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.
My Hobby Website:
The inventions and products featured on these pages were chosen either for their uniqueness in the RF engineering realm, or are simply awesome (or ridiculous) enough to warrant an appearance.
All Featured Product Archive Pages:
RCA Airenergy unit harvests WiFi hotspot energy and converts it to DC to recharge its own internal lithium battery.
It can then be used to recharge any device that does so via a mini USB port. Debuting at the 2010 CES event,
it is due on shelves later this year for $40-50. In the works is a version in OEM battery sizes to replace the
battery for perpetual recharging. Marketing tip for RCA: Next time hire a booth babe to pitch it and keep the
Droopy dog at home (see the video).
"What if we could reinvent the light bulb? Well... we just did." That is the slogan from Vu1 Corporation re the company's Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL™) lighting technology. Citing the demonization of Edison incandescent bulbs and the idiotic hyping of CFLs as the savior of the world (despite its containing mercury), Vu1 claims to have the ideal solution, and maybe they do. ESL lighting technology uses accelerated electrons to stimulate a layer of phosphor on the surface of the bulb, thereby making it glow. Sound like a CRT with high persistence? Here is a short ESL video.
This PC-mount coaxial rotary joint piqued my interest when I first saw it back in the summer. Link Microtech, a manufacturer of active and passive RF components, offers this SMA connector for applications where coax cables experience an extreme range of motion. They claim 360° rotation for operation from DC to 5 GHz, with IL of 0.3 dB and RL of 17 dB at 5 GHz (0.1 dB IL, 25 dB RL at 27 MHz). What would also be nice is a series of inline rotary joints with connectors on both ends that can be inserted into existing installations.
Vphone is being billed as the first 2-way live video conferencing phone. It is a combo of Smartphone and PCDA
(Personal Communications Data Assistant) that features real-time video, Internet, 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, VMS
(Video Messaging Service), along with a complete host of user applications. An 800x480-pixel screen and 5 MP
camera, combined with an 806 MHz processor and ½GB of RAM help assure a smooth meeting.
RF Cool Tools' Real Time Design is a slick Java-based applet (which means it works on any platform) that allows you to build RLC circuits with drag-n-drop interface and plots results on a Cartesian (Bode) or Smith Chart. "What is so slick about it," you ask? The truly slick part is that you can drag points on the response curve to where you would like them to be, and the program automatically adjusts your RLC components to accommodate the curve. Wouldn't you love to have a full-featured RF / analog program that could do that? Maybe someday.
"Smart meters" continue their advance on traditional mechanical electric meters What to do with the old ones? Bury them in a landfill? Arcman's Classic Meters division is salvaging early 1900s era meters and incorporating them into attractive desk lamps and displays. Early meters contained a lot of brass, bronze, and nickel-plate components that can be polished to greatly enhance their aesthetics. The cool thing about these lamps is that the meters are wired in series with the supply, so they are actually functional!
source software is highly sought after because it is typically the result of many independent developers combining
personal concepts of user needs and interface efficiencies. Code is free of bloat and legally available to anyone
for customization. Those are the reasons most open source aficionados will cite. The real reason is; however,
it is free. Kicad is an open source (GPL)
software for the creation of electronic schematic diagrams and printed circuit board artwork. It includes a
project manager and four tools : schematic entry, board editor, GERBER viewer, and a footprint selector
If you have ever struggled with access to SMA connectors while installing or removing them in cramped quarters, then you will appreciate this SMA Finger Wrench. More than just a standard deep socket with a slot in the edge, this tool features a hexagonal body for facilitating rotation and a 7/16" wrench. They are cheap, too. This other type of 'torque multiplier' sits over the SMA nut. It is not for dense locations, but does make test environments easier when doing multiple cable operations. They are often given away at conventions with company names stamped on. Do you know who makes these?
Nobody asked me, but according to research warm drinks such as coffee and tea are best enjoyed at 58°C (136°F), beer tastes best at 7°C (47°F), and ice-cold drinks are best at -12°C (10°F). This series of cups uses phase changing materials (PCMs) in the walls to set and maintain it contents' temperature. Different cups are needed according to the desired temperature. The inventers are searching for a manufacturing partner.
keeping with current social trends, Mattel just showcased Computer Engineer Barbie - complete with a briefcase,
trendy glasses, a Bluetooth headset, and a pink computer. One commenter noted that it appears to come with a
BSOD, but it actually has a series of 8-bit binary numbers that equate to "Barbie" in ASCII (in hex: 42 61 72
62 69 65). There have been a number of news items of late pointing out that women tend toward software and computer
engineering more so than mechanical or electrical engineering.
Next year, watch for Stay-at-Home Ken, or maybe Unemployed Ken & Barbie.
This Wattgate 381 Audio Grade Duplex Socket has truly changed lives. Its 3-layer oxygen-free copper plating, electrolysis nickel, and 24k gold plating assures the audiophile purist of miraculous sound quality - and more. The mere $147 price tag is chump change compared to the performance improvement it promises. Don't believe the claim of changed lives? Read the customer comments at the page bottom, then e-mail the link to a friend.
This steel Velcro™ will keep your expensive running shoes securely fastened. Inventors Josef Mair and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich, Germany claim the new fastener, called Metaklett, is capable of supporting 35 tonnes/sq.m (7172 lb/sq.ft) at temperatures up to 800 ºC. Even Arizona asphalt does not get quite that hot. Applications envisioned include attaching of prosthetic limbs, cable tiedowns in severe environments, and other venues where rapid attach / removal is required.