery bank when loads are light and speeds are low. Still, city fuel usage is only around 15 mpg best case, so is the added complexity and expense justified? I'm not buying it - literally and figuratively.
This might appear to be a photo of NASA's astronaut cadre mooning (an apt term for NASA) the camera, but it is not. The lineup of butts is actually a collection of molds made for custom-fit seats to provide optimal comfort to candidates of the Mercury space flight program. That is how things were done back in 1959, in preparation for Alan Shepard's Mercury 7 suborbital flight in 1961. I assume better methods are used now.